The Batman


(screenshot courtesy of Variety)

Batman (Robert Pattinson, right) and Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, left) at the Gotham City Police Department

The Batman (2022) is the newest, and best, film adaptation of the character. Directed by Matt Reeves, it stars Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and Paul Dano as the Riddler. The nearly three hour movie follows Batman as he tries to uncover the Riddler’s conspiracy to murder high-profile figures in Gotham.

The performances in this movie are great. Zoë Kravitz’s femme fatale Catwoman is an interesting character who separates herself from the stereotype of being Batman’s on/off love relationship, and establishes the character as a tragic representation of life in Gotham, as well as an important figure in a crime conspiracy. Colin Farrell as the Penguin is surprisingly funny, and Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon grounds the movie with his strong moral compass. However, two performances that stand out are Robert Pattinson and Paul Dano.

Pattinson embodies a much more human Batman, who clearly struggles from depression. His parent’s deaths leave him seriously traumatized, and it seems the only way he can fill the hole left by them is through Batman. It’s almost like an addiction for him. His acting is very sincere and the idea of Bruce Wayne being imperfect couldn’t be portrayed better. His transformation from beginning to end is really satisfying to watch.

To fit in with Reeve’s vision of a gritty, dark Gotham, Paul Dano’s Riddler is not the spandex-clad, staff wielding, goofy villain from previous movies. Instead, he is a masked serial killer and terrorist who aims to cleanse the city of it’s corrupt leaders, murdering them with carpet tools and collar bombs. He taunts Batman with cruel riddles, and sends videos to the media of him torturing prominent Gothamites. Dano, who has gained notoriety for playing disturbed characters, delivers an impressive performance. He makes the Riddler realistic, but haunting.

One scene in particular that stands out that demonstrates the two’s acting prowess takes place at Arkham Asylum, where Batman is interrogating the Riddler. As Batman grows increasingly upset, the Riddler taunts him, even singing his own rendition of Ave Maria. The palpable tension throughout the scene and the way it grows over time is awesome. 

After enduring years in development limbo, The Batman’s March release proved fruitful, grossing over $250 million in under a week, according to Deadline. Great acting, an intricate story, as well as some impressive visuals solidify the movie as one of the best of 2022 so far.