The Batman – Dir: Matt Reeves: Film Review

The Batman is the latest instalment of this very, very successful franchise.  Having just seen this (almost) 3 hour epic, I can sum it up in one word…Wow!

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro

Full disclosure…I’m not much of a Marvel/DC fan and I lost interest in the various Batman flicks long ago…my favourite is still Adam West.

But I think Robert Pattinson may come in a close second, edging out Michael Keaton. But that’s for fans geekier than me to argue about.

I went into this screening only knowing that Pattinson was starring and expecting to be mildly entertained at best, bored stiff at worst.

The BatmanInstead I left the theatre having had the best time at the movies in ages.

Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) has also written and produced one of the best action/adventure films to be made in a very long time.

Reeves, who also co-wrote with Peter Craig, manages to make the dark, desolate streets of Gotham City come alive as we pick up young (-ish) Bruce Wayne just a couple of years into his adopted role as the Caped Crusader. Of course, at this point, the police department finds him annoying at best…except for future commissioner James Gordon, played by Jeffrey Wright.

Things start with a bang as a serial killer seems to be killing off prominent members of the Gotham elite…businessmen, politicians…the usual suspects They may be gettin bumped off by The Riddler…a wildly unhinged Paul Dano.

As it turns out, most of the ruling elite are corrupt and The Riddler is set for vengeance with only Batman, Gordon and maybe Cat Woman (Zoe Kravitz) willing to put a stop to things.

So that’s your basic plot with plenty of subplots including Batman’s back story…his possible romance with Cat Woman, faithful butler Alfred (Andy Serkis), getting shot and a host of bad guys to deal with including Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and The Penguin (Colin Farrell)

But unlike the beloved TV series…this film portrays a very realistic picture of how power and corruption can eat way at a city.

But to make things even more enticing, there are thrills galore…an incredible car chase with the best Batmobile ever, a beautifully shot and lit shootout in a hallway…completely black except for bursts of shotgun fire…and a relationship brewing  between Batman and Cat Woman that draws on real emotion. I mean…those lips, those cheekbones…and that’s just Pattinson’s Batman.

But seriously, even at almost three hours this is a film that just keeps on giving. Yes, I would have preferred that it ended a bit sooner (there seemed to be at least three or four opportunities to do just that) but overall this is a first class ride all the way.

I noticed that Reeves set the mood by using Nirvana’s haunting Something In The Way from Nevermind and as it turns out, the director based his version of Bruce Wayne on Kurt Cobain…lost, lonely, afraid and full of both potential and vengeance.

If you’re old enough, you might find yourself thinking back to 70s classics like Chinatown and Taxi Driver. But even if you’re not…even if you’re not a Bat-fan, there is plenty here to find both thrilling and frightening in this new Batman.

Marty Duda

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