By: Amanda Guarragi
What do we know about Bruce Wayne? We know that he is a broken shell of a man who is trying to fix the city that took his parents away from him. Gotham City becomes a character on its own, as a parallel to Bruce Wayne and Batman. There is a duality of the facade versus the corruption with Gotham as a city and with Bruce. For as long as we’ve known this character, there is no Gotham without Batman and there is no Bruce Wayne without Gotham. Every single aspect of Gotham City, including the wheel of characters lurking in the shadows, compliment the Batman and work in favour in his growth as a person.
Matt Reeves is one of the only directors who accurately showed the detective side of Batman. He took film noir elements and fused it with a comic book narrative to fully explore the depths of this character. For the first time, Batman feels like the main character and is not being overpowered by his rogues gallery whatsoever. Each supporting character worked with Batman and with Bruce Wayne as a character. As the Batman unmasks the secrets of his characters in Gotham City, he slowly begins to assemble the pieces of his own puzzle as Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson). In a way, The Riddler (Paul Dano) helps Bruce come to the realization of how truly broken he is because of his city.
The introduction of his rogues gallery was done incredibly well. Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell), The Riddler (Paul Dano), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) all had their moments to shine. Kravitz was a complete badass and embodied Kyle through her physicality and her charm. Farrell was unrecognizable and completely lost himself in Cobblepot. Dano and Reeves worked together to create such a menacing Riddler; that third act display will definitely have a lasting effect on many. Lastly, Turturro as Falcone was a dream come true for me, as someone who has an appreciation for a nuanced mob boss. Also, can’t forget to mention the other half of the detective duo, Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) who had such great chemistry with Pattinson and he brought the fire.
Not only does the detective work keep you engaged throughout the lengthy runtime, but the cinematography by Greig Fraser visually elevates the story. There are some beautiful shots and angles that put you directly into the cowl or even on the side of the batmobile. Reeves and Fraser brought elements from the video games to life as well in this film and it felt very interactive. Stylistically, it is the most daring Batman yet, and it’s just so refreshing to see something different. Adding onto the precision of the story, direction, and cinematography, the score composed by Michael Giacchino is dark, broody, and chilling. You could just feel the weight on Batman’s shoulders in every single scene and what it means for Bruce to dawn the cape.
The Batman is the definitive Batman film. The majority of people calling it that are all telling the truth. Even if you think the runtime is a bit long, or there are too many endings in the third act, or you may not think Robert Pattinson fits the role of Bruce Wayne just yet, the bones of who Batman is and his detective origin is what makes The Batman the best. The film is not perfect and could have used a bit of editing to tighten up some scenes. But the important thing is that each member of this ensemble had their time to shine and there are definitely some surprises along the way. Reeves takes you into Gotham and every element of the city swallows you whole like the rest of the characters. Truly an immersive experience in IMAX.