Last Saturday I watched the new Batman movie directed by Matt Reeves. Now, I want to give you all a little background on how I walked into the theater and looked at this movie. About a week before, I had been talking with one of my friends about his opinion on this movie. He said it was good, and I couldn’t disagree with that, but he began to tell me how much better it is compared to The Dark Knight by Christian Bale. Now, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because every other review of the movie was giving it equal or higher praise in any direction. So, I drove down with a friend, and we sat down for the three-hour show. I’ll admit—it was a really good movie.
To start, I think Robert Pattinson does an amazing job as this new Batman. A lot of it can come down simply to just his physical acting. When he’s not sitting down in his cave investigating, he’s walking heavily in the new Batman suit with excellent confidence. He really is one of the strongest points of the movie, and I have to admit I certainly like him better than Christian Bale (even though both are great actors). Honestly, none of the performances in this movie are bad; all of the main cast does a great job of expressing each character’s attributes and emotions. Paul Dano stands out, especially as the Riddler, as he really encapsulates a very uncomfortable and practically terrifying atmosphere with the way he speaks and acts. But, I’ll get more into the Riddler a little later because I certainly have more to say about that.
Honestly, if there’s a single aspect that’s refreshing about the whole film, it’s the pacing of everything. When I was looking at the run time of three hours, I was getting worried because I have trouble with longer movies. This movie is very refreshing though, in that it certainly doesn’t feel that long. The story flowed at a very natural pace, and I don’t think there were really any unnecessary scenes. (Besides maybe one, but I’ll get into that later.) The story was very gripping from trying to figure out everything that was going on and uncovering the deeper mystery to even just the action scenes involving the Batman fighting goons. That’s another thing this movie does quite well—the action feels tightly choreographed, and you really understand what’s happening on screen which helps add some tension.
Finally, I wanted to note just how great the cinematography and music were in the film. The main Batman theme has this heroic sound to it while still sounding like something that would bring fear to the hearts of the criminals of Gotham. With the cinematography too, there are just some really cool-looking shots and sequences that helped to add to the story. The movie feels very dark and rainy which helps add to the sense of suspense throughout the whole movie.
Alright, I’ve been praising the movie up until now, but I do need to address the big green elephant in the room named Riddler. At this part of the review, we’re also going to begin addressing some stuff that people would consider spoilers for the movie, so if you’d like to read more, go ahead, just be warned. While Paul Dano does a fantastic job portraying the Riddler, I think the movie really drops the ball with the character in the last half. When we’re just seeing the Riddler, he’s a little terrifying, to say the least, and he genuinely seems like a threat to anyone in the city, even attacking Bruce Wayne directly with a bomb letting us know that even Batman isn’t safe from him. With that said though, in the second half I feel that the Riddler loses any sense of tension once he’s captured and it’s revealed he’s a regular “streamer” of his activities. It just feels like some weird way to modernize the character that I don’t think worked very well and just made him seem more like a loser than a threat. With that said, I also want to say the movie sets up a lot for a sequel which I think doesn’t work to its benefit. For example, at the end of the movie, a thug overpowers Batman making him dizzy and disoriented, and in order for him to save Catwoman, Batman has to use some strange green drug to get himself up and fight again. Now, for people who are familiar with the comics, it sets up for the next movie to possibly feature Bane—the villain who most consistently uses the green performance-boosting drug. But, why was this only shown to us in the last five minutes of the movie? It just feels like a cheap trick to help solve Batman’s problem without any setup throughout the movie.
Overall though, this movie is still very good. While there are some things I don’t really like in it, I think the pros outweigh the cons in this scenario. To tie this back to the original point though, I can say this is certainly not better than The Dark Knight.