Review: The Batman

PRO: BatmanThis is an action-packed movie. There’s also a great action movie. Lots of action in it—the story’s a little too mopey for that—but there are a couple of sequences that tear things up in classic fashion. A car chase of epic proportions has Batman (Robert Pattinson), speeding down the highway in his Batmobile (not so-called) to pursue the evil cackling lunac, Colin Farrell. They’re screeching down a highway through a choking pall of smoke and flame, knocking big 16-wheel trucks out of Their way, when suddenly, Batman—okay, the Batman—disappears from sight in the fiery maelstrom. It looks for a second like he is out of the game. We then see Penguin’s rearview and the Bat car flying up from behind the roaring inferno, landing gently on the road. Amazingly, the chase goes on.

Other great action in the film is at Gotham’s subway station. It is Halloween. A gang of mooks in Day of the Dead face paint and neo-Joker-style masks are threatening a petty Asian male. Batman is seen emerging from the shadows. You must understand that this movie has a PG-13 rating to fully grasp the chaos that follows. Matt Reeves, the director of the film knew he needed to keep the bloody and bone-breaking under control. This is because a lot the destruction done to this movie is due to careful presentation and artistic audio. We see one of the mooks rush forth to attack Batman and we sort of see Batman twist one of his arms into an unnatural position and we hear some kind of cracking sound—and that’s it. As Batman bends over a mook to attack him, we also hear the sound of someone stomping watermelons. But we aren’t able to see where they land. BatmanThis is a very dark and intense film that makes you feel like it is pushing PG-13 to the limit. However, most of the bad stuff is implied.

A plus to the movie is that we don’t have to see the death of Bruce Waynes parents yet again. That’s what drove him to take the Bat-path. It is obvious. Reeves refuses to give it back to us, Bless him. Instead, he sets us down straightaway in soggy Gotham, the crud capital of the world—a city of crepuscular murk in which cops and criminals are totally in cahoots and nice guys count themselves lucky if they can live long enough to finish last. Carmine Falcone, crime lord in the rainy burg (John Turturro) is the big problem. Falcone has many under-creeps, like corrupt DA Gil Colson (Peter Sarsgaard), and they can all be found every night at an unsavory club called the Iceberg Lounge, where a young woman named Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), slings drinks for a living and quietly works on a secret side project she’s got cooking—a project that will soon draw the attention of the Batman.

Hovering over all of this is a serial killer called the Riddler (Paul Dano), who knows shocking things about some of Gotham’s leading citizens—including Bruce Wayne—and has decided that now is the time to tell all. You can hear the panic spreading throughout the municipality.

Pattinson has been an intriguing actor and made many interesting career choices since his release from the prison. Twilight franchise a decade ago. He recently took on weird movies such as The LighthouseThe Safdie brothers and their heirlooms A good time, and now—why not?—he’s trying to do something new with Batman. While he is semi-uccessful, the haunted character of Wayne offers very limited expressive opportunities. He’s often left looking dawdy and po-faced. It’s still a soulful performance, though—especially in his scenes with Andy Serkis, who plays the Wayne family retainer Alfred Pennyworth. Batman’s entourage is full of more interesting characters, just like always. The stunt of Colin Farrell wearing a Penguin-fat makeup makeup is not a good idea, but the actor makes use of it to build his character. It’s also a plus that Pattinson gets to share several (although too few) scenes with Kravitz—their flirty chemistry enlivens every scene they share.

CONThis movie takes three hours to watch and is kinda boring.