Superhero films have become a staple in American pop culture and Batman, in his many forms, has consistently been one of the most prolific masked vigilantes of the genre. For over 50 years, Batman portrayals have been prolific. Examples include Adam West in the television series, Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight” Trilogy, Will Arnett in the Lego franchise and many more. Taking on the newest incarnation of the world famous character is enough to make any actor both eager and nervous. Robert Pattinson is the latest actor to step into the role of the influential caped crusader and he doesn’t miss a beat in “The Batman”.
“The Batman” follows Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) in his fight for vengeance over a decade after being orphaned one fateful night. In this rendition, he teams up with Gotham City Police Department official Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), a mysterious waitress with underground connections, to investigate the high profile crimes of the Riddler (Paul Dano). Slowly but surely, Bruce uncovers the reality about the corruption within Gotham City and the ugly truth about his own deceased parents.
Pattinson is no stranger to the big screen, with his most popular early roles including Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter franchise and Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise. While he has a famed background in the Young Adult genre, Pattinson has been able to showcase his talent in a growing repertoire of films like “The Lighthouse” and “Tenet.” Some may have been skeptical to see Pattinson take on the role of Bruce Wayne, but fans of the actor and character alike will be happy with the most recent incarnation of the role. Robert Pattinson does an excellent job contrasting the angsty and reclusive Bruce Wayne with his brave and dangerous masked alter ego.
Another standout performance of the film comes from Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, more famously known as Cat Woman. Famously played by the likes of Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfieffer, and Anne Hathaway, Kravitz brought a new life to the character. The chemistry between Kravitz and Pattinson is electric and a must-see for anyone eager for Cat Woman’s exciting return to the big screen.
A major reason “The Batman” succeeds as a film is because of its noir tone. Instead of solely focusing on Batman getting into fist fights with bad guys, the film puts an emphasis on Batman investigating the Riddler’s crime spree. The movie has the feel of a noir film in the sense that a person would half expect Batman to smoke a cigarette in black and white before fighting more villains on the street. This mysterious style allows for a new narrative into the Batman persona and works especially well with Jeffrey Wright’s interpretation of Jim Gordon. We are figuring out the Riddler’s clues at the same rate of the caped crusader and the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD if you will). While corruption is a common theme in Batman media, arguably most famously explored in “The Dark Knight,” the detective style of “The Batman” pairs with this theme exceptionally.
While “The Batman” does many things right, some may be thrown off by the unusual interpretation of the Riddler. Paul Dano does a great job in this role, but the character has been reimagined as what I could only describe as a Zodiac Killer-esque type. The Riddler is one of the most famous Batman villains, so it can be strange to see his unexpected characterization in this film. His penchant for riddles now has a darker tone, resulting in cryptic messages that have to be decoded and a cult following on the dark web. Additionally, as a mystery film, there is no question surrounding who the man is behind the mask. While it would not be necessary to watch a whodunit to figure out a famous villain, the hunt for the Riddler more or less ends with little suspicion or speculation about the character.
Ultimately, “The Batman” is a must-see for any fan of the famous vigilante. Additionally, you should be prepared for excellent performances from both Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz. Get ready for a new but loyal entry into the Batman franchise.
“The Batman” is now showing in theaters.