Matt Reeves is a freaking genius.
From Cloverfield to Let Me In, and then onto the successful Dawn reboot of the Planet Of The Apes, he just gets it. And maybe it’s that kind of sensibility and progeny which has handed over to his truly excellent reboot of The Batman.
THE LONG HALLOWEEN
It’s October 31st. We know this because Robert Pattinson‘s Bruce Wayne tells us. You also get a sense of motivation from this version of the character to fix Gotham no matter the personal cost. A notebook closes with the title ‘YEAR TWO’ on the front. He knows enough and is established enough to become vengeance. Something he reminds us of after beating up a posse of clown-faced thugs. But as is any insane thing coming to life which commits vengeance, so must its opposite. What is the word riddle?
Paul Dano‘s insane Riddler had already adorned the screen by this time. Heavy breathing hides behind binoculars which become the precursor for his first act. Calling upon the world’s greatest Detective to detect and find the answer in clues left behind, it was satisfying to finally see Batman being a Batman. That’s not to say we haven’t seen inklings of it before. But there is a moment where a good 5 to 10 minutes is spent on the anatomy of a crime scene. Then Bruce sees the mirror of himself in a newly orphaned child because The Batman sure loves imagery!
Lieutenant James Gordon, played wonderfully by the always great Jeffrey Wright, is the only cop on the Bats side as events start to unfold. The underworld of Gotham rises to meet Bruce, bringing to light the likes of Oswald Cobblepot (whom I simply must describe as ‘a transformative performance’ from Colin Farrell) and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). And the twins from Desperate Housewives show up! We are also introduced to Selina Kyle, played incredibly by Zoë Kravitz. This cat still loves the heist, but it’s a little more sentimental. While Pattinson delivers a suitably moody Bats, who is very much Batman wearing a mask as Wayne, it’s Dano and Kravitz who shine. Driven by puzzles in the patterns, Dano’s unhinged Riddler provides a level of villain this Batman isn’t accustomed too. Parallel to this is Kraitz as Kyle. She provides an empathy and view on life which Bruce has forgotten to see through the lens of Batman.
NO MAN’S LAND
Michael Giacchino‘s outrageously good soundtrack continues to tailor the very layered and implicit film delivered by Reeves. Deliriously great cinematography compliments this, bringing to life one of the best live-action representations of Batman we’ve seen. Its action is more brutal, but relies more on Batman’s own ability to counter attacks rather than overpower them. This further supported by a moment where performance drugs are needed to counter! (or what may be a nice little nod to the setup of one performance-drugs-loving enhanced character). And the vehicles! I thought I wouldn’t be a fan of the more simple look, but you chuck that puppy on Dolby Atmos and we’re SINGING.
The Batman is remarkably good. Reeves has succeeded in providing another entry to the DC library of films which lives up to other successes such as The Suicide Squad and Nolan’s own trilogy. Talking to the world which makes up the man, The Batman has to get his hands dirty because he must. And how that feeds into who he’ll become because of this, will hopefully come to head in their next story.
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
Matt Reeves has created an exceptional live-action Batman.
With an outstanding cast delivering aside the action, THE BATMAN is very much about Batman. Bruce Wayne is simply a way for them to navigate this path they've taken, to repair the city they love.
Glorious sound and scenes send the Bat soaring to new heights, in what will hopefully be a new defining chapter for the Caped Crusader. Outstanding.