Review: The Batman does the World’s Greatest Detective justice

(Courtesy Warner Bros)

Matt Reeves’ The Batman opened on March 4, 2022 and he and his team of impeccable designers and actors have created one of the greatest Batman movies of all time. Move over, The Dark Knight.

Reeves creates a dark and gothic world of Gotham City with Bruce Wayne living in a shadowy castle, almost dilapidated with a skeleton crew of staff including Alfred (Andy Serkis) and housekeeper Dory (Sandra Dickinson).

Heir to the Wayne throne, Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne (The Batman) is living in what should appear to be an opulent mansion in a tower overlooking the city, but it feels more like Grey Gardens, just without the raccoon infestation.

Within the catacombs beneath the Wayne castle, the Batcave exists with some cool and updated, super high-tech gadgets and a muscley Batmobile which makes an appearance near the end of the film. 

James Gordon brings The Batman into the investigation involving the murder of the Mayor. The two work together to try and reveal the Riddler’s identity, all while the Riddler continues on a murderous path. 

Something in the Way by Nirvana was woven throughout the film, which gave it an overall feeling of melancholy, and Batman had his own theme reminiscent of John Williams’ Imperial March from the original Star Wars trilogy.

The movie wasn’t perfect, but it definitely had more hits than misses.


Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ ™ & © DC Comics

Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman

Kravitz steals every scene she’s in with her beauty, poise, and confidence. Even though she plays someone who is just as confused as everyone else involved with the case, and she’s heartbroken as she looks for her friend, the way she carries her slinky flawless body wrapped in shiny patent leather exudes pure confidence.

Kravitz takes the Catwoman baton and runs with it, both paying homage to previous iterations and also making the role her own. The movie would not be near as awesome if Kravitz was not cast as Catwoman. 

Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / The Batman

It takes a tremendous amount of guts to agree to wear the cowl and Pattinson received backlash from the moment it was announced he would be the next caped crusader. His naysayers were wrong, he is a perfect fit for Reeves’ grungy, emo, and traumatized billionaire orphan insomniac vigilante.

Pattinson only appeared as Bruce Wayne in a handful of scenes, which truly gave the feeling of an actual alter ego. As Batman, he was confident and smart as he quickly discerned the answers to Riddler’s riddles.

As Wayne, he was a broken and disheveled shut-in, who refused to interact with anyone except his staff, most notably Alfred. 

Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

Jeffrey Wright as Lt. James Gordon

Jeffrey Wright has had some fantastic roles and this is no different. Pattinson and Wright have fantastic chemistry as Batman discovers almost the entire police force is corrupt. The two share unwavering trust for each other and one of the best scenes in the whole movie is when Gordon aids Batman in escaping the police department.

While an entire drove of uniformed cops watch, Gordon acts like he’s chewing Batman out, but in reality, he’s giving him clear instructions which helps Batman exit the building.

Throughout the film, Gordon allows Batman into the investigation, much to the dismay of his fellow boys in uniform, as well as the commissioner. 

REELated: WB moves Flash and Aquaman to 2023, Black Adam to September, Shazam now

Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics

Colin Farrell as Oz / The Penguin

Farrell was absolutely mind-blowing as the Penguin. His makeup made him completely unrecognizable. While he wasn’t one of the main villains, he had some really important scenes and sequences. His sharp-witted lines cut through the heaviness and often triggered chuckles and laughter offering some much-needed comic relief.

The film was overall really dark and somber, but The Penguin shared some physical comedy which offered a gentle nod to previous Penguins and lightened the mood. Colin Farrell’s Penguin engaged in the high speed, wrong way car chase sequence with Batman, as he desperately attempts to outrun the Batmobile. 

Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

Paul Dano as The Riddler

One word: terrifying.
Dano somehow manages to embody every school shooter America has ever seen. He inspires incel wingnuts into straight-up terrorism. He’s absolutely brilliant in this role.

Even though he is chilling as the psychopath serial killer, he still manages to convey that he’s a scared child orphan who never got past his childhood trauma and you almost feel sorry for him, even though he is so terrifying that you just want to see him locked up forever, never to be seen or heard from again. 

Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

John Turturro as Carmine Falcone

Talk about chilling and terrifying, Turturro embodies the scariest mobster you could imagine, literally everyone is absolutely terrified of the man. One character would rather get decapitated than to cross him.

