Review: The Batman 2022
Released March 22, 2022
Log of news for The Batman 2022 with Robert Pattinson
This is a familiar Batman, but Bruce Wayne is different
The tortured psyche of Bruce Wayne is a feature of the Batman films, though some (Batman and Robin) play it down, and some (Batman '89) play it up. The more recent three Chris Nolan movies showed the emotional distress of Bruce Wayne as a child survivor of the massacre of his family, and the dilemma that followed in the wake of that event as Bruce Wayne became old enough and physically large enough to begin exercising choices about revenge (or justice).
The DC superhero films from Zack Snyder that followed Nolan hardly modified this at all, carrying this established background with montage images of Mom Wayne's bursting pearls directly and visually tying it to the Nolan movies (who had the same sort of montages) and back through the other films right to one of the foundational progenitor's of the current Batman, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic book series (where the image of a string-of-pearls bursting began).
Director Matt Reeve's The Batman veers away from this in a few ways that are not exactly revolutionary but are clear deviations. One is that Mom Wayne was possibly not as mentally healthy in the manner of the usually placid image of spotless motherhood seen in the past films, and Dad Wayne wasn't an ethically flawless paragon. Reeve's film presents Dad Wayne's failing as human and the result of unusually powerful emotional pressures, which brings us to the Robert Pattinson Bruce Wayne, who becomes also caught up in an existential crisis between two ethical poles.
The Batman is set in a time period in which the murder of the elder Waynes occurred twenty years previous, and now this twenty-something Bruce Wayne is behaving like a more emotionally fragile character than seen in any previous Batman film. He doesn't project the smiling foppery of a wealthy playboy as a disguise, though Wayne and the Butler Alfred (Andy Serkis) exchange statements about the Wayne fortune and the intentions and responsibilities of the family (and of Alfred's role) that directly mimic the previous films, especially the Nolan ones. Christian Bale's portrayal of Bruce Wayne initially was as a young and angry young man Wayne hell-bent on revenge with a pistol in his hand (Batman Begins), then shelving his vengeance to instead to work out a completely rational and intricately designed scheme (as is reflective of the director Nolan's filmmaking style) to implement Batman as a crime-fighter who not only punches criminals in the face, but out plans them when trying to achieve his crime-busting goals.
But Pattinson's Wayne is fueled by an unresolved anger and appears to be in a constant state of emotional inflammation. Though his Batman is still a lethal street-fighter and a detective in the manner of the classic Batman, something brought to the fore in an enterprising way by director Reeves, all the same he makes sure we observe the brooding Wayne as much as the brooding Batman, which in a way skips over all the mechanics of dual identity that are such a special focus in the older films where it is something of a magicians trick to keep everyone (but the audience) fooled, but The Batman just lets us view Pattinson shifting from Batman-to-Bruce Wayne and seeing that's there's not much difference except for the costume. Is this because this Batman/Bruce Wayne is young, and this film is partially about him finding his way forward through all the trouble that comes with wearing a Batsuit? Maybe Reeves is saving the Scarlet Pimpernel issues of Batman's story for a later film.
The Rest of The Batman
The rest of The Batman is saturated with characters and events that spreads out over nearly three hours, and that's a lot of Bat-time. Director Reeve's makes it worth it, though my experience in the theatre was that at the mid-point I was thinking "this may be the best Batman movie yet" which later turned into "this is certainly the longest Batman movie" though in actual fact Reeve's The Batman at 2 hours and 56 minutes is only a scant 12 minutes longer than Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. (For comparison, consider that Zack Snyder's Justice League cut is four hours and two minutes, and Avengers End Game is three hours and one minute long.)
- Batman (Robert Pattinson)
- The Penguin (Colin Farrell)
- Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis)
- The Riddler (Paul Dano)
- James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright)
- Carmine Falcone (John Turturro)
Batman: Year One (Batman (1940-2011) - Amazon
More Batman on this website
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All the Batmen - actors who played the Dark Knight
Batman and Robin 1997 - The greatest superhero film of all time
Batman Family - the past and future of Batman
Batman Returns 1992 - Tim Burton II
Batman V Superman Dawn of Failure
Batman the Billion Dollar Hero
Detective Comics #27 - First Batman appearance
Joker Graphic Novel by Azzarello
Is the Bat-suit funny looking, and Mask of the Phantasm
Original Page May 2, 2022