It feels like 1989 all over again with furore surrounding Matt Reeves choice of Batman in the shape of ‘that Twilight actor’ Robert Pattinson being cast as The Batman. Much akin to when Michael Keaton was announced in Tim Burtons version there was much wailing and grinding of teeth. But on both accounts the complainers were oh so wrong and in both versions one of the best incarnations of the Caped Crusader were delivered to the big screen.
Batman ventures into Gotham City’s underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.
Putting the ‘Detective Comics’ back in the DC moniker, Matt Reeves take on Batman, has him less superhero, more privileged guy with a special set of skills. The shadowy figure of the Batman appears and disappears as and when he’s needed mainly by Jeffery Wright’s Jim Gordon and in The Batman that’s a whole lot. Pattinson is a superb version of Batman, not too over the top, certainly not campy, but simply Vengence, as his character utters.
Everything here in The Batman is entirely on point Paul Dano’s serial killing Riddler, is entirely terrifying and for the most part achieves his goals, unlike most movie villains, who thwart their own progress. Dano’s Riddler is always two or thee steps ahead. The sense of dread when he claims his next victim are hitherto unseen in movies in the superhero sphere, but the Riddler is someone you don’t want to be in the sights of at any point. Then there’s the totally unrecognisable Colin Farrell as Oswald ‘Oz’ Copperpot or as more commonly known in the Batman universe The Penguin. A gangland heavy who seeks to ascend the throne to running the empire, is a astute sub plot that doesn’t at any point distract from the main story.
Interwoven into the many strands in this sprawling epic of a Batman movie is Zoe Kravitz Catwoman, who deliciously springs in and out and is a perfect foil for not only Pattinsons Bat, but also Farrell’s Penguin and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone, the Crimnal Worlds leader and ruler. Turturro is the the unabashed star of the movie, in a performance as understated as Marlon Brando in the Godfather, the man pulling all the strings and the keeper of secrets only appears a good hour into the film but despite that, he’s found to be pulling all the strings throughout. Turturro’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked as it’s a masterclass from him and one that will go down in the superhero pantheon as one of the greats over time. A literal embodiment of the character found within the comic book stories themselves, this is one to sit back and wonder at.
Much like Turturro’s performance, The Batman is simply The Godfather of superhero movies. There’s never really been something as sprawling, grounded and layered as this before. With it’s heavy run time clocking in at over 3 hours, it never feels that way as the story draws you in and the fantastic characters and performances keep you there hooked until the final chime of Michael Giacchino‘s incredible score.
We finally get a Batman film the doesn’t feel the need to go back to the origins plot for once and it’s all the more richer for it. The Batman will live long in the memory for the superb performances, brilliant story, incredible score and Matt Reeves sublime direction. The Batman will appeal to a huge audience, bringing with it a new way of delivering a much over-used set of characters, breathing new life into them while embodying the original characters of the 1939 comics.
There’s a new Bat on the block, and Pattinson manages to rank himself up there in the top 3 Batman performances of all time. The Batman is a wake up call to the genre and one that’s hopefully here to stay.
The Batman is in cinemas Nationwide now.