With 15 live-action films, 52 animated movies, five television series and appearances in over 25 animated TV series, Batman has had his fair share of ventures outside of his comic book origins. After a re-shuffling of the DC Extended Universe, the Caped Crusader's newest feature film was set to be a continuation of Ben Affleck in the role, but due to various factors, this project transitioned to a new actor donning the Batsuit as well as separating from the DCEU.
The Batman (Robert Pattinson, 'Tenet', the 'Twilight' Saga) is in his second year of protecting Gotham City. With an election looming, The Riddler (Paul Dano, 'Okja', 'Swiss Army Man') emerges from the shadows, killing key figures in the city and leaving cryptic clues addressed to The Batman. This leads The Batman on a chase around the city and run-ins with Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz, 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald', 'Mad Max: Fury Road') and the Penguin (Colin Farrell, 'The Gentlemen', 'Dumbo') while utilising the help of James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, 'No Time To Die', 'The Hunger Games' franchise), an ally from the Gotham City Police Department and his butler Alfred (Andy Serkis, 'Black Panther', 'War For The Planet Of The Apes'). It becomes a race against the clock as things get closer to home, with the Wayne legacy on the line.
While the character of Batman being dark and brooding in a cinematic venture is nothing new, director Matt Reeves' ('Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes', 'Let Me In', 'Cloverfield') take on the Dark Knight feels incredibly fresh. The film is jaw-dropping to look at, with Greig Fraser's cinematography coming on the heels of his work on 'Dune'; both films will go down as some of the most beautiful cinematography of the 2020s. Once again, DC gives a modern superhero a memorable theme, with Michael Giacchino's ('Spider-Man: No Way Home', 'Coco', 'Jurassic World') score roaring through the speakers, his new Batman theme a heart-pumping and adrenalin-fuelled piece.
Robert Pattinson is a force to be reckoned with, quickly becoming one of my favourite actors to portray Batman. He's perfectly cast, bringing a menacing presence to the role. We get to see him more in the suit than as his alter ego Bruce Wayne, where he looks quite emo and would destroy millions of people's dreams because they will never find anyone as good-looking. The creative team really makes this Batman's film, and Patterson completely sells it. The story also differs from the other Batman incarnations by making the character less of a vigilante and more of a detective.
Robert Pattinson is a force to be reckoned with, quickly becoming one of my favourite actors to portray Batman. He's perfectly cast, bringing a menacing presence to the role.
While enjoyable and engaging, the film didn't soar for me personally. As stated above, there so absolutely no lack of Batman content out there and it felt a little fatiguing to see him brooding again. While this telling is incredibly well-acted and made, I wish I could have come out of the film saying I loved it - but I can't. Even the long runtime didn't bother me; it just didn't astound me, and will probably take a re-watch for me to appreciate it more. This is in no way a bad film and is quite excellent in many regards, but it would have felt a whole lot fresher if we didn't just have both the Nolan trilogy and Batfleck in the past ten years.
The film, like 'Joker', exists outside of the current DCEU, but, confusingly, will be the start of another universe - a Batman-centred one with a spinoff, sequels and series in the works.
The film's main antagonist is The Riddler, and he is much different than when we last saw him on film in 'Batman & Robin'. The Riddler is more a voice here, threatening but lacking in presence compared to typical Batman villains. He aids the mystery element of the film, and it's engaging to piece together the puzzle he is leaving with Batman. The film also weights more on the social commentary side, with The Riddler's use of social media to push his message and how that captures the world.
'The Batman' is the start of something exciting, and while this incarnation's first outing didn't completely wow me, there is so much to grab your attention here. From the score to cinematography and Pattinson's fantastic performance, his outing as the Caped Crusader is sure to be one of fans' new favourite adventures.