Film: The Batman
Plot: When the Riddler, a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Ferrell, John Turturro
Director: Matt Reeves
Release Date: March 4, 2022
Studio: Warner Brothers
HCA Overall Grade: B+

Aaron Neuwirth says, “The Batman lacks a particular freshness key to making a zeitgeist-capturing phenomenon like the films from Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan, but the effort to bring in a certain kind of soulfulness amid a creepy mystery leads to some often stunning results. This Batman broods and masters the shadows quite effectively.” 

Grade: B+

Tessa Smith says, “The Batman is a journey through the seedy underbelly of Gotham filled with epic action, unmatched cast chemistry, and maniacal villains. Everything that DC fans have wanted, and more. It is a bit on the long side, and the story isn’t perfect, but it is dark gritty, and the score adds intensity to every scene!”

Grade: A

Josie Meléndez says, “Matt Reeves is a commanding force, creating a film perfect for fans old and new of the DC icon. With outstanding performances from an ensemble cast, The Batman is a gothic adrenaline rush you simply don’t want to end.”

Grade: A

Don Shanahan says, “Not to sound like a barista, but we’ve reached a point after 83 years of character history that one has to ask, “How do you take your Batman?” Do you need emblematic cream, sugar, ice, extra caffeine, froth, or some similar fancy twist? If you take it black, filmmaker Matt Reeves has a Trenta special called “The Batman” with your name on it.”

Grade: B+

Maggie Lovitt says, “The Batman may be the darkest chapter of Bruce Wayne’s story, but Matt Reeves and Greig Fraser have crafted pure cinema with engaging direction and stunning cinematography. Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz are shining beacons amidst the chaotic darkness.”

Grade: A

Zoe Rose Bryant says, “The Batman is the only comic book adaptation since The Dark Knight to come close to recreating the revolutionary aesthetic of that groundbreaking cinematic achievement, brilliantly blending entertainment with art thanks to Matt Reeves’ dutiful direction and Robert Pattinson’s powerful lead performance.”

Grade: A+

Patrick Beatty says, “I was completely blown away by The Batman. Robert Pattinson IS Batman, which could be echoed for the rest of the cast. It’s beautifully shot, expertly directed by Matt Reeves, and is the closest we’ve ever come to an accurate detective comic. This grim new take on the caped crusader may have some pacing and third act issues, but it is a wild ride and worth seeing.” 

Grade: A-

Nikki Fowler says, “In a world full of Jokers, be a Batman. One of the best films I have seen in a while. Zoe Kravitz is smoldering as Catwoman. Robert Pattinson is superb and just leaned into the role with perfection. Their chemistry was explosive. The writing was insanely modern, refreshing, truthful, and complemented with incredible stunts and cinematography. Run, don’t walk, to the theater.”

Grade: A+

Dan Murrell says, “The Batman brings a version of The Dark Knight to the screen that is perhaps the closest yet to the detective in the comics. While it’s a little long, it also brings a fresh perspective to a well-established character, though as with any new interpretation, it’s sure not to please everyone.”

Grade: B+

Michael Lee says, “The Batman is a dark and twisted noir thriller that strikes a balance between art and entertainment. Director Matt Reeves celebrates the titular character as the World’s Greatest Detective while also honoring the character’s legacy by exploring a dark and brooding Bruce Wayne who is less concerned about his appearance as a billionaire playboy and more interested in his moonlight vigilantism. Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravtiz, And Paul Dano make for excellent orphans who operate according to their own codes. While Greig Fraser‘s cinematography and Michael Giacchino’s score take audiences to a rain-soaked grungy Gotham. Splendid all around and near perfect if it wasn’t for the lengthy run time and story arcs that could have been better off as its own film.”

Grade: A-

Nguyen Le says, “A weighty & mesmerizing build of The Dark Knight that uses patience to cue brilliance. Reeves’ reading of hope & heroism notably hews very close to the times. Designs from James Chinlund, lensing from Greig Fraser & the score from Michael Giacchino make the sleazy dream-Gothic nightmare vibe a wonder.”

Grade: A-

Kristen Maldonado says, “An emo-thriller take on the world of Gotham, The Batman explores the mysteries of the dark underbelly of the city with expert world-building and unexpected humor. Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman steal every scene in this film that delivers Saw meets detective drama vibes.” 

Grade: B+

Ashley Menzel says, “Despite its very few flaws or points of weakness, The Batman is an absolute blast and leaves you craving more. Pattinson’s Batman is different than those we’ve seen before. He leads with a seemingly stoic and detached character but has vulnerability and emotionality to it. His Batman feels more realistic, more every day than the overly macho masculine version we are accustomed to seeing. Adding to the long list of its predecessors, The Batman is a must-see edge-of-your-seat addition to the catalog of Batman films.”

