So here we are. My generation’s Batman. Batman’s my age now. Crazy. It’ll happen to you too, kids.
The film is dark. Not just in tone and execution, but dark like as in how it’s shot. I had trouble picking things out sometimes. It Broods with a capital B. It plods along at steady pace. Soooo many dramatic pauses, people looking at each other saying nothing, walking slowly, everyone — not just Batman — talking in that low, scratchy, dramatic voice. It seems to mistake all this plodding and darkness for depth.
It’s not perfect but it didn’t need to be — it needed to live up to expectations and I’m tentatively going to say that, for the most part, it does. The Nirvana song works well I guess but it’s so weird and random (Is Kurt Cobain in this reality? Why specifically ‘Something in the Way’, which will now be forever synonymous with Batman for teenagers and kids?). It does NOT beat out The Dark Knight, which threaded the needle between art and commerce/fantasy and realism so well it’s unlikely to ever happen again.
There’s some true originality here — I loved the intro where criminals tremble at the shadows, and I loved some specific shots (the beginning and end of a car chase, strobe flashes as Batman’s armor deflects bullets in pitch black combat, the Riddlers’ first reveal). The Se7en comparisons are warranted, though sometimes the movie seems like it’s taking a little too much from Se7en and The Dark Knight (the interrogation scenes are distractingly similar, and you can’t look at the Riddler’s apartment or his journals and not think of John Doe). But the mystery unravels compellingly and competently, if slowly. My friends and I have always wanted a David Fincher Batman (because we’re basic nerdy suburban white male millennials, it’s true), and it looks like this is the closest we’ll ever get.
Pattinson is a worthy Batman and I’m looking forward to seeing him play the role for the 2020s. People are calling him emo. Maybe he’s emo Bruce Wayne, but he seemed pretty traditional Batman to me. I wish he’d of narrated more. Zoe Kravitz is kind of nothing special here, but it’s not entirely her fault — the role by definition isn’t anything special. It just gives us exactly what we’re expecting and nothing more and I guess that’s fine. Jeffrey Wright is Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, and that’s also fine. Colin Farrell is the real treat here, relishing his Penguin role, the only actor playing a full blown “character”, and the only character who provides something…