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The Batman – Did It Meet Audience Expectations?

After the runaway performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it was inevitable that all eyes would be firmly planted on the next big superhero release, The Batman. Especially with Rob Pattinson, notable as the hearthrob vampire from the Twilight series, in an unexpectedly butch and difficult-to-carry role. Is the movie worth spending your hard-earn cash on for a cinema ticket? Should you skip this one altogether, or wait for a streaming release? We have the low down on the latest installment in the saga of the world’s most famous brooding superhero.

With the first global releases for the movie taking place from March 4th, with delayed rollout in some areas, hype for the film has been massive. Batman movies have something of a history of being hit and miss. For every The Dark Knight, we get a Batman & Robin. The Batman came with a massive marketing campaign built in- one of the largest we’ve seen post-pandemic, in fact- so did the hyp train derail, or does this new installment bring what audiences want to the table? Don’t worry, we’re taking a spoiler-free look at developments, so if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s safe to keep reading.

The Man Himself

There has been a lot of speculation- and criticism- around the casting of Robert Pattinson as Batman from the get go. In a world used to him only as the ill-fated Cedric Diggory and the brooding, somewhat wooden Edward Cullen, the idea of him taking on such an iconic, masculine superhero role seemed almost comical. 

Plus, the film itself has a lot to live up to. This is the first solo Batman release in a decade. You have the fans of Tim Burton’s absurdist style, Chris Nolan’s dark and brooding, complex hero, and Ben Affleck’s love-it-or-loathe hammy style all clamoring for a slice of the bat-pie. And, of course, there was a lot of fan-hate from the start for distancing this film from the most recent DC releases and Zack Snyder’s beloved crossover adaptations. What would director Matt Reeves dig up for us this time?

Reeves, seeing the film as a franchise reboot, chose to take the film in a direction we haven’t seen for a while, instead emphasizing Batman’s role as detective and removing many of the DC extended universe references. In fact, it’s hoped this film will launch its own extended Bat-verse, instead.

Ironically, Robert Pattinson is an acknowledged long-time Batman fan, and was pretty hungry for the role despite some early doubt on his ability to carry it. Backlash at the news was pretty fierce from some quarters- and, against all the odds, those same fans probably have a lot of egg on their face at the moment. Perhaps they should have looked back in the history of their beloved franchise and remembered similar treatments- and similar stellar performances- from both Michael Keaton’s Batman and Heath Ledger’s Joker.

In short, Rob does great. It’s a fantastic performance, remarkably well carried, and shows a depth of acting ability that might surprise those who only remember his foray as the sparkliest vampire in the world. This well could be one of the best portrayals of the Caped Crusader we’ve seen. This is a methodical, somber Batman, stoic and reserved but compelling. He has relatable flaws and a human side we rarely see. And he carries the action like…well, a superhero.

What About The Villains?

Naturally, no superhero movie would be complete without its cast of villains. As this film is intended as a genre-opener for a rebooted bat-verse, there’s plenty of teasing for all the old Batman favorites. Need to brush up on who that is? Try this handy infographic about Batman’s villains.

In some ways, the Batman Villain, with their hidden identity and different face presented to the world, have come to represent a lot about the modern world. Many of us want to blend into the shadows until we choose to step into the spotlight, and concerns about data privacy and who knows what about us have become more critical than ever. We want to know that our work persona and our home personas stay separate, that we can safely venture onto the net without worrying about who is tracking us and why, and that we can simply be who we choose when we choose.

The Riddler is our main antagonist for The Batman, but he’s far from the only villain present. We see short appearances from The Penguin and Catwoman, a nod to the Joker, the Trigger Twins, and even the Court of Owls, and teasing hints for Two Face and Bane. But we promised no spoilers, so we’ll say no more on that!

Is This A Different Batman From Older Ones?

Very much yes. While the original intent was to make this Batman installment a spinoff from the Zac Snyder and Ben Affleck movies, when it was taken over by Matt Reeves we saw it take on a whole new direction. While it shares some vague undertones with the darker Dark Knight trilogy, it’s very much its own, stand-alone installment as well as the first of its own little universe to hit the screens. With spin-offs and sequels both being teased, however, it won’t remain on its own for long.

This was a novel, exciting, and well made take on the Caped Crusader, and with a stellar performance from its cast, especially Rob Pattinson as the Batman himself, it’s a delight for comic book fans and superhero movie lovers alike. It’s great to see the film prove naysayers wrong, as well as live up to the extensive hype created by its marketing machine and the delays getting it onto our screens (it was originally supposed to release in July 2021).

If you’re looking for a somber, but fun and entertaining, movie to reacquaint yourself with the Bat-verse as its own entity, instead of merely another DC spinoff, there’s nothing better than The Batman to get you excited. We were thrilled with it – it’s definitely time to go grab your own tickets, too!

 

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