Unmasking ‘The Batman’

On March 4, 2022, DC released their newest movie “The Batman”. While DC is not known for producing top-notch movies like their competition, Marvel, “The Batman” made an exception by soaring to a strong box office debut. 

The film takes place after two years of becoming Batman, Robert Pattinson’s Batman uncovers corruption in Gotham City while pursuing a killer who targets Gotham’s elite and leaves behind a trail of cryptic riddles. This film depicts a young Bruce Wayne who is struggling with his identity and purpose, all while protecting Gotham from corruption.

This version of the iconic superhero is more grounded, calling to mind films with similar tones such as “Se7en” and “Taxi Driver” while still drawing heavy inspiration from the graphic novels like “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller and “Batman: The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb. 

Filmmaker Matt Reeves reimagines a classic story in a creative and novel way, turning it into more of a gritty crime drama than a cookie-cutter blockbuster movie. It is a story of self-discovery, change and evolution; it is a masterpiece. The film explores real world topics like poverty, greed and exploitation, making Gotham a character in a world that feels like a replica of the present, actual world. The brilliance of the film is that it invests interest in digging to the core of the reasons behind Wayne’s actions and was not afraid to have the masked vigilante actually think about his reason for vengeance and justice. Not only that, but the film displays a key understanding of the character of Batman and the lore of his world. 

Wayne’s journey from vengeance to becoming a symbol of hope for the people of Gotham is incredible. The way Reeves and screenwriter Peter Craig portray this transition is done very well. While not every adaptation of Batman was able to convey this, Pattinson’s rendition succeeded. Pattinson is able to bring emotion and humanity into Batman and make him the most vulnerable and relatable Batman I’ve seen in “The Batman.” He captures the essence of Batman’s earlier years flawlessly.

The cinematography is distinct, yet alluring, and distinguishes itself from previous depictions of the caped crusader. Greig Fraser’s cinematography is a must-see on the big screen and his work transforms Gotham into a place in which nobody wishes to be.

Zoe Kravitz’s portrayal of Catwoman is unique but still faithful to who the character is. I couldn’t really tell who she really was, what her real intentions were, and I never knew what she was going to do next which made her very interesting to watch. She’s a mystery and that is a significant part of her allure. 

Additionally, the villains are phenomenal. Paul Dano as the Riddler is terrifying and a fitting first villain for not only Batman but also this Gotham because he unintentionally opens so many doors for future movies. Dano’s performance genuinely shocked me. He is a much darker character in comparison to his comic book counterpart, however, he fit the tone and the setting. While the Riddler is chilling, Colin Farrel’s transformation as the Penguin is delightful. In this depiction, he is like a mob boss and has such untouchable energy. He is sleazy and grimmy but also unexpectedly funny. He has a natural and sarcastic humor that is perfect for his character. 

Reeves really paid attention to detail and set up for a trilogy beautifully. I’m looking forward to upcoming villains like Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hush, Court of Owls, and even the clown himself, Joker, in continuations. While many of these villains have been adapted before, I’m particularly interested in how Reeves would reshape them into his universe. I will definitely be rewatching it in the future and so should you.