A sadistic serial killer named the Riddler begins murdering key political figures in Gotham City, claiming it is all to reveal the truth and the bigger picture about the corrupt city. Batman begins to investigate and learns some interesting things about the Wayne families past.
The opening scene was a rather impressive way to set the tone for the whole film and lets viewers know it is going to be a little bit different, which was certainly a good thing that’s for sure. Bruce Wayne speaking over the top of it and explaining what Batman currently represents in Gotham and how the signal sends fear to the criminals doing wrong, waiting for someone to appear from the shadows.
Focus is well and truly on Batman and how he is attempting to help Gotham and change what is has become about, with plenty of crime and families battling to be at the top of the chain. Massive corruption within the Police Department and politics all linking together with the Riddler wanting to expose it all to the people of Gotham. Doing this by not only killing different men, but then having riddles left for The Batman and messages with the way he kills them.
I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of a link to Se7en when watching the film and that tense nature linked to the serial killer and sadistic nature that came along with it. Something that I was not really expecting before seeing the film, although I wasn’t really sure which direction it was all going in from the trailers and it was as dark as we all could hope for really.
The biggest plus though I felt was that we didn’t have to go through an opening scene or even a flashback scene seeing Thomas and Martha Wayne being killed (again) and I felt that was a massive positive. In terms of Bruce Wayne he is a recluse and never seen around Gotham, even being a target of the Riddler and told he must pay for the sins of his father. This naturally causes distress as he then wonders if his father was actually the man he thought. Alfred attempting to help him with this and being a support for the Batman project.
We are given a lot of characters we have known in the past as well with some differences. Selina Kyle was a joy and the cat burglar change was very welcomed, attempting to find her friend who she fears will be killed and trying to settle scores of her own past was great to see unfold. Penguin/Oz in a very different way and not (yet) a leader and more of a foot solider for those more powerful. James Gordon as a lieutenant and the only one Batman will trust, attempting to actually be fair within the GCPD when it is all crashing around him.
The film has plenty of different twists and turns that I am obviously not going to spoil, but it really is done in a spectacular manner that’s for sure! It doesn’t rely on making a big deal of the suit or cars and in that sense was low key, even though the suit was great! It actually had a few amusing moments as well, showing that it was not actually easy for Batman to “fly” and escape from buildings and I thought that was refreshing.
Performances are super impressive and the casting was so very spot on, isn’t it funny that a lot of the times with these films everyone causes a fuss before giving the actors a chance? Robert Pattinson was a great Batman and the intensity he brought to it was a joy to watch, I will admit though that I wasn’t the biggest fan of his Bruce Wayne (although we didn’t get a massive amount of him really so might seem a little harsh) as he was a little bit boring but it does set up an arch for some amazing character development if we get more films.
Zoe Kravtiz was a massive surprise in terms of the level of her performance and really brought new dimensions to the character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and that is a massive positive. I have lost count now for the number of times I have praised Jeffrey Wright, and well I am going to again. I adored his Gordon as we instantly just were on his side and cared about what happened to him, working very well with Pattinson it was a pretty impressive double act! Andy Serkis has the potential to be a very good Alfred as well, again we didn’t get a massive amount of him with not having a huge Bruce focus.
I still cannot accept that is Colin Farrell under all of that for Penguin, you seriously would have no clue at all if you didn’t already know it was him. He had some fantastic moments and even had a few funny lines as well. John Turturro felt so naturally evil as Falcone and that casting was spot on. The absolute scene stealer and top performance had to come from Paul Dano, even though before his mask was taken off I actually forgot which actor was the Riddler. He was off the way crazy and delivered it all so effortlessly.
The Batman pushes the boundaries and managed to be a very impressive thriller of a film that even could have small links to some horror films in recent years. Leaving a lot of action behind to be in the thriller genre in my opinion and it was therefore very refreshing to watch. A running time of 2 hours and 55 minutes and I didn’t really think it felt that length as it moved at a decent pace.