It’s Halloween night. Do you know where the Batman is? Is he lurking in the shadows of that alleyway you face after a robbery you commit? Is he inside the building you’re vandalizing, waiting for your guard to drop? Or maybe he’s behind you in the subway as you heckle an innocent bystander. It’s a big city. He could be anywhere. He could be anybody. How would you ever know?
Matt Reeves’ interpretation of the caped crusader in “The Batman” focuses a lot on the fear that he instills. Fear has been in important plot device in every iteration, but it’s played on a lot here. A lot of criminals will boast how unafraid they actually are, but when they see the cowl erupt into the light, and the speed of him increase they can’t help but cower and lose that naive bravery.
But fear is not the only tool Batman/Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has in his arsenal. In addition to being a very imposing figure with incredible, but grounded, gadgets, Batman has his mind, where he takes on the identity of the world’s greatest detective, a famous moniker that Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (Colin Farrell) takes and puts on its heels. And he needs to be if he hopes to save the city from its latest threat, The Riddler (Paul Dano), a masked serial killer hellbent on revealing the corruption of the city of Gotham and its leaders. Not just the crooked cops but the elected officials, members of the mob, and philanthropists alike. Those who promise change, only to be forgotten and betrayed once the power they seek is attained.
Is Riddler wrong? Not necessarily. Corruption is a powerful weapon used to turn good men around into a life of deviance. But is he going about it the right way? Again, not really. But what can one do when the judges who would oversee the cases of the men put away are as corrupt as those that are put in front of them. That’s where the brute force of those like Batman who answer to nobody but themselves and the code they abide by comes in. There’s a line that you can cross, and once you do you’re just like those you seek to destroy.
Now if you’re reading this, and thinking “Well geez, this all sounds a little familiar” you would be on the right track. While Batman movies/comics/games have been saying more or less the same thing for the last 80+ years, the difference lies entirely in the execution. At this point with all the source material available, it’s hard to get the underlying of Batman wrong. Everything lies in the performance that is given, the stakes that are held, and the technical work behind and inside the camera.
One of the most talked about and prevalent aspects of this film is the beautiful and at times chilling score by Michael Giacchino. With his imposing theme, to the beautiful undertones of “Ave Maria”, there’s a lot to love. It’s a soundtrack that has the intense seat-gripping horns and the calm harps that can mold themselves to fit into whatever scene writer Matt Reeves and Peter Craig throw at the audience. And then there’s the cinematography by Greig Fraser. He has one of the best eyes for what the camera can show us in a modern blockbuster. He’s done the great work for “Dune”, “Vice”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and more, proving time and time again he’s a force to be reckoned with and one that ultimately should be rewarded with an even more impressive career going forward.
There’s so much to talk about, but there’s also so much movie to be had. And keeping in theme with having this review be as spoiler-free as possible, it must be urged that the words on this page can’t express how much this movie deserves to be seen. Of course it won’t have any problem with that, seeing as it has sold out its early access fan screenings days before the official release.
Rapid firing what this movie had that was especially lovely: shirtless Robert Pattinson—Colin Farrell doing a little Penguin walk while tied up—Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman (nothing specific here, just her entire presence)—incredible action work by stunt coordinators Darko Tuscan, Steve Griffin, and everybody else on the stunt team.
Overall, “The Batman” brings a lot of the same to the table, but does it with a lot more craft and precision than some other efforts. The Batman was a wonderful film, and personally I can’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold in future movies.
“The Batman” releases in theaters this Friday, March 4th nationwide.