Lacking many of his later tricks, Bruce Wayne takes on a serial killer and his own doubts about himself in The Batman—Matt Reeves' take on the hero played for the first time by Robert Pattinson. The nearly three-hour running time hasn't turned off critics, who give the film a 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Pattinson should like what they have to say. Four takes:
- Placing Batman in his second year as a vigilante, the film "plays more like a detective thriller than a comic-book epic" to its benefit, writes Peter Travers at ABC News. It's "a mesmerizing mind-bender that grabs you hard and never lets go." Through it all, "Pattinson is brooding perfection," Travers adds. "By returning the Batman to his DC Comics roots as the 'world's greatest detective,' Pattinson distinguishes himself from other movie Batmen and puts him in league with the best of them."
- "Reeves has created the best iteration of Batman in years, in a film that examines the humanity behind the character," writes Alex Abad-Santos at Vox. Up against an especially sadistic Riddler played by Paul Dano, Batman must rely on his investigation skills—"a staple in the comic books that haven’t really been reflected in the movies of late"—while battling doubts about himself. The result "enriches Batman's legacy, complicating it by trusting its audience to interrogate his heroism and eventually ponder what makes Batman a hero—or if he's even a hero at all."
- But for Ann Hornaday, the flick was worthy of only 1.5 stars out of 4. "Pale and wraithlike, Pattinson's bummer of a Batman slugs and slashes his way through his crime-fighting duties" in "yet another lugubrious, laboriously grim slog masquerading as a fun comic book movie," she writes at the Washington Post. "Underlit and overlong," it's "as ponderous as it is convoluted and, ultimately, devoid of meaningful stakes."
- Yes, Pattinson's Batman is "as grim as a ghost" but he's also "magnificent," counters Peter Howell at the Toronto Star. "Pattinson digs deeper and goes darker into the psychological sickness of vigilante justice than Christian Bale did in Christopher's Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which is really saying something." Howell could've used more sexual intrigue between Batman and Zoe Kravitz's "spiky" Catwoman, "who is every bit as vengeful, obsessive and fetish-suited as her male antagonists." But the best thing about the film is that "it makes us want to see what happens next."
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