A review on The Batman (2022), based on the DC comics and featuring Robert Pattinson in the titular role.
The DC Comics character Batman has become a true icon of our modern-day culture. From his first appearance in 1939, through his big-screen debut in 1966 with Adam West, all the way to The Lego Batman Movie several years ago, he has become baked into our pop culture with many different interpretations who each resonate with different people. With four versions of Batman - both old and new - appearing this year on top of the current saturation of superhero content, there is a huge demand for new adaptions of these characters, let alone Batman, to do something new and refreshing. Director Matt Reeves and lead star Robert Pattinson hope to bring that in their noir epic The Batman and are in this reviewer’s opinion hugely successful.
The topic on everyone’s minds is Pattinson as the titular caped crusader. After having starred in the Twilight films a decade ago now, some people are still largely sceptical of his abilities to pull off the role. RADAR is delighted to announce that Pattinson is brilliant as Batman! He is able to communicate so much sorrow, pain, and torment with just a look. He taps into an intensity and brutality in the character to a degree that Affleck, Bale, and Keaton would never dare broach. Pattinson has discussed how his versions of Bruce Wayne and Batman are blurring into one; he is early in his crime-fighting career with the death of his parents still fresh in his mind. From his perspective, he feels obligated to avenge his dead parents and rarely goes outside his mansion as Wayne. Pattinson masterfully brings out this suffering and is a worthy peer among the previous actors who portrayed the character.
Batman - as well as superheroes in general - are undeniably our modern-day equivalents to the ancient Greek pantheon. They reflect the brightest and purest parts of our humanity and have achieved a mythical status. Within that, it can be easy to forget that the characters are people too, a fact that director Matt Reeves seems keen to remind his audience of. In previous iterations, Bruce Wayne would fight crime at night and go to parties, business meetings, and other engagements the very next day as though nothing happened. This Wayne is an insomniac who needs to wear sunglasses during the day as his eyes are so used to the darkness of the night. He can’t fly with his cape instead relying on a wingsuit and parachute to navigate from building to building! All this helps make this Batman more relatable and vulnerable and adds to the anguished portrayal of this take.
The supporting cast are all fantastic too. Paul Dano as a zodiac killer inspired Riddler, Jeffery Wright as Jim Gordon, Zoe Kravits as Catwoman, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone all assist in fleshing this noir version of Gotham City and are all memorable in their own ways. Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin deserves a special mention here; he looks and sounds nothing like Farrell usually does and has well and truly metamorphosed into the role!
The Batman will naturally be compared to 2008’s The Dark Knight, which is widely seen as the gold standard of Batman films. For the sake of both films, please don’t go into this new film expecting to be like that old one. Aside from the source material, they are two very different films that are about very different things. The Dark Knight is a crime thriller that is very caught up in the nature of integrity and corruption both individually and societally. The Batman is an introspective noir character piece about vengeance and the cycle of violence. With that in mind, The Batman is a refreshingly, dark, and twisted noir epic that will satisfy audiences of all sorts!