A brilliant ode to the great detective – The New Indian Express
Express press service
At a time when superhero movies are becoming synonymous with stereotypical origin stories, visual effects and set pieces, one of my favorite scenes from The Batman is rather slow-paced and has our titular hero (played by Robert Pattinson) and James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) investigating a crime scene. A gruesome murder has taken place and, as you can imagine in a DC movie, everything is dark, the mood is tense and the words are sparse. “Bruise”, deduces the bat looking at the corpse.
Google tells me this means skin discoloration resulting from bleeding underneath, usually caused by bruising. As one of the first scenes in the movie, it felt like a nod to our hero himself, someone bruised inside. Unlike previous Batman movies, this one focuses more on our hero’s Sherlockian abilities.
In previous Batman origin movies, we’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s parents murdered; we saw Bruce take on the role of keeping the town clean. Reeves understands we’ve seen it all before and avoids repetition. Instead, we get a young bat who has been active in crime-fighting for a few years. The film focuses on the series of high-profile deaths that bring an already crumbling Gotham to its knees. Running for nearly three hours, The Batman is packed with content that might seem like an exposition for the average movie buff, but is a treasure trove for fans of the caped crusader. It’s both a godsend and forgive the pun, bane.
The Batman breaks new ground with a lot of what he has in store both on and off the screen. For starters, Wright is the first actor of color to portray Gordon. This is also the first time we’ve gotten a bisexual Catwoman. Interestingly, Catwoman and Batman do a lot more in their regular identities than in their alter egos. Selina has her own quest to find her missing roommate and when that matter falls into our Batman’s purview, they form an unlikely duo we’ve loved for years. On the other hand, Bruce from The Batman is quite different from the dapper-looking prodigal heir. Here he is reclusive, and in place of a partying playboy, we find a man in the throes of doubt and an existential crisis who, over time, learns that hope is not what we can. seek out but nourished from within.
Reeves is a visual storyteller and The Batman is no different. The film’s noir approach pays off and we get some visually stunning drama. The film’s grounding is its greatest blessing. If Joker (2019) felt pragmatic, The Batman builds on that. However, the film has its share of references and callbacks. We see Batman jump off a gargoyle, leap off a skyscraper and glide through the sky, shoot his grappling hook, and even use his utility belt. Speaking of references, the scenes involving the Riddler/Edward Nashton (Paul Dano) are sure to remind you of movies like Se7en and Zodiac. Mastermind Nashton puts Bruce on edge, and as the cat-and-mouse game progresses, both characters discover the true purpose of their existence. Dano’s Nashton is sure to go down as one of the best villains our caped crusader has faced on the big screen.
There can’t be a Batman movie without awesome action and this movie sure does quench that thirst even if it’s not as much as you’d like. Along with a stunning car chase sequence, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are a treat to watch. Greig Fraser’s cinematography and Michael Giacchino’s score enhance the mood. On the other hand, it’s hard for a three-hour movie to hold our attention and The Batman is no different. A few sequences seem, for lack of a better word, stretched.
The Batman takes another long step showing how the character evolved from a shark repellent in his utility belt to a rage-fueled, revenge-fueled anti-hero. Reeves manages to give a superhero movie different from his previous versions and yet ticks all the boxes that make the character who he is. The Batman is a brilliant reboot that captures the essence of the titular hero while putting him on a new canvas that we’ve rarely seen, making it the start of something big. It’s the start of something new, something dark… And that’s understandable because clean slates, after all, look dark.
Director: Matt Reeves
With: Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell