The Batman Review: Not Your Typical Superhero Movie
March 2, 2022 Andrew Cheng

There is no shortage of superhero movies. From Marvel’s increasingly big (and complex) Cinematic Universe to the DC Extended Universe, you’re spoiled for choice. But as far as standalone superhero movies go, there aren’t as many out there.

Well, you get exactly that with Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Starring Robert Pattinson as the titular character, this is a dark, gloomy take on the superhero franchise. Not only is this a standalone superhero movie, it doesn’t even feel like a superhero movie, which is…actually a good thing.

Without further ado, here’s our spoiler-free review of The Batman.

Okay, The Batman is still obviously a superhero movie complete with some iconic Batman characters and some cool gadgets – including a very impressive Batmobile – but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to call it a detective crime thriller either.

Much of the movie is about Batman unraveling the mysteries and riddles left by, well, the Riddler (Paul Dano). Aiding the vigilante is none other than his trusty partner, GCPD lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright). It’s worth noting that he is not the commissioner yet in this movie, so this is still early days for Batman.

In fact, it’s only been two years since Batman started hitting the streets of Gotham in the movie, and it’s evident that he is still figuring out how to be the Dark Knight. In this sense, Pattinson did a great job of portraying a younger, more inexperienced version of the “World’s Greatest Detective,” even if he looks a little too…brooding.

Really, even when he assumes the role of his alter ego in the movie, Bruce Wayne, Pattinson still wears the same kind of persona. In my opinion, this is a stark contrast to the suave billionaire’s more well-known cool, calm, and collected demeanor.

Granted, Reeves’ The Batman isn’t a particularly lighthearted take on the superhero – not that it’s known to be a cheery franchise – so perhaps portraying Bruce Wayne as a charismatic, carefree individual would be at odds with the tone of the movie. While a few jokes and banters were thrown throughout the movie, these moments are few and far between.

Nonetheless, Pattinson plays a very convincing, almost menacing Batman with a seething anger. Even if I’m not too fond of him as Bruce Wayne, there’s no denying that he’s very much the Dark Knight – maybe even too dark, at times.

Other casts in The Batman are strong in their own right as well. Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman has great chemistry with Pattinson’s Batman, and I’m especially surprised at Colin Farrell’s performance as Oswald Cobblepot – more commonly known as the Penguin.

It’s no exaggeration to say that he is almost unrecognisable in The Batman. Both his demeanor and voice acting fits the Penguin’s character, and it’s entertaining every time he’s on-screen; it’s a good thing he has a fair number of scenes in the movie.

Of course, Paul Dano’s the Riddler in The Batman is…well, straight out of a nightmare. He is cruel, unsettling, and most of all, dangerous. Though the Riddler here is markedly different from previous Batman titles – think sadistic like Saw’s Jigsaw than aloof – he does make for a worthy villain.

Greig Fraser’s cinematography in The Batman is also amazing. He previously worked on other big titles like Dune and Rogue One, and there are more than a few moments in this movie that are very, very awe-inspiring.

One scene that stuck with me involved Batman going through a hallway (obviously filled with enemies) illuminated only by gunfire as he dealt with them one at a time. You can catch a glimpse of this in the trailer below.

For the sake of not spoiling the movie, I won’t elaborate any further – just know that you’re in for a good time!

While The Batman is not strictly an origin story, it does explore the beginning of Batman’s superhero career as he gets the hang of being the Dark Knight. Running for almost three hours long, the movie did not feel like a slog at all, which shows just how entertaining it really is.

But be warned: The Batman is, as mentioned, not your typical superhero movie. if you walk into the cinema hall expecting elements of a regular Marvel (or even DCEU) movie, you may be left disappointed. Instead, director Matt Reeves is putting the crime thriller elements of The Batman ahead of everything else, and in my opinion, he’s done this to great success.

The Batman is now open in Malaysian cinemas.