Another New Take on Batman


Promotional poster courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films, 2022.

Andre Chabra, Staff Writer

Dark and brooding, The Batman punched its way into theaters on March 4, 2022. The film earned $254 million during its opening weekend, the second-best debut of the pandemic era behind Spider-Man: No Way Home. This installment of the popular superhero franchise was directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), and written by both Reeves and Peter Craig (The Town). The titular hero is expertly played by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, accompanied by the wonderful Zoë Kravitz (Big Little Lies) as Catwoman and the terrifying Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) as the Riddler.

This new take on Batman, with Pattinson being the 7th actor to play Bruce Wayne/Batman since Adam West in 1966, was beyond amazing. There are no superheroes in the world created by Reeves and Craig, just one mentally unstable rich psycho that takes out his anger by beating up criminals. The world of the film is both depressing and realistic in how Batman is treated by most as a crazy person. While the Bruce Wayne identity for Batmans such as Christain Bale and George Clooney were charismatic and outgoing, Pattinson’s Batman is quite the socially awkward recluse. Reeves does a fantastic job of grounding his version of Batman, and Pattinson proves himself as a serious actor with his commitment to Reeves’s vision for the character. Not once did I think about Pattinson as the vampire from Twilight throughout the entire movie, only Batman. Pattinson truly brought the character into a fresh new direction that works for the better.

Unlike previous Batman films, which tend to immediately place the focus on Batman, this one sets itself apart in its opening scene. The film opens from the Riddler’s perspective as he murders the mayor of Gotham setting off the central mystery of the plot with Dano’s Riddler leaving clues sprinkled around for Batman to help him solve it. As more people are murdered and more clues are revealed, Batman has to race to stop the Riddler from killing anyone else while also finding himself at the center of a deep conspiracy. The people tied to this conspiracy eventually lead Batman to Catwoman, who goes on to help him in his mission to take down the Riddler. 

The emphasis on these riddles allow the film to place more emphasis on Batman’s intellect and detective skills versus purely his combat skills. Reeves developed an incredible grand scheme for the Riddler throughout the film. It is important for any movie that employs such enigmas to make sure that the solutions make sense and that viewers are not left confused at what is going on. The Batman makes excellent use of the mysteries and while the riddles may not be something the average viewer can figure out by themselves while watching, once revealed, the answers make complete sense and allow the big conspiracy to unravel in a very easy and understandable way. 

While being over two hours long this film completely justifies its run time with an awesome story that puts the focus on a more realistic and more mature Batman and company. At the end of it all, the film is about Batman coming to terms with himself, his family, and what kind of symbol he needs to be for his city.