This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
🫀Instacrushmovielover™💀’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
No one could be told what "The Batman" is in hindsight. It seems lately we've been driven from the term "superhero movie" recently but I think "The Batman" is a whole different movie, its whole different animal that fears on the genre. We've got countless irritations of Batman that this in general shaped up to be one of my favorite adaptations of Batman so far. March 3rd was a good day, woke up knowing I was going to see this film with my friend, when the time came, my palms where sweating, became excited for a film that's wildly regarded as the box office animal. So, you could tell I been anticipating this irritation of Batman for so long yet after 2 years, it paid off for me. It just fucking paid off and boy did I have a good time with this film. Something about this film moved me, excited me, made me feel harmless within Batman and his mythological but also psychological persona that lingers. I do think "The Batman'' hits all the notes of a Batman character study then a bloated CGI mess.
"The Batman" has everything you need from a Batman film. It is both visually cohesive, dark, gritty, sinister and most of all once the criminal underworld of Gotham covers the streets, it becomes interesting from beginning to end. The Batman had me glugged to my seat throughout the entire thing. Although the runtime can make it lengthier than it should, still I do think the runtime helps push the story forward then to erase it. Matt Reeves from what I could tell is an interesting filmmaker. Of course, in the beginning of this film's production, he didn't want to make a Batman film and unfortunately Ben Affleck still wanted to see the chance to become the caped crusader. Throughout 2020 we were respectfully thinking why Robert Pattinson refused to follow orders or was hard to work with in the filming process, none of that matters for me. What matters for me is that this film gets everything right from the character of Batman. In the Nolan films, you always saw Batman as this crime fighting guardian, the dark knight, here Matt Reeves allows us to see more of Batman do extensive detective work, show his personality with both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Although Bruce Wayne is chosen as depressed, emotional and haunted by his own fears which makes him an interesting character. Bruce and Batman in both face their own fears, it isn't just the criminals that fear Batman, Batman faces his own internal demons himself.
The film has lots to offer in terms of narrative structure and story. It isn't the grandiose dose as the Nolan films, nor does it hit the similar beats at all, what Matt Reeves created here is a grounded depiction of a world turning into corruption, laying out all these conspiracies, Matt Reeves takes influence from Todd Phillip's Joker and David Fincher's Seven. People comparing this to Seven is nice because both movies feature a sadistic serial killer leaving all these codes, messages and of course riddles, Joker pictures an uninterested society where they only care about themselves then help other people. The Batman's grounded reality of Gotham city isn't what you think, it's both descended into utter chaos and madness that just can't stop. The look of Gotham here in general looks gritty and messy because it gives this realization that Gotham isn't the city that wins a fortunate but crime, violence seems to knock Gotham apart. Reeves's increasingly beautiful world building of Gotham is interesting, captivating, breathtaking and this world of Gotham is corrupted but increasingly lonely. I like this depiction of this Gotham, filled to the brim with corrupted cops, a corrupted system and a mayor trying to make a new change in the city. This change in the city understandably makes this world more grounded in reality then depicted as fictional or comical.
Matt Reeves's attention to detail here is a great example for the film's opening sequence. The opening sequence demonstrates audiences a first-person perspective or binocular shot of presumably the Riddler. The Riddler in the opening sequence watches Gotham's mayor from his own apartment. The decision in opening the film with the Riddler's first kill is nothing special but establishes the film's grounded tension. Riddler enters the mayor's apartment building, he kills him then in the most brutal way possible, I think depicting the Riddler as sadistic and creepy also resembling John Doe from Seven makes him menace in both Paul Dano's haunting performance as the sadistic killer Riddler. As the event happens, we are transitioned to Batman's introduction. With a clean-cut narration sequence that fits the introduction easily. We can interpret from this scene here that Batman can't be everywhere to fight crime, Gordon lights the Bat signal up "It's not just a call, it's a warning" it means the signal strikes fear on the criminals from Batman himself. He wants his criminals to fear him, but this film depicts one of Batman's early years whereas everyone is getting to recognize this big-name crime fighter.
We have a stylistic montage of various criminals; one robs a local store wearing a Halloween mask, a group of white paint faced gangsters in the subway station violently bothering this innocent man. In the train station sequence Batman comes out of the shadows, he does this for the majority of the film. One thing you need to take from Batman is in this film he's depicted as an entity to those who fear him. He walks out of the shadows because he thinks criminals can fear him that way. It is a cool characteristic Batman has in order to strike fear into his enemy's close hand. In the train station, he beats all the crooks after he says "I'm Vengeance" when Batman makes his first appearance, people in my theater cheered so honorably that I nearly teared up. I think for the most part the score for this film is honestly incredible. The theme song for this new Batman, I know gets repeated throughout the entire film, but it works that way and fits the scenes perfectly as they should. This whole controversy on how Batman "kills" people here isn't something we should be bragging about, Batman here doesn't kill people, he just strikes fear on them.
