YONKERS, NY — March 13, 2022 — We’ve all seen a Batman movie at least once in our lifetimes. Whether it was Adam West’s campy adventures, Tim Burton’s Gothic, yet fantastical adaptation, or Christopher Nolan’s grounded and epic Dark Knight Trilogy, everyone has an image of who and what Batman is based on his previous on-screen appearances. In The Batman (2022), prepare for that image to change yet again in a way that I found to be truly satisfying.
Unlike other Batman stories, we do not get a rehashing of the origin (no dead parents in sight thankfully) but instead, we start two years into Batman’s career, a move that longtime Batman fans will appreciate but also provides newcomers with a sense of vulnerability from our hero that is refreshing. While on the topic of vulnerability, Batman is portrayed by Robert Pattinson, and he is without question the most comic accurate Batman to date. Long gone are the days of vampires and sparkly skin from the Twilight Saga as Pattinson puts on a Tour de Force of not only physical brutality but perhaps more importantly, with the range of emotional depth he can bring to the character who is under a mask for nearly all three hours of this film.
Director Matt Reeves manages to build a world and atmosphere that is unique as Gotham feels alive, lived in, and surprisingly very close to home considering it is primarily influenced by New York City. The supporting cast is all phenomenal without a weak spot in their ranks. Paul Dano’s Riddler is calculated, engaging, but also truly terrifying with many scenes that feel almost like a straight up horror movie. When he and Batman are together on screen, it is incredibly hard to look away. The relationships between Zoë Kravitz “Catwoman”, and Batman, as well as Jeffrey Wrights, Jim Gordon, and Batman are equally satisfying with both performers bringing something new and exciting to their roles. The true standout for me (aside from Pattinson of course) was Colin Farrell as The Penguin. Unrecognizable under the heavy prosthetic makeup, Farrell completely loses himself inside of the Penguin and gives a Robert De Niro inspired mob boss performance that not only feels threatening but is also the comic relief aspect of this film. The Batmobile also feels like its own character, this iconic vehicle has its own heart and mind, very similar to Stephen Kings Christine (1983) as it roars through the streets of Gotham providing us perhaps the most entertaining Car chase in any of the Batman Films to date.
The Batman overall is not your average superhero movie and while it carries a PG-13 rating, it is not made for children. The tone will not be for everyone but perhaps trying to separate themselves from the Goliath that is Marvel Studios, Warner Brothers/DC set out to make a dark, gritty and brutal detective thriller which this reviewer feels can and will change the Superhero movie landscape forever.
Yonkers Tribune Rating: 9/10 stars