Grade: B

Erik Anderson says, “The Batman is such a grimy noir, my favorite kind, and a truer detective story than we’ve seen for the Caped Crusader. There’s something in the way that Robert Pattinson is perfect here and Michael Giacchino’s score is his crowning achievement.”

Grade: A

Karen M. Peterson says, “In his desire to move beyond the superhero origin story, Matt Reeves drops us into the world of a Batman we’ve never met before and expects us to care about him just because he dons the cowl and answers to a Bat-signal. Lack of character development leaves us with a mirage that looks like a full story but is nothing more than illusions and gimmicks.”

Grade: C-

Griffin Schiller says, “Angry, hard-boiled, soaked in angst, The Batman finally marks the arrival of “The World’s Greatest Detective.” A gripping & brilliant unraveling of fear & addiction. Matt Reeves flexes his extensive knowledge of film history to craft a noir love letter & a perfect Batman movie!”

Grade: A+

Demetri Panos says, “The Batman doesn’t bring anything new to the table; it has one foot firmly planted in the Nolan-verse, the other planted in the JOKER world. Excellent attributes to have! New Director Matt Reeves knows how to move and where to place a camera to offer a great cinematic perspective. Robert Pattinson is excellent as the caped crusader but as an aloof billionaire playboy….well, I blame hair and makeup for EMO Wayne. Zoe Kravitz joins Pfeiffer and Hathaway as a strong, empowered woman who flirts on the edge of the law. She is a great Salina Kyle/Catwoman. The rest of the cast doesn’t get stuck in the shadows. The near 3-hour runtime collapses in on itself with convoluted narrative/exposition. The movie never drags, and cinematography & sound design coupled with a deep rich score make an impact! A very good movie-going experience!”

Grade: B+

John Nguyen says, “The Batman is brutal and shows a very rough Batman in his early years. Zoe Kravitz and Colin Farrell are standouts as Catwoman and the Penguin, respectively. The Batmobile is a beast, and the fights felt raw and grounded. The game of cat and mouse between Batman and the Riddler isn’t as compelling due to the imbalance.”

Grade: C+

Scott Menzel says, “The Batman is unlike any other Batman film before it. The plot is grounded in reality and is more of a detective story rather than a superhero film. The crafts and direction are where the film shines the brightest. The cinematography and production design are insanely good as is Matt Reeves’ direction. The film would have benefitted greatly from a trim as there is way too much exposition, especially in the middle. I didn’t understand the decision as to why Commissioner Gordon had to explain everything to the audience. The cast is very good overall, but for me, Colin Ferrell & Paul Dano are the film’s MVPs. My expectations for The Batman were sky high and while I don’t think those expectations were fully met, I do believe this is a strong first entry into what I would suspect will become a new Batman trilogy. My biggest hope is that the next film is overall tighter & shorter.

Grade: B

Zaki Hasan says, “While very much beholden to Nolan’s grounded trilogy, Matt Reeves pulls from several comic and cinematic influences to give The Batman a flavor all its own. Robert Pattinson more than earns the cowl, and he’s surrounded by a top-notch ensemble I look forward to seeing more of.”

Grade: B+

Peggy Marie says, “There is a lot to unpack here in this three-hour journey through Gotham City, with Catwoman and so many more along for the ride. Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne leaves a lot to be desired, but his Batman is as dark and gritty as they come.”

Grade: B

Kate Sanchez says, “The Batman is the best representation of Gotham on-screen since Batman ’89. There is a gothic beauty and grime that comes directly from the comics. It’s the perfect setting for a story that FINALLY gives us Batman being, well, Batman instead of just Bruce Wayne.”

Grade: A+

Rick Bentley says, “The Batman fills a void for fans hungry for more tales of the Dark Knight. Robert Pattinson is perfectly glum, maybe because the story is horribly bloated and familiar. At least Ben Affleck is not in it.”

Grade: C+

Robert Licuria says, “I’m a Nolan purist, and was skeptical about whether The Batman would live up to the high standards of the last trilogy. Well, I’m blown away. This is a masterpiece. I loved it! Robert Pattinson is my favorite Batman too.”

Grade: A

Kiyra Lynn says, “The Batman is dark, sinister, and action-packed. Zoë Kravitz lures you into falling in love with Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Robert Pattinson is the Batman that this generation wants and needs. It’s a bit long, but overall the film holds its own next to the Burton & Nolan films & completely exceeded my expectations.”

Grade: A-

Lupe Rodriguez Haas says, “The Batman is not a superhero movie. Reeves’s eerie tone and subject matter play more like a horror movie. Matt Reeves has crafted a different cinematic interpretation in The Batman that merits a place in the DCEU with Robert Pattinson as the vigilante crusader.”

Grade: B+

Jana N. Nagase says, “The Batman is a good grounded detective story, but it’s too long. It has wonderful cinematography, and you should watch it on a big screen. Paul Dano’s The Riddler is the standout performance amongst all of the cast.”

