As always I genuinely think you should go see this film for yourself, and not read any articles on it. But if you are looking my two cents then I will say this, the film is a very different take on Batman, where he is less a Dark Knight and more a Nightstalker, in that he is compelled to go out and hunt like a serial killer and not the hero we all know him as. Thematically this one has more in common with films like The Crow and Se7en than the majority of previous Batman films. It is dark, gritty, and intense, complete with a fantastic cast, wonderful sets, and an amazing Soundtrack. Matt Reeves has created something special here and any long-time Batman fans will appreciate it.
Now if you have come this far you will probably be looking for my opinions on the rest of the film. So let’s begin by talking about the casting. Robert Pattinson is outstanding as Batman, he is intense in a way that no other actor would portray the character. The only downside to his performance is his public persona of “Bruce Wayne” came off as a bit weak, though that all seems intentional as this is only the second year of Batman’s war on crime, and he is still searching for “the right way” to do things. Next up is Zoë Kravitz who was amazing as Selina Kyle she was predatory, yet vulnerable, seductive yet never slutty, and always with a sense of danger, one that hides a tender aspect that we barely see. All this melded together to give us a wonderfully fleshed-out version of Selina Kyle.
Then we have Jeffrey Wright, who if you ask me is one of the most underrated actors out there. He always brings a certain level of gravitas to a role and here he also brings that cool energy he had in the Bond franchise and also the calm logic that he gave is in West World Season 1. And what kind of film lover would I be without mentioning Andy Serkis who brings us a completely unique Alfred, a man who struggles with being a father to Bruce, a man who seems to think he has failed the boy he was set to guard.
Yet what would our heroes be without Villains to oppose them?
And The Batman has plenty of Villians, in fact, I was worried that there would be too many, yet I am glad to say I was wrong. First off there was John Turturro who gives us a strong performance as Carmine Falcone, in this role he shows us why Turturro has always been a darling of the Indie film scene. Secondly, we have Colin Farrell, when people said that Farrell would be playing the Penguin I laughed, but once I saw him in the role I was mesmerized, the transformation is amazing, they took a legitimately handsome man and turned him into something truly monstrous. Yet the greatest monster of this film was Paul Dano, this performance was more Son of Sam than Jim Carrey’s take on the Riddler. For all those lost lonely souls that identified with the Joker in his solo movie, well I think they will have found a new murderous messiah in this portrayal. I do not know what was more haunting, Dano’s performance or the fact that I did not entirely disagree with his intentions…
The film had a dark and gritty feel to it, one that made use of some gorgeous architecture and set pieces. Gothan felt like Rome’s last days, an Empire in decline where the ones in power are playing fiddle as the city burns. And under it all there was this prevailing sense of dread, the kind of dread you feel in a horror film right before the killer appears. It is hard to describe but Matt Reeves did a fantastic job overwhelming his audience with these feelings. Then in true Batman fashion, he managed to fill us with hope, and at that moment I got that he truly understood the character. I won’t say what the moment was, but if you have seen it, you will know what I am talking about.
A minor note here, but I could not get enough of the music in this film, from the use of Nirvana right down to the Score it just hit the right note the whole way through.
Then the film caps it off by setting up the Return of one Villian and the appearance of another. How could we ask for more?
In the end, I am a Batman fan, I love the character and utterly hated seeing another film of him being made, after all in my lifetime alone there has been at least ten different actors playing him, and somehow this version manages to not only stand its ground but stand out among them all. I am truly looking forward to what will be coming next from this series.