After years of rumors and studio drama, The Batman is finally out in theaters, and it’s really good. This is the movie many Batman fans have been wanting for years, myself included. However, it’s very difficult to talk about this movie without talking about its heavy comic book influence, particularly Batman: Year One. This is easily the most comic-accurate Batman movie to date. From the first scene when Bruce starts his narration, I immediately thought to myself how this feels like it was taken right out of a comic book. That said, this movie also takes inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Some specific scenes pay homage to the aforementioned trilogy, sometimes to a distracting amount.
However, there’s more to this movie than just comic reader fanservice. This movie’s cinematography is fantastic. The movie is dark and rainy, but it also has enough bright colors to make some scenes look like they’re illustrated. Everything from the visuals to the sound design, reinforce one idea; Gotham is a terrible place. This movie is an open jab at the people who say Bruce Wayne should just donate money to charity instead of cosplaying a militarized chiropteran. The city is personified so well that it convinces you Batman really is the only solution to this city’s thousands of problems.
On the topic of Bruce himself, Robert Pattinson’s portrayal is now my definitive movie Batman. There are so many scenes where Bruce barely speaks, if at all, yet you can still fully understand what’s going on in his head, and for a character like Batman, that’s really important. Yes, he’s taking shotgun blasts to the chest, but Bruce Wayne has more character than just silent and broody. He gets scared, he loses his temper, he’s awkward around pretty women. He’s also actually funny. Bruce Wayne’s flat, sarcastic remarks are far funnier than Marvel’s forced quippy jokes, inserted to keep the audience awake. This movie does a great job making the jokes feel natural and consistent with the tone.
Additionally, this movie isn’t afraid to add dark humor to an otherwise bleak narrative. Case in point, Penguin. While he’s a tertiary antagonist in terms of plot relevance, he’s the funniest character in the movie. His entire character is a hammed-up cartoon bad guy that is meant to make you laugh. To steal a quote from Youtube, “this is a movie about Batman solving riddles to catch a Twitch streaming serial killer.” The killer in question, The Riddler, is great. Paul Dano steals the show, and this movie makes it clear that Riddler is actually a threat (for once). It’s a game to him, mocking Batman, the cops, and everyone else in the city. He seeks revenge, but it’s in a fun way. Well…fun for him. Despite that, he does genuinely care about his followers and shows more gratitude towards his subscribers than most Twitch streamers. Saying that a deranged serial-killer cares about his 500 Twitch subscribers sounds crazy, but that comic book craziness wearing a straight face sums up this movie pretty well.
All that said, there’s still an elephant in the room. This movie marks the third incarnation of Batman in the past decade. How does this movie compare to previous versions of the caped crusader on screen? Well for starters, this is leagues better than the Snyderverse Batman. This version of Batman isn’t trying to be the Punisher. He isn’t shooting and killing people. He isn’t trying to stab Superman in a rusty old warehouse before being his best friend because their mothers share a first name. Yes, I am still mad about that.
Things get more complicated when we look at Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Although Nolan’s trilogy is great, they really only get the basics down when it comes to Batman. Nolan kinda just read the most popular Batman comics from google search results and did his own thing with it. He wasn’t trying to make a comic adaptation, rather it’s just a movie based that features comic characters. This movie tries to stay much closer to its comic book origin. These movies take different approaches when it comes to adapting comic books, and it works to the advantage of both.
All that said, this movie is great. It’s like Christmas morning for Batman simps like me, and it’s still a good action thriller for people who can’t read, with plenty of shots with Robert Pattinson shirtless. 9/10, would definitely rewatch it once it’s streaming.