Coming into 2022, The Batman was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. I’m a huge fan of superhero movies and we had been hearing for a while that this one was going to be very horror influenced. That combination is basically cinematic heaven for me, so I absolutely could not wait to see this film. And after finally getting the chance to watch it, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint.
Directed and co-written by Matt Reeves, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. It follows the Caped Crusader as he tries to decipher a series of puzzling clues left by the Riddler, a deranged serial killer who wants to purge Gotham of all its lies and deceit.
Since this is a horror website, let’s just get right to the elephant in the room. Is The Batman really a horror movie? Well, it’s not a straight-up horror film, but I’d say it has enough genre elements that horror fans are definitely going to get more out of it than non-fans. In particular, this iteration of the Riddler is basically a slasher villain.
When he goes after his victims, the only thing keeping the film PG-13 is the fact that it doesn’t show you all the gory details of his murders, but it shows you enough that those scenes feel like they were lifted straight out of a horror movie. The Riddler is brutal, he’s scary, and there’s even one part that reminded me a bit of The Strangers.
Then, later on in the film, after his killing spree is over, there’s a scene where the Riddler has a conversation with Batman and he’s genuinely terrifying even though he’s just talking. In fact, this scene even reminded me a bit of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Granted, the Riddler is very different from Hannibal, but they both have the same uncanny ability to be scary no matter what they’re doing.
On top of that awesome horror influence, The Batman excels on pretty much every other level too. Let’s start with the characters—there are a lot in this film, so I’m not going to go through them one by one. I’ll just say that the acting and the dialogue are both awesome, and the actors all had great chemistry with one another. It was a real pleasure watching these characters even when nothing particularly breathtaking was happening, so I never felt bored with the story.
That being said, there is one character I need to talk about in a bit more depth: Batman himself. If you only know Robert Pattinson from the Twilight movies, then you’re in for a real surprise here. He’s amazing in this role. When he walks around in the batsuit, he has such an imposing presence that you just know his enemies don’t stand a chance against him.
And when he has to prove it with his fists, he’s even better. This version of Batman has no qualms about beating villains to within an inch of their life, so when he goes to town on people, it’s a thing of violent beauty. Granted, since this movie is PG-13, it doesn’t show the violence in all its bloody glory, but you see more than enough to know this guy means business.
Pattinson is also good as Bruce Wayne, but he doesn’t get enough time outside the batsuit to make much of an impression. He’s Batman for about 90% of his screen time, so we barely ever see the man behind the cowl. Pattinson gets enough to do that I’m confident he’ll totally nail this side of the character in future films, but as far as this movie goes, Bruce Wayne is almost completely overshadowed by his caped alter ego.
Moving to the action, this just might be my favorite part of The Batman. As much as I love Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, their one big flaw is that the action scenes have way too many cuts in them. It’s often nearly impossible to tell what’s going on when Batman is fighting, but I never felt that way with this movie. The action scenes here are as clear as the ones in the John Wick films, and Pattinson makes every single punch look as real as I’ve ever seen in any Batman movie.
Last but not least, let’s talk a bit about the story. This is where The Batman really sets itself apart from every other live-action iteration of the Dark Knight. Since the film is about a serial killer who leaves behind a series of intriguing clues, it’s more of a murder mystery than anything else, and Batman really gets to show off his detective chops in a way we’ve never seen before.
Sure, other versions of the character have had to solve mysteries, but we’ve never really seen him do it. Those other films just show us bits and pieces of his detective work, and then they move on to other things—but not this one. This movie is all about Batman using his powers of deduction to piece together what the Riddler is trying to tell him, and it’s fascinating. It’s a gripping story that kept me on the edge of my seat just about the entire time, so it made the three-hour runtime fly by way more quickly than it had any right to.
That being said, The Batman isn’t a perfect film. I don’t have any major gripes with it, but I have to acknowledge that the third act isn’t as good as the first two. I won’t spoil anything, so I’ll just say that the story changes gears a bit, and while it’s still really good, it’s just not quite as interesting as what came before it.
But that’s obviously a very minor complaint, so on the whole, I’m happy to say that I absolutely loved The Batman. It’s one of the best Batman movies ever made (although The Dark Knight still tops it), and Robert Pattinson just might be my new favorite Batman. Admittedly, that could very well be my out-of-the-theater high talking, so I might have to give the film some more time to really sink in. But even if I end up changing my mind about that, Pattinson is still fantastic in the role. If you’re a fan of Batman, superheroes, or horror-tinged crime thrillers, you should go out and see this movie as soon as you can. It’s that good.
The Batman is playing in theaters right now.