After the highly successful and critically acclaimed The Dark Knight trilogy from Christopher Nolan entered our lives over ten years ago, it’s been nearly impossible for any other incarnation of a Batman film to push it off its perch as ‘best Batman movie’.
Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Pheonix, came mighty close in 2019 but I maintain that it’s not technically a ‘Batman’ film – sure, Bruce Wayne makes a cameo but the character is a child and it’s long before he becomes the crime-fighting vigilante – and while excellent, it’s just not as good as The Dark Knight.
Nolan’s Batman films have left huge shoes to fill and it’s painstakingly obvious now when a Batman is sub-par (I’m looking at you Ben Affleck in the DCEU films). Therefore, it’s clear that Matt Reeves is one brave and ambitious man, as he dared to make The Batman, the latest film adaptation of DC Comics’ most popular character (sorry Superman, I said what I said).
While The Batman was incredibly good, it didn’t measure up to The Dark Knight, or even, in my humble opinion, The Dark Knight Rises. I do think it was better than Nolan’s Batman Begins though. First of all, the cinematography and direction were phenomenal. The Riddler’s first appearance in The Batman gave me literal chills.
Robert Pattinson was excellent; he played Bruce Wayne/Batman as a broody and clearly tortured man who at the end of the day is just trying to make his city better by any means necessary, while Zoë Kravitz was a delight to watch and is hands down the best Catwoman that’s ever graced our screens. Paul Dano is the clear standout acting-wise in The Batman but in all honestly, there wasn’t a single weak link in the cast; everyone nailed their respective roles.
The plot of The Batman was interesting – although, I would’ve loved more creepy and sadistic riddles from Dano’s Riddler and more scenes of Dano and Pattinson together – but there were definitely a few scenes that could’ve been cut from the movie; which felt slightly too long. Additionally, some of Batman’s voiceovers were slightly cliched to the point of cringe.
And while Michael Giacchino’s score was beautifully written and really fit the whole emo aesthetic Reeves and Pattinson were clearly going for, the main musical motif of the score played way too much; it became painfully repetitive.
With all that being said, overall, The Batman was an extremely solid Batman film. Again, I enjoyed it much more than Nolan’s first Batman film, which means the second and third of Reeves’ Batman films – while nothing’s been officially confirmed, Reeves will undoubtedly make more Batman movies with Pattinson – have the potential to knock The Dark Knight off its perch as they’ll hopefully get better just like how Nolan’s second Batman film was infinitely better than the first.
I’d give The Batman a 7.5/10 and highly recommend that anyone who loves either comic book film adaptations or the crime genre should go see it immediately.