The Batman

The Batman ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This is my generation’s definitive Batman movie. At the very least it’s my definitive Batman movie. A perfect adaptation of the characters from story to stunts, from set design to costuming, from acting to camerawork to cinematography. 

This movie opens with an exploration of Batman’s effect on criminals. Several different crimes are committed but the sight of the Batsignal sends them running as they peer in the shadows wondering if Batman will emerge from them. From on particular shadow he does emerge and takes his vengeance on the criminals of Gotham. 

This characterization is very much in favor of the opinion that Bruce Wayne is just plain crazy. There is something damaged that leads him to believe dressing up like a bat is his only way forward. 
I’m cool with that, sounds like the type of guy that who would let a young boy fight crime with him and in the end as long as we get to Batman and Robin I’ll be happy. 

Oddly his arc hits a lot of the same beats as the Lego Batman Movie?! Losing those he cares about is more terrifying to him than losing his own life. 

The choice at the end that he can be more than vengeance! Affleck or Bale’s Batman’s would never go there but this one does because that’s who Batman really is. 

I love that you never know who killed the Waynes but everybody has a theory. It could’ve been an organized crime hit or just a random act of violence in the street. 

In this iteration of the character it feels like Batman really is the true self of Bruce Wayne. In the Dark Knight trilogy it felt like Batman was a persona created by Bruce Wayne, this works much better. Bruce isn’t choosing between Bruce Wayne and Batman, he is wholeheartedly Batman and if he can’t be Batman he’ll be nothing. 

Gotham is so absolutely stunning. 

I love that this movie never relies on shadows like other Batman movies have been known to do. We frequently get to SEE the places we are in and more importantly the people in them. We get to SEE the Batman suit in the light of day and it’s great. 

The architecture is so gorgeous, Gotham has a specific style and look that feels unique to it. It’s reminiscent of the Gotham of 1989 but upgraded. 

The Riddler was okay. He did the job of challenging Batman and threatening Gotham city well. I don’t really have a problem with him, he just wasn’t the stand out of the movie and I’m fine with that. 

However I’m not crazy about the costume and I would hope in the future he switches to a green suit with a question mark cane and bowler hat. For the purposes of this movie, the suit worked even if just so his goons could imitate it. 

I lost it when he did the live stream and thanked his followers for their support. Funniest part of the movie. 

Lieutenant Gordon 
Gordon is excellent in this movie. Though not yet the Commissioner, he and Batman are already close partners with incredible trust and chemistry between them. 

Probably the strongest testament to their relationship is the fact that the bat signal does not live on the rooftop of the Gotham Police Department but rather a different building. The bat signal is not something Gordon made on behalf of the police but something he and Batman created together so they would have a place to meet and a way to communicate when he was needed. 

I died laughing when Gordon asks if Batman could’ve pulled his punch to the face and Batman replies that he did. 

This movie was somewhat lacking in the Alfred department. Bruce and Alfred were on bad terms the entire movie and avoiding each other.

I completely freaked out when Alfred picked up the bomb and I thought he might die, but I’m so glad he survived.

In the sequel Alfred should get to do more. His conversation with Bruce in the hospital worked really well and gives me hope that in the future we might get more of their relationship. 

In terms of casting, acting, writing, Selina Kyle was great. All around I really liked her role in the story and her relationship with Batman. The ONLY thing I sometimes struggled with is her costuming and aesthetic. This didn’t hurt how I reacted to her character but I would hope this gets updated next time we see her (and there should definitely be a next time). But I would hope she gets an updated costume in the future (I would hope they bring her back for the third movie and leave her out of the second to give her time away from Gotham some weight when she returns). 

That whole scene at the end where Bruce and Selina are riding motorcycles in the graveyard was perfect. He speeds up to get in front of her, she speeds up to get in front of him. They ride alongside each other until they reach the crossroads where they go their separate ways. 

The way she says lines like “Don’t worry honey, I got nine of em” is so excellently Catwoman. She has her own distinct fighting style that is instantly recognizable and suitable to her. Easily the best Catwoman since Michelle Pfeiffer. 

I’m a fan of Tom King’s run on Batman comics and Batman and Catwoman’s relationship in this movie feels like a precursor to the relationship they have in those comics. 

Penguin almost feels like an Easter egg in the movie. He’s interesting now but more impressive is what he has the potential to become.

Direction, Cinematography, Costuming, Set Design
You guys should win all the awards 

The sheer ingenuity that went into crafting this movie is astounding. 

The camera is used over and over again to highlight different points of view. Multiple times do we see events play out literally through the eyes of someone else, whether that be binoculars, high tech contact lenses, or just the camera sitting in the car like we’re Batman driving it. 

The costumes reflect the characters while also being iconic and easy to move in and perform amazing stunts. Every time I got to see the bat suit was a treat and it never disappointed. 

Fight scenes
The fight scenes move so incredibly.

There are shots that didn’t feel to me like shots from a movie but rather shots from a highly advanced video game animation. I don’t say this as a criticism about the movie I just mean there were moments that my brain had trouble accepting because they were too real and incredible to believe a person actually did that (aided of course with special effects and stunt work but a person still did it). They moved like something directly out of the artwork in a Batman comic. 

Sequel Potential 
Really the thing that worries me about this movie is that it ends here. DC has not always been great at following through on their cinematic plans. I’m concerned that all of these spin off shows will get made at the expense of an incredible sequel. 

Sequel Villains
 I would hope they avoid choosing Joker for their sequel as it would too closely parallel the dark knight trilogy which proved that once they perfected the Joker it was hard for them to do anything else well. 

Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Two Face, Killer Croc, Clayface, or the Court of Owls would all be great additions to this universe. 

I’d love to get to a place where it’s just canon in the movies that all of Batman’s rogues gallery knows each other and hangs out sometimes. 

I like Barry Keoghan as the Joker and I’m curious to see what they might do with him in the future. I do not need to see his Joker be the star of the next movie though. I think he would be a good villain for the third in a trilogy. I would introduce him with Harley Quinn as his right hand and maybe that movie kicks off with them leading a wide scale breakout of Arkham, using characters we’ve already met like Riddler to make it happen. 

You’re on thin ice Matt Reeves. This is the last Batman movie I will tolerate without a Robin. Robin is a key component of the Batman mythos and without him your Batman will always be incomplete. Obviously there will be a sequel, and it needs to be Robin.

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