‘The Batman’ takes narrative in a new direction


Violet Chace, Entertainment Editor

“The Batman” was announced in May of 2019 and after years of delays, it is finally in theaters. The much anticipated film begins when a serial killer, known as the Riddler, starts to terrorize Gotham, so Batman investigates to uncover corruption within the city. Throughout the film Bruce Wayne encounters obstacles in the form of police, gangs and the iconic characters Penguin and Catwoman. 

This Batman film draws out some of the darkest elements of DC comics and is the edgiest on-screen adaptation within the DC Universe. In “The Batman,” Wayne is depressed, antisocial, and brooding especially compared to the more charismatic portrayals of the character in most of the live action Batman films so far. He is shown as more of a lone detective than a social figure. This film shines light on how tortured Wayne is and what his motivations are as a vigilante. 

“The Batman” recalls the movie “Seven” and draws inspiration from the real-life Zodiac killer who published puzzles as he committed murders similar to the film’s villain, the Riddler. “The Batman” doesn’t have as much of a superhero filter as most movies within the genre do and leans towards grittier subjects. The action in this film was especially more brutal than in past Batman movies.

This three-hour film is not for everyone. The dark tone remains consistent throughout the movie and leads it to drag in places. While there is plenty of action to counter the dramatics, viewers who are not fans of crime dramas or the DCU might be disappointed.   

Many fans seemed apprehensive to see Robert Pattinson as the new Batman because of his history in the “Twilight” franchise, but his performance works perfectly with this more grunge version of Bruce Wayne. His reputation as a vampire heart throb tends to undermine his acting skills and overall reputation. His performance in movies including “The Lighthouse” and “The Devil All the Time” are more representative of his acting capabilities and the popularity of “The Batman” is especially redeeming for him.

Although it is hard not to compare this to “The Dark Knight,” “The Batman” brings a completely unique plot and tone to the DC universe that should be criticized as a separate entity. In such a competitive industry, superhero movies would likely be more enjoyable to watch if viewers saw them as independent rather than contrasting them with their predecessors.

DCU movies don’t all exist in the same world in the way Marvel films do. Specifically with Batman, a new version pops up every decade or so. Characters and superhero groups that connect and have crossover movies and one coherent timeline can be really interesting for some superhero fans. Those interested in that kind of storytelling usually prefer Marvel films. Others enjoy the less complex world where Batman is not a part of a multiverse that requires almost 30 movies of context to understand. 

When compared to the elaborate and mainstream Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC has been falling behind since “Justice League.” There seems to be a disconnect between each DC film that makes them hit or miss. Lately there have been more hits. After the success of “The Suicide Squad” in 2021 and now “The Batman,” it looks like things might finally be looking up for the DCU. There is no doubt that this movie will spark a trilogy at the very least and there is even speculation about a spinoff TV series for the Riddler from “The Batman.”