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Film Review: 'The Batman'

By: Jaimz Dillman

Whether you're a DC or Marvel fan, there are big superhero movies that bring out even the most casual followers to catch new installments. THE BATMAN is the first such film of 2022 set for a blockbuster release weekend, after setbacks and delays while filming during a global pandemic.

Growing up through a slew of caped crusader films, you come to find your favorite among the many actors who have portrayed him. Every one taking a different approach with moodiness, a sense of vengeance, the duality of living up to the family name and keeping the dark knight a secret - you can tell a lot from a person when you ask, "Who's your favorite Batman?"

Robert Pattinson, of Twilight fame (although I'll always refer to him as Cedric from Harry Potter) dons the famous cowl and cape for his turn as billionaire Bruce Wayne AKA Batman. In a broodier and quieter take, Pattinson lays heavily on the tormented orphan storyline, forgoing previous portrayals of a frivolous playboy. He's not as gruff as Bale's, not as bright as Kilmer's, and not as nipply as Clooney's. He's... okay. A more complex background of Wayne's parents is revealed, along with a different take on Alfred, played by Andy Serkis.

This rendition, titled simply THE BATMAN, is violent. And I don't mean comic book violent. I mean the first kill (after which you know there will be many) was brutal enough to make the audience gasp. Gone are the villains you almost root for as they dance to pop tunes through Gotham. Now we get the competing mob bosses, a drug ring, and a maniacal killer exposing ties all working from within the city's politics.

The story unfolds slowly enough to enjoy the interwoven riddles (not really a spoiler there), flashbacks, and plot. The movie also takes its time with very rainy dark scenes, lots of fight and action sequences beautifully choreographed, and a great buildup all to... the worst villain reveal I've ever been disappointed by. Seriously.

As a causal fan of the DC franchise, I know my Riddlers, Jokers, Penguins, and the like. This round just fell flat to me. Even with Colin Farrell's turn as Oswald Cobblepot and Zoe Kravitz's casually-alluded to Cat Woman, the real bad guys here are the politicians and CEOs. Life imitating art, perhaps? I just prefer a little more camp to my evildoers, as we can see the real thing anytime by turning on the news or scrolling social media.

Yes, the suit is cool, with a few expected techno gadgets, as Batman is known for. This round, we see much more of a bat-cycle than the bat-mobile. Although when it does get some screen time, it's truly spectacular. The chemistry between Pattinson and Kravitz is a bit forced, and doesn't really get the time to grow into any sexual tension. The relationship between Wayne and Gordon is the matchup that's more entertaining.

With a runtime just shy of 3 hours, you do get a good bang for your buck. An anticipated after-credits scene is a fun, little snarky message to those of us who don't leave, hoping for more. You can take a few meanings from it. All in all - yes, THE BATMAN is an engaging movie. But was it my favorite? Doesn't top Keaton in my book.

THE BATMAN is in theaters now.


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