The Batman Review (2022) starring Robert Pattinson

25 September 2023
"The Batman," directed by the visionary Matt Reeves (Planet of Apes trilogy, Cloverfield) and starring the enigmatic Robert Pattinson (Mickey17), is not just another addition to the vast cinematic universe of the Dark Knight. Distinctly set in a separate universe from the established DC Extended Universe (DCEU), this film offers a standalone narrative, unburdened by the continuity of previous DC films. 

It's a film that delves deep into the psyche of the young Bruce Wayne, offering audiences a fresh and gritty take on the iconic character.

Set against the backdrop of a noir-inspired Gotham City, this iteration of Batman is more detective than superhero, more human than legend. With a supporting cast that brings depth and complexity to the narrative, "The Batman" is a testament to the timeless appeal of the Batman mythos, reimagined for a new generation.

the batman 2022 film poster review

Historical Context of The Batman

The legacy of Batman on the silver screen is as rich and varied as the character's comic book history. Since the 1940s, when Batman first graced the cinema in serialized black-and-white films, the Dark Knight has undergone numerous transformations, each reflecting the zeitgeist of its era.

The 1960s saw a campy, colorful Batman portrayed by Adam West, a stark contrast to the darker, more brooding versions that would follow. Tim Burton's gothic and atmospheric "Batman" in 1989, with Michael Keaton donning the cape, redefined the superhero genre, introducing audiences to a more complex and conflicted Bruce Wayne.

The 1990s and early 2000s brought varied interpretations, from the neon-lit extravagance of Joel Schumacher's films to the grounded realism of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. Nolan's films, in particular, elevated the superhero genre to new cinematic heights, blending crime drama with character study.

Enter the DCEU in the 2010s, where Ben Affleck's Batman became a seasoned and weary warrior, grappling with his own legacy amidst a pantheon of gods and metahumans.

And now, with "The Batman," we are introduced to a younger, rawer Bruce Wayne, navigating his early years of crime-fighting. Distinct from the DCEU, Matt Reeves' vision offers a fresh perspective, focusing on Batman's detective roots and emphasizing the character's human vulnerabilities.

Character Deep Dive: Robert Pattinson's Batman/Bruce Wayne

Robert Pattinson's iteration of Batman is a departure from many of the portrayals we've seen in the past. This Batman is not the seasoned vigilante we've come to know but rather a young man still grappling with the trauma of his parents' death and the weight of the cowl.

Portrayal and Nuances: Pattinson's Bruce Wayne is introspective and brooding. He brings a raw intensity to the role, showcasing a Batman who is still finding his footing in the crime-ridden landscape of Gotham. His portrayal emphasizes the detective aspect of the character, often seen piecing together clues and diving deep into the city's underworld.

Comparison with Previous Batmen: While actors like Christian Bale and Ben Affleck showcased a Batman in his prime, Pattinson's version is less refined, more impulsive. He's a Batman who makes mistakes, learns from them, and is visibly affected by the chaos around him. This vulnerability adds a layer of depth to the character, making him more relatable.

Bruce Wayne's Character Development: Throughout the film, we witness Bruce's internal struggle. He grapples with the duality of his identity – the billionaire son and the vigilante of the night. Pattinson excellently portrays this dichotomy, especially in his interactions with Alfred, his moral compass. As the narrative unfolds, we see a gradual evolution, a young Bruce Wayne coming to terms with his role as Gotham's protector.

robert pattison the batman 2022

He's holding himself back though, not fully committing. It's like there's... something in the way.

Deeper Dive on The Riddler

The Riddler, traditionally known as Edward Nashton or Edward Nygma in the comics, has been a staple in Batman's rogues gallery since his introduction in 1948. However, Paul Dano's portrayal in "The Batman" offers a fresh and disturbing take on the character, elevating him from a gimmicky puzzle-maker to a genuine threat to Gotham City.

paul dano riddler batman

Historically, The Riddler has been depicted as a criminal mastermind obsessed with riddles, often committing crimes that revolve around complex puzzles. His motivations have typically been rooted in a need for intellectual validation and a desire to prove his superiority over Batman.

In "The Batman," this character is reimagined as a deeply disturbed individual with a vendetta against Gotham's elite. His riddles are not just games; they are messages, exposing the city's corruption and challenging Batman's moral code.

Dano brings an intensity to the role that is both captivating and unsettling. Gone is the flamboyant, green-suited trickster of old. In his place stands a man with a clear, albeit twisted, sense of purpose.

His portrayal is grounded in realism. The Riddler's actions, while extreme, stem from a place of deep-seated anger and disillusionment with the system. Dano's nuanced performance allows the audience to empathize with the character, even if they don't condone his methods.

The film's narrative structure, combined with Dano's performance, elevates The Riddler from a side character to a central figure. His actions drive the plot, forcing Batman to not only solve his riddles but also confront the darker aspects of Gotham and his own legacy.

This Riddler is not just a villain; he's a mirror, reflecting the city's decay and challenging its inhabitants to acknowledge their complicity.

Dano's Riddler is a study in psychology. His actions, while extreme, are rooted in trauma and a sense of injustice. The film hints at a troubled past, allowing the audience to piece together the events that led to his descent into madness.

His interactions with Batman are particularly telling. He sees the Dark Knight not as an enemy but as a potential ally, someone who, like him, recognizes Gotham's flaws and seeks to address them.

paul dano riddler character batman

Supporting Characters and Performances

In "The Batman," the supporting characters are not mere sidekicks or adversaries; they are integral to the narrative, each bringing a unique dimension to the story and to Bruce Wayne's journey.

Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis):

Alfred is more than just a butler; he's Bruce's guardian, mentor, and moral compass. Their dynamic is one of mutual respect and deep-seated love, with Alfred often serving as Bruce's anchor to humanity. This is not to say their relationship is perfect, there are undercurrents of friction between the two.

Serkis brings a gravitas to Alfred, portraying him as a seasoned individual with a military background, offering both a distant kind of emotional support and tactical advice to Bruce.

Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz):

Selina is a complex character, walking the line between ally and adversary. Her relationship with Bruce/Batman is multifaceted, filled with tension, trust, and mutual understanding.

Kravitz delivers a nuanced portrayal, showcasing Selina's agility, intelligence, and vulnerability. Their sexual chemistry with Pattinson adds layers to both characters, hinting at a deeper connection.

James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright):

Gordon is one of Batman's few allies within the GCPD. Their partnership is based on mutual respect and a shared goal: to rid Gotham of its corruption.

Wright's Gordon is principled and steadfast, serving as a beacon of hope in a city overrun by crime. His dynamic with Pattinson's Batman is one of camaraderie and trust. As with other versions of Gordon, his character represents the beating heart of what can be great in Gotham City.

Visual and Cinematic Style

Matt Reeves' "The Batman" is a visual masterpiece, distinct in its aesthetic and tone from other Batman films. The director's vision for Gotham and its inhabitants is both familiar and refreshingly new, creating a world that feels lived-in and real.

"The Batman" draws heavily from film noir, a genre known for its moody lighting, shadowy figures, and morally ambiguous characters. The streets of Gotham are often drenched in rain, with the glow of neon lights cutting through the darkness, creating a sense of mystery and foreboding.

The film's cinematography, led by Greig Fraser, is meticulous in its framing and composition. Each shot feels deliberate, whether it's a close-up of Batman's eyes or a wide shot of Gotham's skyline. The use of practical effects and real locations adds a tangible quality to the film, grounding it in reality.

Gotham City is a character in its own right. The production design captures the city's duality – the opulence of Wayne Manor juxtaposed against the grimy alleyways and decaying buildings. This contrast underscores the socio-economic disparities that plague Gotham and drive its narrative.

While previous Batman films have showcased Gotham in various lights, "The Batman" feels more intimate. The city's vastness is often shown through aerial shots, but the narrative focuses on its underbelly, the narrow streets, and dark corners where crime festers.

Pattinson's Batsuit is a reflection of this Batman's DIY approach. It feels handcrafted, with visible stitches and modifications, emphasizing the character's early days as a vigilante. Similarly, the costumes of other characters, from Catwoman's practical attire to The Riddler's unsettling mask, are designed with functionality and character development in mind.

Sci-Fi Tropes & Themes in "The Batman"

While "The Batman" is rooted in the detective and noir genres, it doesn't shy away from exploring themes commonly found in science fiction. These motifs add depth to the narrative and resonate with the larger Batman mythos.

Gotham City, in many ways, mirrors the dystopian cities often depicted in sci-fi literature and films. It's a metropolis on the brink, plagued by corruption, crime, and a sense of hopelessness. The stark contrast between the wealthy elite and the struggling masses underscores the socio-economic disparities that often drive dystopian narratives.

Batman's use of technology to monitor and combat crime is a nod to the surveillance state trope. His gadgets, from the Batcomputer to his array of surveillance tools, raise questions about privacy, ethics, and the fine line between protection and intrusion.

It's OK if he only does it on bad guys right?

A recurring theme in both noir and sci-fi, moral ambiguity is at the heart of "The Batman." Characters are not strictly good or evil; they operate in shades of gray. This complexity challenges the audience's perceptions and forces them to question their own moral compass.

The duality of man and the struggle with identity are central to Batman's character. Bruce Wayne versus Batman, the public persona versus the masked vigilante, is a theme that resonates with the sci-fi trope of dual identities, often seen in stories about androids, clones, or alternate realities.

Batman, especially in this iteration, embodies the anti-hero trope. He's a vigilante operating outside the law, driven by personal trauma and a sense of justice that doesn't always align with societal norms. This complexity makes him a compelling and relatable character, much like the anti-heroes of dystopian sci-fi tales.

The Riddler, with his twisted sense of justice and desire to expose Gotham's corruption, represents the threat from within. Rather than an external alien or supernatural force, the danger lies within the city's own inhabitants, a theme often explored in speculative fiction.

Soundtrack and Score

Music plays a pivotal role in setting the tone and atmosphere of a film, and "The Batman" is no exception. The score, composed by Michael Giacchino (Rogue One, John Carter), is both haunting and evocative, capturing the essence of Gotham and its inhabitants.

Giacchino's main theme for Batman is instantly recognizable, yet distinct from previous Batman scores. It carries a sense of melancholy, reflecting Bruce Wayne's internal struggles and the weight of the Batman mantle.

Each major character in the film has a musical motif. For instance, The Riddler's theme is eerie and unsettling, using unconventional instruments and sounds to capture his chaotic nature. In contrast, Catwoman's motif is sultry and mysterious, reflecting her duality and enigmatic presence.

The score paints a vivid picture of Gotham City. From the bustling streets to the quiet, shadowy alleys, the music transports the audience to this dark and gritty world. The use of industrial sounds and urban rhythms evokes the city's pulse and its ever-present sense of danger.

Throw in some dreary Nirvana and we're gold... 

Reception and Impact of The Batman

"The Batman" arrived with much anticipation, and its release was met with a flurry of reactions from both critics and audiences. As with any film, especially one that tackles an iconic character with a storied history, opinions varied, but certain aspects of the film were universally acknowledged.

Critics lauded the film for its fresh take on the Batman mythos, praising its noir-inspired aesthetics and character-driven narrative. Many highlighted Pattinson's portrayal of the Dark Knight, noting his ability to bring depth and vulnerability to the role.

The film's emphasis on detective work and its exploration of Gotham's underbelly were also well-received, with critics appreciating the shift from high-octane action to a more cerebral approach.

General audiences responded positively to the film's darker tone and its focus on character development. The chemistry between the lead characters, especially Batman and Catwoman, was a highlight for many.

Some fans of previous Batman films had reservations about certain creative choices, but the majority appreciated the fresh perspective and the opportunity to see a different side of Bruce Wayne and his world.

"The Batman" has potentially set a new standard for superhero films, emphasizing character depth and narrative complexity over spectacle. Its success might pave the way for more introspective and character-driven superhero stories in the future.


"The Batman," directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, stands as a testament to the enduring appeal and adaptability of the Batman mythos. This film, distinct in its noir-inspired aesthetics and character-driven narrative, offers audiences a fresh and introspective look at the Dark Knight. 

Through its exploration of iconic characters, from a raw and vulnerable Bruce Wayne to a chillingly realistic Riddler, the movie delves deep into the psyche of Gotham and its inhabitants. The performances, particularly Pattinson's and Dano's, breathe new life into characters we thought we knew, challenging our perceptions and expectations. 

With its emphasis on detective work, moral ambiguity, and the duality of man, "The Batman" not only redefines the superhero genre but also raises poignant questions about justice, legacy, and redemption. As we reflect on this cinematic journey, it's evident that Batman, as a character and a symbol, will continue to evolve, mirroring the complexities of the world he inhabits and resonating with audiences for generations to come.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.

About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
Back to Top