I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this (then why did you see it, dummy!) because whoever is in charge of grinding DC’s finest heroes from comic books into movies hasn’t quite managed to hit the Marvel Studios level of grandeur and entertainment. Yup, they take themselves far too seriously.
The Batman should be different though; it’s meant to be taken far too seriously. In that regard, they hit the mark: the film is somber (bordering on the gothic), shot mostly at night or in the dark. (Can no one living in the Wayne Mansion remember where the light switches are?)
The writers don’t bother spending an hour or so on Batman’s origin; they assume everyone knows it, and quite rightly so. If you don’t (for some reason) then there are plenty of hints along the way. Besides which, the movie already weighs in at 3 hours – any longer would’ve stretched the attention span of the most ardent Dark Knight fan.
But for the most part, it doesn’t feel like 3 hours. It moves pretty quickly and surprisingly smoothly, with an agonising, tragic performance from Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman (I mean that in a good way), and a similarly hard-bitten outing from Zoë Kravitz (Selina Kyle). Jeffrey Wright is a brilliant but underused James Gordon (not yet the police commissioner?), and Andy Serkis is a surprisingly young Alfred Penniworth – but maybe not so surprising because this is Batman Year Two: the dark knight is still inexperienced, still making mistakes, still angry and raw following the death of his parents. He’s already one hell of a detective though, and this is something that sets The Batman apart from the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney (let’s not talk about that one)/Bale/Affleck outings.
This one comes across as more of a film-noir detective movie: lots of corpses, lots of clues, lots of riddles to solve … part way through, I started to wonder what it would look like if they’d filmed it in black and white. I also wondered if it was really one for the kids.
Did I say it was too long? No, I didn’t, but I did think the last 45 minutes was a little bit dragged out, because (oddly enough) they tried to pack too much into it to set up for the sequel.
But I did enjoy it, and I reckon any Dark Knight fan will enjoy it too.
And if you’re a car fan, then there’s something in for you too.
I mean … wow!