With light comes shadow. The Batman is not your run-of-the-mill superhero movie. We’ve grown accustomed to the formula of a lighthearted plot and witty humor, but the genre-bending new reboot of the beloved Batman couldn’t stray further from that. Deeper, darker themes are presented in a dim new light, bringing the fanciful heroes whom we often idolize closer to us than ever. The opening monologue, albeit foreboding, is beautiful in its own right, and marks the perfect introduction to the next crime-fighting vigilante in Bruce Wayne.
Beneath the vast city of Gotham lies long-standing corruption and political facades — those pulling the strings: criminals rooted in the city’s faulty programs. With a meaningless election nearing and a city without grip, something must give. Leave it to Paul Dano’s Riddler; the main antagonist was downright manic. Through his brazen means of bringing the city’s darkest truths to light, he establishes himself as the only threat greater than the city itself. Dano’s dedication to the role is evident, even shooting 200 takes of the same scene to finally get it how he envisioned it.
Somebody has to do something about it. (Or at least try) …
Any and all doubts of Robert Pattinson’s Batman were immediately dismissed. He unmasks the man behind the bat — the troubled, frayed, and not so personable Bruce Wayne. Trying is his escape – however difficult, it is his fulfillment. This is the first time that the character has seen strides in personal development, and a great leap at that. The raw, refreshingly real emotion that Pattinson brings makes way for an association with the character that we’ve yet to see until now.
Among other standouts, Jeffrey Wright and Zoë Kravitz played massive roles. Kravitz brings us our most accurate comic representation of the ever so mystifying Catwoman, while Wright’s Commissioner Gordon helps track down the Riddler every step of the way. Both displayed exceptional chemistry with Pattinson, respectively. Overall, the casting was near perfect.
Matt Reeves’ somber, binding cinematography should assure all Batman fans that Gotham is in good hands; his unique and vivid shots were nothing short of masterful. Following suit of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, Reeves aimed to use as little CGI as possible, and some of the most unlikely stunts were shot without it. This, accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s dramatic, heart-pounding score, made for a seamless watch.
The Batman is grim, but by no means overbearing. The film is generational, serving as a benchmark for superhero cinema and neo-noir alike. It is without doubt a must watch.