Review: The Batman

PRO: BatmanIt’s a fantastic action film. It’s not that the action isn’t great. Lot 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. The most famous, however, is a car chase that will take Batman (Robert Pattinson), roaring in his Batmobile, not yet called, in pursuit of Colin Farrell, the cranky maniac known for being the Penguin. 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. Then, as Penguin looks back, the Bat car appears to be soaring out from the inferno and landing on the road with a crunch. Amazingly, the chase goes on.

Other great action in the film is at Gotham’s subway station. The night is Halloween and a gang of mooks wearing Day of the Dead-style makeup are terrorizing an innocent Asian man. Batman is seen emerging from the shadows. The movie’s PG-13 rating limits the horror and makes it difficult to appreciate all that happens. Matt Reeves was aware that he couldn’t keep the blood and bones from being too graphic. 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. However, we do not see them land. BatmanIt’s a scary, dark movie with intense scenes that pushes PG-13 up the walls. However, most of what is bad is implicit.

The film’s other plus is that it doesn’t force us to watch the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. 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 (John Turturro) is the crime lord in this rainy burg. 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, an actor with a lot of talent and a great career choice since his release from prison Twilight franchise a decade ago. Recently, he has taken up oddball films like 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-satisfying, the haunted character of Wayne offers very limited expressive opportunities. He can sometimes look 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. Although Colin Farrell is using a fat-slob Penguin make up to create a character, it’s a stunt. 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.