THE BATMAN, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz in the lead roles, gives refreshing take on the caped crusader, with gritty noir, performances and execution being the icing on the cake.

The Batman (English) Review {3.5/5} & Review Rating

THE BATMAN is the story of a masked vigilante. Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has been operating as Batman in Gotham City for two years. He wears a mask and hence, no one is aware of Batman’s real identity. The Mayoral elections are in full swing and on Halloween, the incumbent mayor, Don Mitchell Jr (Rupert Penry-Jones), is murdered brutally in his own house. He leaves a message for Batman. Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) calls Batman to the crime scene to investigate. The vigilante soon has to leave after Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) commissioner Pete Savage (Alex Ferns) admonishes James for calling Batman at the scene of the crime. Before leaving, Batman has a look at the riddles left by the killer, who calls himself Riddler. While Batman is trying to solve the riddles with the help of his butler and caretaker, Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), Pete gets killed. Moreover, Riddler releases the video of his murder to the media. The clues left by Riddler leads Batman to the notorious Iceberg Lounge, operated by a man called Oz aka Penguin (Colin Farrell). Here, he bumps into Selina (Zoë Kravitz), who seems to know a lot about the happenings in the city. Soon, another murder takes place and Batman runs out of time to solve the killings and nab the Riddler. However, the superhero also realizes that Riddler is targeting only those who have been corrupt and who have contributed to the downfall of the city in some way or the other. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

The Batman (English)

Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s story is praiseworthy. Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s screenplay retains the dark element associated with the superhero and also incorporates the entertaining and thrilling moments. At one point, Matt had described his version of THE BATMAN as a mix between a ‘detective story, action movie and psychological thriller’ and all these three aspects are neatly woven in the narrative. The dialogues are hard-hitting and pack a punch.

Matt Reeves’s direction is first-rate. Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN series is still fresh in everyone’s minds and it took a fresh perspective on the lives and adventures of the superhero. Matt deserves brownie points as his version is quite different. He handles the scenes with such deftness and novelty that one doesn’t feel the need to draw a comparison with Nolan’s films. Also, the way he showcases the underbelly of Gotham City and the confrontations of Batman with the villains is captivating and doesn’t give any sort of déjà vu. On the flipside, the film is too long at 176 minutes. He does pepper the narrative with some great scenes and hence, the film doesn’t seem boring or dragging. However, a shorter run time would have had a better impact. Moreover, the climax is tense as the flood element was a great idea. However, it was not properly utilized. The makers could have shown even more widespread destruction as that would have made for a nail-biting watch. Lastly, since it’s a dark action thriller, it’s not entirely a family entertainer like Marvel superhero films due to which its box office prospects in India would be limited.

THE BATMAN starts on a fine note but it takes a while to get used to the setting and the voiceover style narrative. The initial two murders do engage but the film starts arresting attention when Selina goes to 44 Below secret club to investigate. The funeral scene is the best part of the film and the action and chase sequence that follows is superb. Post-interval, the film drops for some time and picks up with the scene between Batman and Alfred in the hospital. The madness outside the Iceberg Lounge and the scene thereafter is too good. The finale, though it could have been better, is thrilling. The film ends with the promise of a sequel.

Robert Pattinson is splendid as Batman. Several actors have played this part in the past and have won accolades. It was a big challenge to take up this role. Robert, however, is flawless and plays it differently as compared to those who played the superhero in the earlier films. Even as Bruce Wayne, he brings freshness. Zoë Kravitz puts up a confident act and delivers an able performance. Andy Serkis and Jeffrey Wright are dependable. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable and does a fine job. Paul Dano (Edward Nashton) has a crucial part and dominates at several places in the second half. John Turturro (Carmine Falcone) is great while Peter Sarsgaard (Gil Colson, DA) leaves a mark. Jayme Lawson (Bella Reál) is memorable in a small role. Hana Hrzic (Annika), Rupert Penry-Jones and Alex Ferns are decent.

Michael Giacchino’s music has a cinematic feel and works well. Greig Fraser’s cinematography is splendid. The shots have been captured beautifully and it adds a lot to the impact, especially the use of lights and a reverse shot in the car accident scene. James Chinlund’s production design is rich and has a bit of a comic book feel. Jacqueline Durran’s costumes are appealing. David Crossman and Glyn Dillon designed the Batsuit and they do a superb job. Action is not too gory and contributes to the entertainment quotient. VFX is excellent. William Hoy and Tyler Nelson’s editing is neat but could have been a little tighter.

On the whole, THE BATMAN is a fresh take on the iconic superhero, with the performances and execution being the icing on the cake. Despite the dark undertones, the film has the potential to succeed at the Indian box office.

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