At The Movies: The Batman

The Batman has returned with a vengeance to the big screen, and in brilliant form.

Director Matt Reeves’ (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) bold vision emerges from the shadows delivering us the darkest version of the caped crusader yet. A gritty, edgy take on one of the famous characters of all time that stands alone, unique amongst it’s predecessors.

You could be forgiven for showing signs of fatigue on initially hearing the news of yet “another superhero movie”. The trend of interconnecting franchises and world building super-hero films has become increasingly popular with mixed results. Much has been made of the the recent DC- Universe films. Heavy reliance on special effects and aligning characters together, rather than solid story-telling and cohesive plotlines failed to satisfy the fanbase. Does The Batman signal a new direction from DC for future comic adaptations? If this film is anything to go by then I certainly hope so. Bring. Them. On.

The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as the lead , and he brings a new intensity to the role. His Batman shuns the public eye, as both Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting persona are solely focused on striking fear into Gotham’s underworld. Set two years into his Batman career, Bruce Wayne is angry, violent and frustrated at his apparent lack of progress at slowing the rising crime wave. A madman is killing high profile citizens and leaving cryptic clues specifically for Batman. Already despised by Gotham’s police for his vigilante status, the clues draw unwanted attention to himself as he races to solve the crimes before the next murder. The Batman leans heavily into crime-noir territory in this regard, Batman playing detective and piecing together the mystery rather than a super-villain announcing his arrival through a space portal above the city. Batman’s costume and equipment also take a departure from previous films in this regard, seemingly having a real world functionality to them. Refreshingly raw, it gives the impression of a Batman still working this crime-fighter gig out. Testing, building and refining his tools of the trade after late night battles in the field.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning. There are some iconic action sequences that will most certainly blow audiences away, and the latest Batmobile is a beast like no other. The film does projects more of a Seven and Saw vibe with it’s dark, gloomy desaturated tones and relentless rain. It does, however, use lighting incredibly well, adding warmth in all the right places and close up’s to great effect where needed. The direction and pace is snappy but doesn’t ever feel rushed. Characters are introduced quickly and with purpose, their motivations made clear before moving on with the story. The plot too actually makes sense and concludes in a satisfactory and sensical manner, a rarity in todays movies.
Without spoiling any character reveals, the casting is brilliant. Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Dano are amongst an incredible ensemble that truly breathe new life into these characters.
Matt Reeves has absolutely knocked this one out of the park for a home run. The Batman is a film I already want to see again, and I can’t wait to see what he can do with Gotham’s underworld from here.

Movie Review By Samuel Phillips

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