A review of the new blockbuster movie “The Batman”

This is the ninth Batman movie since 1989 and I’ve enjoyed them all, but such a regular rebooting needs something new each time and, in that respect, “The Batman” delivers with a very respectable addition to the canon, although the three Christopher Nolan films (2005, 2008, 2012) were the best in my book.

The director (and co-writer) this time is Matt Reeves who made the latest couple of “Planet Of The Apes” movies. He has given us a very, very dark work – both visually and narratively – with lots of close-up and blurry shots. Gotham City has never been lashed with so much heavy rain (I suppose some of the location shooting was in Liverpool and Glasgow – but really). And it is very, very long at a bottom-aching, bladder-straining three hours (even if you don’t sit through the credits which conclude with a short message from the villain).

These nine Batman movies have featured six actors in the leading role and the latest to don the cape is Robert Pattison who has come a long way since the “Twilight” saga. I think he is better as the dark knight than he is as Bruce Wayne and, as the former, he has a great costume and makes sure that he has ‘the voice’. More than other manifestations of this super-hero, he is presented as anguished about whether he is really making a difference. Thankfully his aid in arms is not Robin but Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (a confident Zoë Kravitz). 

On this occasion, the psychopathic foe is The Riddler’. I confess that I’ve never liked riddles but they don’t seem to present too much difficulty to Batman (I wonder if he is as good at Wordle). It’s a long time before we see Paul Dano’s face and then he just looks like a sad nerd. Nothing like as scary as The Joker (glimpsed at the end) or as weird as The Penguin (who makes a significant appearance).

Overall the film comes over as more of a kind of film noir detective story than as a classic super-hero actioner but, when the action does come, it’s thrilling and, since I saw it in IMAX on Britain’s biggest screen, enveloping. 


 




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