By Maggie Ma
As one of the most popular characters in DC Comics, Batman has been adapted to the big screen many times before, the newest version of “The Batman”, which will be released on March 4, is very different from all the past versions, not only because it’s more like a detective noir rather than a super-hero movie but also because this is the youngest Batman we have ever seen and he is still struggling with the death of his parents , at the same time, trying to figure out his path to become a hero.
When the new Batman movie was announced , some fans had doubts about it because they had seen the Ben Affleck’ version of Batman , who is middle-aged and wore a very heavy armor in “Justice League” and “Batman Vs Superman”. Some of the fans who love this version expected a stand-alone Batman movie staring Affleck. And even Affleck himself had ideas how to continue with the character and even wanted to direct it. However, Warner Bros wanted to take a different approach. After the success of “The Joker” , they are seemed more interested in a character study drama that can have more complicated characters rather than a typical super-hero action movie. So they brought in director Matt Reeves from the “The Planet Of The Apes” series. Reeves’ approach is to recreate a much younger Batman that just started his crime-fighting career, someone who is a vigilante but still in the process of figuring things out. This batman is also set outside of DCEU continuity.
After the recent screening of this film to the critics, everyone’s feedback is this feels like a detective film, and pays more attention to suspense and character portrayals, rather than audiovisual bombing on special effects. What is even amazing is that there are almost no action scenes in the first half of the film, which is a suspenseful crime detective movie.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman called himself “ the vengeance” and is clearly much more comfortable wearing the batman suit rather than being the millionaire Bruce Wayne. The very short time that we will see him as Bruce Wayne in the movie, he looks tired and sad, completely different from other Bruce Wayne in the previous Batman movies. He didn’t have fancy cars, girlfriends or high-tech weapons, instead, he make his own weapons and suit. Thus there weren’t that many big action sequences in this one compare to Christopher Nolan’s version. And when Batman fights, he does more hand to hand combat, which is more intense and violent. However, there is still a long car chasing scene showing how fearless and angry he is .
Matt Reeves mentioned this movie was inspired by “Zodiac” type series-killer movie in early promotion of the film. The Riddler is indeed like Zodiac killer who loved to leave puzzles after he killed and hoped to have the police and Batman’s attention. So this Riddler is very different from someone like Jim Carry’s old version but much darker and complicated. He also has the same agenda as Batman: try to find out the truth about Gotham City, making them as two sides of the coin. They even dress similar too . They need each other to get to the core of the corruption. This adaption of Riddler is brilliant and made a serial killer that is much darker and complicated, also mysterious. Through him, the batman also will find out more about the city and his family he thought he knows.
Selina Kyle(the Cat Woman), who is played by Zoë Kravitz also helped Batman to solve the mystery of Gotham City. In this movie, Selina was not really called the Cat Woman yet even she did has a lot of cats. Like Batman , she is also a character came from a family tragedy and quite lonely. We see her grew tougher and tougher in this film. Selina and Bruce in this film are also quite similar in terms of liking dressing up at night to go undercover in the city. They clearly have intension and heat between them but also can’t help but falling into each other. In the most recent comics, Bruce and Selina are now married but Pattinson and Kravitz ‘s characters aren’t quite there yet, but there are flirting between them.
Oswald who is played by an unrecognizable Colin Farrell is also not the Penguin we know yet. He may not have too many scenes in this movie but Colin Farrell had left quite an impression to the audiences. We know there is a criminal still on the lose and has the potential to become someone more dangerous to the city.
The film can be seen as the beginning of a larger franchise. This one just to set the tone and develop main characters but there are so much more to come. This movie gives audience a fresh start and something exciting to look forward too. It was a little long in terms of the running time and some certain scenes I believe can be shortened, but in general, it dived into the backgrounds of some familiar characters and brings something fresh out to the audiences. Pattinson’s batman indeed looks younger, stronger, cooler but also more naïve and more rebellion than other batmen. It will help to appeal to more younger audiences.
The Batman will be released in theater on March 4th. And this time it will not be on HBOMAX at the same time. It will be on HBOMAX on April 19th.