Grade: B

Rosa Parra says, “The Batman is the film that will make you experience “cinema” in a theater. Visually, narratively, performances, pacing, score, and direction are spectacular. An epic and masterful iteration of this character.”

Grade: A+

Sara Clements says, “The Batman breaks out of the superhero formula for a first-rate noir thriller. Has the dark and brooding Bat I’ve been waiting for that Pattinson embodies with rousing intensity. Emo detective replaces a billionaire playboy. The best Gotham since Burton with Arkham games’ aesthetics.”

Grade: A

Kiko Martinez says, “Scrub away all the style and grime from Matt Reeves’ The Batman and it’s an anemic crime narrative. It’s a diluted version of David Fincher’s Zodiac but with an exaggeratedly brooding Batman and a dad joke about a thumb drive. Hey, but at least there were no bat nipples.”

Grade: C+

Scott Mendelson says, “While visually impressive and well-acted, this long and tension-free Batman adventure plays like a ponderous mix-and-match of prior Batman films in a way that banks on cultural amnesia to convince you that what you’re seeing isn’t reheated leftovers. It’s a grimdark reboot of a grimdark reboot, even as it tries to convince you that it’s the first to play in this sandbox.”

Grade: C-

Jami Philbrick says, “The Batman is a dark and brutal version of the character that perfectly captures many important elements of the mythos that have been missing from previous cinematic outings but also fails to inject any of the humor and fun usually associated with popcorn superhero movies.”

Grade: B+

Rachel Wagner says, “I liked the look and feel of this film and the performances are all good, especially Paul Dano. The story, however, I found very one-note and lacking in character development. It’s like all they could come up with is brooding and little else”

Grade: C

Clarance Moye says, “Matt Reeves provides a realistic and eerie vision of The Batman, harkening back to the character’s detective roots. Thanks to strong crafts, the film works well, including excellent sound and a brilliant, Oscar-worthy score by Michael Giacchino. But thematically, why revisit the character? We’ve maybe gone to the well one too many times with the character without finding truly fresh thematic content.

Grade: B

Daniel Howat says, “The Batman is cool as hell. It’s a hard-boiled detective thriller, unlike any other superhero movie – more Se7en and Zodiac than The Dark Knight. It’s a dark, slow burn, crafting a gripping mystery that’s endlessly satisfying. More grounded than any previous Batman film, The Batman has phenomenal characters that really work in this world. Robert Pattinson holds his own, while Zoë Kravitz and Paul Dano shine. The crafts are insanely good too: great makeup, score, and sound work topped off with Fraser’s breathtaking cinematography. The Batman dares to do something different and fully succeeds.

Grade: A+

James Oster says, “One of the best interpretations of Batman ever put to screen. A bold and brilliant take that is refreshingly character-driven with great performances all around.”

Grade: A+

Ruben Peralta Rigaud says, “Al más puro estilo detectivesco noir, nuestro problemático héroe narra la épica historia de las drogas, el asesinato y la corrupción en un tono sombrío y astuto.”

Grade: A

Abbie Bernstein says, “The Batman felt more like a film noir with Batman elements than a Batman film with film noir elements. A little long but otherwise good if the viewer doesn’t have specific demands of something with “Batman” in the title.”

Grade: B

John Rocha says, “The Batman is a monumental achievement in filmmaking that rivals The Dark Knight for the best Batman movie ever made. Matt Reeves delivers a dark, gritty, brutal, and immersive noir that features a fantastic, tortured performance from Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis, and a scene-stealing Colin Farrell as The Penguin are all standouts in their roles. Does it fray a bit at the edges in the third act? Yes. BUT the film more than earns those extra minutes because of its incredible first two acts. Greg Fraser‘s cinematography and Michael Giacchino‘s score also elevate this film to high-level status in the world of comic book movies.”

Grade: A

Rasha Goel says, “The Batman is a detective mystery more than a superhero film. Matt Reeves has created a dark, action-packed film that looks at the humanity behind the character. The cinematography and music score are spectacular. The film runs a bit long, but is one that must be watched on the big screen.”

Grade: A

Mark Johnson says, “The Batman is a terrific individual dissertation in the legacy of the Dark Knight. Brooding, brilliant, and breathtaking, The Batman hits that elusive sweet spot between a made-for-the-masses popcorn flick and a deeply complex political thriller. Whether or not we see the next chapter in this adaptation, Reeves’ film is strong enough to stand on its own.”

Grade: A-

Jeff Ewing says, “The Batman treads new ground. It’s a bleak, paranoid dive into Gotham’s corrupt underbelly and the psychological life of The Bat himself. It’s angry, it’s sad, it’s smart… it’s a deep dive into the psyche of Gotham’s protector, and Batman’s never been more interesting. The film’s ending struggles to incorporate all the things Reeves wants for the finale (it gets a little messy), but it still may well be the best Batman outing yet.”

Grade: A
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