REVIEW: The Batman (2022)

Matt Reeves’s daring re-imagining of the Caped Crusader, The Batman, released this weekend to undying praise from fans and critics alike. But does it live up to the hype? Many fans whom Hollywood has repeatedly burned in the past went into The Batman highly skeptical of whether this cast and crew – or even Hollywood as a whole – could bring audiences a good Batman film. The majority of the skeptics were pleasantly surprised with how this film turned out.

There is so much potential in this movie; it is literally dripping from every scene, perfectly accentuated by the masterful cinematography and musical score. But in most scenes, The Batman fails to live up to the potential it set itself up for. So many scenes get to the very cusp of greatness but fall short in the final yard.

Overall, the cast does very well with what they’re given, even the ones that were initially controversial casting choices; they were all perfectly cast for what The Batman is trying to be. The technical aspects of the film are also brilliant, and the music is divine. However, the film’s biggest issues lie within the script and from the meta aspect of what makes a good Batman adaptation. The mystery aspect is intriguing, and the Riddler intimidating. However, there are just a few things off about that story that kept The Batman from being an amazing film.

The Batman follows year-2 Batman, who gets caught up in a strange new mystery left for him by the Riddler. The elite of Gotham are dying in gruesome ways, little messages for the Batman left with them, leading Batman toward the truth of his beloved city – and his beloved parents. Batman must race against time to stop the Riddler and save as many lives as possible before the final judgment is delivered and Gotham is brought to its knees, never to recover. The mystery is compelling and the combat visceral, but The Batman falls short of the writing necessary to truly pay off the grandiose goals and ideas at the forefront of its production.

The meta surrounding The Batman causes many problems regarding certain things Batman is supposed to be, but that does not necessarily bring down the film’s objective quality. For example: Batman should not be entirely bulletproof. The Batmobile should be a little sci-fi, not just a souped-up muscle car. Bruce Wayne should be more a part of the story, and the Riddler is not supposed to be a Zodiac killer type. These are not technically what can be called issues, but they did harm some enjoyment of the story.

The Batman

Of those meta issues, the Bruce Wayne aspect is the most distracting. Batman needs his Bruce Wayne mask as much as he needs his Batman mask. In other Batman media, Bruce Wayne is used to create such a bombastic and over-the-top playboy persona that if anyone learned his true identity, they would immediately dismiss it. Imagine a regular joe in The Dark Knight is told that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He’d go, “What? That rich kid who’s always partying with ballet dancers? No, that is impossible. It can’t be him.” But in The Batman, if an average joe were told that Bruce Wayne was Batman, he’d go, “Oh, yeah. That super-rich, reclusive, goth, buff guy. You know what, I can see it. He’s got the money, and no one ever sees him. That makes sense.”

That is why Bruce Wayne is so important, and even year-2 Batman would know this. Batman may just be in his second year, but he is not inexperienced, immature, or stupid. He had been training for 9 to 10 years at this point. He would understand the importance of the Bruce Wayne mask. However, this film ignores it, leaving Batman’s secret identity highly vulnerable.

The pacing is also an issue. Slow burns can be good, but the quality of this one is decreased by a rapid acceleration followed by jagged jitteriness in pace during scenes that need to breathe a little more. Particularly, the “hero shots” are rapidly skipped over, robbing the audience of the opportunity to process what’s happening and the emotional impact of such scenes. These classic “save the cat” scenes have all their impact removed by this, so all benefit of including them is diluted by zipping through them so quickly. By diluting that impact, Batman comes across as more of an angry goth kid rather than the complicated and altruistic hero that we know him to be. All this makes for a highly disjointed experience.

The Batman

As must always be asked, was the film woke or political in an undue fashion? It seems that current-day films cannot escape at least a few woke lines, and The Batman definitely has several such lines, particularly one line from Catwoman saying, “We need to take down these privileged white man . . . like the Waynes. . . Bruce Wayne has it coming.” Batman does not contradict her or correct her; he agrees that he has it coming because of the sins of his father, which is not true. None are responsible for the actions of their ancestors, recent or ancient. This could have set up an interesting arc for the film and Catwoman specifically.

Suppose Catwoman were to discover Batman’s secret identity in a particularly heroic moment. In that case, it could have opened her eyes to realize that things were not that simple and that she had been wrong to have such prejudice against Bruce Wayne. If the writers had her undergo this arc, the wokeness would have been nearly absolved from the film, and it would have added to both her character and Batman’s. As it stands, Catwoman is still prejudiced against white men.

Another potential woke issue was pointed out by Ryan from RK Outpost, precipitating death threats against him for pointing out a fact in the film. The people of color presented in The Batman are nearly wholly good, and the white people are nearly wholly bad, Batman and Alfred being the only exceptions to the latter. In current-day Hollywood, it is more than likely that this was done on purpose, and that is all Ryan said. However, the Twitter mob refused to accept context and instead decided to hurl death threats his way.

