Film Review – The Batman (2021)

films, reviews

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I would call myself a Batman fan but I also wouldn’t pretend that I was overly excited about the prospect of another film. Nothing to do with R Patz because I think that he’s a good choice. I also can’t help but love his sarcasm. Every interview he’s given to promote this film has been great. I just don’t know that we need to explore the character so soon after Christopher Nolan’s trilogy and The Justice League did their business. Especially as it’s become quite clear that we must take Batman seriously these days. It just becomes a bit of a drag.

Speaking of drags, how did I not know this film was nearly 3 hours long until I’d agreed to watch it? What is going on with the film industry these days? Every film is either under 96 minutes or well over 150 minutes. I understand that sometimes a film has to go on for that long but all of them? If you can’t tell your story in less than 2.5 hours then you need to question how complicated your story is.

In the case of The Batman, we were doing really well for the first 2 hours then I started to lose interest. It just dragged on so long but it didn’t seem to develop any of the characters beyond their basics. Now, I applaud the fact that this film expects people to know Batman by now. We didn’t need everything explained to us. However, it goes too far in the opposite direction. We don’t get to know any of the minor characters.

And there are some great actors in this cast who deserve more attention. Andy Serkis barely gets a look in as Alfred. Jeffery Wright’s James Gordon is just the overlooked Dr Watson to Batman’s Holmes. Zoë Kravitz gets a bit more to do but it mainly comes down to being sexy and badass. And I guess they could be leaving Colin Farrell’s Penguin for next time but I still wish he’d had more to do.

The only positive to this lack of characterisation is that more time is spent on the main man. One thing this film does get right is Batman. Robert Pattinson is great in the role and I think it was a clever idea to take the character back to his noir detective roots. It was wonderful watching him as he investigated the crimes rather than just having magic technology to tell him everything. As I said, the first 2 hours of the film are unbelievably good.

The story is dark and brooding as expected but it’s not a massive problem. There’s tension and moments are genuinely quite chilling. The opening sequence introduces us to three groups of criminals and suggests that Batman could be watching any of them. It’s creepy and shows how Batman works as a symbol. The story also gives Paul Dano’s Riddler the chance to build slowly. Making him all the more effective as a villain.

It’s after he’s been captured that things go south. That’s when the film goes back to being like every other Batman film. I couldn’t wait for it to end. Then the final reveal about Bruce’s connection to it all feels very disappointing. Not worth the effort. Although, that’s not to say the film isn’t worth the effort. It actually has got me a little excited to see where we go next. Something that I didn’t think was possible before I watched it.

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