I am not totally against redoing films or remakes as if the source material or characters are rich then different directors can bring different aspects to the table either tonally or visually. Steven Spielberg recently brought to younger fans the classic musical/film West Side Story. Sci-fi film fans were treated to reduxes or reimaginings of classic films with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and Blade Runner 2049 and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. They were all good films and brought new stuff to the table. Now, we get another Batman film with another actor in the lead role.
This time it is a team comprised of director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), co-writers Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes, The Yards) and Peter Craig (The Town, Bad Boys for Life) and a cast made up of Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Tebet), Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class, Divergent), Jeffrey Wright (The French Dispatch, No Time to Die), Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Widows), John Turturro (Barton Fink, Quiz Show), Andy Serkis (Black Panther, War for the Planet of the Apes), Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State, Green Lantern), Barry Keoghan (The Green Knight, Eternals), and Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine). Here we get another dark Batman. Probably the darkest yet. Every moment of the film looks and is dark. There are no moments of light squeaky through at all. Gotham here is seemingly always in a state of nighttime and rain. Matching that mood set, Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman is sullen and dour.
A way it is different is that it is more a mystery/detective-style story than a superhero one. There are some fight scenes (though not as many as superhero fans might hope for or expect) and, of course, the Bat suit and Batmobile, but this is more Batman using his brain and powers of observation to try to uncover the villain behind the murders. Even the villain is more of the mystery type in that he is a serial killer. One who uses his brain rather than superpowers or gadgets to wreak havoc. An interesting twist.
While the film has been mostly applauded, that for me was where the good stuff ended. First of all, it is interminable. 2 hours and 56 minutes!!!! I mean….that is not necessary. Films of late are regularly over 2 hours but 3?!? Come on! Who has that kind of time? Seems rather overindulgent to me. Especially when you watch longer scenes of Batman riding his motorcycle that could have easily been trimmed. It was especially painful in the last half hour when I could see that it could have been wrapped up sooner but it continued to drag on.
Then there is the lead actor. He is not awful. Probably somewhere in the middle. Not as good as Christian Bale or Michael Keaton and better than Ben Affleck and George Clooney. Still, he is not good here. Though, in all honesty, there is not much asked of the lead in regards to true acting. Batman/Bruce Wayne does not speak much. With few lines of dialogue, there is not much to do in that regard, but still, in the hands of a more suitable or skilled actor, I think there was something which could have been done here.
Another aspect I found distracting was the score/music. The man responsible for the music in the film, Michael Giacchino, an Oscar winner, is normally good having written the scores for films like Up, Inside Out and Coco. This time the music he wrote is distracting.