Film Review: Riddles For The Bat

The Batman is the latest superhero DC film featuring Gotham’s caped hero. Matt Reeves is the director and also co-wrote the script with Peter Craig. Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl and leads a pretty impressive cast. The cast includes Zoe Kravitz, John Turturro, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell.

The mayor of Gotham City is murdered and a riddle is left for Batman to ponder. Other members of Gotham’s elite class are targeted by the Riddler. Batman also has an uneasy alliance with catlike vigilante named Selina Kyle. He learns some family secrets connected to the gangsters. The Penguin is the number one henchman of Carmine Falcone, so the audience gets to see another version of another classic villain. The Riddler has also set in motion a plan that will kill more than just a few power players in the city.

This absurdly long film turned out to be a little better than I had heard, but it has more than a few cracks. There was very little humor or lightness that was a bit more prevalent in some of the previous films. Part of the problem here is that this version of Bruce Wayne was so much more brooding than originally depicted. Batman is motivated by basically avenging the murder of his parents, however there was still a separation between Wayne and his Dark Knight persona. Wayne has usually been at least approachable and charming. There was none of that in Pattinson’s portrayal here. Pattinson did not put forth much of an effort to produce a different voice when in costume, and I was fine with that decision. The Batman actor producing a growling whisper or whatever to disguise his voice can be a bit distracting, and it was nice to be able to hear all of the dialogue for once. The film also didn’t need to be three hours long.

Some of the other cast members were pretty compelling. Turturro is almost always fun to watch, and he came through here as usual. The design of Gotham City teetered on the edge of being a bit garish in its griminess, but I ended up rather impressed with some of the imagination brought to life. When Dano was finally unmasked, I ended up rather approving of his casting as the Riddler. Serkis plays the loyal Wayne butler, Alfred Pennyworth, and he is fine.

The film ended up not being a complete mess, but I enjoyed many of the previous iterations better.

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