The Caped Crusader has had a vast cinematic history. Following the character’s introduction within the pages of Detective Comics #27 in 1939, Batman’s first onscreen manifestation debuted in 1943. Since then, he has become one of the most popular characters in fiction, appearing in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and television shows like Batman: The Animated Series. After Ben Affleck’s departure from the role, fans could barely wait for the return of the World’s Greatest Detective in Matt Reeves’s 2022 film The Batman.
The story of this new film follows billionaire recluse Bruce Wayne, portrayed by Twilight and Harry Potter star Robert Pattinson, while he moonlights as the masked vigilante known as Vengeance, or Batman, in his second year of crime fighting. Wayne’s morals and patience are put to the test when a serial killer known as the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, threatens to “unmask the truth” about the corrupt nature of Gotham City. This gripping and terrifying psychological thriller also stars Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Lieutenant James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, and Colin Farrell as the Penguin. Pattinson spends the majority of the film in his Batman costume and becomes a daunting presence in all of his scenes. In an age with so many versions of the Dark Knight, the one presented in The Batman emits a dominating presence that will stand the test of time as arguably one of the best interpretations of the character.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the film is that of the detective case at the forefront, differing from the usual action plot of most superhero movies. While investigative elements of the character have been sprinkled throughout past movies, Batman’s moniker of the World’s Greatest Detective is finally able to come to fruition with the help of Matt Reeves’s understanding of the character and its history. With such a complicated case to solve, the film has minimal action sequences, favoring a more focused, emotionally-driven story woven throughout a chaotic adventure. However, that is not to say that the film has no action, as some of the most exciting scenes involve car chases and fist fights. The balance is a true testament to the filmmakers’ abilities to tell a story on several different levels, whether in the form of a detective case, visual aesthetic, or musical score.
The Batman is an exceptional cinematic entry in the DC Universe. It is a surprisingly emotional and moving story about a man who dresses as a bat to create fear in the hearts of criminals and hope in the souls of the citizens in his city. On paper, that type of film should never work due to its ridiculous-sounding nature. In a strange turn of events; however, the messages of the story are much more impactful than the average Hollywood blockbuster.
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