What do critics say about The Batman?

The Batman
(CREDIT: Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Last week Matt Reeves’ The Batman premiered in London and Paris, but Warner Brothers had a very strict embargo until today. In the beginning of the month, Awards Ace’s Erick Weber shared on Twitter that he too knew someone who viewed an early screening and they described The Batman as a “complex film,” comparing it to several movies such as Zodiac, Chinatown, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Usual Suspects.

Then last week we reported that a few snippets of first reactions slipped by Warner Brothers for a few minutes before they were promptly taken down. Now with the embargo lifted, the critics’ reviews are pouring in! Currently, on Rotten Tomatoes, The Batman is 96% fresh after 71 Reviews.

The Official description for The Batman says:

During his second year of fighting crime, The Batman (Pattinson) pursues the Riddler (Dano), a serial killer who targets elite Gotham City citizens. He uncovers corruption that connects to his own family during the investigation, and is forced to make new allies to catch the Riddler and bring the corrupt to justice.

The film is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattinson; Zoë Kravitz; Paul Dano; Jeffrey Wright; John Turturro; Peter Sarsgaard; Andy Serkis; Colin Farrell.

Here’s what critics are saying:

Todd Gilchrist from The Wrap said, “What’s more impressive than what Reeves has done — which, even at its most superficial, is essentially (and very effectively) to remake Seven with Robert Pattinson as the jaded William Somerset to Jeffrey Wright’s increasingly disillusioned David Mills — is the fact that he grafts the Fincher film’s unimaginable atrocities onto a Caped Crusader adventure for a purpose thankfully more meaningful than taking funny-book characters ‘seriously’ for a fast buck.”

Robert Daniels from The Playlist wrote, “Ultimately, The Batman is an example of how a star can elevate an entire picture because Pattinson is the essential Batman. He and the unassuming Jeffrey Wright vamp well together (the patience Wright fashions the wryly Gordon with is a lesson in character creation),”

David Ehrlich from Indiewire declared, “With Matt Reeves’ The Batman— a sprawling, 176-minute latex procedural that often appears to have more in common with serial killer sagas like Se7en and Zodiac than it does anything in the Snyderverse or the MCU — that future has arrived with shuddering force, for better or worse. Mostly better.”

David Rooney from Hollywood Reporter raves, “It’s a soulful nocturne of corruption and chaos, and as much as I longed for a few more glimmers of humor, at no point during the hefty three-hour run time did my attention wander.”

Brian Truitt from USA Today wrote, “There’s an interconnectedness among the characters that really works, plus The Batman is undoubtedly just really cool. Pattinson plays Batman as an enigma slowly unlocked along with the film’s central mystery – as Kravitz’s pre-Catwoman persona discovers, you dig him the more you get to know him. Also, the hero’s muscle-car Batmobile is the niftiest since Michael Keaton’s 1989 road monster, and Reeves’ movie is the best-scored comic-book film since 2008’s The Dark Knight.  A composer with the creativity to be this generation’s John Williams, Michael Giacchino constructs individual character themes and a genre-mashing piano-and-orchestra soundscape that are essential elements in making The Batman a triumph.”

Nathaniel Brail from Heroic Hollywood exclaimed, “Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is easily the must-see movie of 2022. Heavily inspired by classic noir-type films like Chinatown and The French Connection with a dash of David Fincher’s Seven sprinkled throughout, the DC Films production pulls off what previous Batman movies couldn’t by highlighting the titular vigilante’s detective skills. The film is very narrative-driven so if you’re expecting a big action spectacle with heavy CGI, that isn’t what you’re getting here. The Batman is a neo-noir work of art.”

Peter Debruge from Variety said, “Where do you go after The Dark Knight? Ben Affleck blew it, and even Christopher Nolan, who brought unprecedented levels of realism and gravitas to that franchise-best Batman saga, couldn’t improve on what he’d created in his 2012 sequel. So what is Cloverfield director Matt Reeves’ strategy? Answer: Go darker than The Dark Knight, deadlier than No Time to Die and longer than Dune with a serious-minded Batman stand-alone of his own. Leaning into those elements doesn’t automatically mean audiences will embrace Reeves’ vision. But this grounded, frequently brutal and nearly three-hour film-noir registers among the best of the genre, even if — or more aptly, because — what makes the film so great is its willingness to dismantle and interrogate the very concept of superheroes.”

David Fear from Rolling Stone wrote, “At its best, The Batman is a helluva tough-guy yarn — an entertaining pulp-fiction epic under the guise of sure-thing blockbuster. At its worst, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a mixtape.”

Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian agrees, “Director and co-writer Matt Reeves has created a new Batman iteration in which Robert Pattinson reinvents billionaire Bruce Wayne as an elegantly wasted rock star recluse, willowy and dandyish in his black suit with tendrils of dark hair falling over his face; but Wayne magically trebles in bulk when he reappears in costume and mask as the Dark Knight, his whole being weaponised into a slab-like impassivity.”

Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly said, “Kravitz is feline and fiercely lovely, a girl with her own private pain and motivations; Dano feints and giggles, a simpering loon. (In a world where Heath Ledger’s Joker still exists on celluloid, alas, pretty much every kind of pulp villainy that follows is bound to feel like pale imitation.) But it falls on Pattinson’s leather-cased Batman to be the hero we need, or deserve. With his doleful kohl-smudged eyes and trapezoidal jawline, he’s more like a tragic prince from Shakespeare; a lost soul bent like a bat out of hell on saving everyone but himself. Grade: B”


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Of course, not everyone loves Reeves’ take on the caped crusader and there were some negative reviews:

Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times hated it, “It’s a movie of alternately promising and frustrating half-measures, in which Reeves’ shrewd storytelling instincts and the usual franchise-filmmaking imperatives repeatedly fight to a draw.”

Caroline Siede from Fox 10 Phoenix said, “Within the confines of its PG-13 rating, The Batman is much more unnerving than previous Batman installments … The trouble is grafting a somber pastiche onto a superhero base coat can sometimes feel more exhausting than rewarding.”

Kristy Puchko from Mashable wrote, “Regrettably, Reeves’s first misstep is that his anti-hero doesn’t have the exhilarating disdain and wild bravado of Fincher’s. His Batman is less booming with bravado, more brooding and boring. His theme song is a moaning emo track that never rises to a roar or a victorious chorus, and Pattinson’s performance is similarly one-note. Worse still, this Batman isn’t much of a detective, making leaps in logic that are more inexplicable than elementary.”

Moira MacDonald from Seattle Times lamented, “Depressing, dark and endless. I don’t know about you, but this particular time in history does not seem like the moment for a movie that will leave you a) miserable and b) wondering why nobody in Gotham City seems to have heard of light bulbs.”

Here is the current trailer;


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In just a few more days, you can come to your own conclusion when The Batman opens on March 4, 2022 exclusively in theaters. The film will then hit HBO Max on April 19, 2022 (45 days after its theatrical release). Watch out for Reel 360’s review.

Joia

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

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