The Batman (2022) Review

The Batman (2022) Review

Zev A., Reporter

**Spoilers in paragraph 5**

With a sprawling run time of 3 hours, The Batman is a slow burn that if you give the time and space to let it do its thing, you can find a true masterpiece.  

This movie is the most visually striking Batman movie to date. Never has Gotham’s gloomy despair been so accurately brought to the silver screen. The grime of corruption and crime is shown in the dark grays and blacks that permeate the streets. This movie takes heavy inspiration from detective movies, specifically the movie 7. This is seen by the similar depiction of Gotham to the city in 7 and the similarities in the movie’s plots. The mystery relating to the deadly sins and the hideout filled with psychotic writings contributes to one of my favorite parts of the movie, detecting. For a hero known as “the world’s greatest detective,” Batman does a surprisingly small amount of detecting in movies. This is the first movie that shows Batman doing detective work, and that goes to show how much the movie understands Batman. 

One of the most impressive aspects of this film is the performances, in which everyone from the supporting villains to the main cast gives their all. Colin Ferrel gives a standout performance as the Penguin. The makeup transformation that he went through for this role is impressive and this character is a pleasure to watch. Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman finally gives redemption to the character after the wreck of a film that the original Catwoman was. Though her performance is great, I consider this character one of the few flaws of the movie. The romance between her and Batman was forced, and Reeves should have kept the relationship business. One character I cannot complain about is The Riddler. Though I would say most people have heard of The Riddler, there has yet to be a movie that has done justice to the character. We did have Jim Carrey in Batman Forever but we try to forget that performance. Paul Dano as the Riddler turns in possibly the best performance of the movie. From the chilling opening scene where he murders the mayor, Dano establishes himself as a terrifying figure in the movie. In his following appearances with the videos on the news, he goes on maniacal tirades about the corruption of Gotham and teases the great secret of Gotham that acts as the center of the mystery. Riddler continues to show up in obscure ways throughout the film until the later half when he turns himself in to the police. At this point, we finally get to see The Riddler’s face which was previously covered with a tape-covered mask. Instead of a threatening figure with a terrifying face, we see Paul Dano, a small nerdy-looking guy. Seeing more of Dano it becomes obvious that The Riddler is trying to be a scary Joker-type villain, but he can’t quite pull it off. During the interrogation with Batman, Riddler seems almost goofy in his excessiveness and it becomes clear that Dano is intentionally playing Riddler this way. Riddler is a character that so desperately wants to be feared and taken seriously because as an orphan he was completely ignored. This performance has so many layers to it that it is a marvel to watch. But the main attraction we all came to see is Batman, of course. 

Many actors have taken on the character of Batman, from the original Adam West to Christian Bale’s memorable, if not divisive performance, but none have understood the character of both Batman and Bruce like Reeves and Robert Pattinson. In a very detached performance, Pattinson perfectly shows the constant state of emotional anguish that Bruce lives in. He is almost always in the mask, but in the rare scenes that we get Bruce, he is a hunched-over quiet recluse who seems to spend his days moping around constantly being reminded of his parents’ death. This is also the first movie to really dig deep into Bruce’s ideologies behind becoming Batman. In most movies, his parents are killed and then he takes on the moniker to fight villainy, but most movies skip over the true anguish that Bruce has. Most movies paint his taking off the mask as a heroic moment of justice where he hits the streets for the first time and is already formed into Batman as we know it. However, in this movie, we see that Bruce became Batman not out of a strong urge towards justice, but more to enact his own form of spiteful vengeance. We see this in the amount of emotion he puts into every fight he is in. Batman fights random gang members with such ferocity it seems like those street thugs were the ones who killed his parents. Throughout the movie, we see that this iteration of Batman is an emotional wreck as he acts irrational and lets his emotions get in his way. This portrayal of Batman as a character is unlike any we have seen on screen. 


The story of The Batman is the most controversial part of the film for good reason. There are some plot points that could have been tweaked or cut such as the entire character of Alfred. Sadly, this iteration of Alfred is pitiful compared to Michael Caine. He is barely in the movie and when he is, he does not espouse some insightful wisdom to Bruce or teach him anything. I hope that Alfred’s character gets fleshed out and made better in the coming films. Another major flaw is the double twist of Thomas Wayne. About halfway through the movie, it is revealed by Riddler that Thomas Wayne was also a corrupt businessman and this is very interesting. In every other Batman movie, Bruce’s parents are shown as the gold standard of kind and benevolent philanthropists, and this twist was a great flip on that trope. Showing Thomas Wayne as a corrupt businessman is unique and fits the plot very well. however, ruins this good twist by later revealing that he was not truly corrupt and merely made some mistakes with unintended consequences. After a journalist discovers that Martha Bruce is in an insane asylum, Thomas tries to cover up this scandal by hiring Carmine Falcon to intimidate the reporter. Falcon ends up killing the reporter against the wishes of Thomas, and we learn that Thomas was in fact, not evil. I personally believe that Thomas should have been an evil man instead of the usual perfect philanthropist.  Aside from  that, The Batman tells a great story of the dangers of corruption although the mystery can sometimes be weak. 

****End of Spoilers**** 

So, what are my thoughts on this movie? I believe that compared to The Dark Knight this movie does not quite hold up to the hype surrounding it. Though The Batman does come close to being the second best Batman movie, it can drag on sometimes and some characters are loosely written. Regardless, the movie is a great exercise in style and atmosphere. This movie mastered the character of Batman, and gives us a perfect combination of both comic and movie Batman.