Critic’s Rating : 4.0 / 5
The Batman Movie Review : A deeply engrossing mystery thriller with a heart
REVIEW: As far as stories and plotlines go, ‘The Batman’ is simply a tale of fight against the wrongs by the wronged and yet writer-director Matt Reeves grabs your attention from the very first scene and never lets it slip. In this Batman reboot, we have a villain, who is as formidable or dare we say, more than its superhero and is gunning for the corrupt. This conflict makes for an interesting watch because we, as the audience, are constantly wondering who to root for.
Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) is going about his superhero duties, by donning a cape and a batman mask to rescue those in trouble, but a chilling murder of the city Mayor (Rupert Penry-Jones) leaves his priorities changed. Soon, more powerful men start getting killed and the plot gets darker, as with each murder, the killer leaves cryptic clues for the Batman to solve. While doing so, the Riddler (Paul Dano) is also unravelling deep and unsettling secrets about the two most powerful families of Gotham City that have a direct connection with the Batman. So, this time it is very personal.
There is barely a scene in the sunlight and with a psychotic serial killer on the loose who has innovative ways to kill, it is quite like Hollywood’s famed genre blockbusters like ‘Se7en’ or even ‘Saw’. The villain is a kind of a vigilante, whose identity is hidden but his motive is clear – no more lies. Stopping him seems impossible, as he is one step ahead of the law enforcement and also the film’s hero, who is often called to the crime scene by the investigating officer James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) much to the chagrin of his colleagues. But here, the murders are less bloody and there’s more finesse in their execution, as with each victim down, the film progresses towards a definite outcome. And despite some predictability, Reeves and his co-writer (Peter Craig) make sure they pump in enough plot twists to keep the viewers engaged. Some of them sure don’t come across as too convincing, like Selina Kyle’s (Zoë Kravitz) track – it’s textbook but not entirely believable.
The action happens organically and at regular intervals. We get fist fights, explosions and dramatic car chases, Batmobile included and everything is served in small doses, so it doesn’t become overbearing. The runtime is long and there’s no comic relief, as the darkness is evenly spread throughout the film, but we aren’t complaining. There is enough suspense to hold on to before the big reveal.
Robert Pattison plays it cool even in the direst situations and that works. He looks amazingly dapper and powerful in the suit and equally vulnerable without it, but always brooding. Pattison exudes a kind of magnetic charisma that is hard to resist. Zoë Kravitz doesn’t disappoint as the svelte and mysterious Selina, who lends herself seamlessly into the Catwoman avatar. Colin Farrell is totally unrecognizable as Penguin, but he is the only one who brings slight comic relief into all the grisly goings-on in the film. Paul Dano looks every bit the frustrated evil genius, with the right motive, but wrong methods.
Reeves conveys his vision through Gotham City’s gloomy atmospherics that play a vital role in making the movie-watching experience quite immersive. From the very beginning, ‘The Batman’ remains a deeply engrossing, gritty thriller that it sets out to be. While comparisons with Christopher Nolan’s legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’ Series are inevitable, they’re also unfair. This is a standalone film that packs in all the ingredients for a delectably dark mindbender featuring the caped crusader, who is more human than ever.