Review: The Batman (2022)

5 Star.png
5 Star.png

#Cinema, #Action, #Superhero

David North-Martino

Apr 20, 2022

Review: The Batman (2022)

Review: The Batman (2022)

The Batman (2022) is an American superhero film directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, and Colin Farrell.

The Batman is the most dismal of all the Batman movies and iterations over the years. It’s not the worst Batman film by far, but it’s still not a good film. After slogging through the first fifteen minutes the movie improved, but not by much.

The premise here is that The Riddler is a serial killer who is murdering political figures which leads Batman to investigate Gotham’s corruption and uncover his family’s secrets.

The Batman comes off as a reworking of Nolan’s trilogy complete with a corrupt Gotham, Gordon’s ascension to the commissioner (Jeffrey Wright), a semi-romance with Catwoman, Carmine Falcone’s (John Turturro) criminal underworld, and a population has gone mad. Unfortunately, Nolan’s trilogy can’t be topped, at least not by this film. A film that is watchable but ultimately flawed. Not to mention, over the top cynical.

For whatever reason, it was decided not to rehash Batman’s origin and training. Usually the best part of any Batman movie. We’re not even given a good sense of this incarnation of Bruce Wayne/Batman (Patterson). Bruce Wayne broods. Batman Broods. There is no separation between Batman and his alter ego.

Patterson, whether from his own limitations or direction, plays both characters as one-note. He is a recluse with no connection to the city. He is even admonished for not giving back to the city through charity. This is an odd version of Bruce Wayne and he and Batman really have no clear arc here. Lip service is given to growth at the end, but it lacks any punch or emotional impact. Still, Patterson looks better in the suit than I would have imagined. He’s not as physically imposing as Christian Bale or Ben Affleck but I think they got the suit right and Patterson’s chiseled chin looks natural in the cowl. Outside the suit, most of the time he has a grimy appearance mirroring the city and looks more like a rejected band member from The Cure than Gotham’s favorite son.

Bruce Wayne spends most of his time riding around on an ordinary motorcycle and there is only one obligatory scene with the batmobile which is never formally introduced.

Batman does little in this film. He wanders around brooding from one crime scene to the next. So much for the world’s greatest detective!

Gordon and Batman have a friendship and Gordon trusts him despite the police animosity toward the caped vigilante. Unfortunately, we get no backstory about their friendship or the trust they’ve developed.

I actually found it strange that Batman appeared among so many in his suit. In the film, Batman works better as a denizen of the shadows. If he’s walking around in broad daylight in the suit it just comes off as silly.

The romance between Batman and Catwoman (Kravitz) is a long-standing trope in the Batman universe, but nothing is done with it. Chemistry is lacking between Patterson and Kravitz, and I never felt like there was any connection between the characters.

Still, Zoe Kravitz is a stand-out in the movie, even if her character isn’t. She plays the part well and navigates some terrible dialog reasonably well. As does Colin Farrell (Penguin) who is unrecognizable in this role. A good thing. Props to the makeup department and his acting ability.

Michael Giacchino’s score is nothing groundbreaking but serviceable. Although, I could do without Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” dragging down the mood of this picture even further.

Despite my critique, I didn’t hate The Batman. The pacing improved and it was watchable. I’m left feeling ambivalent and certainly not excited at the prospect of any sequels or spinoffs planned. As such, I can’t recommend this picture. I’d suggest investing the time watching or rewatching Nolan’s classic trilogy. It would be a better use of your time. With that said, viewers seem to either love or hate this movie. Your mileage may vary.

Story Doctoring:

It would take a lot to fix this movie. I think focusing on the origin of The Riddler would have helped. Actually, an A/B plot showing how The Riddler became a serial killer while Bruce Wayne became a caped vigilante would have worked better. Delving into Batman’s detective side and how he developed these attributes would go a long way in improving this film. Clear character arcs and development all around would be welcome.

Rating: Two out of five stars.