DC gives it another go with “The Batman (2022)”
I made my return to the movie theater over the weekend after two very long years. I watched The Batman (2022) directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz and Andy Serkis. The film is three hours long, but I barely felt the time pass. If I’m being completely honest, I almost didn’t believe it when my phone flashed 11:30PM as I walked out of that movie theater.
In The Batman (2022), we see Bruce Wayne don the suit as he ventures into Gotham’s underworld, trying to find the sadistic killer leaving behind a trail of clues that point towards his next victim. Each crime scene comes with a letter directly written out to him; “To the Batman,” it reads in childish handwriting. As the clues start to hit closer to home, Bruce does everything he can to unmask the Riddler. Oh, and Selina Kyle (Catwoman—though she isn’t called Catwoman yet) is there, too.
A lot of us were worried when we heard that Robert Pattinson would be filling in the (small) shoes of Ben Affleck. I think most of us just glazed over Batman v Superman and (the non-Zack Snyder) Justice League, rightfully still holding Christian Bale as the standard-bearer. But let me ease the worry and tell you that Pattinson plays the role gracefully. While I wish they groomed him a little better so that he doesn’t look like an emotional teenager whose bangs are always in his eyes, I have no issues with his actual acting.
But while Pattinson is the star of The Batman (2022), I have to tip my hat to Zoë Kravitz and Paul Dano, who play Selina Kyle and The Riddler, respectively. These two made the film. Their characters were interesting; their stories took center stage. I could not have imagined anyone else playing these roles.
Synopsis aside, this film will cater to all that love a good murder mystery. After all, Batman is The World’s Greatest Detective, and The Riddler’s clues are smart and head-scratching. The annoying puns aside, it’s a good thrill ride.
But the truly beautiful part of the film is that there is no Batman origin story. Instead, we see it unfold as Bruce Wayne sees the emotion in one of the victim’s sons—because it’s so close to his own experiences. While there are no flashbacks to the Wayne murder, we’re given the story in a more eloquent and satisfying narrative that doesn’t involve little Bruce.
The Batman (2022)
I’ve seen a lot of memes and screenshots of people comparing The Batman (2022) with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. I can’t agree with this at all. They’re completely different, and Reeves’ iteration of Batman is based on the comics. A friend of mine wrote that Reeves did his homework, and it's because he did that the film that will cater to the comic book readers among us. But if we’re talking run-of-the-mill movie viewer, there’s a lot that The Batman (2022) misses.
Throughout the film, I had moments of boredom. There were scenes I could have gone without seeing, and there were some classic moments that just didn’t make the cut. I wanted to know how Bruce Wayne became Batman, I didn’t understand why he lived in “a tower” instead of a mansion. I couldn’t get behind the Batcave looking so poorly kept. To my non-comic book brain, there were just so many things that didn’t translate properly.
If the question is whether or not The Batman (2022) deserves to be seen in the cinemas, the answer is yes. But if you’re asking whether or not you’ll love~ it, then the answer is likely no. You’ll appreciate it for what it is, but unless you’re a member of the DC comic world, you’ll likely feel a slight disconnection the same way I did.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver