The Batman

The Batman ★★★★★

Vengeance won’t change the past. Mine or anyone else’s. I have to become more. People need hope."

I already knew there'd be some reevaluation with this movie since I saw it in theaters. So... fun fact, I actually had an ear infection the week I went to see it. This, coupled with the movie's noir setting causing most of the dialogue to be very low and whisper-y, meant that I walked out of The Batman having not been able to understand probably 65-70% of the dialogue. I still enjoyed the movie a lot per my first review, so that clearly meant something.

And yeah. Now that I've revisited this with a full-hearing ear (and the beauty of closed captioning) and the chance to re-absorb its themes and setpieces, I can confidently say that The Batman is my new favorite Batman movie. Batman Returns will always hold a special place in my heart, but this takes everything I love about Batman and brings a fully-realized, modern, multi-layered version of the Dark Knight out of it. It captures the purest essence of the Batman stories I loved the most growing up, where it's not just about the punches and the crazy costumed villains, but an actual sprawling noir-inspired setting with Batman fighting deep-seeded corruption and actually using his detective skills to solve mysteries.

It's the heart of why the Riddler has always been my favorite Batman villain: his knack for puzzles and traps forces Batman to use his brains to figure his way around the green man's questionaires. And this film delivers such a great modern update to the Riddler, the thing I'd been asking for for years and years of the character constantly getting sidelined in the grittier Batman stories. And Paul Dano plays him so, so beautifully.

Not only is he a more psycopathic Zodiac Killer-type figure, but his amassing of an online following to build a cult against Gotham's elite is so brilliant and so... depressingly believable. If Batman existed in the real world in the 2020's, there would be soooooooo many Riddler simps and wannabe Joker gangsters out there on Twitter.

Every scene, every clue, every mystery ends up calling back in intensifying ways. It basically rewards the audience for sticking through this story for three hours (which isn't actually that bad of a length when you're watching the movie at home).

Robert Pattinson plays such a great Batman in this. One thing I was able to appreciate more with the benefit of hearing the dialogue was his extremely complex relationship with Andy Serkis's Alfred. The scene between them at the hospital actually left me emotional enough to cry. His performance works so well for the kind of brooding, insecure recluse Bruce Wayne still is at this point in time and leaves you eager to see where his character will grow from here.

Speaking of which, while I was left curious by Barry Keoghan's new interpretation of the Joker, if there's one thing I hope for the recently-announced sequel... just please don't make Joker the main villain. I wouldn't mind him showing up again as a supporting player, but Matt Reeves is carving out such an interesting new vision of the Dark Knight and the last thing I would want to see is them just... falling back on The Dark Knight again.

Also, my sister came out sporadically to watch the movie with us and every time Zoë Kravitz showed up, she said "God, she's so hot!" Hard to disagree.

"I just ordered a slice of pumpkin pie."

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