Matt Reeves directed Cloverfield and two Planet of the Apes films before being given the reigns to the latest version of Batman. Robert Pattison’s chiseled jaw stars opposite Zöe Kravitz as Batman and Cat Woman. Paul Dano plays a creepy uni-bomber of the 21st century Riddler. Jeffery Wright, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell’s prosthetics all help fill out the cast. The film has no editor and comes in at 2:56. Fortunately, there is an extended dialog scene mid-way through the film between Bruce and Alfred where you can rest your eyes. Most of Pattison’s lines are delivered like an ASMR performer on Youtube, so that may soothe you to sleep or make you alert because you are uncomfortable.
My favorite Batman film is The Lego Batman Movie. It was light-hearted, upbeat, colorful, and just plain fun. It also did not take itself too seriously. Every live-action Batman film since the turn of the century has been too dark and brooding for my taste. It may be true to the source material, but how about a joke every so often? I did find myself laughing out loud a few times during The Batman, but few others in the theater did. Contrast that with the entire theater cracking up as Lego Batman chomped on lobster thermidor. I do not think the parts I laughed at in The Batman were meant to be funny, but that is my reaction to over seriousness.
The film starts on an interesting path that mimics Seven. There are deadly crime scenes with riddles for Batman to solve. The deaths are the result of creative contraptions, developed by a deranged individual. Reeves must have gotten tired of trying to make the film interesting after the third death and recharted the course of the film to be a one-on-one battle between Batman and The Riddler, losing my interest along with the change. His overindulgence in slow panning scenes that do not advance the plot gave me plenty of time to reflect on the film while still watching it.
The fight choreography is pretty good for both Batman and Cat Woman. The actions scenes did bring my attention back to the film. Gotham City is fully explored and is an auxiliary character that we get to know by way of characters interacting with it. For a dark film, the scenes were well lit so you could see the action. Reeves did not use shadows to hide anything and got the mood lighting right.
Batman, outside of the Lego universe, may not be the superhero for me. I understand how others can enjoy this film. If you loved Christopher Nolan’s films and were disappointed by Ben Affleck’s portrayal in the most recent series of DC films, this film should hook you back in. Films need to earn a run time over two hours, and as you brush against three, you need to do a lot to justify it. I fear that editors are letting directors get away with pointless art pieces in the middle of a film. Many parts of The Batman could be trimmed without affecting the story. This release feels every bit of the director’s cut or an extended version best viewed at home with access to a pause button.