The Batman – ★★★★★

Certificate – 15
Directed By – Matt Reeves
Starring – Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Jayme Lawson, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis.
Running Time – 176 Minutes (2 Hour 56 Minutes)

I’m going to say it The Batman is my favourite Batman, Comic Book and be in my top five favourite films of all time, and Robert Pattinson is my Batman.

I have never been more in awe of a movie. I was gripped the moment we saw the gothic house in the opening seconds to the rain-soaked Gotham as Pattinson delivers a noir opening monologue as if we were reading thought bubbles in a comic book come to life.

Matt Reeves has created a fantastical gothic, noir thriller with hints of horror and love. It just so happens the filmmaker has also transformed a comic book into “cinema”.

Image via Jonathan Olley/ Warner Bros

As much as I love Ben Affleck and would’ve loved to have seen his interpretation in a solo adventure. I adore Pattinson’s version of this young Batman living for his one vow and full of rage and vengeance as he develops his detective skills.

It’s the same with his Bruce, this isn’t the billionaire playboy, instead we have a socially awkward recluse, who hates being around people, even Alfred.

This is the sort of Bruce who would’ve grown up listening to bands like MCR and Bring Me The Horizon and if his mum was still around shouting “IT’S NOT A PHASE MUM!!” before slamming a down and writing a pop-punk song.

I will say I’m surprised by how much of Bruce we see in the film and his interaction with the likes of Farrell’s Penguin and Carmine Falcone, played by Turturro.

One of the movie’s highlights is watching the detective stuff as Batman and Wright’s Lieutenant Gordon try and solve who The Riddler is and why he’s attacking significant Gotham figures with a brilliant interrogation involving the duo similar to The French Connection.

Speaking of the classic 1971 film, Reeves shows homage with his Batmobile car chase, which is hands down my favourite scene of the whole movie. Yes, it is a souped-up muscle car, but it is an embodiment of the pure rage and ferocity of this Dark Knight as the engine bellows and shouts, bringing fear into everyone.

Some of the camera shots that come from this scene will change the way car chases are filmed, as you’ve seen in the trailers, in future.

This leads me beautifully into the filmmaker Reeves himself. I loved the mood and tension he created using shadows and bleakness as a character as the only sunlight we see is the sunsetting and sunrises, but it never stays.

Making the pop of yellows, oranges, reds and neon blues even more impactful when they break through the blacks, greys and blues.

Shadows are used in the horror sense for Batman and Dano’s Edward Nashton but with two different horror monster vibes. Riddler is the monster that quietly hides before seeing him and striking compared to Batman as the sound of his steel boots, and the signal above give off fear and dread that you’re trapped with the monster.

All this atmosphere is created with the help of Greig Fraser’s cinematography, who makes the colour pop even more striking, and Michael Giacchino’s score sucks you in as we finally see Gotham as a fully lived-in city.

It’s great to finally see this on screen as it’s not just New York or Chicago or some gothic Anton Furst/ Tim Burton imagination. Instead, Reeves and production designer James Chinlund brought together pockets from other cities and perfectly used British and American architecture to create this Gotham.

We also have a history of the iconic city and created a new backstory I have never seen before. It only adds to Gotham’s mythology, and I hope it’s used more moving forward while also opening doors for potential storylines in sequels.

Elsewhere, this atmosphere would be nothing if it weren’t for Giacchino’s incredible score that will bring out a range of emotions. It is hands down the best superhero score since Hans Zimmer’s Man of Steel, with new iconic themes that stay true to the characters.

While I’m certain Pattinson will mainly get the top praise, I won’t be surprised if people leave the theatre saying Catwoman was their favourite character because Kravitz nearly steals the show.

Image via Warner Bros

This is the Selina Kyle that has been taken from the animated series. Yes, she’s drop-dead gorgeous and sexy and badass, but we see her heart and you can see why Pattinson’s Bruce would be drawn to her in that coming-of-age boy-meets-girl way.

On the other hand, there’s a childlike innocence and normality to Dano’s villain that makes it really creepy, like when his face is revealed and the smile he gives Batman whilst getting arrested will make your skin crawl.

Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig (would love to know what happened to Mattson Tomlin’s credit) have crafted one of the best Batman stories to date. The clever thing about it is it’s a terrific detective-noir story; it just happens to include the caped crusader.

They were also able to place some natural humour, and it works with one moment that made me laugh as entering the final act. Plus, sensitive moments that will bring a tear to your eye.

Image via Jonathan Olley/ Warner Bros

The whole costume department has clearly embraced the noir tone, and it’s no surprise with double Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran, better known for work on period pieces, bringing to life my favourite batsuit.

We visibly see the impact of the like of Year One and The Long Halloween comics, but there are some references to a couple of comics that weren’t previously mentioned.

The stunts and fighting in this film felt like real fights from Batman beating up thugs, Bat vs Cat, and I loved the slickness of Kravitz’s Selina in one scene compared to Bruce’s brawler style.

I’ll be seeing The Batman again on Friday (4th March) and again and again, and I’m coming to the realisation I haven’t felt this way about a film for years.

Verdict

The best comic book movie ever. Matt Reeves has delivered the Batman film you’ve been waiting to see, with Robert Pattinson becoming your favourite Batman. You’ll be so gripped three hours will fly by as you’ll be in awe for Reeves’s direction, Fraser’s cinematography, and the cast’s performances.

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