“The Batman” Flies Into Theaters

Robert Pattinson dons the cowl for the first time in the newest DC superhero film.


Gigi Hanner, Sandscript Author

When it was announced that Twilight saga star Robert Pattinson would take on the role of Bruce Wayne, there was a lot of backlash about the casting choice. Petitions were made to try and convince director Matt Reeves to find someone else, as many did not believe Pattinson was the right fit given his usual station in small, indie films. Despite the initial controversy, the movie has been enormously successful a month after being released.

Pattinson is the third actor to play live-action Batman in the 21st century, following Christian Bale and Ben Affleck. Given the long history of Bruce Wayne, diehard fans had a lot of previous material to compare Pattinson’s performance to. With all the expectations surrounding Reeves’ take on Gotham, the film has held its own and impressed many. As someone who is not familiar with prior versions of the character, Pattinson’s arc was easy to follow and I did not feel out of the loop as the story carried on.

When there are so many different takes on the same character, it can be difficult to find an original approach. This film finds Bruce Wayne reclusive and angry with the world, and he has only been fighting crime for two years, a timeline change from other movies. Batman in live-action is often seen as a seasoned, experienced hero, but Pattinson’s is still figuring things out. He has a close alliance with Lieutenant Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth, but Batman isn’t popular among the citizens of Gotham, as they see him as nothing more than a vigilante who inspires fear. This makes it tricky for Batman to get information at points because no one wants to talk to the masked figure. Bruce Wayne himself is well known and something of a celebrity, but he is unwilling to run his family’s company or engage in any normal activities. The vast majority of the movie is Wayne fighting crime and working with Gordon. 

The Riddler is a brutal and elusive killer portrayed by Paul Dano. Paul Dano’s Riddler is eerie, creepy, and unnerving to watch. When watching him go around committing heinous crimes, the audience becomes genuinely scared of what he will do next. 

In the middle of the mystery and violence, Zoe Kravitz appears as Selina Kyle, otherwise known as Catwoman. She is mysterious, quick-witted, and has her own mission in regards to exposing corruption in the city. She and Batman form an unlikely pair and disagree on many fronts throughout the movie. Kravitz as Catwoman was an excellent choice, she is enticing and provides a few moments of humor in contrast with Pattinson’s unyielding seriousness, creating an exciting dynamic to watch. 

His goals are to weed out any and all corruption from the city through excessively violent means. He sends cryptic messages to Batman and leaves a trail of clues behind so that he might be found by the vigilante. Gordon and Batman work together to solve all the riddles left around the city in order to stop Riddler and instead erase corruption in a safer way.

The detective, murder mystery style of this movie works very well and is gripping to watch. Pattinson plays a moody, unpopular vigilante that will do anything to stop the Riddler, often going to extreme lengths to find him. All actors involved do an incredible job making their characters believable and concealing their motivations until the right time, allowing the plot twists and subversions to be thoroughly unexpected.

In addition to the interesting character choices and gripping story, the score for the movie is phenomenal. Disney veteran Michael Giacchino keeps the audience hooked with his dark, intense scoring. Batman’s theme plays at various key moments of the movie with power and almost a sense of impending doom, pulling in viewers even more. The dark color schemes and lack of comedic relief match perfectly with the deeply unsettling music in the background. 

The movie is incredibly well done and creates a fresh take on a well-loved character and comic book series. Pattinson makes Batman his own, and Reeves presents a film that is charming fans and newcomers alike. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you absolutely should. Whether you like superhero movies or not, the film has something to offer for all viewers. I can’t wait to see what Reeves comes up with next for Bruce Wayne, and it’ll be exciting to watch Pattinson swoop in again and surprise everyone with his performance.