Writer/director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) takes a stab at cinema’s most over-exposed superhero, casting Twilight‘s Robert Pattinson in the title role. Pattinson, totally fuckable in the cowl, plays detective with Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to determine the identity of a serial killer named ‘The Riddler’ (Paul Dano) who is offing political figures in an attempt to get Batman’s attention.
I didn’t want to see a new Batman movie — I think this is the 12th in my lifetime? — but I had a feeling Matt Reeves would bring something fresh to the table. Unfortunately, Reeves only succeeds in casting, as everyone up and down the roster pulls their weight in various roles. The Batman is otherwise a very, very long three-hour movie with about fifteen minutes of action spread throughout. The only memorable sequence is a mid-movie car chase that’s mostly given away in the trailers. The finale has a little bit of tension and thrills, but the rest of the movie is Batman talking with someone in one dark corner after another, stringing together clues like he’s in an overwrought procedural police TV show.
There’s also little escapist value to the movie. The production design and cinematography make you feel like you’re trapped in a large pile of rusted nuts and bolts, and Michael Giacchino’s minimalist score is a missed opportunity to draw out some much-needed emotion. The film’s only emotional promise comes in Batman’s potential love affair with Zoe Kravitz’s Cat Woman — a subplot that never really takes off.
While it’s a ponderously serious, dull and dreary affair overall, Reeves does get partial credit for addressing Batman’s rich, white male privilege for the first time, and for providing a third act socio-political twist that is very much a product of the time. With Colin Farrell, John Turturro, and Andy Serkis cast well in unnecessary roles that only make the movie feel longer.