Review of The Batman (2022)

Parker Bradford, Editor of Community

The first live-action Batman film came in 1943, inspired by a character first featured in Detective Comics #27, published in 1939. Many films and nearly eight decades later, The Batman would be released as the new live-action Batman film starring Robert Pattinson as the iconic Bat. When I went to see this movie, I was excited for what was seemingly a return to form for the Batman franchise after a problematic left-turn by the previous director. From the trailers alone, I knew I would love this movie, and it did not disappoint. Here, I will detail what I think are the main three reasons why The Batman was so utterly captivating. Of course, spoilers follow, so I’d recommend watching the movie if you haven’t already before continuing.

To start, The Batman captured the dark, gritty tone of the original Batman stories perfectly. Batman is iconic for having villains with darker origins and schemes, and the Riddler, Edward Nashton, is no different. The Riddler reveals to Batman that he was an orphan, but he resented Bruce for living high in a tower away from the pressures of the world while he and the other orphans starved and fought every day to survive. This resentment, mixed with hatred for the world, would lead the highly intelligent Nashton down a path to madness. In the end, the tone is heightened when Wayne’s own motives are questioned, seeing Nashton, now the Riddler, working out of the same spite and vengeance that he himself used. The struggle Wayne goes through, coupled with the near-loss of Alfred Pennyworth, led to a change in how Bruce chooses to hold himself in the end of the movie, leaving behind his title as “Vengeance” and taking up the mantle of “Justice.”

That last point bleeds into our next topic, character. More specifically, the quality of character motivation. This movie has near-perfect character motivations throughout. Bruce’s initial motivation is vengeance, and because of this, we see him brooding and relentlessly hunting criminals, as the death of his parents both weighs heavily on him and motivates him to keep crime off the streets. However, as the movie continues, he realizes that the world doesn’t need a vengeful soul. It needs justice, and so he changes to match that. The Riddler also has great motivations. He was orphaned and left essentially for dead, and this caused him to hate the world. Not only this, but the public was only focused on Bruce, the orphaned millionaire, whose wealth left him in a much more prosperous position than Nashton or the other orphans of Gotham. Inspired by Batman’s usage of fear to quell violence in the city, the Riddler decides to strike that same fear into those that he saw as a scourge to society, and finally on the society itself. Every character has this same dynamic, detailed, genuine feeling to them, and the movie is better for it.

And of course, the real reason I was so excited for this movie (and the change of director), was the quality of the adaptation from the comics. Batman as a character has two key traits that were completely lacking from the SnyderVerse Batman. The first of these traits is high intelligence, which was featured beautifully in this film by pitting Batman against the Riddler, a character famous for testing Wayne’s detective skills. The second keystone of Batman’s character, one set aside completely by the SnyderVerse, is his integrity. As said by the Bat himself in The Dark Knight, he has one rule: no killing. Unlike in the previous two films Batman was featured in, The Batman retains and expands upon these two major factors of Wayne’s personality, raising the quality of the adaptation.

In short, The Batman was a masterful adaptation of the Batman comics and features an amazing story with characters that feel like real, dynamic people. Though I preferred certain aspects of the older movies, such as Heath Ledger’s depiction of the Joker in The Dark Knight, The Batman has taken the top spot for Batman movies, in my opinion. Whether or not you agree, there can be no denying that The Batman is a quality film, with high marks from audience members and critics alike.