‘The Batman’ ranks high in franchise offerings

Albert Smith, Staff Writer

The Batman” is a three-hour breath of fresh air. Set in Gotham City, the story begins through the narration of Robert Pattinson, the newest actor to dawn the Batman mantle. The movie explores a second-year Batman trying to fight crime while under public scrutiny of the citizens of Gotham and law enforcement, but also navigating his way through its criminal underbelly to find and apprehend a mysterious Zodiac-like killer. Batman must find this killer fast, however, not only is the killer both brutal and menacing, but he is incredibly intelligent, stumping both Batman and law enforcement in their quest to find him.

“The Batman” is a top-two Batman film for many reasons. What makes this movie great is its ability to capture the true essence of Batman. Unlike many other superheroes, Batman is just a normal human taking up the role of a vigilante, and this movie captures the man behind the mask better than any other Batman film. Batman movies such as “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins” tend to portray Batman as aggressive and dominant to the point of overwhelment. Batman doesn’t seem like a person in those movies, he seems like a soldier. “The Batman” version of Batman is very dark and menacing, using his anonymity to his advantage and still inexperienced and angry at the death of his parents. The characterization of this Batman reels in the viewer as he’s not only mysterious and brooding, but also surprisingly charming.

Originally, when I heard that Robert Pattinson was to portray my favorite caped crusader I had little to no expectations, seeing as how I had only known him from the cinematic abomination that is “Twilight.” Pattinson, however, plays Batman extremely well, giving this emo type of energy to the character. Zoe Kravitz is undoubtedly the best Catwoman to date, and supporting actors such as Jeffery Wright (Jim Gordon) and Colin Farrell (Oswald Cobblepot) are stars in their roles. When talking about the casting, we cannot forget about Paul Dano who plays The Riddler. In this dark rendition of Batman, the main antagonist had to be just as gritty and The Riddler didn’t disappoint. The intelligence of The Riddler challenges this rookie Batman and is always steps ahead of him, making for a great hero and villain dynamic. This dynamic is so vital to the movie as I genuinely didn’t know if our hero would win.

Typically in superhero movies, the formula stays the same: the hero and the villain fight, and the hero begins to lose but somehow miraculously wins to save the day. “The Batman” fights this stereotype so much that by the end of the movie one doesn’t feel either party won. It was truly refreshing to see a hero movie where the hero doesn’t always win. In all honesty, I prefer this formula much more.

Much can also be said about the soundtrack. Most notably the use of “Something in the Way” by Nirvana and “Sonata in Darkness” by Michael Giacchino. Both evoke a very suspenseful and uneasy feeling that complements the themes of the movie.

While overall an amazing movie, it does have its flaws. At the forefront has to be its length. With a runtime of three hours, the film can sometimes feel slow, so much so that I found myself dozing off during my first watch. There were a few scenes where I felt some of the build-up could’ve been cut to increase viewer engagement. Although Paul Dano did an amazing job, it was hard to take him seriously sometimes, mostly after the film’s climax. I couldn’t tell if he was still in character or trying his best Joaquin Phoenix impression. He acted like an entirely different character during the second half that didn’t correlate with the character he built in the first; it seemed forced.

Overall, “The Batman” lived up to its hype. For too long, we have been spoiled with the dry and predictable patterns in superhero movies, especially Marvel ones. DC is turning around its reputation of making bad shows and movies. “The Batman” is so far one of the best movies of the year and I recommend it to anyone looking for a thrill.

4.7 stars out of 5