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The Batman (2022)

So last night I finally got to see a film I’ve been excited about watching for what seems like ages!!

The Batman (2022)

Batman has always been my favourite comic-book character. I grew up reading a lot of Batman graphic novels such as The Killing Joke, A Death in the Family, The Dark knight Returns, Batman vs Predator (yes that’s a thing) and my favourite of all, Knighfall.

As much as I’ve always enjoyed whatever Batman movie they’ve put out (to an extent), I’ve never felt like there’s been a film that has embodied the character and the tone of the comics I read as a teenager. Of course it all depends on which ones you read, and actually, despite my initial reaction to Ben Affleck being cast as Batman all those years back, I personally think he’s been the closest thing (to The Dark Knight Returns at least) we’ve gotten so far.

That said, after watching this latest film, Robert Pattinson is now a strong contender. It’s worth bearing in mind though that while Affleck represented a Batman in his later years, Pattinson plays a Batman just two years into his crime fighting career and he totally nails it!

If you haven’t seen this film, don’t go in expecting your usual “capes and gadgets” comic-book movie because this is very different to anything you’ve seen before.

It’s a crime/mystery/action /thriller co-written and directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) that stars Robert Pattinson (Tenet), Zoë Kravitz (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Jeffrey Wright (No Time to Die), Colin Farrell (Phone Booth), Paul Dano (Prisoners), Andy Serkis (Black Panther) and John Turturro (Transformers) among others.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.

I loved this movie, but I don’t expect everyone who watches it will.

It’s gritty, it’s violent, it’s dark and it actually shares more in common with crime thrillers like Seven (1995) and maybe even Zodiac (2007) than it does many other comic-book movies.

I think for the same reason a lot of people were either unsure about, or outright hated Joker (2019). Again, that film is a gritty crime drama that doesn’t pull any punches. It’s certainly not the lighthearted, humour-filled superhero movie we’ve all become accustomed to.

Personally I like that, especially when it comes to Batman. His story is a pretty tragic one - a guy so consumed by grief, anger and vengeance after seeing his parents gunned down as a kid, that he dedicates his life to ridding the city of the kind of criminals that took them from him. There’s nothing funny about that.

This film, more than any of the previous Batman films really captures how utterly dirty, depressing and crime-ridden Gotham City is and that’s a hugely important thing considering Batman’s main motivation is to clean up the city.

The constant rain, the seedy clubs and just the feeling that the place has been abandoned by the rest of the world really adds to the oppressive tone of the movie.

Robert Pattinson is brilliant! There’s been a lot of hate for him since it was announced he’d be donning the cowl but I’m really pleased to say he smashes it! I wouldn’t blame him for feeling a little smug about proving all the nay-sayers wrong.

Right from his first appearance in the film when he emerges from the shadows in a “goosebumps inducing” moment you realise he’s got what it takes. This continues all the way through the movie, right up to the end credits. He’s superb!

Paul Dano who plays the Riddler is excellent! Forget the green question mark-suit-wearing guy you’ve seen before, this version of the character is a highly intelligent, sadistic serial killer with an intricately laid out plan that he intends to see through to its deadly conclusion.

Colin Farrell is unrecognisable and insanely good as Oz/The Penguin. It’s actually really clever how they’ve incorporated him into this new world without making him cheesy.

If you didn’t know it was Farrell under all the makeup and prosthetics, you’d never guess!

When I saw Catwoman was involved in the story I have to admit I was a bit concerned. I guess I was worried that it might be a little overcrowded with so many others characters in play. Not only that but I think I thought she’d add an element of “tackiness” to the story.

As much as I love Batman Returns (1992) and Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman, I’ve never been a big fan of the character. With that movie being more routed in the fantasy side of Batman though, it worked really well.

As it happens I needn’t have worried. Not only is Zoë Kravitz brilliant in the role, Selena Kyle/Catwoman, is an integral part of the story and not just another character shoehorned in like we’ve seen so many times before in these types of movies.

There are some fantastic action sequences and fight scenes to a standard I’ve been waiting to see in a Batman film for years!

As well as that though it has a really good story which is something a lot of these films lack. In fact this movie is all about the story, but at the same time it does an excellent job of giving us plenty of the other stuff we crave in a comic-book film.

The only thing I can really criticise is the run time. At just under 3 hours it is a bit of mission but I can’t say I checked my watch at any point during the film. Usually when a film’s this long I can pick out bits that I feel they could’ve done away with to shorten it but with this film I can’t. I don’t remember anything being in there that wasn’t really needed.

It also has a bit of a “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” ending, in that it seems like it should’ve ended a number of times before it actually did.

Other than that I can’t really fault it.

This film is dark, violent, gritty, and is pretty much everything I wanted it to be. More importantly though it’s a “good film”, not just a “good comic-book movie”.

It’s also opens up all new possibilities for future sequels which I have to admit, I’m just a little bit excited about.

The Batman probably isn’t going to push everyone’s buttons but as a long time Batman fan, I loved it!

Seen it? Let me know what you think.

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