The Big Picture – ‘The Batman’

A refreshing live-action take on the “world’s greatest detective”


Graphic created in Canva by Elena Burgé and Gavin S. Hudson. Movie posters courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Gavin Hudson

Disclaimer: Light spoilers for the film are included in this review.

While I absolutely love “The Batman,” if you know me, you know I like Batman in general. 

As a kid, the Batman comics, shows and games were the stories I surrounded myself while names like Christian Bale, Diedrich Bader and Kevin Conroy were the embodiment of heroism and justice. 

While Ben Affleck was a fine Batman, Zack Snyder’s decision to make a character known for non-lethality shoot and kill people was a pretty frustrating 180 for the “Caped Crusader.” 

Amid the Marvel Cinematic Universe becoming Disney’s most profitable property, everyone sat contently while WB stumbled with its attempt to replicate that mouse’s winning formula. 

Then the news broke that Robert Pattinson, known for “The Lighthouse” and the Twilight franchise, would dawn the cape and cowl in a separate franchise from “War for the Planet of the Apes” by director Matt Reeves

DC now had a dark-horse candidate to compete in the superhero franchise market, and it delivered. 

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Packed with three hours of intense action and compelling detective work, “The Batman” set a new standard for superhero films with gorgeous visuals and a story worth investing in. 

Pattinson’s performance of Bruce Wayne/Batman excelled at capturing an edgier tone that was still able to take itself seriously. His delivery, movements, reactions and reserved nature culminated in a fantastic performance.

Jeffrey Wright as Lt. James Gordon is one of the film’s highlights. He brings a charm to the role by conveying himself as the last honest cop attempting to save a city torn apart by corruption. 

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Jeffrey Wright as Lt. James Gordon (right) holds back Batman as his only ally in the GCPD lockup. After being knocked unconscious from an explosion, the police force brings Gotham’s vigilante into its headquarters to arrest him. (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures via IMDB.)

Colin Farrell as Penguin, Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone; the list of organic performances that help expand this world could go on. On top of a great performance from Farrell, the makeup team allowed him to disappear into the role of an unrecognizable gangster. 

Cinematographer Greig Fraser, accompanied by distinctly toned lighting, paints a bleak picture of the city of Gotham and its underbelly’s ongoings. 

Reeves’ strong direction over the actors’ performances and pace of the film keeps the story coherent. Rewatches of the film are frequent with myself or a friend exclaiming, “This is the best scene!”

Michael Giacchino’s score brings bombastic horns for the recurring theme song to embellish the thrill during more thrilling sequences while balancing out the quiet and calm scenes with sleek violins. 

The sound design, a category too scarcely regarded by larger audiences, adds weight to how characters interact with the world around them. 

The blood-pumping adrenaline rush that begins after hearing the Batmobile’s engine start, the pitter-patter of the rain over a subway station and quick ping of a bullet ricocheting off of plated armor; the sounds of the film bring you into the world of Gotham.

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The Batmobile’s engine roars to life as the vehicle looms in a dark alley before Batman’s pursuit of the Penguin. The engine block radiates light from the heat created within it. (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures via IMDB.)


Heath Ledger [may he also rest in peace] set the highest bar for a performance as a comic book villain. The unfortunate consequence of that greatness is that it’s near-impossible to exceed this standard. 

Paul Dano’s Riddler is an intriguing, realistic take on the character. Given he’s an internet fanatic plotting government conspiracies, his portrayal will always live in the shadow of Ledger; even if him throwing a tantrum while chained in a tiny glass box in Arkham Asylum is one of the funniest scenes in the film. 

“The Batman” has become my favorite live-action Batman film. It’s a far more consistent character study of a son plunged into the path of vengeance before rising from a drowned city to become its beacon of hope. 

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The Batman slowly approaches an overturned car as the flame from an oil tanker rages behind him. Following a high-speed chase with the Penguin, Batman believes he’s found the rat Riddler wants dead. (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures via IMDB.)

While “The Dark Knight” will always be a classic with too many quotable moments to count, its constant aspect ratio changes and the less-than-perfect ending will always hold it back from being the best. 

As a new standard for modern superhero films, “The Batman” is the strongest possible 9/10. Held back by the greatness of its competition, the film still exceeded expectations and brought back hope for DC’s properties on the big screen.