Every scene we see of him peels away another layer of his vileness. As he carries himself as a legitimate business man, the entire city of Gotham bows down to him, but not out of respect, out of fear. 

Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

Andy Serkis as Alfred

Serkis adds a level of humanity not previously seen in cinematic Batman projects. He takes it upon himself to attempt to aid Wayne in the investigation and unfortunately finds himself caught in the crosshairs when an attempt is made on Wayne’s life. Pattinson and Serkis share a really intense scene where he has the opportunity to share a wide range of emotions, all while laying in a hospital bed. 

Gil Perez-Abraham as Officer Martinez

This is not a starring role, BUT, Martinez is the one who gave Batmen the key information necessary to unveil the Riddler’s terrorist attack. Because Batman/Wayne was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth, and probably never engaged in any kind of manual labor, he was absolutely clueless about a tool Martinez easily identified. It was a crucial point in the film and it was fantastic that this particular officer was the one to share it.

Early in the movie, Martinez calls Batman a “freak”, pretty much right to Batman’s face. Then later on in the movie, when Bruce Wayne makes an appearance at a public event, Martinez fanboys out over him.

Then again, he treats Batman with little respect later on in the film, but after Batman ignores his obvious disdain, he warms up a little and identifies the tool in an almost offhanded way. 

Warner Bros. Pictures/ ™ & © DC Comics

The Batmobile

That car is so badass it deserves to be credited. When what should have been a surveillance mission with Batman and Gordon goes south, Batman pulls this amazing jet fueled muscle car out of nowhere to chase down the Penguin in an epic car chase. 

Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál 

The dude-bro fanboys are absolutely losing it over the fact that the new mayor of Gotham City is a woman, and not only is she a woman, she’s a Black woman. Bella Reál wasn’t in a lot of scenes, but the ones where she was featured, she was brave and direct.

She cornered Bruce Wayne at the previous mayor’s funeral and pretty much demanded that he step up his philanthropy. She also made it her personal mission to clean out the corruption that was allowed to spread like wildfire throughout the city, including the District Attorney’s office, the police department, and the Mayor’s office. 

The Orphan Connection

Catwoman, Wayne, and the Riddler were all orphans and their traumatic pasts shaped them into the vigilantes they became. The Riddler exposed massive crimes and definitely feels he is the hero of the story. It’s one of the first times DC gave a villain some actual depth.

He wasn’t just a murderous psycho, he was wronged by the fraud and he wanted the world to know the depth of the corruption. While murdering city officials isnt exactly the best way to go about exposing fraud and curruption, The Riddler’s intent to share the truth is actually a pretty righteous aspiration. 

Selina/Catwoman was doing her own vigilantism by going after the man who left her to suffer in the foster care system, who was also a murderous crime boss, not to mention she was on her own mission to find her friend, who somehow got wrapped up the corruption cover-up by unwittingly hearing information she never should have heard. 


The refrigerator door at Selina’s place

Is this Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, or is this The Batman? Batman follows Selina to her apartment and the two have an entire conversation in her kitchen with her refrigerator door wide open during the entire scene.

Were we supposed to yell “DOOR” at the screen, was this some kind of oversight or was the door left open intentionally to show that a cocktail waitress at a mob club was cooling her apartment with her refrigerator?

Now, this was an obvious allusion to previous Catwomen, as she poured herself a nice tall glass of milk, but seriously, who leaves their fridge open for that long?

Con O’Neill as Chief Mackenzie Bock

Maybe he was supposed to be awful, but he was awful. Where Colin Farrell’s makeup made the character, O’Neill’s was just horrendous.

His few scenes were kind of choppy and messed with the flow of the film. At one point he was arguing with Gordon, but then conceded in the same breath. It was a bit distracting. 

The post-credit scene

People who sat through the credits in giddy anticipation for a post-credit scene are all feeling victimized by WB because of the tease of a “scene” we all waited for.

Overall, this is the best Batman movie since Michael Keaton and Tim Burton teamed up for Batman in 1989 and the positives outweigh the negatives immensely.

The Batman is currently in theaters.

BOTTOM LINE: The Batman is a REEL SEE.

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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.