Review: ‘The Batman’ delivers perfect adaptation through captivating filmmaking

The caped crusader arrived yet again with another great iteration


Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Any iteration that’s come out of Batman ever since Tim Burton directed “Batman” has given fans an adrenaline rush of excitement. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a new Batman iteration was in the works after previous actor Ben Affleck dropped out. After years of production, “The Batman” was released in theaters Friday, March 4. “The Batman” accompanies a younger Batman in his second year of crime fighting, investigating a murder committed by a killer known as The Riddler, which leads him into a puzzle that deals with his morality, purpose and family. 

Out of all the portrayals over the decades, whether it’s campy or serious, Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of the Batman has been the most compelling since Christian Bale. There’s always an unpredictable sense of mystery and dread. It’s refreshing seeing Batman being “The World’s Greatest Detective” and the smartest one in the room. His suit is beautifully complimented by the lighting as he walks through the greatly-designed streets of Gotham City. Hearing him narrate is just so Batman-esque that previous films didn’t really use it. The sound design with every punch and with every time the batmobile drives into action immerses the audience into the extraordinary work of Matt Reeves’s direction. 

Reeves’s direction is energetic. He had such a clear understanding of his own vision and how to execute it well. The dark grittiness of Gotham City is like nothing done before. It feels as if an illustration by David Mazzucchelli was brought to life. There’s a nice mix of realism and comic book-like features in its setting. 

The overall story is inspired by great graphic novels like “Batman: The Long Halloween” with a little “Batman: Year One” sprinkled in it and even a film such as “Se7en.” Although he used significant source material for inspiration, the weakest element of the film is its screenplay. The overall twists and turns weren’t all that interesting. Like everything is there ready to be set up but there wasn’t enough substance to get the impact the film thought it had. Certain revelations are quickly blown off and don’t have much of a lasting effect. As interesting and captivating as Batman is on screen, his other personality, Bruce Wayne, was fairly explored, but it wasn’t enough. His relationship with Alfred (Andy Serkis) wasn’t interesting as it isn’t different from what we’ve seen before. Alfred basically gets put to the side during the second act of the film.

On the other hand, the character of The Penguin (Colin Farrell) is so reminiscent of the classic movie gangster audiences see played by actors like Joe Pesci. His presence was a lovely inclusion to the overall story. Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) was brilliantly portrayed and interesting. Her relationship with Batman is a contrast to his character which made the tension between them entertaining. The Riddler (Paul Dano) was obviously inspired by The Zodiac Killer which made it even more original to the character and added more to the detective element of the movie. 

The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino can drag its theme song between scenes a lot, but when it’s appropriately used in action scenes, it greatly affects the viewer with a feeling of triumph. It was noticeable he was inspired by the past soundtracks, but Danny Elfman’s soundtrack was the most notable. With that, there wasn’t anything mind blowing besides its theme. 

“The Batman” is a film fans and average moviegoers seem to be enjoying and it quite deserves it. Its distinction from the now-standard light-hearted and comedic comic book films, which by any means isn’t bad, makes the film stand out even more. It’s been the best comic book film in years as it doesn’t feel like a product. As a whole, “The Batman” is a highly positive 7.5/10. It’s hard to ignore its flaws, but putting them aside, you have an exceptional film.