Movies with Isaiah: ‘The Batman’ is best adaption


Batman has gone through many adaptations throughout the years. There’s no denying the character’s iconic status as one of the most recognized, beloved and interesting superheroes in comparison to the likes of Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and other super-powered beings.
My first real introduction to Batman came in the form of the 1960s' TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, the actors portraying the dynamic duo/caped crusaders. I have memories of my dad saying how much he didn’t like the original TV series. Given his knowledge of Batman from the comics, he always envisioned the character being muscular, strong, intimidating, driven and inventive.
As I mentioned, Batman has experienced adaptations in TV, animation, film, comics, video games and novelizations. Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Christian Bale have all donned the cape and cowl. However, in 2022 a vastly drastic take on the Batman mythology was introduced to the world. Director Matt Reeves known for helming projects such as "Cloverfield," "Let Me In," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for The Planet of the Apes" believed it was time to explore more of the darker, grittier and mature take of the character while bringing forth more of a story that mirrors a detective noir rather than a superhero spectacle.
The film titled "The Batman" establishes a different type of superhero film that isn’t an origin story and focuses on Bruce Wayne’s second year as the vigilante in Gotham City. He’s not the fully formed night vigilante at this stage of his journey building a reputation amongst the criminal underworld, instead he comes off more as a mysterious myth — a monster in the shadows if you will. "The Batman" has the superhero working with future Commissioner Jim Gordon investigating a serial killer known as The Riddler. Little is known about the villain with the exception of him leaving complex riddles, clues and ciphers fitting the themes of his crime spree. Riddler’s character depiction was heavily inspired by the Zodiac Killer from the late 1960s with similar themes associated with his crimes.
Robert Pattinson from the popular vampire film series "Twilight" takes over the mantle as the iconic superhero. From the beginning there was initial confusion and revolt with his casting since a lot of fans were only familiar with his work as Edward Cullen. Joining him as part of the ensemble cast is Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, aColin Farrell, Paul Dano, John Turturro and Andy Serkis. I made sure to purchase a ticket on opening night of its initial release. Admittedly, I had very high expectations as I’ve always had a fascination for detective-centered noir and The Riddler is my favorite Batman villain. I love any story that relies more on making the audience think and decipher clues, riddles, and promoting a thinking outside of the box element.
After the feature, I found myself falling in love with the film and have it as my favorite Batman film of all time. No other Batman cinematic feature comes remotely close in my opinion. This is what I always envisioned in my head when reading the comics and how the character should be depicted. Gotham City feels and looks like a character itself. It feels more alive, realistic, grounded, dark and an environment where various twisted villains could manifest in the strangest fashion. Gotham’s visual representation gives you the impression that it makes sense for villains such as The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow and Killer Croc to appear without seeming out of place.
Pattinson’s performance is absolute top-notch perfection. For me, he is Bruce Wayne/Batman. I’ve watched this film several times in the theater, and whenever I see Pattinson as a younger Bruce Wayne, he’s picture perfect. We see more of him as Batman than anything else, and that also is a perfect depiction as well. Batman should be viewed and feared as a creature of the night hiding in the shadows. When he appears, there needs automatically be this silent rage that he’s constantly holding back from consuming him, and Pattinson nails it. He nails the voice, body language, fight sequences and investigating of crime scenes.
Paul Dano’s performance as The Riddler is another massive highlight. He’s intimidating, frightening, creepy and intelligent — all of which make a dangerous combination when it comes to the villain conception. There’s nothing more lethal than an individual that relies more on his intellect and manipulates from the shadows than utilizing brute strength. Matt Reeves brought to life a grounded, visceral and dark Batman story that doesn't focuses on the action spectacle of explosions, fancy visual effects and loud music to distract the viewer from appreciating the story. Every action sequence sets the tone and propels the story properly. It’s not action for the sake of action. When those moments happen, it makes sense within the confines of furthering the plot.
"The Batman" is absolutely what the last few films centered around the character should’ve been. It works on every single level with the acting, action, suspense, character development, dialogue and cinematic musical score. My only complaint is Catwoman’s inclusion in the film, and that’s more to do with the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the character. The only time I truly liked Catwoman was when Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed her in "Batman Returns."
Other than that minor complaint, my final rating of 2022’s "The Batman" is a perfect 10/10 and two thumbs up. I highly recommend this cinematic masterpiece. It’s worth a purchase and should it be re-released in the future for the big screen. I’ll be there again to view the film. Be on the lookout next week for my review of 2022’s psychological thriller "Don’t Worry Darling."

Isaiah Ridley works at Beacon Cinemas in Sumter. To watch his movie reviews online, find him @Izzy's Cinematic Escape on YouTube.