Warner Bros. Studios
Nolen Kelly, Editor
On a recent rewatch of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” I fell into a deep depression and found myself screaming in a hotel room, because while Ben Affleck was fine as the Batman, the writing for the rest of his movie is some real bad stank. With the upcoming release of Matt Reeves’ newest entry in the Bat Pantheon, “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson (“Twilight,” “The Lighthouse”) and Zoë Kravitz (“X-Men,” “Divergent”), it looks like something we have not seen before in a Batman movie. In terms of a character focus on the Dark Knight and a villain that feels eerily like Paul Dano (“There Will be Blood,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) as a real serial killer, “The Batman” is new and exciting and you should be excited that it’s here.
The last time there was an air-tight Batman movie was 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” which was a frantic story of chaos and pushing heroism to its limits. “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012 was good, but had some unfortunate weak writing at points and a so-so ending. It has been 14 years since Batman was treated like a necessary protector of Gotham while also being shown as a fatally flawed human. Zack Snyder (“Watchmen,” “Justice League”) is not a very good character writer, in my opinion. He may have a good character or two in the majority of his movies, but none of them have good writing to back them up. The biggest intrigue of Batman is how he is still just a man — money and gadgets aside. Snyder kept all of those things in the background of his interpretation and it all felt lost, like this was not even really Batman. Batman has existed in movies since “Batman: The Movie” in 1966, and was first depicted as a serious character in “Batman” (1989), but a true representation of the flawed billionaire Bruce Wayne as the Batman has been missing for over a decade.
Director Matt Reeves has a small resume, but it consists of some notable movies. He directed the found monster footage classic “Cloverfield,” as well as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” with a writing credit on the latter. If you haven’t seen those two then you should know that Matt Reeves is really good at making a movie with an abstractly quirky concept seem kind of like a nightmare. The two “Apes” movies are very good and when it was announced Reeves would be taking on the Bat in his next project, it made a lot of sense to me. I know not many know his name yet, but it is a name worth investing in. One of the first pieces of info released about the movie was the casting of Pattinson, and if you’ve been on the Robert revival train like I have, then this is a baller move.
There’s not much need to dwell on “The Twilight Saga” Pattinson started his career with, because those jokes have already been made about the hilarious vampire parody series and now it’s time to finally begin to recognize Robby as the actual dark, brooding, Death-Grips-listening, fan-trolling, Adidas-track-suit-wearing acting chameleon he really is. “The Devil All the Time” showed he can pull off a predatorial southern preacher, “Tenet” proved Pattinson can more than handle himself in the up-its-own-a**-ness of a Christopher Nolan movie, “High Life” showed a soft and caring father of an infant facing impending doom in the form of a black hole and “Good Time” was a tense day in the life of Pattinson as a bank robber and it ruled. Ever since his big push, the B-tier Edward Cullen actor has been on a killer hot streak. Now is the time to invest in Pattinson as an actor. With “The Batman,” there could not have been a better actor working today that can bring each of their previous roles into a new role that also fits that personality better than Pattinson. But Pattinson isn’t even the only perfect fit in this movie.
Dano, Kravitz and Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld,” “No Time to Die”) as The Riddler, Catwoman and Commissioner Gordon respectively are all flawless casting decisions. Dano is another wickedly talented chameleon who always delivers a top quality performance, especially in “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Prisoners.” Kravitz is another up and up talented actress that seems to be getting better in every role she takes on. See “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “X-Men: First Class.” Wright is Commissioner Gordon and, while his backlog may not all completely support this choice, it still makes sense. Wright is a soft spoken yet super dramatic actor who knows how to put himself in each role he is in, especially in “Casino Royale” and “Westworld.” From all of the trailers and character posters released so far, it looks like Dano’s iteration of Riddler is heavily inspired by The Zodiac Killer, David Fincher movies and the Riddler character from the “Arkham” video games. Talking in rhymes, threats against Batman but with actual weight to it, mysterious symbols and disturbing methods of torture all increase Paul Riddler’s chances of becoming one of the best comic villains portrayed in a live action movie. I didn’t even get to mention Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “The Lobster”) as The Penguin yet, that’s how incredible this cast is.
Somewhere someone who likes movies or comics might read all of this and still not be excited for this movie and that is kind of baffling. Are you still not convinced? Fine. Here are some actually awesome facts about “The Batman” that will hopefully make you a convert to the cause for the cowl.
- Reeves has stated the inspiration for this Batman is “1970s movies, 1980s comics and Kurt Cobain” of Nirvana. The first trailer released in 2020 featured Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” as the backing track.
- The movie follows Batman in his second year as a crime fighter, so this hopefully means we will be skipping an origin story.
- And, speaking of origin story, the bat symbol in his chest is made of the gun that Joe Chill used to shoot his parents, cut in half and shaped like a bat.
- In many scenes it is said they used the same technology “The Mandalorian” uses, a giant computerized screen with the backdrop rather than always using a green screen or digitized effects.
- ”The Eternals” actor Barry Keoghan is rumored to have a spot in this movie as another villain.
- Alfred is played by Serkis, best known for playing Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” movies and Emperor Snoke in “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi,” which is a big freaking deal because Serkis is still really cool.
- The batmobile will be a muscle car with a big a** turbo engine on the back instead of a comically large tank and it is equally as cool as previous batmobiles.
- Farrell’s Penguin is inspired by Fredo Corleone from “The Godfather.”
- Composer Michael Giacchino has previously done scores for Jon Watts’ “Spider-Man” trilogy, “Up” and “Lost.”
I am excited for this movie, and it seems there is a lot of excitement for it, but, in my humble eyes, it feels like it could be way bigger. I have Nirvana’s “In Utero” angel tattooed on my leg and I played and loved all of the “Arkham” games, yes, all of them. “The Dark Knight” is my favorite movie of all time and I wrote this article as a magnum donker of a love letter to a movie that has not been released yet. You clearly see my passion for this movie and I hope you find some excitement in you too. If this changed a few minds on how great this movie will be then I’m glad I did my job. If the movie bombs and is actually a mess (it won’t be) then you should never listen to me again. “The Batman” will be in theaters March 4.