Director Matt Reeves’ take on the Dark Knight has arrived and the results are absolutely amazing. I am sure there are some people wondering what makes his version of Batman so great, and I would have to say, that he absolutely gets how a dark, gritty and pulpy Dark Knight detective movie should look, live and breathe, and he and his cast and crew have absolutely nailed it with The Batman. While there have been some other dark cinematic adaptations of the character, his associates, villains, and home setting of Gotham city, Reeves’ adaptation is probably the darkest it has ever been without making an R-rated Batman movie. Featuring an incredible performance by Robert Pattinson in the title role and a wonderful supporting cast. The Batman is, in my opinion, the best Batman movie, so far.
Without taking the audience through yet, another origin story, The Batman takes place after Bruce Wayne has assumed the role of the Dark Knight for two years. Working closely with police Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the crime fighter hopes to strike fear in the hearts of all criminals in the city. On Halloween night, Batman will begin to face what soon becomes the biggest challenge of his crime-fighting career so far. The murder of Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr (Rupert Penry Jones) begins a string of serial killings by a mysterious and scary person who calls himself The Riddler (Paul Dano).
With each new target, The Riddler leaves a message for Batman with clues for him to decipher. These clues usually reveal who the next target will be. As the bodies begin to add up, it becomes clear that the Riddler is targeting powerful officials of Gotham’s elite. The how’s, why’s and future who’s will push Bruce/Batman to his psychological limits and will eventually reveal a more personal tie to those targeted by The Riddler.
I wish I could ellaborate a little more, but I better stop, because this movie will be best enjoyed as spoiler-free as possible. Aside from watching a few of the trailers that promoted this film, I tried to go in as cold as I possibly could, and I was totally blown away by the proceedings. Not since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, have I seen such an incredible and exciting live-action adaptation of my favorite comic book hero that delivers thrills, chills, action, and frights galore. Director Matt Reeves has outdone himself and other directors who have previously adapted the Batman character, and I sincerely hope that he will get signed to do more installments.
Reeves, who co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig, delivers a story with rich character development of Bruce Wayne/Batman, a vigilante crime fighter who is still developing and perfecting his craft and has not completely grown into the expert hero Gotham needs and deserves. This is the darkest, most emo portrayal of the character I have ever seen in either television or cinema, and the character’s darkness gets challenged by an even darker, more distrubing villain in the form of The Riddler.
There is a line in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins about escalation. Well, things escalate rather quickly along a very slippery slope that rocks the Bruce Wayne/Batman character to the core and challenges him in ways for which he is not prepared. The superb writing by Reeves and Craig take Batman on this arduous journey, but it does leave him stronger, smarter and better in the end. It is a rough passage that he must endure to become a better hero that Gotham sorely needs.
But, enough about the amazing writing, because Reeves offers more than this. After all, he is the director of this exceptional movie too. Working with cinematographer Grieg Frasier, the incredible composer Michael Giacchino, and an impressive assortment of talented art and production designers, special effects team, makeup artists, and so many others, Reeves totally immerses the audience in his dark, demented and shadowy world of Gotham City. It truly is an amazing cinematic experience unlike any other take on the character and this world.
In addition, Reeves has an amazing cast of actors helping him to bring this world to life. As the tortured and tormented Bruce Wayne/Batman, Pattinson brings his A-game and shines beautifully here. I said shines, not sparkles. I kid, of course, but anyone who griped about casting the actor who portrayed the glittery, pale vampire from the Twilight movies will eat their words, because he is absolute amazing here. I also enjoyed the seductively delightful turn by Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle. As a cat burglar who is also interested in the Riddler case for personal reasons, she forms a shaky alliance with Batman during his investigation.
I also loved the always awesome Jeffrey Wright as police lieutenant James Gordon, a good cop who believes that the Batman is a force for good and right. As the chief villain, The Riddler, Paul Dano is exceptionally frightening and disturbing. It is a role, that I would love to see recognized next year, come awards season for 2022. In a joyfully hammy performance, I absolutely adored the portrayal of Batman villain, The Penguin, by actor Colin Farrell who obviously had a blast portraying the character.
There isn’t much more I can say about the movie without further spoiling it. The Batman is not only a movie that I must highly recommend for fans of Batman, it is a film I believe fans of horrific-thrillers will love and appreciate. Matt Reeves has succeeded beautifully with his new dynamic take and I will beg the people at DC/Warner Bros. to allow him take us on another wild ride in the future.