The Batman relies on fight scenes to hold audience engagement

The Batman sleuthing out the realities of one of The Riddler’s victims untimely deaths.

Promotional Material Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Batman sleuthing out the realities of one of The Riddler’s victims’ untimely deaths.

Detective Comics’ (DC) newest movie, The Batman, compensates for a lack of dialogue with action, reviving Adam West’s 1960s comic book portrayal of the role. Released on Mar. 4, this somber film wasn’t meant for a California winter.

In Robert Pattison’s (Batman) modern-day adaptation of the classic role, Batman uses a conglomeration of technologies to vanquish Gotham’s newest serial killer, The Riddler (Paul Dano). The Riddler, after uncovering a secret poisoning Gotham, takes to the streets, plucking off prominent figures in the city to highlight the city’s corruption. Batman falls into his plot like a pawn in a desperate attempt to save the city. 

The film humanizes the stoic Batman by replacing his cartoonish strength and powerful technologies with realism. In this adaption, Batman takes punches like any other person, and even his prized gadgets fail him. Much like Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond in 2012’s Skyfall, the film brings the main character down to a relatable level, where Bruce Wayne faces bankruptcy and the physical strain of fighting. However, DC stays true to its roots with some scenes by defying the world of modern technology where Batman’s armor acts like a tank shielding him from almost all bullet-inflicted wounds.

While the film took steps to create an overall engaging movie, it fell short when it came to editing. Every scene appears to have a deliberately dark tint to it, without a single ray of sunshine throughout the duration of the movie. With near-constant rain creating gloom throughout the film, it proved difficult to clearly make out what was happening in many of the scenes.

Even though the film’s setting was dark, the abundance of action made it an enjoyable experience. That is, for the first two hours. The film, an arduous two hours and 56 minutes of action, features consistent plot holes jumping from scene to scene, and failed attempts at plot twists. Many scenes barely fit together, adding to the film’s unnecessary complexity. Overall, many scenes could be shortened or cut altogether to make a more cohesive, captivating movie.  The movie feels bloated.  

Unlike most Superhero movies featuring Batman’s love life, The Batman featured a competent female superhero, Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), who possesses skills parallel to those of Batman.  While the Catwoman character was built to seem strong, the film still failed to make her independent. Director Matt Reeves made it seem as if she would be lost without Batman as if it was only through his mercy that she uncovered the secrets of the city. 

Dano rarely spoke, with most of his acting built off of menacing looks. Overall, the fast-paced action overcompensates for lack of plot,  leaving viewers to figure out what was happening through poorly lit fist-fights.

While the film might have been lacking in many regards, it still proved to be an entertaining experience. With this, I give The Batman three out of five feathers.