To save the sceptics the effort of having to dig through the forthcoming observations and critiques, it might be best to get that one pressing question answered and out of the way: Yes, Robert Pattinson is EXCELLENT as Batman.
'The Batman' is dark, gripping, edgy and gritty. Beautifully shot, with tinges of black and red throughout, this film is terrifyingly topical at times, but filled with enough fantasy at others to remind you it’s not real.
'The Batman''s Gotham is laden with towering skyscrapers and a bustling, vibrant population, but when the sun goes down, the neon lights of clubs and late-night hangouts reflect eerily on puddles, streetlamps flicker, and, if you listen closely, whispers of the city's secrets can be heard between the rattle of passing trains.
This is where Batman thrives – “I am the shadows” – but Robert Pattinson's Batman isn't quite sure who he is. He is painted well here as a complex, lost soul dealing with trauma, trying to figure out his purpose, and wanting more. Bruce's black hair and eye makeup (for added effect to his Batman mask of course) do wonders to complete this vision, and Nirvana's 'Something In The Way' is even used throughout the film to set the mood even more. The goth vibes are real, in a good way.
Robert is effectively deadpan at all times, maintaining an air of mystery around Bruce and Batman, and it's this elusiveness which makes the character all the more interesting. He's got that deep, valiant voice perfected and Batman's effortless yet brutal combat style polished. Meanwhile, Zoë Kravitz is remarkable as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. . . She's sleek and delicate one second, agile and fierce the next, her every move cat-like and her every word delivered with captivating self-assurance.
Paul Dano's Riddler (Edward Nashton) is spine-tingling, and while he is chilling to watch in his mask and villain attire, moments where he is on screen without any of this are perhaps the most terrifying. This is a serial killer with an agenda – a terrorist figure the likes of which world is all too used to seeing in real life.
Colin Farrell is completely unrecognisable as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin, playing the slimy mobster convincingly, while Jeffrey Wright's James Gordon beautifully depicts determination, fearlessness and loyalty to Batman – James and Bruce's relationship is believable and entertaining to watch.
Boy oh boy, does Matt Reeves know how to direct a film. Some of the visuals here take one's breath away – whether it's a pitch-black shot of a hallway lit only by flashes of gunfire, a bird's eye view of Batman guiding a crowd with a flare, or a car chase scene so intense you'd be a fool to look away, 'The Batman' is a three-hour long painting. Red and black dominate the colour scheme throughout, evoking and amplifying anger, anxiousness, fear, sadness, chaos and depth.
A classic superhero score is delivered by composer Michael Giacchino, the orchestra building to huge heights before dipping to somber lows, carrying the caped crusader with the same amount of power and might he embodies. You'll have those main four beats from the main theme (which bear a resemblance to 'Imperial March' from 'Star Wars') playing in your head over and over when you leave the cinema.
Using a city steeped in secrets as its gritty backdrop, Matt Reeves' slick yet rough and unhinged 'The Batman' is a delightfully nauseating ride through crime, corruption, murder, family values, and one hero's journey to unmasking his true purpose. Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz and Paul Dano top the star-studded cast list with multi-layered performances in a breathtaking film sure to go down in DC history.
PS – make a bathroom trip beforehand and get comfortable, 'The Batman' is three hours long and you're not going to want to miss any of this.