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Movie Review: The Batman (2022) *Very Minor Spoilers*

The Batman One Sheet.
When I first heard that director, Matt Reeves wanted to focus more on the 'world's greatest detective' aspect of Batman a little part of me went 'finally!'

The Batman is a complete reimagining of Batman and his rogues gallery, unrelated to any other Batman or DCEU film released thus far. Basically it's film one in this continuity.

Robert Pattinson is Batman/Bruce Wayne in his second year of donning the cape and cowl.

Batman's reputation is such that criminals can never be sure if he might just appear out of the shadows to deliver his style of 'vengeance' on crime.

Meanwhile, high profile murders begin to occur around Gotham city by a killer who leaves calling cards for the Batman containing riddles.

As the stakes get higher Batman and Detective, Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) work together to track down the Riddler (Paul Dano). Along the way they cross paths with Cat Woman (Zoë Kravitz) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell).

Overall this is everything people who like the more serious, gritty Batman would want in a Batman movie. The only thing you don't get is a fully formed 'playboy' Bruce Wayne. Which wasn't an issue for me but is something to look forward to in any sequels.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Batman, Jim Gordon, and the police force, which is very much a new angle for Batman live action films. Seeing him work alongside a police force where a good percentage of them think Batman is either undermining them or at least, is basically a criminal of sorts too. Jim Gordon acts as a kind of middleman creating a very uneasy truce while they investigate the Riddler.

While I did enjoy that we got so much Batman screen time and a good balance between detective work and action, at almost three hours long, I did feel there were definitely some slower moments that weren't entirely necessary. Not that they were bad. Not at all. I just think once a movie goes over two hours it begins to hurt how rewatchable the film is (I promise you I'm not rooting for Matt Reeves original four hour cut of The Batman even though I could probably watch it at home. I would like to see a Zack Snyder theatrical cut of Justice League capped at about two hours - and I liked his four hour cut). 

Robert Pattinson's Batman is a little more 'regular man' and less towering wall of muscle which, I feel, makes the need for an armored suit and so many gadgets all the more necessary. Speaking of the suit, like all suits before it, this one has good and not so good points. 

Robert Pattinson's Cowl versus HISHE Batman Cowl
For some reason Robert's Cowl kept reminding
me of Batman from the webtoon series 'How
It Should Have Ended".
Overall I like how it looks, there's just a weird profile between the cape's collar and the back and sides of the cowl stopping you from getting the classic Batman silhouette. I get the choice of having a collar to protect the neck, where the cowl is thinner so he can turn his head, but it just looks a little off. (For some weird reason I couldn't stop comparing it to the Batman in the web cartoon 'How It Should Have Ended').

The new Batmobile is pretty amazing just as a fairly impressive muscle car. I'm not sure I'd say it was my favorite (still team Batmobile 66 here) but it's great not to see some weird fantasy vehicle or virtual tank for a change. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more Batman accents to distinguish it as Batman's car in future films. Still great though.

Zoë Kravitz's Cat Woman really suits this version of Gotham city. I still think her weird, pulled down, beanie with a face hole cut into it, mask is kind of silly since it barely hides her face but otherwise it's a good performance and look.

I'm not sure if the romance angle between Cat Woman and Batman really had as much to it as it was implied by the end. Seemed a little one sided to me and I didn't really feel the attraction developing over the scenes they had together.

Most impressive is Colin Farrell's performance as Penguin. Not least because you know Colin looks nothing like that yet you never bump into  the fact he's wearing a lot of prosthetics on his face. He completely sells it with the look, the voice, and he gets some of the few funny lines and moments in the whole movie.

Paul Dano's Riddler is very different to what we've seen previously. Unfortunately he spends the majority of the film behind his full face mask. While he does come across as creepy he really only gets one or two scenes out of the mask where you get a sense of who the actual person is. (I will say, out of the mask he reminded me a lot of 'PC guy' from the 'Mac vs PC' ads, with Justin Long as 'Mac guy' from over a decade ago). That said, he does make those moments out of the mask count.

I can't fault the action in this film. The fights are as good as you'd hope for a year two Batman. It's good to see he's not totally invincible but is sufficiently strong and capable enough to plow through a room full of bad guys.

There's a few moments in the film where in reality he'd probably be dead or at least spending a good deal of time in hospital but maybe his armor is just that good? It's kind of nuts how often he gets shot at close range with automatic fire weapons and none of those shots get in between his armor.

As I mentioned in the beginning 'detective batman' is something I was really looking forward to. I felt I really got a good amount of that here and was pretty satisfied with it until I heard some other people's take on the film.

Specifically they pointed out that, while Batman does do a lot of detective work, ultimately he has very little influence on stopping the Riddler's overall plan... and they're kind of right.

Hopefully in subsequent films there can be a little more of Batman actually spoiling or diverting the villain's master plan along the way.

That aside, I did enjoy this film and look forward to any sequels within this continuity. This would be a great Batman to add in a Robin who is more comics accurate age-wise (no 20 plus actors trying to convince us they're wayward ward's of the state please).

Even though this is yet another 'realistic' take on Batman I still think it would be a great challenge to bring in at least Superman and Wonder Woman, if we get further than a trilogy (and not to do another version of BVS either... let's be friends first maybe?).

The Batman is definitely in the top level of great Batman movies with plenty of new ideas and visuals to make it a fresh take on the character. It's still not quite my Batman (I really want a Robin and Justice League in there too) but it's pretty darn close. Definitely worth seeing in a theatre.

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