Batman’s brooding presence hits theaters, surprises audience

by John Cantwell | staff writer

March 17, 2022

The caped crusader is back with the darkest iteration of the character yet. 

When Robert Pattinson was announced to don the infamous cowl, he was met with a multitude of negativity from trolls and critics alike, with many Batman fans immediately reigniting Pattinson’s sparkly performance from the “Twilight” saga. 

Although (depending who you ask) the “Twilight” series has become less of a serious sensation and more of a comedy, Pattinson’s performances have progressed greatly since being a vampire still in high school.

“The Lighthouse,” “Good Time” and “High Life” are stellar performances from the actor, as he completely transforms himself into the roles, but in “The Batman,” Pattinson creates his own interpretation of the vicious crime fighter, as he truly dives deep into the inner darkness and trauma of Bruce Wayne, showcasing a brooding and edgy performance of one of the most popular comic book characters ever. 

From the exposition of the film, the audience is immediately met with an extremely jarring scene, one reminiscent of thrillers such as “Se7ven” and “Zodiac.” 

Right from the grizzly scene, although it is PG-13, it is conspicuous that this will not be a traditional, child-friendly comic book movie. 

The audience is introduced early on to Paul Dano’s Riddler, which is a character that is often seen as someone to not be taken seriously. Former actors of the character play them as comedic characters, much like how Frank Gorshin and Jim Carey demonstrated in past Batman films. 

Dano’s performance is much more grizzly, taking on the persona of a brutal and enigmatic serial killer murdering Gotham’s corrupt elite, who not only plants riddles for the Gotham Police Department but is also attempting to psychologically torment Batman, all while gaining a cult following of his own.

Zoe Kravitz also gives a standout performance as Catwoman, a foe in Batman’s rogues gallery who is more of an anti-hero, as she in recent years has been exemplified as more of a Robin-Hood figure. Kravitz taps into that archetype, as well as igniting the seductive relationship between her and Batman.

The score of the film is absolutely spectacular, as composer Michael Giacchino created a gothic, haunting melody that plays throughout the entirety of the movie, making the atmospheric and brooding nature of the world’s greatest detective. The use of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” illustrates the reclusive, drab and isolated nature of Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne, who is greatly juxtaposed from the billionaire playboy persona that many viewers are more commonly familiar with. 

The pure trauma of Pattinson’s Batman is truly displayed in full form, as his vengeful brutality is shown when he violently fights criminals, but in a far more unhinged manner than other Bat actors like Bale and Affleck.

Gotham City becomes a character in the film as well, as its Victorian and dilapidated structures bring the viewer into the city, as its melancholic vibe feels much more like the comic book setting than Nolan’s universe. 

The three-hour time period for the movie I understand can be a negative aspect for casual filmgoers, but the consistent story line and dynamic between Commissioner Gordon and Batman is so enthralling. Pattinson is performing a completely original take on the character, which emphasizes the detective work of the caped crusader just as much as the action hero that most movie fans know and love.

As a Batman fan, I believe that although Matt Reeves’ The Batman is not the best comic book movie ever made. Instead, I genuinely believe that Reeves and Pattinson created the best Batman movie thus far, as Pattinson has proved what it takes not just to be a hero, but a traumatized individual who does whatever it takes to keep pushing forward.