The Batman

The Batman ★★★½

The Batman is probably the most cohesive of the 10+ caped crusader films and that alone is an admirable accomplishment. The previous Burton-Schumacher-Nolan-Snyder films might have had more adventurous leaps and stylistic flourishes but they were also clunky, cheesy, and often completely incoherent. Haphazard collections of overheated set pieces and stunts instead of fully-realized movies.

In contrast, The Batman’s rich, rain-soaked world feels totally real. Its first two hours are basically David Fincher’s Seven with Batman filling in for Brad Pitt’s hothead cop—and I mean that as a compliment. Why couldn’t a Batman film be a noir police procedural, and even a good one? I’m surprised no one thought to do it sooner.

So it’s a little disappointing that director Matt Reeves and his collaborators nearly undo this artistry by also delivering the obligatory over-the-top climax that ruins almost every superhero film. It’s executed well enough, but what made Seven’s ending so devastating was how it stayed with the human story, eschewing cheap and easy spectacle. Maybe that’s too much to ask of a comic book film, but here’s to still hoping. At the very least, I’m intrigued enough to consider seeing the inevitable sequel...

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