I’ll warn you upfront that this is not a glowing review, as 2022’s The Batman is not my favorite entry into the Batman movie collection. Also, I am not promising this review will be spoiler-free, but I will try and avoid any big reveals, or at least warn you first. I have lots of thoughts about this movie and may jump around a bit. I feel like it has potential, and I know some people will like its “grown-up” feel, but I felt like it was missing some emotion in favor of just being a dark depressing tale with no real triumph.
The Darkest Dark Knight
Let’s start with this- the movie is dark. Both visually and the storyline. It is so dark, that at one point near the end Batman lights a flare and I was like “Too bright! My eyes!” It is also really long, so at 2 hours and 47 minutes, plus previews, it equals to nearly three hours of watching Robert Pattison walk slowly, scowl, sulk and let his hair fall into his black smeared eyes like a ’90s emo kid. It would probably be a much shorter movie if we didn’t have to watch Batman’s boots walk slowly through puddles so many times. They were really focused on showcasing those boots.
The overall tone is dark, ominous and heavy. More of a murder mystery thriller than a superhero movie, with a few influences from movies like Saw and Seven. I do not recommend bringing the kids- and it’s not because of sex or violence. It’s because they will be bored to tears with the long slow movie that’s missing a lot of what makes Batman….Batman. There’s no bat cave, no cool car collection, no suave Bruce Wayne and barely any cool bat gadgets. Instead of the villain asking, “Where does he get these wonderful toys?” There was just me wondering where all the toys and cool cars had gone.
Robert Pattison’s Batman
I’ll admit, Pattison does a good job of looking good in his bat suit. But when he takes it off, it reminds me of when you attend a costume party, meet a cute guy, and when you see him out of costume you’re like, “I’ve made a terrible mistake…put that back on.”
Maybe it’s because he just looks depressed the whole time, but his Bruce Wayne look did not work for me. His portrayal of Batman almost seemed asexual. I missed the flirty chemistry between Batman and Catwoman that Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer did so well. (Warning, Possible spoilers ahead) There are no sparks flying between the Bat and the Cat in The Batman, although they try. Catwoman does actually kiss him, twice!, and all Batman does is pensively stare at her, saying mostly nothing. There was really no reason for her to kiss him at all, except maybe to stop the staring contest from having their faces in close proximity.
And the movie made me wonder, why is he dressed like a bat anyway? There’s no explanation as to what prompted the crime-fighting costume. The whole movie is filled with rather normal looking characters and then you have this rando guy lurking around dressed like a giant bat with bat ears and a huge fluttery cape. Why does he even need a cape? At one point his suit turns into an inflated flying squirrel suit, and it’s not like his cape helped him fly. The cape seems like a real liability to me.
Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman
I feel like the costume designer really dropped the ball with this character, but that it was required to match the overall blah feel of the movie. Zoe Kravitz makes a great looking Catwoman, and the pixie haircut is very spot-on for comic book Selina Kyle, she just needs a better wardrobe…and a better storyline. I don’t think they even refer to her as Catwoman, they just kind of hint at it because she has a lot of cats. At one point, she even puts one on her motorcycle and all I could think was, “Wow, that is going to be one pissed off cat.”
She’s at least wearing a black catsuit, but that’s where the cool factor stops. Her headgear looks like she cut a hole in a beanie and just pulled it down over her face. The “cat ears” are barely noticeable little lumps. Her claws look like unpainted pointy Lee Press-ons. Her shoes aren’t even cool enough to get extra screen time devoted to them like Batman’s clunky boots. There’s no whip, no tail and none of the feline allure of previous Catwomen.
The do give her a backstory, which I will not reveal, but it was just as depressing as Batman’s and at that point you could just sum up the movie by saying, “It’s about two grown kids that could really use some therapy to deal with what happened to their parents, because it’s led to an unhealthy obsession with vengeance.”
He’s mad. She’s mad. Everybody is a criminal and the whole city is going to crap. As Nicholson’s Joker once said, “This town needs an enema.”
About the Villains
Batman has always had great campy villains to fight, but we get none of that in this serious, gritty take on Gotham. The villains we know by name and costume get boiled down to just a name. Colin Farrell is barely recognizable at The Penguin, but so is the character of The Penguin. If someone hadn’t actually called him The Penguin, I would not have guessed that the large scar-faced gangster guy was the Oswald Cobblepot. There’s nothing that really defines the character. Maybe he waddled, picked up an umbrella or a monocle and I missed it, but I didn’t see any reason to be calling him The Penguin at all.
And while The Riddler had some kind of new costume, there was nothing classic Riddler about it. He looked more like the Gimp in Pulp Fiction. He earned his name by presenting the cops with puzzles and riddles, and also brought in a weird torture element involving rats. Most of the movie revolved around trying to figure out his Riddle about “a rat with wings,” which if you are in Florida would mean he was looking for a seagull. (That is not actually the correct answer, so no spoiler there)
In the End
Don’t worry about waiting around for an end credits scene, because there isn’t one. But that doesn’t mean they don’t give you a little nugget to think about in the very last scenes of the movie. You get hints at a who the new villain might be in the next movie. And then the Bat and the Cat say their rather frigid goodbyes and ride off into the darkness of Gotham. The End.
If you saw the movie, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
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About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.
Categories: Culture, Movies & TV
Thanks for all that now I don’t have to go see the movie LOL
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Yeah you probably wouldn’t like this one, lol
LOL I found your review accurate. Especially from a female POV. No sparks and the bland kiss might only be bothersome to women.
I DID like the car scene and felt Colin did a great job because I didn’t recognize him at all. However I miss Danny DeVito’s penguin.
I think the male audience will appreciate the action scenes and the inner struggles Batman is facing as Bruce Wayne.
I think women will find that there’s no romance between Batman and Catwoman. She had a few wardrobe looks from The Nightlife, and let’s face it, Zoe looked amazing! But I did not like her mask and with a body like Zoe’s, they could have done better with her catsuit. The suit is basically a burglar’s suit- very utilitarian and had no sex appeal at all.
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Totally agree to all that! She looks great, but they could have done so much better than that burglar suit and terrible mask/hat thing.
I was also impressed with Colin’s transformation, but he didn’t look like an iconic Batman villain.
The action scenes were good, but if they were trying to throw some romance in there for the ladies, it just fell flat.