A new Batman has hit the screen, and I could not be any more excited. Directed by Matt Reeves, this new reboot of the Batman film franchise is probably one of the darkest ones yet. It features an all star cast, with Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. A fair warning which I will go into further detail in my review, this Batman is very different from previous films. Of course far off from the campy Adam West film version of the superhero, this film is very different from the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan versions of the Batman character. What is presented is not so much a superhero action film, but more of a psychological crime thriller.
I can describe Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Batman as very emo. With that dark black eye makeup that goes around his eyes, those emo bangs, and him looking more pale than usual (no, he is not a vampire in this film), he is as emo goth looking as can be. The choice of soundtrack for the film does not help either, as I am not sure about the use of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” in this film. It does work though, as this portrayal is showing a young Batman, still trying to figure out how to be the hero that Gotham needs, while dealing with the trauma of the death of his parents and the corruption that has spread through out all levels of Gotham’s elite.
Zoë Kravitz has probably her best film performance as of yet as Selena Kyle. This is not the Catwoman that you know from past performances of Michelle Pfeiffer or Anne Hathaway. Zoë Kravitz elevates the character into something far more complex. Selena Kyle is shown to struggle with her need for revenge among Gotham’s dark underground, and her conscience on doing what is right.
Jeffrey Wright does an excellent job of portraying James Gordon. Some of the best scenes of the film involve the detective work that is between done between James Gordon and Batman. This film really highlights what Batman does best, he really is the world’s greatest detective. Although not as good as the level of Gary Oldman in the Christopher Nolan films, Jeffrey Wright tries his best to portray the struggles between doing what is right and dealing with the corrupt bureaucrats of Gotham.
Now let’s talk about what I consider an outstanding performance by Paul Dano as The Riddler. Having seen this character portrayed by Jim Carrey previously as very campy. Paul Dano creates a very dark and complex Riddler. This is not The Riddler for kids, this is a sadistic serial killer that likes to play with his victims. He leaves complex riddles for the police and Batman to solve that lead on to his next victim. The character that is portrayed here is probably closer to the serial killers that have been portrayed in the past in such films such as The Bone Collector (1999), Se7en (1995), and Saw (2004).
The film seems to take a lot of inspiration from the storylines of Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween. It is one of the darkest Batman films yet, and if you are a fan of the comics, you will very much enjoy this reboot. Instead of an action film, we have a psychological crime thriller, which is something that has not been done in a Batman film before. It turned into nearly a horror film whenever The Riddler appeared on screen to torture his victims.
This is not your typical Hollywood superhero film either. We all have been spoiled by the family friendly Marvel superhero films. What DC Comics brings here is not that kind of film. I would not bring little kids to this film. A lot of the audience at my showing were quite shocked at what they saw on film, as The Riddler does not hold back on his victims when he murders them, and Batman does not hold back on his punches when beating his victims either. The Batman is in theaters now.
My recommendation: Watch this film, just don’t expect it to be your typical superhero film.