TextbyTaylor’s review published on Letterboxd:
It just got worse and worse...
I understand the motives change later in the story, but we watch the riddler kill corrupt cops and political figures in the beginning… Who cares? Not much at stake there. He’s a very bad guy killing very bad people. Let him do his work!
The relationship Batman has with the police doesn’t work. The entire force and DA’s office is rotten to the core. EVERYONE is corrupt. What’s the point of arresting someone only to turn them back in to the people you know are on their payroll? Fellow cops don’t rat on other cops. If Gotham’s police force is as corrupt as Batman keeps telling us, then working with them is the same as working with the enemy.
I love Jeffrey Wright, but his Commissioner Gordon looks like he was inspired by Jordan Peele in a Key&Peele sketch. Completely bereft of a personality, all he does is repeat clues out loud for the audience, then look to Batman with a confused face. The movie also shamelessly lifts an entire cop scene from Se7en.
Speaking of Batman — his suit is cool, the fights have improved, but Batman doesn’t work if Bruce Wayne isn’t a well-rounded character. Pattinson does everything he can with the material, but Bruce Wayne is practically a background character in a movie about Batman. His character arch is like a muddied afterthought.
Besides a brief moment with Alfred (who is sorely underdeveloped), what does Batman personally have to lose throughout this movie? What’s at stake in his immediate personal life? So much of the story is about uncovering different aspects of the corruption in Gotham. Who cares man??
Paul Dano’s Riddler is Joker-lite with extra on the cringe. Zoe Kravitz does fine, but there is no chemistry between Catwoman and Batman. Just a couple of forced romantic moments. And come to think of it? Why is she even in the movie? The story could unfold swimmingly without her with a few changes. I’ll give it to Colin Farrell. He kills it as the penguin, but the chase scene was like a blurry, poorly edited music video.
It’s crazy how little sense the end makes. The Riddler radicalizes an army over instagram?? Then, Batman sees that beating people up with vengeance in mind isn’t the answer. It’s better to beat people up… without vengeance in his heart? Oh, and also to save people when he can and maybe use some of his billions of dollars for philanthropy? All of this while the repetitive score beats your ear drums.
The aesthetic of Gotham is cool as hell. The bat suit is awesome. The noir elements mostly work (besides some poorly written narration) and there are some undoubtedly exciting moments, particularly in the beginning. But the movie doesn't earn its 3-hour runtime and majorly fumbles the emotional core of its central character.