‘The Batman’ engages viewers

The renowned vigilante returns after a decade


Fair use from DC Films.

Colin Canaday

A decade after the 2012 release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the first Batman film to earn one billion dollars  — and arguably one of the most ambitious films involving Batman to date, the beloved vigilante has returned in the 2022 release of “The Batman,” a film that lives up to the expectations set by previous films.

Starring Robert Pattinson, I initially didn’t have high hopes for the film. My only point of reference to Pattinson’s acting came from knowing he starred in Twilight  — a film with little appeal to me. Even so, this weariness was misplaced; Pattinson wonderfully portrayed and continued the Batman legacy, and, perhaps specifically because I knew so little of his other work, the connection of him being the new face of Batman was seamless.

Hosting a nearly three-hour runtime, this film is not short by any means. Although I initially struggled to understand the reason for such a long runtime, assuming it was filled with unnecessary exposition, I was pleasantly surprised by the easy-to-follow flow of the movie. As I had guessed, the movie, like most, was filled with exposition  — but in no way did I ever feel like it bogged down or took away from the movie. 

While some films may focus too heavily on ensuring that a viewer understands some plot-point, I found that “The Batman” trusts its audience to follow the plot, only gently and briefly explaining mildly confusing segments. As the plot, at least partly, revolves around demasking and catching the Riddler  — what one would assume would be an incomprehensible, difficult-to-follow, task  — the ease at which the plot unfolded and was demonstrated was a breath of fresh air and quite surprising.

Although the Riddler is certainly the primary antagonist of the film, that does not mean the plot solely revolves around him. There are a whole host of other characters, each with their own motives, goals and intentions. The ideas and constructs of these characters are developed independently from the overarching goal of catching The Riddler, yet seamlessly tie back into the main conflict by the end of the film.

Another element of the film which I very much enjoyed was the music. Tracks like “Something In The Way” by Nirvana provide a dark tone that complements the gloominess of Gotham in the rain, while newly composed tracks add suspense while not taking away from what is happening on screen. Composed by Michael Giacchino, whose work has appeared in films such as Inside Out, Spider-Man, Star Trek  — and many, many other notable blockbuster films  — the success of this soundtrack is of no surprise.

The ending of the film perfectly falls in line with the themes present in the rest of the film  — mystery and intrigue. While there is certainly a resolution to the conflicts in the films, the ending drives home the point that there is still much work to be done in Gotham. With this obvious foreshadowing to future films, I am excited to see where these new characters and plotlines will take us.