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The bleaker the better: “The Batman” is a dismal delight

The bleaker the better: “The Batman” is a dismal delight

Already the title cramming the screen with towering red bold print blurts out that Matt Reeves sinister superhero saga doesn’t want to be The Batman as much as a new Joker. But the script the director-writer penned with Peter Craig decidedly the psychological depth and moral ambiguity to which it aspires. A gorgeously gloomy Gotham drenched in deceptive darkness oozes destructiveness and disillusionment in this cautionary tale about the slippery slope of self-administered justice.

The pondering plot is entertainingly effective when treating Bob Kanes source material as an outline to color in theatrical but tangible antagonists such as Paul Dano’s Zodiac-styled sociopath The Riddler or near unrecognizable Colin Farrell’s Penguin, but ultimately can’t resist the epic exaggeration that threatens to make this depressive Dark Knight (Robert Pattinson) more comical than comic-like. Leaps in logic are blown away by explosions as harmless as the Riddler’s supposedly ingenious puzzles.

Constantly masked, Pattison isn’t allowed to portray the inner conflicts of rich reclusive Bruce Wayne, who’s almost as underwritten as Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz, reduced to flirtatious fighting). Drained by a surfeit of supervillains like his weary vigilante, Reeves smothers narrative development, with blatant backstories and verbose voice over. Questions of righteousness, fallibility and self-delusion are wiped away with the contrite notion that everyone makes mistakes – as this aesthetically pleasing, dramaturgically roughed up reboot proves.

  • OT: The Batman
  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Screenplay: Peter Craig, Matt Reeves
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 175 min. 
  • Cast: Zoë Kravitz, Robert Pattinson, Barry Keoghan, Paul Dano, Amber Sienna, Colin Farrell, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright, Elena Saurel, John Turturro, Iana Saliuk, Rupert Penry-Jones, Todd Boyce, Max Carver, Charlie Carver
  • Release date: 03.03.2022
  • Image © Warner Bros.