Star Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell
Director: Matt Reeves
The Current: 3.5/5
The Batman (Robert Pattinson) teams up with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to solve back-to-back murders of some pretty corrupt people. Every murder comes up with a secret cypher for the Batman when he then solves his during his evening tea with his beloved butler Alfred (Andy Serkis). Now, Batman has to fight a villain whose identity lies in the clues he leaves for the dark knight to reach him. He’s the Riddler (Paul Dano) bringing out probably the most underused shade of Batman’s character i.e. being the world’s greatest detective. As he figures out a way to reach the Riddler, he soft-lands on Selina aka Catwoman aka Bat’s Cat (Zoë Kravitz). Aiming towards achieving a mutual goal, they get together to reach the end of all the mishaps happening in the city. Do they succeed?
When Matt Reeves denied using the script already sculpted by Ben Affleck, he told he didn’t want his version of the defender of Gotham to come with the burden of a shared universe. This decision has made Batman, what it is today. Reeves, Peter Craig’s story stretches to almost touching the 3-hour mark, but boy is this the first time I’ve sat through a 3-hour film without keeping a track of the time even once? Because Reeves shared the universe, he optimistically presents a more authentic touch to a story that’s partially known to everyone.
Reeves’ Batman isn’t your next door billionaire, he’s internally broken showing more of what he’s within rather than the blingy stuff outside. Because the outside world, as captured by Greig Fraser’s camera, is so ill-lighted. Fraser masters his focus point only at the things he wants you to see, almost defocusing everything else. William Hoy & Tyler Nelson are the magicians who keep the film just under the 3-hour-mark with their editing prowess. They retain the slow-burning essence (pun intended!) of the script by keeping you intrigued despite spending 176 minutes on your a** (that’s if you’re lucky enough to not get an abrupt break as we do here in India).
Robert Pattinson shines in the film and is the one who looks the most like Batman from the comics, Reeves’ bleakly vision adds to the charm that Robert brings on screen. With minimal facial expression the actor manages to leave a mark and looks intimidating and pleasant at the same time.
Zoë Kravitz in a scene buries her claws into a bad man’s face and that’s where you see the most amount of Catwoman in her. She once joked she used to drink milk from a bowl to understand the psyche of a cat, and with those smoky, cat eyes of her, Zoë manages to embody the feline flexibility so well with her actions.
Paul Dano as Riddler plays as much behind the mask as he does after stripping it off. Matt Reeves has always mentioned how he wanted to explore the ‘detective’ side of the superhero, he couldn’t have asked for a better antagonist than Riddler to test the caped crusader. The ambiguity built around Dano’s aura gives him another layer to add the surprising factor in his performance. The whole ‘he can do anything at any given time’ works majorly towards making him terrorising.
Colin Farrell is in great form and does complete justice to his character. He doesn’t go all ballistic as Penguins of the past, but his accent adds to the peculiarity he brings in. Andy Serkis as Alfred gets to get closest to the Batman than ever before. Serkis maintains the subtlety of Alfred along with the emotions that come with him after being together with someone for years. John Turturro as Falcone has a short yet pretty sweet role anchoring the dim nature of the script.
Some of the riddles throughout the film could’ve been more engaging, it’s the process that shines bright amid the darkness. Reeves keeps everything extremely gothic yet stylish using various camera tricks of defocusing things.
Highlighting the entire screenplay with two major colours of Red & Black, he doesn’t make you crave for colours as he traps you in his otherworldly world. He focuses more on his Bat being ‘the greatest detective’ and less of the usual American playboy, philanthropist, and industrialist he has been before.
Michael Giacchino takes the baton from the likes of Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Elliot Goldenthal resulting in one hell of a haunting soundtrack. While peeing in the washroom during the interval, I could still listen to the background score but then I realised it was coming from the speakers (but, you do get my point here?). Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way’ plays an important role as Giacchino smartly weaves some of the song’s notes into Batman’s theme.
So, the song is present throughout the film, at times with lyrics and other times just the notes. A line such as “Underneath the bridge, the tarp has sprung a leak, and the animals I’ve trapped, have all become my pets,” just describes the soul of Batman.
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