If you’ve watched movies for more than a hot second you know that you can count on two things. First, if a film becomes a blockbuster, you can bet on a franchise. And second, there is always another Batman waiting in the wings (refer to first point).
It has been almost two years since “The Batman” just about broke social media when it dropped its teaser trailer atDC Fandome. That was after the initial news of Robert Pattinson being the latest Bruce Wayne almost broke the social channels the first time in 2019.
Well, a lot has happened since that fateful day in August of 2020. A prolonged pandemic and more production delays than actual actors who have claimed the title of Batman to name a few. And let’s face it, there have been many men inhabiting the Batcave.
Finally though, audiences around the globe will have their patience rewarded with Matt Reeves’s version of “The Batman.” And folks, I am here to tell you, it is exactly as Reeves described.
A Refreshing and Original Take On An Old Story
When you consider that “The Batman” has been around for over eight decades you may come to appreciate the different versions that pop culture has seen. In the last eighty plus years we’ve seen Batman as : A playboy, a cartoonish cheeky chap, a dark and brooding dude or a combination of all.
Reeves’s Batman however is summed up in two words: Dark and sinister. “Gotham is a really scary place,” says Reeves, “and as a world is incredibly rich for a filmmaker.” And rich it is. “The Batman” comes complete with epic shots worthy of a superhero movie. Shots that, if frozen, could represent the movie poster. Shots that are exactly what Hollywood was made for. Scenes that make you wanna bow down to the movie lords and thank them for IMAX.
But, be prepared, this is the most sinister iteration of Batman this movie gal has ever seen. Think ‘Seven” and “Zodiac” sinister.
The Caped Crusader Turned Vengeful Vigilante
“I’m vengeance,” says Batman. That’s certainly a different take on the masked man most of us have come to know. Robert Pattinson is the latest to don the Batsuit and with the new iteration is a new attitude.
“There’s a level of rage in him, which makes him difficult to beat,” Pattinson says of his character. And by all accounts he certainly has a right to be rageful. When we meet our main character for the first time he has been fighting crime on the streets of Gotham City for two whole years (we can all relate to being exposed to uncertain times for a period of 24 months can’t we?). But, this first encounter isn’t with “The Batman” or even with “Bruce Wayne.” No, this person is somewhere in between.
As the film progresses we see more of what we consider ‘traditional’ Batman/Bruce Wayne alter ego, the conventional counterpart couple that most of us are used to. This Batman does have the usual trappings as all the others before him: the cash, the tech and of course, the Bat mobile.
But those friends are where the similarities end. Mainly, due in part mostly to Pattinson and director Matt Reeves (“War for the Planet of the Apes”). More on that later.
Here Kitty Kitty Kravitz
Zoë Kravitz is the female fatale who purrs her way into the Catwoman costume. The steely-eyed, super slender Selina Kyle is about as far from being a domesticated kitty as Gotham City is to being the idyllic place to live. No, this tomcat has an agenda all her own and has more secrets than a cat has lives.
This version of Catwoman does not stray too far away from the long-time fan favorite. Though this story has her at odds and perched opposite Batman, the two will soon become the purr-fect crime fighting pair.
Cat puns aside, this Catwoman is perhaps the best one to date to not come off as a victim, a common trap for female characters. This stay kitty has seen the lion’s share of street fights and has landed squarely on her feet so far. This scruffy and tattered cat is far from a pussycat choosing instead to align herself with others like her.
Riddle Me This
Without a doubt one of the best surprises is Paul Dano as The Riddler. Holy cray cray Batman, Dano is a standout and is one of the most spectacular scene stealers in recent memory.
His take on The Riddler is psychotic in every sense of the world. His embodiment of this classic role is so spectacular, he chews up the screen and spits it out as if it were nothing more than a piece of stuck rice in his teeth.
“The Batman” doesn’t just go out of the box with its main character casting. Colin Farrell is virtually unrecognizable as The Penguin. Jeffrey Wright is oh so right as Commissioner Gordon. And John Turturro is the mob leader Carmine Falcone.
All are not the expected choices. But, after seeing the flick, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in their respective roles.
See it or Skip it?
For fans of the franchise, it’s a no-brainer. See it. Really though, is there a risk that The Batman isn’t going to be seen? Nope.
But there is one major, gargantuan problem – it’s sooooo long! Ridiculously long. Don’t be surprised if you leave the theater comparing the experience to a divorce. You are so happy the blessed event has started and when it’s over you are streaking naked through the streets, a la Will Ferrell in “Old School”. But, the middle part of your divorce is painful, inflated and has you questioning every decision you’ve ever made in life.
Were it not for the length, the overall score would be higher – much higher.
“The Batman” opens in theaters Friday, March 4. It is rated PG-13 (personally I think it should be rated R) and runs two hours and 55 minutes. Get your tickets here.