‘The Batman’: an instance of horror and misinterpreted heroism

‘The Batman’: an instance of horror and misinterpreted heroism

Brandt Stewart, Sports Editor

The recent appearance of a new Batman movie on March 4 was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Taking spot 14 in the Batman film continuum, Robert Pattinson had numerous expectations to meet entering his role. The problem is, he didn’t meet them.

Pattinson’s interpretation of the titular character in “The Batman” differentiates from previous Batman flicks. It is commonly known that the Batman role has two parts included in the package—the masked vigilante Batman, and the wealthy hereditary Bruce Wayne. Both of these personas were altered greatly in the film, directed by Matt Reeves, who co-wrote the script with Peter Craig. The goal of these two was to portray a Batman that had never before been seen on the big screen in negligence of the past representations of the character to give the audience something fresh to work with. Although they may have not met the expectations conceived by previous experiences with other Batman characters, they certainly met their goal to produce a new take. Bruce Wayne and Batman are personified as more ‘human’ and are significantly grittier than Christian Bale’s slick professional and Ben Affleck’s aging grouch of Bruce Waynes. 

Throughout the film, both Wayne and the Bat appear increasingly unconventional in their dark appearance, provided by Michael Giacchino’s excellent score, and darker lighting and shadows to evoke the shadowy mood. Wayne appears brooding in a basement with greasy slivers of hair dangling before him while black mascara streaks down his face. Batman is seen earlier pounding savagely on some muggers before the eyes of the mugging victim who can’t seem to tell the difference between Batman and the beat-down criminals.

The film in itself protrudes an aura of fright compared to the aforementioned Bale and Affleck movie, as they both are relatively bloodless and lacking in gore. This new film sets the stage as being more of a horror than a superhero movie, completely in a league of its own with regards to the fear factor that is heavily present throughout the plot. Though it is rated PG-13 in the United States, the film is not recommended for children with its mixture of grittiness and horrific attributes that dominate the near three-hour procession of intense panic and dread.

The setting takes place in an apocalypticand symbolicGotham City that is infested with street crime and degradation. Batman is two years into his career as the Caped Crusader and he is followed on his self-proclaimed duty to end said crimes, taking it as a personal vendetta when considering the legacy of his dead father, Thomas Wayne. As he works to cease the miniscule crimes flooding the streets, Batman comes to find himself face-to-face with a much grander objective, subsequently linking him to David Fincher’s serial killer, leaving the masked vigilante tantalizing clues as to why murders are being committed. The use of Fincher demonstrates the horror-esque aspects of the film, with the appearance of the again murderous character as seen in Zodiac (2007) and Seven (1995). 

The story is more of a detective mystery than past Batman adaptations, using the cryptic clues of the killer to advance the plot and give Batman edgy challenges that increasingly scare the audience and portray both Bruce Wayne and Batman, in the same person, as perhaps dubious in their heroism. Although our “hero” may not be much of one, Batman continues his trek through the underground of Gotham, relentlessly trying to unravel the mystery that is both the killer’s motive and his own integrity. 

While on the topic of character development, the film doesn’t do an excellent job of helping the audience understand the characters behind the masks, not just with Batman, but also with the character Selina Kyleor Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz). This failure to unmask the characters is a result of the many plot twists throughout the movie, as it was more concerned with the primary exposition of the story rather than personal affiliation with the characters. This is also seen with Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the cop aide of Pattinson, who mostly works in the shadow of Batman’s spotlight, playing a small role in the unraveling of the mystery haunting Gotham City.

Though “The Batman” may not be fit for younger audiences and is quite long and slow at times, Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s creation uses unfamiliar incorporations in DC Comics’ Batman lineup that combine to create an intricate compound of excellent suspense, fear, action and thrill, making this film distinctive and memorable as a long-lasting iteration of our well-known Caped Crusader.

What did you think of ‘The Batman’? Let us know in the comments below.