The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, moves in a darker direction yet has comical moments that seem unintentional with that tone. A longer runtime should have been an opportunity to increase audience investment in characters and build the world, but there is little of the former. Character interactions seem stifled, so there is not enough to connect the characters and audience. Yet, this world that Matt Reeves created is perhaps the most visually arresting world of Gotham.
In The Batman, Batman (Robert Pattinson) has to stop serial killer the Riddler and unearth the corruption of Gotham and the connection to his family. It sounds impressive, but on its own, The Batman lacks characters to hold interest, yet the thriller noir atmosphere might be enough. I liked the film because I want them to the fantastic world from this one and add in more character development so I can give a damn about more of the characters. Still, I’ve never seen Gotham like this before.
Lacks Character Development & Connections
I’m a fan of Batman films thanks to the characters surrounding the caped crusader; Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and so on. But a lot of the characters in The Batman do not work. Lately, villains seem less villainous and more like used-car salespeople. They are reminding me of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. It does not work with the Riddler and Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell). Cobblepot feels like middle management while the Riddler falls flat by the end. I was initially on the edge of my seat, but that petered out. The acting is not the issue, but the lack of more than unraveling the mystery.
I am a fan of caring about the characters, and there was not enough built up between characters to earn my investment. I cheered for Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), but the rest, like Batman, Alfred (Andy Serkis), James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the Penguin, and Falcone (John Turturro), was little one way or the other. It is a shame that it is lacking despite the long runtime. Batman was only interesting when Catwoman was on-screen with him.
Some personality peeks out of Batman when he is with her and those scenes were my favorite in the film. Without her, Batman is an angsty, emo teen instead of a man. One scene had me fighting back laughter because Batman’s words were exactly what you would expect a kid to say, not an adult.
The World of Gotham Is Enthralling
The world-building and visuals of The Batman are delightful since it feels like a rainy, noir whodunit. That, combined with the music, reminds me of one of my favorite films, The Crow. So, that part I can appreciate alongside Catwoman. The cinematography is beautiful, and the atmosphere complements the film’s noir style. The fight choreography was alright, but because most of the situations occur in the night—and both Batman and Catwoman lurk in the shadows—some sequences were hard to see. But the twilight shots of Gotham gave the film a beauty that is hard to resist. My noir heart went pitter-pat.
They focused on the mystery, and too much else fell by the wayside. I love a mystery, but the stakes also need to be high. By the end of The Batman, I thought, “that’s it?” Audiences will have to decide what gets them excited about The Batman. If the world itself and mystery are what you prize most of all, then this film is for you. If you prize developing love or hate for characters, this film lacks that.
For my part, The Batman falls in the middle; some parts work, and others do not. It’s not the worst, and I would consider it better than a few of its predecessors, but I wanted to give a damn about most of the characters. Still, I’d watch it again for the mystery and Catwoman. The mix of great and subpar makes it a challenge for me, but there is more good than bad…barely. Plus points for reminding me of The Crow.