After the train station scene, he goes to the crime scene where Riddler killed the mayor. The mayor, strapped to his own couch in his own big apartment building is unfortunately taped around his face. The words say "No more lies" as if Riddler's schemes and him orchestrating all the gruesome murders he's established wasn't grandiose enough. I think personally this scene in general establishes the amount of Batman and his extensive detective work, something we don't usually get from the other Batman films. There the Riddler leaves a message for Batman, a complex series of Riddles that goes from one crime scene to another. A cat and mouse story that becomes interesting as it goes along. After the crime scene, Batman returns to his Batcave where we get to meet Alfred played by Andy Serkis. While Michael Caine was the best Alfred. Andy Serkis brought a lot of spiritually and embodiment to the role in here. He genuinely gives a powerful performance but his relationship with Bruce could've been stretched out, but they have some moments that builds both of their characters.
In here, Bruce Wayne is haunted by his family's death. Bruce fears that the most from himself, his deep and inner depression that physical but emotionally drives him to bitterness and runs away from himself. This was also established in the Nolan films whereas Bruce grows as a rich but reasonable character, getting revenge on the criminal underworld. The film avoids repeating the same origin story where Bruce loses his father and mother, but it's mentioned in the movie. Bruce isn't the big-name millionaire as he was in the Nolan films, he's more edgy but all the more sedated by the world's corruption and his trauma that he cannot simply let go. The fact Bruce here is indeed emo doesn't make him interesting, but he's sense of morality and faith that tends to not realize about himself. He may have it all and the crime fighting justice this city desperately needs but inside, some people are not perfect as they appear. Deep down Bruce is hurt, he thinks he turns weak when the past he once had cannot be forgiven or forgotten but learns to bite on his own fears. He makes his criminals fear him because that's what he felt when he lost both of his parents.
Fear- Fear ultimately creates this beautiful but corrupted world of this so-called Gotham. We just think fear strikes upon those who has faced deeper thoughts. The scene between Cat woman and Batman where Cat woman says, "Who are you under there?" "What are you hiding in there some scars?" and Batman replies with "Yes" he says this because it makes us believe the fact that under that mask reveals a lot about his deeper thoughts and personal feelings, he cannot share within himself. I could tell why Batman here is emotionless both with the mask and his billionaire persona. Batman has the scars of trauma that cannot hold. It is explained as if Batman is afraid of himself. Furthermore, the world in general is starting to get to know Batman, cops misunderstand him as if he's the victim of these brutal murders or he isn't welcomed into the detective stuff because it senses that even if there not criminals, they still fear him thinking he's some kind of entity, not human but just a sort of entity that lurks in the shadows. If anything, having Batman as the main centrifuge of the film is believable of course, I think Robert Pattinson's performance as Bruce and Batman is both serious and just incredible. Pattinson gives a lot of cynical deadness' to his role and the painstaking work he had to go through in order to play the role makes his character more believable when he learns all these secrets about his family's wealth, power, history that makes him question himself.
Later in the film, Riddler makes fun of Bruce Wayne about his family's history. There, the Batman becomes more feared. Fear somehow treats Batman unfairly as if that's the real enemy Batman faces throughout this film. Riddler explains the family's history where one of the family members committed suicide or murdered siblings in the family. We do see Thomas Wayne and his history as Gotham's previous mayor that in general strikes Bruce in the heart. We just take Batman seriously here because we just think he's fear is more important to his characteristics. Bruce here is psychologically haunted; Batman here struggles to make himself a name in this criminal underworld in this city of society. This film once again depicts Batman's early years as a crime fighter so it's no big deal. Depicting the Batman as a character study however is just another chapter to the story that becomes more apparent and all the more reasonable.
The score- positively, the score by Michael Giacchino helped bring this unholy darkness and gritty roots that not only was one of the greatest scores I've ever heard in cinema, but it also builds Batman's character ark and character within himself. The score afterwards got stuck in my head for hours and now is a recurring theme that is memorable. This score fits certain scenes while at the same time doesn't. There are few scenes where I think it shouldn't use the score all over again. I think if certain scenes including suspense could've been silent to add up to that tension. But I do think the score helps build tension to scenes as well that's why it's the greatest scores I've ever heard in existence. It does do Batman justice in here so as the previous Nolan films where it was more grandiose but since Batman here is grounded and darker in this approach, the score had to be suspenseful and believable in this world of corruption and chaos.
