The Batman: Worth Watching?


(Artwork/Kayla Zhang ’24)

Ethan Wang, Online Staff Writer

“When that signal hits the sky, it’s not just a symbol, it’s a warning.” The Batman released on March 4, and was one of the best movies ever made. This movie is not a typical superhero film. Director Matt Reeves uses action sparingly and, while there are many scenes where Batman paces around crime scenes, some people might find that boring in comparison to traditional superhero films. What it lacks in fast-paced action, however, The Batman makes up for by being a comic-accurate interpretation of the caped crusader that honors the character through great cinematography, music, and storytelling. However, it is far from a perfect movie.

One great aspect of The Batman is the unique cinematography and directing choices.. The brutal beatdowns smattered throughout the movie will always manage to keep audiences on the edge of their seat. In one specific scene, a group of criminals fight Batman in a tight, dark alley. The only time when the audience can see anything happening is when the crooks fire their guns. The rest is left up to interpretation, as the audience can only hear the fight. Another example is the Batmobile chase. The moody lighting of the film highlights the blinding blue lights of the Batmobile as Batman chases a villain through the highway. The superb visual design helps sell the desperation that Batman imparts upon criminals to the audience: he makes it known that he is dangerous. 

Another part of this movie that absolutely delivers is the soundtrack by Michael Giacchino, which perfectly captures the mood of each scene. Notably, Giacchino took the effort to write a theme for each major cast member, further highlighting their characters. For example, the Riddler’s theme is menacing, whereas Catwoman’s is mysterious. The theme for Batman himself is dark and imposing; the slow buildup sounds almost like a ghoul rising up from its grave. It captures Batman perfectly, and it will definitely get stuck in peoples’ heads. 

The dynamic between Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter ego is something that will always define the iconic Batman storyline, and Robert Pattinson portrays it excellently. When he is Bruce Wayne, he plays a vulnerable and miserable kid who is still traumatized by the death of his parents. Since he spends the whole night beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, he has entirely neglected his normal life. This results in him being detached from reality, fading out of conversations when others try to talk to him. In this movie, Bruce Wayne needs Batman. “Something in the Way” by Nirvana is used throughout the movie to symbolize his character; the song’s lyrics are about Kurt Cobain’s struggles to feel better, but there was always something preventing him from accomplishing this– which perfectly encapsulates Bruce Wayne’s internal fight. When he dons the iconic cowl, Pattinson’s performance becomes more confident. There is so much character conveyed from the way he slowly steps across crime scenes or momentarily pauses to think, and he emotes excellently using only his eyes.

The story of the movie focuses on Batman’s journey to becoming a hero. In this interpretation of the character, Batman is challenged by the Riddler. Like Bruce, he was an orphan at a very early age. Unlike Bruce, however, he didn’t have any money. To the Riddler, Batman is both an inspiration and also a source of jealousy. On one hand, Batman’s vigilante justice goads the Riddler’s urges to enact vengeance. On the other hand, the Riddler despises Bruce Wayne,a spoiled rich kid who received everyone’s attention while he slept with rats in the winter. This contrast between the two of them begs the question, is what Bruce is doing is really “justice for his Gotham?” 

At the beginning of the film, criminals live in constant fear of Batman, and most of them immediately give up their missions when they see the Bat Signal hit the sky. In one scene, Batman shows up to stop a gang of thugs from hurting an innocent subway passenger. When one of them asks who he is, Batman proceeds to brutally beat him down before saying: “I’m vengeance.” He hides in the shadows, which makes criminals afraid of the dark, and he uses fear as a tool. 

It is made clear that Bruce only cares about revenge against criminals. In the final battle, Batman fights Riddler’s goons at the top of a giant stadium, looking over citizens who are knee-deep in water. He is badly beaten down, but injects himself with a serum that makes him wildly assault the final goon. When the police ask the criminal for his name, he responds: “I’m vengeance.” Only then does Bruce Wayne look down at the flooding stadium and decide to go down and help the drowning people. He lights a flare and guides the people of Gotham to safety. He transforms from dark to light, a symbol of vengeance to a symbol of hope. 

The Batman overall is an entertaining movie, but it also has its fair share of flaws. As someone who is already a fan of the character, and therefore biased, I decided to ask the opinion of more casual fans. While the movie is aesthetically pleasing, freshman Arya Vishwakarma stated that the movie had a lackluster plot, as in there wasn’t a lot happening. While looking at Robert Pattinson just standing around ominously for three hours was not the best way the movie could have used its runtime. However, it is important to keep in mind that Batman made his comic debut as a detective and not a typical “superhero.” Many of the slower scenes in this movie see Batman slowly walking through crime scenes and examining it intently for clues, which may be jarring to those used to traditional superhero films..

In addition to superhero film purists, people who are sensitive to bright lights should probably skip this movie. Since most of the movie is dark, certain moments where the movie uses brighter colors can be difficult to watch at best, or completely disorienting at worst. While the Batmobile chase scene is excellent from a storytelling perspective, the sudden, bright lights can make it difficult to watch for photosensitive audience members.

Overall, The Batman provides a lot for people who are already familiar with the character:great visuals, noteworthy soundtrack, exceptional characters and acting, meaningful themes. Yet, it is not without its problems. Casual viewers might find the slower detective scenes boring, and the movie can be uncomfortably bright. However, I still recommend it to anyone who loves comic books or superhero movies