‘The Batman’ review: amidst Gotham’s shadows, Pattinson’s Batman shines


Spoiler warning for The Batman. 

Amidst the shadows in the crumbling city of Gotham, there stands one man seeking vengeance: Batman. 

The beloved vigilante returns to the big screen in The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves and played by Robert Pattinson. The 2022 March 4 release is gaining a lot of attention following a $134 million box office opening in North American theaters. The film differs from the traditional superhero movie plot and centers more around a detective-type storyline. Robert Pattinson’s Batman faces a puzzle-loving serial killer named “The Riddler” played by Paul Dano. Overall, the film does a wonderful job of telling the Batman narrative in a new light but falls short in other areas like pacing, as the film was far from short, with a two-hour 56-minute run time. 


The opening to this film was perfect. It was dark, riveting and did a great job of setting up who Batman is in this version of Gotham and what he symbolizes to the citizens of the city. With so many iterations of the Batman character, The Batman did a very clean job of opening with what Robert Pattinson’s young Batman values: vengeance. However, it was clear how these values changed throughout the course of the movie. What started out as a man who declares, “They think I am hiding in the shadows; I am the shadows” evolved into a hero serving as the light in the dark when the city needs him at the end of the movie. This character development worked really well and was seen more through Pattinson’s actions rather than dialogue, as he’s a man of few words. 

Speaking (or not) of few words, the score really helped in moments of no dialogue, which is attributed to the brilliance of Michael Giacchino, who has composed for a plethora of films — my personal favorites being Disney’s Up and The Incredibles. Even just the music selection and eerie placement of songs like “Ave Maria” and Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” added a lot. I truly liked Pattinson in this role, but I felt like the character’s cold demeanor, lack of emotional range and just how seriously he took himself made it very difficult to connect with him or understand the flawed character as much as I would’ve liked to.

However, my biggest complaint was that we barely saw Bruce Wayne. This is a Batman movie, and I expected to see more of a behind-the-mask look at the titular character. One of my favorite elements of Christopher Nolan’s 2008 The Dark Knight was being able to see the internal struggle of Bruce Wayne as he led his double life as Batman. The lack of this side of the character in The Batman may be attributed to the fact that this film focuses on a younger Batman who is majorly struggling with identity and has yet to figure out how to balance both lives. I think it is important to note that The Batman and The Dark Knight are very different and thus hard to compare, but from the small bits of Bruce Wayne that we got to see, I found myself wanting more, and I hope that, in future Pattinson films, we get to see more of this development.

In terms of world-building and cinematography, this movie really captured the run-down city of Gotham. The setting really contributed to the overall tone of this film. In the beginning, the

shots of the shadows were really good at building suspense, and the city views in the intimate scenes were well lit. Even just the framing of the different rooms in Gil Colson’s house or in the Wayne Manor was really cool. The black and red-lit scenes also really stuck to the theme and overall the atmosphere was intense and scary which contributed to the thrill of the film.

Zoe Kravitz has received a lot of praise for her role as Catwoman. I felt that she was the most goal-oriented and clear character. She faced a conflict, had an objective to get revenge and followed through. I would love to see where her character goes next, and I hope she gets a Catwoman movie so viewers can see her full potential. I did find the dynamic between Catwoman and Batman kind of off-putting. I’m not sure whether it was Pattinson’s lack of emotion/words or just the awkward timing of the situations, but I felt like the chemistry was just a little off.

The film tried to take on a lot, which led to an entirely too long movie. It could easily be 30+ minutes less but after the four-hour Snyder cut of Justice League, I guess I shouldn’t complain about length. 

Overall, I genuinely did enjoy this movie. It was compelling and cinematic. Despite its shortcomings, I hope to see Pattinson in this role again and to get a more in-depth look into this new take on this iconic character.