A new take on the Caped Crusader goes a route combining a storyline with how this hero was first introduced in the comics…as the World’s Greatest Detective.
Two years ago, Bruce Wayne became known as the Batman, a masked vigilante who strikes fear in the criminal world of Gotham City. When Mayor Don Mitchell, up for re-election, is mysterious murdered by a masked assailant, the Batman is called to assist rising detective James Gordon. The reason is that this mysterious figure left a message for the Batman himself. The Batman decides to look into the murder and learns that the Mayor was involved in corruption.
As the Batman draws closer to the case, he learns the identity of the masked killer. He is the Riddler. To assist him in the connection between the Riddler’s action and the corruption that plagued Gotham, the Batman finds a young woman thirsty for revenge, Selina Kyle, who moonlights as a cat thief. However, the Batman begins to feel various pressure and with each crime, he is given a riddle. He soon learns that he is somehow connected to what has happened and the Riddler has something majorly planned for Gotham City. Something only the Batman can attempt to stop.
When it was announced that Matt Reeves, the force behind the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, would be tackling a new Batman film, originally it was to have starred Ben Affleck after his appearances in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. However, it was soon revealed that this film would be a new take and be seen as a neo-noir take on the character. This proved to be exciting as we have seen the Dark Knight and Caped Crusader takes. However, when Batman was first introduced in 1939, he was seen as a master detective who learned fighting skills. Of course, like the MCU Spider-Man, there wasn’t another need to rehash the origin story.
Robert Pattinson’s performance here will make you forget his previous iconic role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight saga, because he’s the best Batman since Christian Bale’s take in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Playing a Bruce Wayne who has so much angst in him and having been Batman for two years, he brings fear but also has a master’s in criminology and possesses fighting skills. His suit is quite makeshift as well and looks good for a beginner suit. Kudos must also go out to Andy Serkis, who makes the most of his screen time as Alfred.
One would think that its runtime of 177 minutes is a bit long for a Batman film. However, the story and connections run very smoothly and features three villains of the Rogues Gallery involved. In this case, Catwoman, played by Zoe Kravitz, is seen as an anti-hero who is out to find her friend, who works in the club where Carmine Falcone has his business with his number one being a man known as Oz, played by Colin Farrell. Looking impressive under makeup, Colin Farrell sounds a bit like Robert De Niro in his role of Oz, aka The Penguin.
However, the big surprise comes in the form of Paul Dano as the Riddler. He is the anti-Jim Carrey, who pulled off an impressive Riddler in 1995’s Batman Forever. Dano’s take on the character sports a look similar to something the Zodiac Killer was believed to be wearing. His introduction can be seen as something of a jump scare. Dano is very exciting to watch and when all things slowly begin to get revealed, the plan he has in store to Gotham is perhaps the craziest since Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins.
The Batman is the best take on the character since The Dark Knight. Robert Pattinson’s take will make you say “Edward Who?” and Paul Dano’s Riddler possibly make have one say “Jim Who?” Just kidding on the latter but Dano’s take on the Riddler is just as feared as the Batman himself. The whole film may be almost three hours, but it runs smoothly and keeps you involved in this new take on Batman.
WFG RATING: A+
A Warner Bros. Pictures production in association with DC Comics. Director: Matt Reeves. Producers: Dylan Clark and Matt Reeves. Writers: Matt Reeves and Peter Craig; based on the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Cinematography: Greig Fisher. Editing: William Hoy and Tyler Nelson.
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson, Gil Perez-Abraham, Peter McDonald, Con O’Neill, Alex Ferns.