‘The Batman’ review

Samuel Rosenthal ’24 reviews the newest box-office smash, “The Batman”.

The Batman was released on March 4.

Isabella Tisdale

“The Batman” was released on March 4.

“The Batman” is the newest box-office smash that is easily the darkest interpretation of Batman both figuratively and literally. Matt Reeves delivers a gritty, mystery thriller with the best portrayal of Batman to date, but falls short in its length.

The film is set in Batman’s second year of crime-fighting as a vigilante who strikes fear into all of Gotham’s criminals. When Gotham’s elite experience attacks from a serial killer named the Riddler (Paul Dano), Batman/ Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) must investigate and uncover the corruption of Gotham with the assistance of James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz). Not only will they have to solve riddles galore, but also uncover the harsh truths of Gotham and the corruption surrounding them.

The greatest liability the film has is easily its length. With a runtime of nearly three hours, the film’s climax seems tacked on just to give the audience the showy finale they want. To be frank, the finale is visually interesting and investing, however, most of the questions are already answered by the two-hour-twenty-minute mark. Although, the first ten minutes of the film are the best of the best when it comes to Batman.

What this film does better than any other past interpretations, is that it gives a lingering unknownst to where Batman is. A lot of camera shots show a shadow, but you don’t know whether or not he’s there, adding a sense of fear and unknown for the criminals very nicely. That may simply be due to Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of the masked vigilante, as it is the best portrayal of Batman to date. Not Bruce Wayne, but as Batman. The majority of the film is spent on Batman figuring out clues and uncovering truths rather than Bruce Wayne, which works to the film’s advantage as I could see Pattinson playing a recluse, masked character rather than a billionaire playboy.

Outside of Pattinson’s portrayal, there were three standout performances. Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman is incredibly interesting to watch as she is an understandably conflicted character who must figure out her own internal riddles. Colin Farrell’s Penguin, who is not as present as you may think, steals every scene he is in. The car chase between Batman and Penguin is very well done and is one of my favorite scenes. And Paul Dano’s Riddler is incredibly unhinged and you can’t help but be uncomfortable when you see him on screen (in a good way).

With that said, this is easily the most grounded of the Batman franchise. The Riddler delivers easily the most terrifying performance out of Batman’s villains, offering an all-too-real series of attacks that just make you uncomfortable. Dano’s performance just may take the cake as the second or third best Batman movie villain behind Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix’s Jokers, both of whom won Oscars for their respective roles. To add to that, in a minor spoiler alert, Barry Keoghan appears in a faceless scene as the Joker, acting alongside Paul Dano. Fresh off the heels of Eternals, Keoghan offers a promising, though not visible performance that we may possibly see in a future sequel…

Through its technical strengths, the music is great, although songs such as “Ave Maria” may be overplayed, in one usage it is used to great effect. Michael Giacchino, who’s known for his previous music for ‘Up’, ‘Spider-Man’ and many other well-known projects, continues to bring his A-game for this movie. Through the film’s cinematography, it captures a lot of emotions, evoking fear, uncertainty and using the fear of the unknown for the audience. There are scenes near the opening when you know that the Riddler is hiding, but the characters don’t know that, leaving you in incredible suspense, just waiting for the Riddler to strike. 

Matt Reeves did an incredible job with his cinematography, character directions and overall genre of the story he produced. The only issue the film has is its plot structure which feels dragged out far too long. The film doesn’t quite reach the heights of “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins”, but it offers a new kind of story that is much deserved. Overall the film receives four out of five stars and is a recommendation to any Batman or dark mystery fan.