I do love the characters here; you have the Penguin played by the very unrecognizable Colin Farrell who looks like he went through a rather painful transformation to nail the character of Penguin. I have to be quite honest with you fellow friends, I don't think the Penguin in here was utilized great here. I still do think Colin Farrell's performance as the Penguin is rather amazing and his transformation is barely seen as he's playing the role. It's just they made the Penguin cornier than we've seen before. I am not saying the Penguin here has to be accurate to the comics, but he was weak in certain scenes, now for Zoe Kravitz's Cat woman, she was a great character. In this film, Cat woman has to find the mysterious disappearance of her friend thinking the believable but criminally justifiable Carmen Falcone has something to do. Selina Kyle, part time bartender and cat burglar is fetched.
Both Cat woman and Batman here have this believable dynamic. Both of them with their attachable counterparts and background, I do think the dynamic Batman has with Cat Woman here is great. As the riddles become more complex, the Riddler kills everyone that would tie to this epic finale. He kills the DA and crashes Pete Savage's funeral and turns into a sequence where I founded the execution of each scene to be all the more entertaining and darker. Riddler goes from killing the mayor to creating a rat trap that somehow connects to the "La Rata" which turns out to be Carmen Falcone to placing a bomb neck around the DA and yeah, it does become dark as the film goes along. The funeral scene was my favorite part and all but my favorite scene in the entire film had to be the car chase between the Penguin and the Batman.
As we see the Batmobile in full force, that's where I started to dread the darkness of this film, the scene gets darker as the Batmobile shifts into high gear as you can hear the engine start and there the chase scene is just amazing. It's executed well and has the greatest shots in history. The car flips upside down and we get a nice upside-down shot of Batman walking in the rain. It was an epic shot alongside Michael's beautiful score that created suspense here. The film spends the last or few hours developing Carmen Falcone's character, to be honest I think John Turturro's portrayal of Falcone wasn't the best at all. Turturro was always playing silly roles throughout his career and was a poor choice to play Carmen Falcone here. He still did a great job but he's character could've been utilized better for the benefit. Like he kills Seline's friend and exposing him on live television, once Carmen is killed by Riddler. The situation becomes more severe and chaotic.
The climax of the film was entertaining and applauding but separating the climax from the 2-hour mark of this film, you get something all the more special. In the climax the Riddler once he surrenders himself in the coffee shop, has this outstandingly acted interrogation scene that reveals the Riddler's extra plan. He's plan was to destroy Gotham by flooding it with the water supply. The Riddler's motivation is he thinks the mayor will change Gotham's ways and make a greater city once he or she becomes mayor. He thinks the elaborate corruption in Gotham hurts him, the way Riddler says "I've been invisible all my life" creates this believable hit of the fact Gotham's people caring about itself then others and Batman's force kind of inspired the Riddler to become what he is, this masked vilgnlate. The Riddler hates this Gotham city. He did hate the system, the world and the endless politics that don't seem to make it into this film. The narrative stretch that pulls this film is both the society's corruption.
One of Riddler's henchmen attempt to assassinate the mayor. Batman enters the scenario, fighting whatever person in his path, he almost dies but magically Cat woman kisses him like she did in earlier and in hindsight brings him back to life. Batman from there saves the people trapped in this scenario that evokes danger and cause. He saves the mayor's kid that Batman has his eye on for some portion of the movie. My friend next to me jokingly said "That kid is going to be Robin in the next movie!" and I just laugh knowing the executives won't do that yet. Once Batman saves the day and the mayor declares a change inside Gotham's corrupted but destroyed city, Batman and Seline meet for the last time. She might be in the sequel, speaking of sequel bait, the one thing that bothered me the most was its pointless end credits. For me this film didn't even need an end credit scene establishing itself for a sequel, I don't care if it features the Joker for the next movie, how many fucking Jokers are there going to be. Your probably thinking is this film tied to Joaquin Phoenix's Joker? Just because you saw a young version of Bruce Wayne and the origin story unfolding when his family dies doesn't mean this film is tied into the universe of Joker.
The last shot of the film was Batman narrating in the film again which gives it a sense of momentum and dying breath to make it through the process of tension. Seeing this grounded version of Batman take place in a society where corruption and how society functions is something we needed to hear rather than having a character say it out loud. This film isn't rooting for political stuff specifically, but it does capitalize on the themes of it. It's nice enough of a superhero movie depicting these certain adult themes that it isn't just about bloated CGI and action. We see Batman do extensive detective work and have all the themes here and there which makes it complex and rich to have. The storytelling is rich, interesting and has a serious tone being able to write cohesive but meaningful dialogue that feels interesting, and the film has sounds of a superhero movie, but I do love the execution, tension and how this film takes itself seriously like all the other superhero movies in this big genre.
