The Batman (2022) Movie Review


Something in the way

While The Batman doesn’t focus on Batman’s traditional origin story, the choice leads the audience to recognize the struggles that Bruce Wayne has to face while balancing his double life and maintaining that his true identity is kept secret from the public. Director Matt Reeves utilizes Nirvana’s hit song “Something in the way” to further establish the gloomy, yet breathtaking setting that is Gotham. Given that the song is played during both the beginning and end of the movie, it symbolizes the unchanging, yet distinct nature of Gotham. Batman describes that the city is “eating itself” and that he must do something to stop this. Nonetheless, there will always be “something in the way” for Batman as the ever-present population of mastermind criminals roams the streets. 

Set in the second year of his career as Batman, Wayne is still getting used to being a vigilante, still working on getting accustomed to the ever-crime-ridden burden the city presses against his mind. Wayne believes the city can change, believes that he can be the change the city needs. However, several twists in the storyline suggest that there may be more to Batman than his urge to unmask the truth. 


The Bat and the Cat

With Robert Pattinson cast as Batman and Zoe Kravitz cast as Catwoman, the two make the perfect dynamic duo. While Catwoman has been traditionally presented as a villain in the Batman movies, this Batman engages a new take- portraying her as a more sympathetic character. Throughout the movie, the audience learns more about Catwoman’s backstory- what shapes her to be the sly character she is. Given the chemistry between Pattinson and Kravitz, the relationship offers a new perspective to what the two stand for- justice. 


The Shadows (movie overview)

Rain splatters on the pavement of Gotham, the gloom of the day succumbs to the darkness known as the “everlasting state of night.” The streets are crowded with individuals, masked and in costume for Halloween, while the current mayor waits alone in his home as his child and wife immerse themselves in the trick-or-treating festivities. With the event of Halloween, there is violence- in which the golden-yellow light shows through the night sky of Gotham- the “bat signal,” a warning or distress signal to criminals. The opening scene along with Wayne’s voice-over parallels Batman’s identity- the idea of a mask. What compels an individual to wear a mask? The reasoning for shielding one’s identity is different from person to person. While trick or treaters use masks to impersonate a character, criminals, or the vigilante known as Batman, use such a mask to maintain their anonymity. The people of Gotham fear even the mere presence of the Batman, trembling at the idea that he might be lurking in the shadows, even though he “is the shadows,” always there in a sense that asserts his dominance in threatening situations. The quote in which Batman admits that he “is the shadows” is symbolic of the ever-present darkness that envelopes his frame, forever traumatized by the murder of his beloved parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. However, things are not quite as they seem. No one is a saint in Gotham. The movie reveals that there is more to the story of the Wayne murders, leading Wayne to question the morality of his parents’ flawed past. 


El Rata Alada

The intense opening of the movie, which opens with unsuspecting opera music, only builds suspense, as the audience views the violent event that occurs through the lens of the movie’s main antagonist, the Riddler- portrayed by Paul Dano. The scene both viciously and mysteriously depicts the actions of the Riddler and his motive to kill, in which each murder, he leaves notes labeled “to the batman.” The chilling yet clever nature in which the Riddler goes about his murders is defined by his distinct use of a coding system. Through a unique set of symbols, the riddler writes messages to Batman through a code, in which the Riddler’s victims serve as attachments or messengers for such statements. 

One of the distinct messages the Riddler communicates to Batman is “El Rata Alada”- the winged rat. A pigeon, a penguin, or perhaps… a bat? With such a message, Batman, along with the aid of commissioner James Gordon and Selina Kyle- Catwoman, work together to uncover the true identity of “the rat.” However, through the search for the rat, as addressed in one of the Riddler’s riddles, Batman discovers that the Riddler has a much greater plan for Gotham- one even more diabolical than anyone could imagine.


Justice is Served

All in all, The long-anticipated new Batman movie offers a breathtaking new perspective to the franchise. Not only does Pattinson offer a fresh perspective on Bruce Wayne with more depth to his character development, but he also addresses the struggles that pair with his burdensome role. While the movie may be nearly three hours in length, Director Matt Reeves ensures that each minute provides meaningful insight and content to the plot. Don’t be left in the shadows or let someone riddle you out of witnessing the masterpiece that is the Batman movie. If you do, you might come to find that the joke is on you.