Pop Culture Weekly MOVIE REVIEW: The Batman is the Dark Knight's Grittiest, Best Movie Yet
Numerous actors have played Batman over 8 decades from animation to live action to television series. Some were excellent as Bruce Wayne but terrible as Batman. Others were the opposite. And some were good at neither. In The Batman, Robert Pattinson proves he's the best Batman yet, perfecting both Bruce Wayne and the Dark Knight. Magically, this applies to the rest of the terrific cast as well as the movie itself.
While many fans and critics, including myself, thought that nothing could top Christopher Nolan's nearly perfect The Dark Knight, Director / Writer Matt Reeves has managed to do it with The Batman. Taking place in year 2 of Batman's career, with Gotham City embattled in corruption, crime and despair. Bruce Wayne wonders if his vigilante justice is working at all and if he should continue. Reeves shows us a Batman - and Bruce Wayne - we've never seen before on film. We skip the origin story we've seen before (Batman, Batman Begins) the and are dropped right after he's started his crime fighting career. Year 2 is ripe with new material as we watch Batman - and Bruce Wayne - finding his way in this world.
Enter Paul Dano as The Riddler. The serial killing, insane criminal is systemically killing off corrupt public figures in Gotham City, which implicates Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrel), a meddling crime-lord, and inadvertently, his club employee, Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz). Smartly, The Batman skips over the origin stories of both Batman and Catwoman and puts us right on the ground floor of The Penguin's origin story. We've seen Batman's origin story hundreds of times over numerous movies, TV shows, comic books and the like. We know it well and don't need to waste precious screen time seeing it play out again. Instead, we were put right into the dreary, rainy, dark action of the story, which allowed things to quickly move.
And move they did. The 3 hour run time goes by quickly as The Batman puts us all over the expansive Gotham City via the well fleshed out characters. The actors here are all top notch and were perfectly casted. Zoe Kravitz goes from playful accomplice to kick ass action star and back again. Colin Farrel is totally unrecognizable as The Penguin and serves viewers with a deliciously deep role. Dano's The Riddler is right below Heath Ledger's Joker performance as the best acted villain in a superhero movie (or action movie for that matter) ever.
The Batman is a classic mystery detective story harking back to the first Batman stories in Detective Comics. With Pattinson leading the way of incredible performances by this excellent cast, Reeves world building and whip smart writing, The Batman is easily the grittiest, darkest and best Batman movie yet.