After several generations have grown up with their own Batman, it’s almost like the joke about fans of Doctor Who – you never forget your first. Since the first Batman movie in 1966, the multiple reboots, animated series, video games, and of course comics – everyone seems to have their favorite. It might be the darker version from the early 2000s or the campy Tim Burton versions, but as The Batman opens in theaters this week, a lot of fans are going to be going into the movie with a lot of different expectations.
The Batman is Warner Brother’s latest attempt to breathe life into the DC comic movie franchise. And it seems to be lacking the pop and faster pace of their more recent releases like Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad, in fact, it seems like those movies not only took the faster pace and color tone out of The Batman leaving us with a dark and slower movie to watch. And while this is in the same universe – it seems like a completely different franchise and the world altogether – maybe the connections will come later but at this point – The Batman is a dark movie that attempts to show just how dark and gritty Gotham is.
After countless reiterations and reboots of the franchise, The Batman does something the others haven’t – made it completely a unique story. Fans aren’t sitting down to watch young Bruce Wayne watch as Thomas and Martha are gunned down. The movie only mentions that moment, but actually builds a back story for what could have happened. Not just Bruce’s reasoning for becoming the caped crusader but the deeper and darker reason for everything that happened. It’s not just a different director’s take on the same story for once.
A Much Different Catwoman
Yes, Catwoman is in this version of Batman but she’s a much different version of the character than we’ve seen portrayed. Zoë Kravitz takes the role and not only brings a fierce version to the character but one much different than we’ve had before. Still clad in a skintight outfit, this time off the rack, Catwoman goes after her goals and tries to fight against her own enemies without care of anyone’s goal.
There is one cringe-worthy scene where Batman basically watches her change peeping Tom style, as he tracks part of his case. And later standing in her apartment goes through her items to find out her real name. If anything, major red flags against Batman for this in the story, but also a very weird moment to include in the film.
Does this version of Catwoman pass the Bechdel test? Sadly no. Her character is kicking butt and Kravitz portrays her well, but her whole motivation is revenge against a man, and her only interactions (that we really hear) are with men in the movie. They attempt to give her real motivation, and don’t paint the character as one that has a mental break – but instead a woman on a mission of her own. But fans are still are only given very surface-level reasoning and not an in-depth history to the character.
Does Pattinson Pull off Batman?
When they first announced Robert Pattison as the new Batman, I can’t say that I wasn’t hesitant. But has he shaken off his wizarding robes and enough vampire glitter to take this character and make it his own? After watching this movie – I can say I’m 100% convinced he’s Batman. But, and this is a big but – I’m not convinced he’s Bruce Wayne.
Hear me out on this – I know it sounds complicated and doesn’t make sense. Pattinson, no doubt has the jawline to be Batman. That might be the only thing I could see as his casting was announced. With the cowl on – yes, that could make sense. When he’s in the (somewhat soft looking) Batman outfit, and with the cowl on, I never questioned if this was Batman on the screen. We still have the eye makeup that magically gets applied and removed quickly in situations that make every woman envious of those makeup abilities. But we’ve lost the creepy, raspy voice that Christian Bale gave the character and no doubt hurt his vocal cords. Does Pattinson make a convincing Batman? Absolutely.
But where this falls apart is his depiction of Bruce Wayne. As soon as that cowl comes off and he’s Bruce Wayne, we just have a brooding, emo kid who doesn’t have the feeling of Wayne we’re used to. Pattinson’s acting and delivery are stiff, and that stiffness sometimes bleeds over into Batman. Can Pattinson portray a rich entitled man? He has in the past. But adding in the dark past, he just comes off as someone trying to be moody and missed the mark.
Much like my conflicted opinions on Pattison as Batman/Bruce Wayne – my overall feeling of the movie lands on that edge of liking and not at the same time. With an almost ridiculous run time of 2 hours and 55 minutes, there is a lot of the movie to take in. There are parts that could have been cut or really don’t need to be there and while the movie has a very slow pace – the story is actually good. It could be my love for the faster pace version of Batman we grew up and those expectations compared to what we are given this round. Overall, the movie is good – just seems like they took a long time to get to the actual story.
The Batman will only be in theaters for its initial release. And while I can’t say this is my favorite version of Batman, the movie definitely is a different telling of the story. However, there were several points where it could have ended and not have such a bloated run time. Get ready for almost three hours of The Bat, the Cat, the Riddler, and of course bumbling cops.
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About The Batman:
Two years of stalking the streets as the Batman (Pattinson), striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. With only a few trusted allies—Alfred Pennyworth (Serkis), Lt. James Gordon (Wright)—amongst the city’s corrupt network of officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens. When a killer targets Gotham’s elite with a series of sadistic machinations, a trail of cryptic clues sends the World’s Greatest Detective on an investigation into the underworld, where he encounters such characters as Selina Kyle/aka Catwoman (Kravitz), Oswald Cobblepot/aka the Penguin (Farrell), Carmine Falcone (Turturro), and Edward Nashton/aka the Riddler (Dano). As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans becomes clear, Batman must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit, and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued Gotham City.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell.
Directed by Matt Reeves. (WARNER BROS.)