Life & Culture

Film review: The Batman

Robert Pattinson is well cast as the caped crusader


Cert: 15


Robert Pattinson (TheTwilight Saga, Good Time, Tenet) heads a stellar cast in this sensational new interpretation of the much loved DC comic superhero, Batman. Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In, The Planet of the Apes franchise), The Batman also
stars Zoe Kravitz (last seen in Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi), multitalented actor and filmmaker Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Okja), John Turturro (Barton Fink, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Jeffrey Wright (Westworld). Reeves also co-writes alongside screenwriter Peter Craig,while Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino provides a decidedly mournful and grungy score. 

After establishing himself as Gotham City’s most feared new crime-fighting vigilante,
Batman/Bruce Wayne (Pattinson, exquisite) is called upon by Commissioner Gordon (a quietly incensed Jeffrey Wright) to help solve a new case. As keypolitical figures from the city are murdered one by one by a sadistic serial killer (Dano in scenery chewing form), the caped crusader is forced to investigate a corruption ring headed by mob boss Carmine Falcone. Meanwhile, Batman/Bruce gets a reluctant helping hand from crafty club hostess Selina Kyle (Kravitz) who is harbouring a secret of her own. 

Reeves presents a gorgeously shot and handsomely acted new adaptation of Bob Kane andBill Finger’s 1930 creation. Clearly influenced by 70s anti-corruption thrillers - think Chinatown or All The President's Men - Reeves has done a fantastic job in clearly delineating the difference between good and evil even in his most ambiguous character. 

The Batman often feels like an extended music video from  MTV’s grunge infused era - which by no means is a bad thing. Presenting an out of costume Bruce Wayne as a mournful, emo-coiffed loner further differentiates this new version from its recent predecessor. Furthermore,Pattinson gives a refreshingly downbeat and gorgeously layered performance all the while staying true to the character’s ethos.

Elsewhere Kravitz does a great job as the enigmatic Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman, while Colin
Farrell is impressive, if barely recognisable, as Oswald Cobblepot/ The Penguin. For his part, Coen Brothers favourite John Turturro delivers a truly phenomenal turn as mob boss Falcone.  Irish actor Barry Keoghan is also great as Officer Stanley Merkel, while Peter Sarsgaard gives a peerless turn as District Attorney Gil Colson. 

With a running time of 3 hours, the film did eventually succumb to a needlessly
meandering third act which felt both unnecessarily padded and explosion-heavy.
Still, a combination of Pattinson’s faultless delivery and an engaging storyline from Reeves and Craig give this new interpretation the edge over Zack Snyder’s overly stylised representation of the DC hero. I just wish it had been slightly shorter. 

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive