‘The Batman’ brings mystery back to the caped crusader

Matt Reeves provides a dark and gritty adaptation to the iconic hero.


Robert Pattinson as the title character in “The Batman” (2022).

Sarina Grossi, Editor-in-Chief

The shadows can hold many terrifying possibilities for those who know they’ve done wrong. The noise they hear in a dark alley could be a rat, a person or simply just the wind, but the idea of something lurking in the shadows is enough to make their stomach churn. Director Matt Reeves captures this feeling in his 2022 comic book adaptation, “The Batman.”

The film, starring Robert Pattinson as the iconic superhero, presents a character we have seen countless of times in a fresh and intriguing way. The story follows Bruce Wayne in his second year behind Batman’s mask when a new serial killer, the Riddler (Paul Dano), begins to murder powerful figures in Gotham. With the help of Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Batman tries to solve the ticking time bombs that are the killer’s riddles.

Don’t be mistaken; this isn’t your average superhero movie. Reminiscent of “Se7en” and “Zodiac,” Reeves creates a neo-noir that harkens back to Batman’s origins as more of a detective. There are constant twists, turns and puzzles that pull the audience in deeper along with the protagonists. Matched with Michael Giacchino’s pounding score, the plot creates tension that is never eased and keeps audiences on the edges of their seats.

In Reeve’s adaptation, the central city of Gotham becomes its own character. You feel slimy watching Pattinson ride his batmobile through the grime and trash infested streets. The buildings tower over the city streets, blocking out any form of sunlight and leaving its citizens in total darkness. When most film recreations of the city appear to be just cheap knock-offs of New York City, Reeves’s Gotham becomes the film’s entire gritty world.

Cinematography and action elevate “The Batman” above most comic book movies. The audience is in the sidecar of the action in shots like where Pattinson is riding on his motorcycle. Though the lighting of the film is dark, each punch and kick is clearly visible and the audience can feel the impact.

The highlight of the film, almost like the bat signal through the midnight sky, is Pattinson himself as the dark knight. Unlike past suave bachelor versions of Bruce Wayne, we see a man who is struggling so deeply as a person who is unable to distinguish between himself and a fake identity. Pattinson is mainly seen in his batsuit that covers his face, and even though you can really only see his eyes, he is able to convey each emotion with just a small eye movement. Seeing that he has only recently adopted the Batman moniker, we also get a chance to see him adapt to the trade, make mistakes when decoding riddles and make brash decisions with his imperfections, making him the perfect interpretation of the character.

Other cast members also give famous characters a new perspective, like Dano, whose Zodiac Killer-esque Riddler is a pessimistic and unhinged foil to Batman’s optimistic and grounded portrayal. Kravitz gives Catwoman and Selina Kyle more depth, with her story arc having truly emotional stakes. Wright also perfectly balances Pattinson’s grit, with the actors having a buddy-cop dynamic missing from previous adaptations.

The main critique one could pinpoint on the film is the length. A whopping run time of 2 hours and 56 minutes somewhat weakens the film’s impact, but on further inspection, almost every scene feels too important to cut. Even scenes that seem insignificant have some impact on characters or plot.

“The Batman” is a dark, muddy and invigorating film that gives an old story a new and shiny package. If you want to watch a film perfect for the movie-going experience, check this one out.