Where do you go after “The Dark Knight?”
Ben Affleck botched it, and even Christopher Nolan, who brought extraordinary levels of realism to the franchise-best Batman saga, couldn’t improve on what he’d created in his 2012 sequel.
So what is director Matt Reeves’ strategy?
Answer: Go darker than “The Dark Knight,” more thrilling than “No Time to Die” and longer than “Dune” with a daring Batman stand-alone of his own.
In Reeves’ confident production, everything is breathtakingly alive and fascinating. As director and co-writer, he’s taken what might seem like a familiar comic and made it epic, even dramatic.
This is a Batman movie that’s aware of its own place within pop culture, it does display the comic book character’s lore, only to portray it in a way that’s both substantial and daring. This script was set up for the hero to question his history as well as confront his purpose
Taking over the role of Bruce Wayne, we have an actor who’s not just prepared but hungry to explore this character’s weird, dark instincts. His acting saved the movie from being completely boring, as its almost three-hour run time was unbearable. Great actors helped you stay engaged throughout, as the cast all had different tones and personalities. Robert Pattinson especially draws his audience in best when he’s playing characters who make you uncomfortable. He’s two years into his role as Batman, tracking criminals from high in Wayne Tower—an inspired switch from the usual place of Wayne Manor, suggesting an even greater isolation from society. “They think I’m hiding in the shadows,” he states in an opening voiceover. “But I am the shadows.” In the harsh light of day, Pattinson gives us an hungover loner content watching, But at night, you can see the rush he gets from swooping in and executing his version of vengeance, even beneath the tactical gear and eye black.
The most noticeable detail was Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz’s insane chemistry with each other. When the trailer was first introduced, we saw clips featuring their depiction of Catwoman. Kravitz played her perfectly as she revealed a fierce persona and quiet strength. This went perfectly with Pattinson as the connection was shown through body language and emotional eye contact. The angles that were used set a dark romantic tone, while Kravitz’s smooth vocal delivery complemented the shots. She is his match, physically and emotionally, every step of the way. This is no soft, purring Catwoman: She’s a fighter and a survivor with a loyal heart and a strong sense of what’s right.
The indifference to characters as actual beings rather than pawns in a plot emerges in a twist that’s a long-standing marker of action-film. The Riddler doesn’t only target individual high-level miscreants in Gotham but decides that the entire city deserves to go down with them. When his monstrous scheme is unleashed, crowd scenes conjure mass destruction as a plot point, the staggering loss of life as a generic and incoherent jumble. “The Batman” presents only as a stage for the clash of its protagonists. The movie’s flaw here was to imagine its superheroes and villains with any meaningful psychological identity. This led to the failure to imagine ordinary people with any individuality.
Almost three hours, this makes it the longest-running Batman movie in the franchise. And while I could use more Batman, the film could trim the sub plots; some of the shots feel gratuitous. Do we need to see more scenes of Batman slowly walking? Do we need to see Batman bang impotently against the plexiglass panel separating him and the Riddler? The unnecessary shots almost put you to sleep, then you’re jolted awake by the dark and gritty action scenes.