The Batman

The Batman ★★★★★

Thirsty he goes out at night chasing and beating criminals claiming he is vengeance. The bat-signal is turned on and Bruce Wayne says it’s not just a call; it’s a warning. The Caped Crusader hovers across the corrupt Gotham City with his low-tech suit and bat-claw, putting the pieces together of a mystery involving his deceased parents. The Batman arrives to finally show the world who The World’s Greatest Detective is, in the form of the greatest live action the character has ever been given. 

Two years is what I’ve been waiting to witness this event. In February 2020, Matt Reeves decided to share a camera test with Pattinson in the suit. Eight out of ten people complained about him playing such icon, the other two—where I was included—couldn’t be more excited about having one of the most remarkable actors of our generation performing the mythic Dark Knight. And here we are, after a 10 out of 10 marketing campaign, two trailers which froze the fandom, and many polemics involving the cast of the film. Here we are, finally reviewing Matt Reeves' The Batman; an almost-three-hour game in the underworld of Gotham with precious plot twists and a cast which will never let the audience down. 

We are before the perfect balance between reality and fiction with Reeves' obscure noir. Bruce Wayne reveals his eye paint after removing his mask, the batsuit shows bullet marks, dirt and tears can be seen in the leather cowl, the cape is worn; the scars of every encounter and fight are found on this suit. This shares the impression that Batman is actually a mortal man, and even though he has trained himself in martial arts to become a fearless fighter, he still gets hit by thugs, something we hadn’t had the chance to see the way Reeves has depicted. 

Since 2008 and until now, people has put Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight as the unbeatable superhero flick, considered as one of the best films of all time and what perhaps would be the greatest Batman story we could ever see in live action. Of course there wasn’t much to compare it to, before Nolan there was Burton, Schumacher and after him Snyder came to make a mess out of the character. But with Reeves at the head of this project, I don’t hesitate to call this the best Dark Knight film to date; finally we get to see the fictional underworld in Gotham and its gothic architecture as well as the real crime which night by night drowns the city on its own misery and depressive atmosphere. Batman can bleed, his combat is not perfect, the derangement within him strikes the thin line between moral and violence: perfection of an adaptation, if I may say. 

«Gotham and its gothic architecture», let’s elaborate on that, shall we? Greig Fraser has subtilely claimed a place in the hall of the most remarkable DoPs from the last years. Remember the bone-chilling Vader sequence in Rogue One? He shot that. Dune nominated for best cinematography? Leave aside the fact that Villeneuve directed the film; Fraser endowed majesty in every frame. To be fairly honest, a Batman film has NEVER looked this stunning. Its imposing, murky and Fincher-esque vibe take us to the dreary streets of a Gotham City which doesn’t feel like New York and Chicago. Instead, feels as an homage to Burton's comic-book-like scenography without taking away the notion of an apparent reality. Not only that, but for the diehard fans who’ve also played the phenomenal Arkham saga, Reeves' Gotham shall remind you to the one from Arkham Knight. The Batman's cinematography has nothing to envy from the best-shot films from the last five or even 10 years. 

A symbol of darkness should not only be represented by a man who wears a batsuit; it’s molded and embraced by its city, and we, as viewers, should be immersed into the fictional world in which the character lives in. Such immersion requires a score: the cherry on top to trap us into the definitive Caped Crusader experience. By hearing The Batman’s theme, I have nothing to complain about No Way Home's plain score. Michael Giacchino just composed his masterpiece with, unsurprisingly, the best Dark Knight score yet. The heroic tone from Zimmer, somber bat-like melody icon from Elfman, and the original touch of Giacchino grabbing perhaps some elements from Arundel's Batman theme for Arkham series: this is the ultimate bone-chilling composition for the DC detective, Selina Kyle, and even Edward Nashton. Ultimately, a score for the character worthy of being remembered for the ages. 

Having mentioned Selina and Nashton takes me to the next point, which is the acting. As many people claim, Bale ended up being opaqued by his repertoire of villains; Reeves corrects this severe mistake. The arc of Bruce Wayne is what truly matters in the film, and how he works with the madness and derangement within him to become the symbol of hope that represents The Batman makes Robert Pattinson the definitive actor to play mister Vengeance. However, having 176 minutes of runtime might as well lead to the best Catwoman arc. With a Zoe Kravitz in the shoes of the cat, the character rather turns in the closest we’ve been to watch the comic book thief, as she perfectly embodies Kyle. 

Paul Dano's ferocious so unhinged Riddler might be a step behind Heath Ledger as the memorable villainous icon of the Dark Knight, this time with high influence towards the Zodiac Killer. However, every appearance of his is worth the entrance to watch this film. On the other hand, incidental known faces such as Carmine Falcone, Jim Gordon and Oswald Cobblepot are equally portrayed with excellence by every actor; Colin Farrell being the one who may resound the most due to his impressive physical transformation. 

If there is a part where opinions diverge, you will probably find it during the last hour of the film. The Batman's noir with horror and thrill rather turns into an action-packed flick with a chaotic, and could be also named messy, atmosphere. Reeves may not only want to portray Wayne's skills by the moment he needs to solve a crime, but also to depict how The Batman copes with an endangered city at the edge of destruction. Just by looking at my score, you may already know how I dealt with the film's climax. 

Frame this picture as to show future filmmakers how to bring into life the greatest comic-book character of all time. The Batman is ultimately nothing but the perfect adaptation Bruce and The Dark Knight have ever been. A subtle dose of horror with its cocktail of mystery, thriller and action are the main reasons why Matt Reeves crafted his masterpiece with a genuine love for the character which fans will love. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a gothic universe having the vast repertoire of Batman's characters. 

«Oh, you’re really not as smart as I thought you were…»

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