Here me out, nerds, before you start breathing fire and destroying your keyboard.
When I say that The Batman is a tale of failure, I don’t mean that the movie is a failure. On the contrary, treating The Batman like a crime procedural in the hunt for a serial killer, gave us yet a gripping Batman story.
That being said, this movie is about Batman failing. More importantly, this movie is about Batman learning.
This is the first time in a long time that a cinematic Batman has shown growth as a character and it’s that aspect of The Batman that I enjoyed so very much which is fortunate because if they make Batman any more grounded and anymore gritty, I honestly think I’ll puke.
The result is a good movie, but not necessarily a great one. Robert Pattinson is a more than worthy Batman, bringing a savage intensity to the role. This Batman leans into a horror aspect that I enjoyed — the way that the bad guys never know which shadow that Batman will emerge from is quite ingenious.
Unfortunately, the entire movie is a fairly joyless affair and, at times, dull. It is methodical, but it is a method rife with boredom and dripping in scenes that could have been trimmed or cut without sacrificing any of the plot.
Add to that, Batman really doesn’t do much. You can argue that The Batman is a movie a lot like Raiders of the Lost Ark in which the end result would have been reached whether or not the hero would have participated in the plot or not.
But, honestly, that’s actually little unfair because Batman’s role in this movie was to fail. He was never meant to win. The Batman is a learning experience in which the bad guy wins, people are not protected, and relationships die.
That saving grace of this movie and the thing that elevates it is that this is the first Batman we’ve seen grow as a character. The Batman we meet at the beginning of the movie is different than the one we leave at the end.
I remember reading an interview – and I don’t remember who is was – in which Batman movies were compared to The Ed Sullivan Show. Batman was the host and the bad guys were the Beatles. No one, this person said, goes to a Batman movie to see Batman.
While I disagree with that sentiment, The Batman is the movie that would change this person’s mind… this is a movie I enjoyed for Batman, not the bad guys.
Of course, the bad guys are amazing as well. Paul Dano provides a masterful performance as The Riddler, Colin Farrell literally dissappears into the role of The Penguin. Zoë Kravitz is mesmerizing as Catwoman, though I wish the movie had actually committed to Catwoman and not a terrible mask that kind of looked like it had cat ears. This is why I’m not a fan of ultra-realistic Batman movies. Even The Dark Knight movies knew when to ham it up.
The Batman is a fine movie. Flawed and unessesarally slow, but more than competent with some very strong performances. While I wish it was more fanciful given that it’s a film about a guy who literally dresses like a bat to solve crimes, I’m more than happy that it exists.