Okay, I’ve had some time to ruminate on my thoughts about this standout Batman flick that has truly become one of the best comic book movies to date. My review yesterday was an initial reaction type of post but today I’m here to share with you my thoughts on the pros and cons of the actual storyline.
So, of course, that means there will be MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD so if you haven’t seen the movie I highly recommend you stop reading now. Okay, thanks for heeding my warning. Now let’s talk about this movie.
(This is a longread.)
Before watching the film I had heard all of this talk that the film’s first twenty minutes were some of the best in CBM (comic book movie) history. They weren’t wrong.
The very disturbing opening scene is straight out of Halloween. Introducing us to The Riddler in this fashion was a great way to let you know what type of this movie is going to be. And yes, the villain was about to be the scariest antagonist in a Batman movie since The Dark Knight.
I’m glad I saw this movie at my current age (23-years-old) and not when I was younger because this film would’ve definitely traumatized me in some areas.
The Main Characters
Batman’s introduction was the best introduction of the character we’ve ever gotten. Using Bruce Wayne to narrate the dark, scary world of Gotham through Batman’s eyes was absolutely fantastic, culminating in a bad*** fight sequence that let us see what type of Batman he would be.
He’s brutal, terrifying to criminals, but undoubtedly heroic. And this opening gave so much more depth to the Bat-Signal! My goodness.
I honestly had no idea that Batman was considered the World’s Greatest Detective in the comics. I mean he’s basically Sherlock…in a cowl and cape. So it was nice seeing Batman really use his detective skills throughout the film as he was forced to crack the deadly Riddler case.
I especially loved his presence in the film. Pattinson’s Batman is distant, intimidating, weird, but there’s still this deep reservoir of feeling that Selina Kyle (mainly Selina Kyle) and The Riddler were only able to tap into.
I loved Selina’s introduction in the movie and how she came to work with The Batman on the case to stop The Riddler. It never felt forced and even though she wasn’t in the movie as much as I expected it was incredible how Matt Reeves impeccably incorporated her into the film.
And yes, she has totally cemented herself as the best Catwoman since Michelle Pfeiffer. I would’ve loved to see her in action a little more because she was awesome but beyond that, I loved that Selina Kyle had an actual story in this movie. It was just as much an origin story for her as it was for Batman in this film.
Now, did the chaste romance between the Bat and the Cat work in this movie? Yes, it did. But I’ll touch on that a little bit more later.
Now let’s talk a bit about Paul Dano’s iteration of The Riddler.
He was almost perfect in this movie. For most of the film, The Riddler was absolutely terrifying. His scenes were quite disturbing, specifically the ones that felt ripped out of a Halloween movie. And seeing his face in the movie for the first time didn’t help matters.
It was The Riddler’s final moments, however, that transformed the character from iconic to kind of ridiculous. Paul Dano is a great actor, completely committing to the demented psychopath that is The Riddler. His yearning to unmask the truth about Gotham’s corrupted officials, starting with Thomas Wayne’s father, was honestly a bit understandable, no matter how terrifying his methods were. And then…The Riddler started singing.
It was a bad choice that didn’t exactly make The Riddler more disturbing but instead made me take him less seriously. One thing that can’t be denied is Christopher Nolan’s great use of the villains in The Dark Knight trilogy. Scarecrow in Batman Begins was perfect, Heath Ledger’s Joker was legendary from the first second to the last (with his final scene being my favorite of his in The Dark Knight), and Bane was menacing from beginning to end.
The Riddler was almost as perfect as the Joker but he couldn’t stick the landing.
When it comes to Batman and Catwoman there will always be an attraction. Catwoman will never hesitate to lock lips with the Dark Knight, it’s just the story of these two. What was most profound, however, with their connection in this movie was beyond the sexual tension.
This Bruce Wayne is a broken man who’s still very scarred, emotionally, from the death of his parents. He doesn’t smile, he’s very sad, he’s not often seen in Gotham among the elite, he’s basically succumbed to being Batman and Batman only.
When he discovers that Selina Kyle hails from a broken past like him that connection and emotional tether he feels with her grows. She becomes someone he begins to care about and for Kyle, he’s the first person in her life who seems to actually care about her.
What started as a bit of a flirtatious thing for her changes when he stops her from killing her father, Falcone. She can see his worry for her wellbeing in his eyes and from thereon she’s a bit smitten with the guy.
Of course, the story of the Bat and the Cat almost always leads to things not working out between the two of them. They’re two different people on the side of the same coin and Matt Reeves perfectly illustrated that in this movie.
You are not ready for this car chase scene! It was so awesome in IMAX and honestly, one of the best car chase scenes I’ve seen in any movie. The tension, the sound editing, the camerawork, it was a masterclass of a car chase sequence and undoubtedly the best action scene in the movie.
I was on the edge of my seat.
This action sequence was also brilliant in IMAX. It takes place in a club and boy, did Matt Reeves and Greig Fraser use the pulsating nightclub lights to great effect. I was losing my mind through this entire sequence.
This entire sequence was a masterclass in tension building. First, it’s our most extensive time with Bruce Wayne in the film and his awkwardness around people was very interesting to watch. I loved how Pattinson made him feel like he was still Batman even though he wasn’t wearing the outfit because honestly, he was.
I loved how we felt the connection between Wayne and the little boy who was now without a father. There was so much said just with his eyes. (Pattinson is a really good actor, my goodness.)
And the actual confrontation with The Riddler and that epic slow-mo shot with Batman getting blaster by the explosion was so good.
In fact, that scene leading into this scene was even more perfect. The tension during this part which led to Batman having to fly down to the ground in his realistic wingsuit to escape the police was just so perfect. I loved this part!
I also loved the scene between Alfred and Bruce Wayne in the hospital. It’s the first time in the film that we get to see Wayne in a really vulnerable place and even though no tears were shed the emotion between the two actors was so, so perfect.
The climax of this film wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t as rewarding as it could’ve been. The Riddler having a little army was a bit boring, even though it did make sense. Catwoman showing up just in time to save Batman from a shotgun blast to the head was very PG-13. Even when he injected himself with whatever that stuff was and he turned into The Hulk I was staring at the screen like, “Okay man. Your girl is saved. You can calm down now.”
Now, this scene here surprisingly brought a tear to my eye. It was literally one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie. Even though we know that Batman’s a hero this was the first time I’ve seen in a live-action film that illustrated that fact so perfectly. This impacted me even more than Batman taking the fall to save Harvey Dent’s reputation or when he “sacrificed” himself at the end of The Dark Knight Rises to save Gotham from the nuclear reactor.
It was stunningly gorgeous.
As I sit here listening to The Batman‘s score I am struck with how much I enjoyed this movie. I will rank this as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had watching a CBM in theaters up there with the likes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
It’s an incredible debut for Pattinson’s Batman and Kravitz’s Catwoman. It’s undoubtedly one of the best comic book movies of all time and hands down the second-best Batman film after The Dark Knight. I mean, when I compare this to Batman Begins it’s almost shocking how much better this movie is than that film.
I’m so ready for the sequel.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a spectacular day.