“The Batman:” Gotham in All its Glory

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Warner Bros. Pictures

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Warner Bros. Pictures

For the past several years, the superhero genre has been dominated by crossover films and multiverses. As an avid supporter of such films and franchises, I am not complaining. Comic books are subject to such elements, and thus these adapted works for the silver screen will follow.

However, if you hold a similar view to mine, you may second guess yourself upon viewing “The Batman.”

The latest portrayal of the hero does not cater to family audiences. Instead, they are exposed to the devastatingly corrupt city of Gotham and a true violent vigilante in Batman. Pulling few punches, this Caped Crusader is not your Saturday morning cartoon’s hero. 

Alternatively, Bruce Wayne’s life is not that of an ostentatious playboy like in recent adaptations. Robert Pattinson plays a secluded Bruce by day, focused on delivering cruel justice by night. His performance is a masterpiece not only in action and dialogue but also in his ability to convey personal struggles without either.

Meanwhile, Paul Dano’s Riddler is a true sociopath that general audiences will surely compare to the Joker. Director Matt Reeves and the film’s writers have crafted a deeply motivated villain that abandons the source material’s humorous rhetoric in favor of wicked evil. The Riddler is truly reminiscent of the villains in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, much to the delight of diehard Batman fans.

Additionally, Zoë Kravitz is great as Selina Kyle, or the infamous Catwoman. Her role remains true to the comics while also being given sufficient depth. For instance, she is constantly plagued by a moral struggle between justice and vengeance in the film, something that previous Batman works have not focused on developing for Kyle. The writers thankfully avoid the overdone, distasteful use of her character as a simple love interest, making the film even greater.

A critique of “The Batman” that some may identify is its runtime. With previews, the film runs over three hours long. Luckily, the film’s pacing never suffers, but you will notice how long the overall film feels by the third act. And as with any detective film—which “The Batman” is at heart—the audience’s investment in the story will surely keep them content.

Overall, this film will leave fans wanting much more of Pattinson’s Batman. An immense amount of world-building is done, but it happens organically without harming the plot. While Warner Bros. and DC have mostly failed to produce great comic book films in recent years, Reeves’ work is a perfect case study on how to reignite a franchise.

“The Batman” is now playing in theaters nationwide. Previous Batman films are also available to stream on HBO Max, as will this latest film following its theatrical run.