Let’s get this out of the way 2022’s The Batman is by far my favorite adaptation of the character, spanning a decades long history of different stories, characters, and interpretations spanning the vast multiverse that is DC. The Batman is my favorite DC film, and an early contender for one of my favorite films of this year. Which is wild to say to say least, but The Batman stands toe to toe with some of the best Batman films out there including the Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Returns, and Mask of the Phantasm.
I don’t say this lightly either, this is the best Batman we have gotten on screen. The movie has an understanding of the characters and treats the audience like adults, not holding our hand to understand the characters thoughts, emotions, and intentions. This wouldn’t be shocking considering the actor donning the cowl this time is Robert Pattinson, whose reputation usually is remembered by his role as Edward in the Twilight series, has absolutely shown his acting talent in films like Good Time and The Lighthouse. He’s no different here with his acting, able to say a lot with little words, his eyes showing a million emotions without even opening his mouth. He really does become The Batman.
The Bat isn’t the only one to show off their talent here either Zoë Kravitz, the fierce feline herself, Selina Kylie is a character that just from her introduction tells you a lot about who she is. She’s someone who was raised to fight for herself do what’s needed to survive, but she picks up strays of all different kinds in a attempt to help. Her chemistry with Batman is one that comes from care, from anger, from an understanding of loss.
Every hero isn’t without their villains though, the film introduces a handful of key players from The Penguin (shockingly well played by Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and the star of the show The Riddler played by Paul Dano. Boy do I love this Riddler. The more serious take on the character taking notes from The Zodiac Killer and Jigsaw, he shines as a intellectual rival to the dark knight with a puzzle unfolding as the movie goes on. His costume isn’t flashy or anything, being a winter combat mask and jacket but use of his character in this film gives me personally and I bet quite a few others the Batman I wanted to see on the big screen. The Worlds Greatest Detective actually being a damn detective!
The acting is a phenomenal work in itself but good cinematography is needed if you want a film you can at least bare to look at, and luckily The Batman does not disappoint. The cinematography in this film is herald by Greig Fraser, who also recently worked on Dune, and what a treat it is. The framing of each shot, each scene is clear in its intention, the camera moving or focusing on the details allowing to soak in the scenery as it unfolds. The colors pop and contrast with the dark dirty environments of Gotham, nothing is clean from the alleyways to the police to the trains and politicians. It’s shot in a wide IMAX frame with a keen eye for lighting, the days in Gotham are overcast, with a golden orange hour sunset, the nights have a stark pitch black lit only by the old street lamps and neon signs. It’s gorgeous.
The camera works with the environment giving Gotham a new look that doesn’t really feel like just another place in New York or Chicago but also feels like a real believable lived in place. It’s dirty and full of crime around every corner, rain pounces on the streets of Gotham yet nothing washes it’s criminal underbelly. It’a a character within itself with all the graffiti, crime, broken glass and trash to go with it.
There’s much more to love about this film that I could gush on about like the phenomenal score by Michael Giacchino which commands every scene it’s in, the fast paced and hard hitting action and choreographed fight scenes that make me clench my teeth with ever cracking bone and breathtaking punch. I could talk about the plot of the film weaving in each characters plot lines, motives, emotions and goals throughout the film in a way that keeps you invested throughout. There’s so much more I could say about this film, but really it’s needs to be seen to be believed. This is The Batman that you’ve been waiting for.
Just go watch it.