By: Tommy Gleason

Rating: 9/10

What sleeps in a cave 

and only at night is brave? 

A bat. 

The Batman garnered the third best Monday at the box office during the pandemic and for good reason. It is a technical masterpiece and a cinematic experience unlike any film in recent years. 

The story unfolds like a cat and mouse game as riddles lead us to a climatic end. Batman is thrust into the Riddler’s game and must follow the clues while pressure mounts on Gotham City’s police to catch the elusive killer. But catching a criminal is not all that lies in the Riddler’s wake for Bruce Wayne.

Matt Reeves’ take on the classic caped crusader is fresh and successfully examines the darker side of Batman’s heroic expedition. Reeves pushes the boundaries of the PG-13 rating to present Batman in a way that Zack Synder failed to do with “Batman v. Superman.” The dark violence feels real and the audience can empathize with Bruce Wayne’s painful immersion into the vigilante life. 

The film’s cinematography captures the eyes of all who watch it. Cinematographer Grieg Fraser crafted beautiful compositions in Dune and Zero Dark Thirty, but his work on this film eclipses anything he has achieved before. The Batman is awe-inspiring with nearly every shot, and the compositions add tremendous weight to each scene. 

Fraser and Reeves experiment with a new style of cinematography that uses blurred focus many times throughout the film. It creates an uneasy feeling in the audience, but emphasizes the film’s themes and connects the audience to Batman’s emotional state. 

The film’s use of sound adds another dimension to the story. The sounds of rain, breathing and footsteps work to immerse the audience into the world of Gotham City. And Michael Giacchino’s score reaches the heights of Hans Zimmer on Interstellar and Nino Rota on The Godfather with its slow rising rhyme and powerful command over scenes. The Batman’s figure on screen is magnified by this soundtrack.

Reeves compliments the cinematography and sound with an intense focus on lighting. It is used to highlight characters’ emotions and strengthens the composition of each shot. The desaturated color that Reeves employs creates the dark tone of the film without making the scenes annoyingly unseeable, like in previous DC films Man of Steel and Justice League.

Beyond the technical side of the film, the actors provide stellar performances. Paul Dano plays Riddler with an unnerving breathing style and creepy delivery of lines. Dano’s portrayal adds to the anxiety of the audience, elevating the emotional stakes of each viewer.

Colin Farrell provides a comedic performance as Penguin to balance out some of the gore and dark tone of the film. His physical transformation for the role was a magnificent achievement by the costume department. And his portrayal is spot on as the stereotypical New York mobster.

The man with the spotlight on him, Robert Pattinson, outperforms the doubters and haters. His performance as Bruce Wayne is nothing to write home about, but his portrayal of Batman is what steals the show. He is menacing while also emotionally torn, creating a Batman that is round and compelling to watch.

The film only has one flaw: the script. The plot is well done, but some scenes are awkward and do not fit. For example, the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred (Andy Serkis) is rushed with scenes in the beginning of the film not creating an emotional stake for the viewer in their relationship. Their dialogue in one particular scene is eerily similar to the two characters’ interaction in the Chistopher Nolan Batman trilogy. This hurts the impact of Bruce Wayne’s personal story line.

The Batman is a cinematic experience that goes beyond the traditional, mainstream superhero film. It is for fans of the Nolan Batman series and film goers that enjoy artists’ successes in creating masterful compositions on screen. Do not count this one out of your watchlist simply because it is a superhero film. I recommend seeing it in theaters to experience its powerful imagery and give The Batman a 9/10.

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Pronouns: she/her/hers Kayla is a MU Journalism student with a double minor in Sociology and French. She joined MUTV's Entertainment section in the spring semester of 2021. She is currently the Technical Producer on Entertainment's Executive Board.