“The Batman” (2022)–Another Dark Knight
In this newest movie in the Batman series, simply called The Batman, we see a completely different Batman from the classic Christopher Nolan trilogy starring Christian Bale.
In “The Batman,” director Matt Reeves has redefined Batman and his alterego Bruce Wayne. In this newest of interpretations, a very young newb, Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson of “The Twilight Saga”), is just in his second year of training under the tutelage of Alfred (Andy Serkis of “Golub” fame in “The Lord of the Rings”), simultaneously manservant, valet and guardian. Bruce Wayne’s mission: to expose the political corruption in Gotham City and bring the perpetrators to justice.
As in the Batman narratives of the past, there is Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz from “Little Big Lies”), Selina Kyle, who works as a waitress/sex worker at the Iceberg Lounge club, run by the slithering Penguin (Colin Farrell), who works for Mob boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). Joining forces to find her missing Russian roommate and suggested lover, Annika. Catwoman solicits Batman’s help in her search and the cat-and-bat dynamic plays out as a pending seductive romance. But there is also the past relationship with Annika, indicating that this Catwoman is nonbinary and bisexual.
However, the search for Annika is merely a subplot. The main focus–with some clever clues and notes to Batman–is the manhunt for the serial killer, the Riddler (Paul Dano at his usual best). Eerie as hell, Riddler is a high-tech incel, both revolting and garnering sympathy. And in this reboot of the Batman origin story, Riddler echoes the orphan identity of Batman, in alienation and in emotional anguish over unhealed wounds.
In the end, this is an elegy to the gritty otherworldly, dystopian and futuristic city of Gotham, seething with corruption that cannot be eradicated, perhaps even by Batman. While the ending is somewhat flaccid and merely a set-up for a sequel, Zoë Kravitz nails her role as a cat-like twitchy scofflaw not sure if Gotham City deserves her energy and power in fighting structural evil. Her jaw-dropping beauty and physical power are wonderful to watch as she fights for justice in such a tiny, lithe form almost beyond belief. This Batman film is hers and worth watching for her scorching performance!