The Batman

The good: Robert Pattinson was great, the core plot was pretty interesting, the direction was pretty solid, and there are very few pieces in the film that I straight up disliked.

And yet. The gold standard for all Batman films is The Dark Knight ↗, a comparison that this film seems to relish in drawing, and it fails across most axes:

  • No offense to Dano, but his performance is muted and fairly one-dimensional here. Being stuck behind a mask (unlike Ledger's Joker) doesn't help things, of course, but his villain VORP is pretty low.
  • One thing that Nolan doesn't get a huge amount of credit for is his ability to execute on a scene-by-scene basis. Compare the chase scenes in TDK which are legible and intense to the main one here — which is muddled and overlong.

More than anything, though, this movie did not pass the "should a movie be longer than two hours?" test, and that's probably why I'm being as harsh as I am with a film that had lots of elements that I liked. Dano's character gets arrested with forty minutes of runtime left and of course there's another shoe to drop (this film does not trade in surprise), and we're left with a very hackneyed final act with exactly one good payoff ("What's your name?" "I'm vengeance.")

I think a really lean version of this movie could have come in at one hundred and thirty minutes and been a delightful noir film. Instead we needed a bunch of CGI flooding.

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© 2023 Justin Duke • I hope you're wearing your favorite sweater.