The acting is incredible from Robert Pattinson, Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz all of them give genuine performances. For the action, the action and fight choreography are both undeniably gorgeous based on the neat but striking visuals this film had to offer. I love the fact this film wasn't relaying on heavy inducing CGI and bloated visuals; it was more real than computer animated. It is both incredible in execution and tension here and there. The car chase scene is entertaining and suspenseful in general, the certain gadgets Batman uses to fight his criminals was all well shot and edited in the greatest mechanism ever. Something about the last hour and the third half just didn't stand out for me. The out of focus shots do serve a purpose to this as well, the fact they made our world's greatest detective a pervert is just weird and cynical. Batman in one scene watches Seline Kyle using binoculars as she changes into the cat woman suit and is never caught and then follows her. Well, if that what the writers intended to do with this character than I should just stick to the characteristics and themes this film beautifully tells in its presentation and execution.
The cinematography is gorgeous in its striking visuals. The camera did all these elaborate tricks and created the world building as if it is the movie's comprehensive world. Everything about the film's camerawork does the film justice. The editing is both magical and believable. Lot of the writing in general was a strong piece to this movie. Every piece of framing never feels forced, pushed off or cut in the most distracting ways ever. This is a film with intention of becoming grounded as if the character of Batman wasn't corny enough back then but this depiction of Batman is indeed grounded. The darkness that pulls off this movie is nothing sort of gritty and sinister that I too connected to this darkness this film had to offer. Darkness is a part of this film's force and aspects that no matter how intelligent of a filmmaker Matt Reeves is. He always knows what Matt Reeves is inside his filmmaking tricks and amazement here. Reeves's direction here is suspense filled, dramatic and dark as if what Reeves is doing, he fucking made a Batman movie but a great one.
The themes create this world that Matt Reeves intentionally created to help build Bruce Wayne's character. Bruce Wayne is interesting as a character yes, but Batman here is nothing sort of believable. Reeves's interesting direction here helps build this momentum and spirituality that is both dark and sinister. I walked out of the theater speechless and filled with utter rage knowing the film was that good. The movie I just saw didn't feel like nearly 3 hours but honestly, I felt the length. My friend loved every minute of it but wasn't happy with the Joker scene in the end credits. My audience sure did clap and cheered and did had a good time. I certainly had a good time even if the pacing is amazing. Something about the way I felt about this film was nothing sort of big but never felt like a generic blockbuster that comes every summer long, it was a movie that understood the character of Batman and what demons Bruce Wayne faces in this film that understandably makes him interesting.
The Batman is nothing sort of exciting, suspenseful, intense, thrilling, dramatic, beautifully paced, the performances are incredible and there is no other film out there that will top this adaptation of Batman unless your film is named DC super pets. That's funny because my cousin who is currently in Portland for a job sent me a news article about this film that stars Keanu Reeves in the title role of Batman, and I said, "It's not live-action" because the trailer for DC Super Pets played during this so as "Nope", "Bullet Train", "The Lost City'' etc. and the trailer included Keanu Reeves voicing Batman so I texted that to my cousin as he finds himself confused. I gave him a riddle since he's a fan of the Matrix so the riddle I gave him was "Riddle me this, what does a flying kite wearing glasses do when he takes a red piece of cany" <?>. and that was it. In other news The Batman was my favorite Batman irritation but don't worry the Nolan films are still up there with this movie.
In conclusion Matt Reeve's the Batman is both a comprehensive look at the character of Bruce Wayne and Batman hurt by a traumatizing past or haunted by the city's misunderstanding and corruption in the world that haunts others and become uncertain in those fields. The structure visually helps push the story, the action and fight choreography is both striking, dazzling and most of all this is the darkest Batman has ever gone. I love this new Batman and with the end credits that sets-up a sequel later in the coming future, I hope we don't get a sequel because all we needed was a film that contained more Batman and more adult themes that become interesting as time goes by. Much like other films in this genre, we get a better understanding of Batman and his demons that he faces. He's a silent guardian, a lethal protector, he's the Batman here. What Matt Reeves created here is a sensible but thrilling world that's grounded and dark. If this was a young adult novel, it would be the same structure, same characters, same themes and same set-pieces that help push the story here. Overall, this newer adaptation of Batman is my favorite period. No words here.