Movie Review: The Batman

Ethan Woelbern, Features Editor

4/5
  The Batman (2022) - IMDb The Batman feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre steeped in formula. Patient cinematography that lingers on each beautifully composed shot replaces the typical quick cuts of the Marvel movies. The subtly funny dynamic between Detective Gordon and Batman feels so much more organic than any of Iron Man’s “witty” quips. The haunting score that elevates each scene it graces feels so much more intentional than any of the generic fanfare typical of DC scores cc. Every detail put into the movie feels deliberate and serves to elevate the story being told. This may be the first time that I’ve actually felt that I was watching comic Batman on screen. Robert Patterson is able to expertly create a Batman and a Bruce Wayne who feels deeply troubled but has a need to help his city. His mannerisms while under the cowl such as the way his eyes are able to convey the pain and hurt he feels from the death of his parents, his gravelly tone, his sporadic but effective fighting style all are perfect to what the character should be at this young stage in his crime fighting career. This movie’s Gotham also feels ripped straight out of the comics. The streets are tainted by decay and filth and most of the architecture feels like a mix of gothic and industrial that has felt the wear of constant crime. More of a mausoleum than a metropolis, Gotham feels like a city where a caped crusader is needed, as there is nothing else left to protect its people. This Batman is also the first one to really feel like he earns the title of “world’s greatest detective.” Instead of beating various criminals in his rogues gallery, Batman spends the runtime searches through old files and solves clues left behind by the main antagonist, The Riddler. The movie really has much less in common with the others in the superhero genre and more in common with movies like Zodiac and Se7en, with Batman using forensics and intellect to search for a villain. But above all, the story being told here is what makes this movie great. Batman and the movie’s main antagonist, The Riddler, feel like two sides of the same coin. They both seek to stop the hurt in Gotham, The Riddler through killing those corrupt in the upper echelons of society while Batman works to keep peace and order in the city through fighting crime. Both were raised as orphans, Batman living in solace at Wayne Tower and The Riddler in an orphanage stricken by Gotham’s rampant poverty. Their similarities help to set up the ultimate question Batman faces in this movie. Is he really a hero? The movie does unfortunately suffer from a lackluster third act and a forced romance between Batman and Catwoman, which honestly does detract from the experience overall. Catwoman is an extreamly compelling character whose motives and flaws feel real. Unfortunatley the same cannot be said for her feelings towards Batman which serve to undermine the complexities of her character. The introuction of this unnessary romance along with the large, high octane final battle makes the entire third act really feel out of place in the movie, which, up to this point, was much more meditiative and purposeful. Lucily these flaws only minorly detract from the rest of this expertley crafted film. Is it as good as The Dark Knight? I honestly don’t know. All I do know is that this movie easily surpassed my expectations and then took them for a victory lap for good measure.