FoCC Review: The Batman – Reborn

By Jason Delgado

Warning: this review contains light spoilers.

The Dark Knight is back on the silver screen, lurking in the shadows, and still learning on the job in what we find out is Year two for him as Batman. The Batmobile looks as cool as ever (and there’s a scene where it shoots out of a fiery car wreck, like a bat out of hell), but it has problems firing up. There’s a fun action sequence where Batman needs to glide through Gotham City with bat-like wings, giving a rush of excitement to both the character and the audience, yet the landing doesn’t come so easily. Batman is great at solving riddles, but he’s not yet “the world’s greatest detective.” I enjoyed this incarnation of the flawed Bat, because it makes him so much more relatable than certain previous seemingly impervious incarnations.

The look and feel of The Batman is on point, dark and gritty, with awe-inspiring gadgetry, yet still grounded in reality. Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and the entire cast are excellent, which is something that some fans (myself included) were concerned about when the casting news was announced that the former sparkling teen heartthrob would be in the title role. The “Pat Bat” comes off as a tortured soul, carrying the emotional weight of having seen his parents killed in front of him (thankfully, director Matt Reaves spares us from that scene being recreated yet again), while using that as fuel to try to do good in his own vigilante-like way. Zoe Kravitz is stunning, and radiates cool as Catwoman. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable, in a good way, as the mob boss, Penguin, and Jeffrey Wright is a perfect James Gordon.

A Batman movie is usually only as good as its villains, and the Riddler (Paul Dano) is worthy, if unspectacular. He comes across as a social media obsessed, less frightening version of Jigsaw from the Saw movies. There’s a bit of Seven/Zodiac in there as well. I wish that The Batman would have gone full on horror with the Riddler, instead of only teasing it. The movie could have used some more of the darkness of The Joker, while ironically, I felt that The Joker could have used a little levity, perhaps by inserting Batman in the film. A mix between the darkness of the two films would have struck a perfect tone for this movie, in my opinion.

The Batman is a good movie, but it never quite reaches greatness. There are some slow spots during the two hour and fifty-six minute runtime. It’s also the opposite of Spider-Man: No Way Home in that Spidey has an amazing finish, whereas The Batman is a better film in the first half (I love the Halloween setting at the start), but loses some momentum along the final stretch.

Matt Reaves has restored hope that Batman can be great once again. The character no longer totes guns or murders people as in the Synder version, which felt far off from the hero with whom many fans grew up. It’s a bit frustrating that all of the elements were in place for a truly special cinematic experience, but I’ll settle for the pretty good version with which we ended up.

I give The Batman three and a half hot sauce packets out of five. It’s spicy enough to heat up a bat for Ozzy Osbourne’s culinary delight.

P.S. – Nirvana’s Something in the Way and Michael Giacchino’s excellent, similar sounding to the song score set a dark, melodic tone that corresponds perfectly with the film throughout.

Jason Delgado

Jason is a CSULB film school alum and movie guy for Friends of Comic Con. He loves movies, TV, writing, comics, going to Cons, basketball (Lakers), music (all forms of rock + 90's hip hop), football (Chargers), his dog, and most importantly wife and newborn son. He's written a comedy/sci-fi script, and wants to write more in between raising a son. He doesn't often cosplay, but when he does, it's as Iron Fist. Follow him on Twitter @JasonDelgado78

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