The Batman: A Tale of a Hero Thus Begins

Pattinson stars as the iconic Batman in a reimagined suit, similar to what classical cinemagoers have imagined.

On March 4, 2022, DC Universe’s The Batman was released in theatres across the nation. I was far too excited to watch this supposedly “game-changing” film and immediately viewed it on opening night. The Batman stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, and Colin Farrel as its main cast. Pattinson has time and again proven that he is past the Twilight stage. His performance in The Lighthouse was universally acclaimed. Furthermore, he was cast in Tenet by legendary director Christopher Nolan and audiences and critics alike highly praised his depth of emotion and versatility.

The 2016 Batman vs. Superman was famously ridiculed for weak chemistry, plot, and acting. Justice League, released in 2017, was also disliked by many moviegoers after Snyder, the original director, was cut and a subpar version of the film was released. This 2022 version of the movie was supposed to remedy the mistakes made 6 years ago and phase DC out into a completely new phase, with two sequels and TV show spinoffs already planned. Christopher Nolan had already proven with his three-part series of Batman that the bar was set incredibly high.

The industry was expecting much from Pattinson and I am glad to say that he did not disappoint. Pattinson brings to Batman the depth of emotional and physical versatility that Affleck never could. Batman carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and Pattinson does an incredibly fine job of showing just this. The audience feels his pain, his responsibilities, and the legacy of the Wayne family. Even 20 years later after his parent’s death, the viewer feels the massive gap that is left in Bruce Wayne’s heart. Not only did Pattinson fulfill his role as an actor, but also, he successfully upheld the Batman image with his charming looks, height, and muscular image. Kravitz portrays the feminine side of Catwoman with mastery, but also adds her own twist on the character, and we see the power that Catwoman holds over those who dare to cross her. The Penguin, played by Colin Farrel, is yet another perfect cast. With scars crossing his face and a three-piece suit, Farrel plays the character with the deception and lies that the cinemagoers have come to know and love. The casting is admirable and certainly adds a level of depth to the movie.

Onto the movie itself. The Batman is violent, dark, and gritty and makes no apologies for it. Similar to its predecessors, it paints Gotham in the light of corruption, as the city that has no hope. With corruption and crime plaguing the streets, the wealthy rest in their highrises while the rest are left to save themselves. The film asks one question throughout the movie: Is Gotham worth saving? A series of violent murders paint the streets red as a manic serial killer known as The Riddler takes vengeance on the city. Throughout the despair, Bruce Wayne roams the city as he questions his purpose in the grand scheme of events. The movie does a fantastic job of creating a cinematic environment, and we truly feel as if we are in Gotham ourselves. The plot is masterful, and it reveals itself slowly but surely.

While the characters and the environment were stunning, there were a few flaws. Firstly, the movie is far too long. At 2 hours and 56 minutes, I found myself glancing at my watch a couple of times in between. The first hour is the hardest to get through, because of the slow plot buildup. While I was not disappointed by what followed, I certainly believe it could have come quicker. Additionally, the climax was underwhelming, and while I was still satisfied by the antagonist and his plot, it felt rushed. Finally, there were a few moments throughout where the audio was overwhelmingly loud, to the point that it did not feel comfortable. This seems to be a very basic and minor point to criticize, but it affected a cinematic experience, so it must be mentioned.

The acting was incredible and so was the cinematic mood. But, because of such a long runtime and an underwhelming climax, it is hard to compare this to the 2008-2012 Dark Knight series. The Dark Knight series remains to this day, some of the finest movies that I have had the privilege of viewing, and it is hard to create a movie that can top the cinematic perfection that Christopher Nolan had created. But, the goals of The Batman were different. It was to create a new era of DC, to wash away the previous sins. And I think that they were ultimately successful in fulfilling this goal.

4/5 stars