‘The Batman’ movie review: Robert Pattinson revels in grim and gritty reboot

Director-writer Matt Reeves chooses to go down the detective route for Batman, and so the movie works for fans of superhero films as well as those who enjoy noir

Updated - March 04, 2022 07:33 pm IST

Published - March 03, 2022 05:37 pm IST

A still from ‘The Batman’

A still from ‘The Batman’

It is always raining in Gotham City, and like all good noirs there is a gravelly voice-over talking about cesspools, iniquities and what nots; if you are reminded of Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun movies, that is also okay. It is 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and we are more than ready for further adventures of the caped crusader.

Director and writer Matt Reeves chooses to go down the detective route for Batman and so the movie works for fans of superhero films as well as those who enjoy noir. Billionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) is only two years into his crime-fighting career as Batman when he comes across an unhinged serial killer, Riddler (Paul Dano), who just might reveal dreadful truths about his past.

The Batman
Director: Matt Reeves 
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell 
Storyline: Something is always rotten in Gotham City and it is up to the Dark Knight to get to the bottom of it 
Run time: 176 minutes

The mystery holds up well with layers peeled back to reveal levels of rot. Also, the Riddler’s fascination for word puzzles warms the cockles of every wordler’s heart. Oooh! heart has five letters. The Batman with its definite time frame — Halloween to November 7, an election, and the rich and powerful being killed off in a variety of ugly ways, all of which is live-streamed, justly earns its grim, gritty cred.

Gotham City is rife with corruption starting from the top; Mayor Mitchell (Rupert Penry-Jones), the police commissioner, Pete Savage (Alex Ferns) and district attorney Colson (Peter Sarsgaard). Then there are proper criminals such as mob boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and Penguin (Colin Farrell). There is the nightclub, and then a nightclub within the nightclub, and Selena (Zoë Kravitz), a cat burglar and drug dealer who is looking for vengeance on the side.

Team Batman has only honest police lieutenant Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Bruce’s butler, mentor and father figure Alfred (Andy Serkis). The Batman mostly chugs by smoothly through its bottom-busting 176-minute run time. Pattinson makes for a gorgeously-conflicted Bruce/Batman and in the grand tradition of Batman movies obliges by going shirtless for a bit. Reeves took inspiration for Batman from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and it shows in Pattinson’s floppy hair and haunted, haunting look.

Kravitz works as an apt foil for Batman. While the rest of the cast are all good, Farrell knocks it out of the park as Penguin; that is one guy one would like to hang out with. Turturro makes for a smooth, avuncular crime boss. The effects, stunts and Batmobile are suitably eye-popping, while the rain and that final biblical deluge is the mandatory awe-inspiring. It is all hunky and dory. And just in case you had any doubt about possible sequels, at the end of the movie, an unnamed prisoner at the Arkham State Hospital chats up Riddler… Hunka Hunka. 

The Batman is currently running in theatres

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