It may appear that this review is primarily negative regarding the film, but that cannot be further from the truth. The score and the cinematography cannot be praised enough. Both lend to a gripping and technically pleasing experience, immersing viewers in the world of Reeves’s Gotham. The production design also lent well to a unique Gotham with an intriguing character. Everything on the technical side of The Batman is near perfect, but for fans who value story and writing over technical aspects, these features may not be enough for them to call this a great movie.

The Batman

When Zoe Kravitz was initially announced to play Catwoman, many were initially concerned, worried that her casting would be used as an excuse to ignore her writing, making her an empty character. Many feared that the studio would use her race-swap as the default excuse to accuse fans who criticize the film of racism to silence their detractors. In a rare stroke of luck, that is in no way the case. Zoe Kravitz delivers a compelling performance fueled by her fantastic chemistry with Robert Pattinson. She may not be the best Catwoman, and some of the writing surrounding her is lackluster, but she’s definitely a good addition to the story.

Paul Dano’s Riddler may be the Riddler in name only, but he still delivers an intimidating performance that adds an intriguing dark edge to the story. As mentioned earlier, a lot of the Riddler issues come from a meta sense. He is not a Zodiac killer type. Victor Szasz or Calendar Man would have been better choices for that type of antagonist. However, this portrayal of the Riddler is the perfect antagonist for the kind of film that Matt Reeves was going for in The Batman. He’s dark, frightening, and compelling. Despite 100% disagreeing with his actions, the audience can still get behind his motivations and understand him. That is the mark of a good villain – fundamentally evil but understandable. Paul Dano’s performance is incredible and exactly what this film needed.

The rest of the supporting cast is generally good, but the writing again fails several of them. Colin Farrell’s Penguin is a very interesting addition to the film. He has a unique approach to the character that fans have not seen before, and it works very well for The Batman’s tone and story. It is still nearly impossible to imagine Colin Farrell is the man beneath all that makeup, so props to the makeup team.

The Batman

Like Zoe Kravitz, many were initially worried about Jeffrey Wright’s casting as Gordon, concerned that the writers would ignore his character development, with the race-swap as the excuse, as many writers do these days. Again like Kravitz, that is not the case. Wright’s Gordan is a compelling and engaging character, well written in his struggle to be the only good cop left in Gotham. He does not necessarily have an arc, but Gordon usually doesn’t need one in Batman media.

Andy Serkis was a surprising choice for Alfred, the role being very different and much older than Serkis’s normal work. As with every other strange casting decision, Matt Reeves was correct as Serkis is great. He’s definitely a unique Alfred compared to his predecessors, but all in good ways. Andy blows it out of the park.

The rest of the supporting cast does as they were told and is what they’re supposed to be, but none of them stand out much beyond that.

The Batman

Robert Pattinson as Batman is another strange casting choice. How could that guy from Twilight be a good Batman? Despite that, Pattison does a good job portraying what this Batman is supposed to be. His Bruce Wayne is awful, but his Batman is incredible, creating a very varied quality for his overall portrayal of the Dark Knight.

Pattison’s performance matches the tone perfectly and carries a certain intimidation factor that the previous Batmen never attained. However, that intimidation is written very inconsistently. In fact, his character overall is very inconsistent, as are his gadgets and abilities. At one point, he is taking two machine guns to the chest with no problem; then, he gets knocked down by a shotgun blast and nearly taken out of the fight. His Batmobile also seems vulnerable to hits one moment, then crashes through a giant concrete cylinder the next. This Batman also says he cares about Gotham’s citizens before blowing up a giant glass ceiling over hundreds of them. The Batman even goes out of its way to show big glass shards nearly impaling some villains. Those shards would have continued down to stab and kill many people, but the film conveniently forgets about that.

As with the other issues, the main concerns with Batman involve the script, not the acting or visual presentation. Overall, Robert Pattinson is good, especially portraying the character Matt Reeves wanted him to play.

The Batman is a technical masterpiece that immerses the viewers in its incredible world, but the writing falls short of making this film incredible. However, for those still on the fence about whether to see it, it is definitely worth a watch. The Batman may fall short of being great, but it more than succeeds at being simply good. Compared to the typical Hollywood garbage of recent years, this film is incredible. Nevertheless, compared to its predecessors, The Batman falls mid-range.

The Batman (2022)

Plot - 6
Acting - 6
Direction/Editing - 6
Music/Sound - 8.5
Themes - 6



The Batman is a technical masterpiece that immerses viewers in its incredible world, but the writing falls short of making this film incredible.

Comments (1)

March 5, 2022 at 1:15 pm

I’m honestly surprised with the score for this review. I have either heard responses/reviews that could be equated to 9/10 or a straight up 0. The lack of SJWs praising this film makes me curious, but due to theater prices, I’ll wait till it’s released on disc.

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