The Batman (2022)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/6/22
Director: Matt Reeves
Music: Michael Giacchino
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis

A psychopathic killer who calls himself The Riddler (Paul Dano) is murdering high-ranking city officials and exposing their dirty laundry and criminal ties. At each crime scene, a note is left for The Batman (Robert Pattinson) that provides clues to where The Riddler will strike next. Working together with Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), they put together a puzzle of dirty deals and corruption that threatens to destroy all of Gotham City. Can Riddler's diabolical scheme be stopped in time to save the city, or is the city beyond saving?

This reboot disconnects itself from the DC Universe and draws inspiration from "Year One", "The Long Halloween", "Hush", "No Man's Land", and doubtless other stories that I didn't recognize. The film has a definite David Fincher look and feel, and the previously cold hues of Gotham City have been replaced with a blazing orange palette. The atmosphere is dark and moody, and a feeling of tension and dread permeates the entire film with help from Michael Giacchino's disquieting, but forgettable music score. Robert Pattinson makes an excellent and intimidating Batman, but he's overly stiff and mopey as Bruce Wayne. It's hard to get the duality of the character right, and I felt this film really missed the mark on the Bruce Wayne aspect. Plus, there's his regrettably awful hair. Andy Serkis does a good job as Alfred Pennyworth, although he seems miscast. Jeffrey Wright is surprisingly good as Lt. Gordon, and slinky Zoë Kravitz is utterly spellbinding as Selina Kyle. The screen comes alive every time she shows up, and I would love to see her headline her own action film. Paul Dano is appropriately unnerving as The Riddler and a totally unrecognizable Colin Farrell excels at playing a ruthless and repulsive Penguin.

It's a slow-burning murder mystery that challenge's Batman's detective skills and the pacing can be tiring. Fortunately, the film looks great and the cinematography is superb. The action set pieces are exciting and well-crafted, and the Batmobile chase is especially riveting and fun to watch. Batman's fight scenes are brutal and hard-hitting, although it becomes increasingly frustrating that no one ever targets his unprotected head. Overall, I enjoyed the film quite a bit, although it felt overly long and overstayed its welcome with increasingly ridiculous situations. It has a hard time wrapping things up and could have ended thirty minutes sooner.