The Batman review


Graphic by Ben Grantonic

A graphic depicting a rating of The Batman.

Ben Grantonic is a senior and a reporter for the Fishers Tiger Times. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

     Superhero films are a dime a dozen currently, with franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) raking in millions every year. Though, unlike the MCU’s unparalleled success, the DCEU has struggled a lot more than its MCU counterpart, especially critically. DCEU films like “Batman V. Superman” and “Justice League” being almost universally panned by critics; which has led to the DCEU pivoting away from its huge characters like Superman and Batman, and more towards more obscure and smaller characters. Success has been found in DCEU projects centering around more obscure characters, such as the critical darling that was “Peacemaker.” This has left these characters, Batman and Superman, open to different non-DCEU films and projects. 

     This leads me to our primary topic, “The Batman,” which is a non-DCEU DC film that was released March 4. It stars Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne, who is a perfect casting choice. Robert Pattinson is, famously, a sort of strange and lonely guy. For example, in one story he told, he took a fan who waited three weeks outside of his apartment to dinner after being “chronically bored,” and reportedly weirded them out so much they never showed up again. I think Batman is best when he is an obsessive recluse, especially when he is depicted in his earlier Batman years (as this movie takes place early in his career and is heavily inspired by “Batman: Year One” and “The Long Halloween,” both being comic stories also taking place early in his Batmaning career), and Pattinson absolutely nails this version of the Caped Crusader. 

     The film centers around Batman tracking down The Riddler (Paul Dano), a serial killer who is going after the city’s corrupt elite and is leaving riddles all addressed to “The Batman.”  Batman is assisted by Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffery Wright), cat burglar Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), and his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis). Dano gives a standout performance as the Zodiac Killer-inspired Riddler, and is convincingly deranged in his multiple monologues. Other fantastic performances come from Colin Farrell, who plays mobster “The Penguin,” and gives great expression, despite the layers of incredibly impressive make-up and facial prosthetics that make Farrell completely unrecognizable. Also, John Turturro, who plays head mobster Carmine Falcone, gives a great and classic performance. 

     I also have to praise the art direction of this film. It drips noir inspiration, though this works both to the film’s benefit and detriment. The darkness makes the Batman seem suitably spooky and mysterious when we see him from the criminal’s perspective early in the film. he film is rainy through almost the entire runtime, which can get a tad annoying. The art direction for Batman and Catwoman both fit the film’s aesthetic, both being realistic and believable, while also suitably superhero-y. 

     The film has other small problems. Its primary problem is the length. At almost 3 hours long, it could have been shorter, and does slightly overstay its welcome, though, ultimately, the film is quite good, and is a fantastic adaptation of Batman and his mythos for the 2020s. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, I highly recommend seeing it as long as you keep the length in mind.