The Batman Review: A 'hero' is meticulously born in Robert Pattinson-Matt Reeves' grim, gritty & gripping noir

Robert Pattinson's terrific 'emo-inspired' macabre performance makes you believe that the actor was tailor-made to play the angst-driven Batman and Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves' ambitiously sadistic directorial, The Batman. Read Pinkvilla's review.

Updated on Mar 07, 2022 10:19 AM IST  |  847.4K
The Batman Review
Robert Pattinson plays Batman aka Bruce Wayne, for the first time ever, in The Batman.
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The Batman

The Batman Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano

The Batman Director: Matt Reeves

The Batman Stars: 4/5

The Batman Review 1

"NO MORE LIES"; A recurring theme in The Batman, Matt Reeves' ambitious, sadistic film noir, which gives Christopher Nolan's classic The Dark Knight a considerable run for its money with deep, disturbing undertones. Shouldering the emotional trauma of both an angst-driven Bruce Wayne and his Caped Crusader alter-ego, we have Robert Pattinson in his most emo on-screen appearance yet. But does The Batman "renewal" (all the pun intended! You'll understand after having watched the movie) reap the rewards with an enthralling watch for the hardcore DC loyalists (especially comic book fans) and casual fans alike? Let's find out!

Set in the early heydays with Batman merely grasping his place in the slum-ish Gotham City and fighting off mere scoundrels, the vigilante's detective skills are put to the test in The Batman when he's entangled in a serial killer case involving the barbarous Riddler aka Edward Nashton (Paul Dano), who murders white collared men of immense power including mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones), just ahead of Election Day, and leaves a trail of amusing riddles to solve. As the Riddler toys with Batman and his only police ally James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the dead body count rises at an extreme pace while the mystery is all tied down to the elitist Wayne family, with Bruce Wayne as the primary target. When it's Batman, organised crime follows and in The Batman, we have mobster Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and his right-hand man Penguin aka Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot (Colin Farrell), who are involved in a "drops" drugs racket, seemingly busted. In between the powerful chaos, Batman finds an unlikely acquaintance in Catwoman aka Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), who is equally attached to the mystery at hand with her own pursuit to uncover the truth.

The Batman Review 2

Inspite of so many beloved Batman characters let loose and a steep duration of 176 minutes, make no mistake, The Batman is strictly "The Batman Show." Unlike previous Batman reiterations, where the carefully crafted villain may sometimes overpower the Dark Knight, we're given a microscopic point of view at how Bruce's severe emotional trauma, stemmed from major daddy issues, has left an indelible scar on his psyche, especially as the Caped Crusader. Channelling these rough and tough emotions with elegance is Robert Pattinson, who shuns the pessimists with a terrific and nuanced performance that's worthy of applause and future iterations. Batman is equivalent to a superhero version of Hamlet with many well-established actors having a go at it. With Robert's version in The Batman, we're treated with a comic book accurate Batman we've so truly craved to relish on the big screen. You're genuinely left convinced that Pattinson was tailor-made to play both the tortured souls of Batman and Bruce Wayne, at a painstakingly comfortable pace. Atleast this reviewer firmly stands by it!

As for The Batman's supporting cast, Zoë takes the high road and doesn't try to imitate previous cinematic outings (Michelle Pfeiffer's still being THE one to beat!), but instead brings about her own spin to the devilishly delectable of a character like Selina Kyle. Kravitz is mesmerising to watch on-screen and particularly, the obvious sexual tension between "The Bat and The Cat" is given an electrifying touch by Robert and Zoë's arresting chemistry. We get to witness two opposing sides of the same coin in how Bruce and Selina handle the "bad guys." Dano's deranged undertaking of a notoriously psychotic villain like the Riddler pays off in spades as I was left genuinely spooked by his galvanic performance, truly terrifying. An unrecognisable Farrell as Penguin adds the right over the top dosage of drama accompanied by some much-needed humour to the superhero potboiler mix. Wright, Turturro and Serkis impeccably bring to life iconic DC characters, from before they found their stable place (and classic monikers) in Gotham City, with fruitful justice, but never overstay their welcome. Even Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham's district attorney Gil Colson and Jayme Lawson as Gotham City's mayoral candidate Bella Reál make an impressionable yet limited appearance in The Batman.

"I am vengeance," says our new Batman, which lays the foundation of what director (and co-writer) Matt Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig were trying to achieve with The Batman. Instead of portraying Bruce Wayne's flamboyant billionaire side (or getting too into the beginning specifics which has been there, done that symbol attached, we're seeing him delving into post-rockstar syndrome, where he's riddled with literal and metaphorical wounds, especially with his parents' gruesome deaths. Two poignant in The Batman sequences delve into this, wherein one, Bruce's immediate empathy for Don's young son post his father's murder and a heart-to-heart with his "family, but not really family" butler Alfred Pennyworth in a hospital.

While the current real-life political climate is creepily interlaced in The Batman storyline (you're left questioning it all in real-time!), especially in the cataclysmic "too close to home" final act, there's a striking balance in what the true definition it is to be "good" and "bad." Being a superhero and the moral ambiguity behind the same is testified in The Batman with finesse. Though there are times, when the script gets distracted or too ahead of itself with depressing, sullen outcomes, overall, you're left hypnotised with the man behind the cowl and the ambiguous "murders" mystery to be solved with limitless, fun twists and turns.

ALSO READ: The Batman EXCLUSIVE: Robert Pattinson calls Bruce Wayne's hopeless desperation an interesting interpretation

A particular non-surprising strength of The Batman lies in its superior technical prowess. As witnessed in the captivating landscape of The Dune, Greig Fraser's cinematography in The Batman is ingenious to the point that it's a character in itself while masterfully embodying the physical aspects of Bruce's psychological lacerations. James Chinlund's production design skillfully reimagines the New York landscape as Gotham City with a sparkling touch as Times Square and Madison Square Garden is given a grunge makeover of the deadly kinds. In particular, you can't help but admire how the dark lighting, with reds as the primary theme colour, and dusky smoke manages to add a touch of gravitas to the deeply dark plot. This is specifically witnessed in the captivating action sequences, which feel potentially real rather than cinematic. In The Batman, Batman is shown as not just a daredevil superhero but a human, who is prone to get hurt and more importantly, even fears. Equally thrilling is Michael Giacchino's pitch-perfect score with "murky" laced through and through and some Nirvana tunes to boost up the mayhem behind all that mischief. Editors William Hoy and Tyler Nelson had their work cut out for them, but bring genuine depth into Wayne's story without editing out the pivotal parts.

In finality, I believe that Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves' team up concocted a grim, gritty and gripping noir where a "hero" was meticulously born with a rebellious, ruthless cause while the audience was left in absolute awe of a superhero movie so unlike any other superhero film, we've ever seen before! He is "vengeance."



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6 minutes ago
It deserved 4/5 in the minimum