The Batman Review: A darker, deeper, daring take on the hero
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The Batman Review: A darker, deeper, daring take on the hero

The writing in the movie plays its cards right and so do the actors

The Batman Review: A darker, deeper, daring take on the hero

Just as the sun sets on the city of Gotham and darkness takes over, so does the crime. The burglars set out on the streets, spray painting the building of banks, troubling the innocent citizens of Gotham. Batman, a masked vigilante, as he is called in the beginning of the film, emerges from this darkness and fights these criminals. This is until the news of the gruesome murder of the mayor of Gotham comes out and what unfolds ahead are more murders, mysteries and lies on which the city is built and prospers.

The Batman is still in his second year as he tells in a narrating monologue. During the day, he roams around on his batcycle with a helmet fully covering his face, as if he doesn’t want to be seen even during the day. The fight for vengeance is still new to him. He is a young man with unhealed trauma and all the riches who is out to save his city.

The buzz around this version of Batman being darker is true and for all the right reasons. It gives us insight in the struggle of Batman as he tries to fight his past like no other Batman film. With his mask and suit on, he stands tall and looks majestic, takes a bullet on his chest, and doesn’t budge. But when he comes out of that avatar and becomes the person he is, the scarred Bruce Wayne, we see in his eyes the toll of his past life and how the burden of being a superhero sits on him. All the credit goes to Robert Pattinson for that.

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Apart from Batman, the movie has one more hero, the color black. The cinematography in the film by Greig Fraser makes sure that no frame in the film is robbed off the shades of black. In a scene, Batman says that people think he hides in the shadows, but he is the shadows. The dark hues perfectly complement it. Almost no scene in the film has sunlight. The city of Gotham has glorious skyscrapers. But those who stay at the top of these buildings also run operations in the undergrounds of it, sandwiching the city with their crime and money. The institutions and people meant to protect and run Gotham, the mayor, the DA, stand on shaken moral grounds. The corrupt institutions and organized crimes enabled by them have engulfed the city, just as it is engulfed by water from all around.

The infamous Riddler is meant to be the villain here. Unlike Jim Carrey’s Riddler (Batman Forever 1995), this one is not so graphic and over the top in his appearance. Played to perfection by Paul Dano, the Riddler here is ruthless and only seeks to uncover the lies hidden under the foundation of the city. He has his own methods of punishing the corrupt and with his riddles meant for Batman, he makes Batman a part of his journey. In a way, both of them are fighting against the same but in very different ways, probably because of the very different circumstances in which the tragedies of their lives played out. What is right and what is wrong is for who to decide?

The writing in the movie plays its cards right and so do the actors. The supporting cast is fresh and sets off right. Catwoman, played by beautiful and fierce Zoe Kravitz gets ample screen time and a supporting storyline. Alfred, played by Andy Serkins, is well built and as British as it gets. James Gordon, the lieutenant seeking Batman’s help to save the city and solve the mystery is perfectly played by Jeffery Wright and even in all the darkness of the film, all these actors shine.

Even with its noir pitch, the film does give an ode to its predecessors and doesn’t leave the fans unhappy. The chase, the fight sequences are well choreographed. Matt Reeves, the director of the film has managed to shed more light on the darkness surrounding our hero and the city of Gotham. The film is bound to be compared with the Dark Knight series by Christopher Nolan but both the versions do have peculiar elements that do and don’t overlap with each other. This film is fresh in the way as it takes us to places where no other Batman film has managed to. The mysteries unfold and the hidden truths are brought to the surface, making the film gripping. Even complaining about the three-hour length of the film seems unjustified with how everything else pays off. The Batman, is less of a superhero film and more about the Batman, setting it aside from the rest and marking one of the best portrayals of the beloved capped hero in recent times.

Harshit  Maggo
Harshit Maggo
840 Days Ago
Great review.