Gotham graces the screen with yet another hit


Dominik Perez

“The Batman” provides a unique viewing experience to audience members by showcasing an interesting take on Batman’s character and an engaging mystery. “The best part of the movie was the detective plot and the entirety of The Riddler. It gets brownie points for being relevant, and extra for being progressive. A lot of the dialogue was just as awkward as Batman, but in a way it gave the movie its own charm,” Kennesaw Mountain senior Gavin William said.

Zioni Moore and Dominik Perez

“The Batman” brings a depraved Gotham City to life with a dark tone. The film stands amongst the hoard of previous Batman films due to its return to the core of the character, and offering a perspective not already seen in the DC universe. However, while the film exceeds in its gritty atmosphere it often becomes hindered by breaks in tone that sadly tie directly to the main conflict.

The setting of the film alone separates it from the status quo of Batman movies by giving the audience a Gotham that feels nightmarish. Dark alleyways, gothic architecture and countless streets encased in darkness create an ominous atmosphere where the viewer feels as if something can jump out of any corner. Brutal muggings, assault and a mob presence so deep it infests the government make Bruce Wayne’s motivation to fix the city feel more real than ever. The movie does not shy away from flaunting this incredible setting to the viewer. The stunning cinematography brings it to life, allowing viewers up close and kinetic shots of every scene and set piece. Shots presented possess astounding energy thanks to the immersive lighting and constant motion present.

This Gotham not only complements but enhances the noir tone and story offered to the audience. “The Batman” hits story beats and tropes reminiscent of the hardboiled detective films of the twentieth century. Everything from the pessimistic detective to the ever-evolving mystery makes themselves present in this movie and engages the viewer in a truly memorable crime drama. “The Batman” features a mystery centered around the murders of politicians that comes replete with mob involvement, police corruption, family drama and domestic terrorism, all of which help garner and maintain viewer interest.

A basic plot outline can not engage a viewer without the presence of intriguing characters, however, and “The Batman” does not fail to provide. Franchise staples like Catwoman and Jim Gordon see treatment unlike any they have received in films prior. The movie wastes no time in introducing the good cop, multi-millionaire-vigilante bad cop dynamic between Bruce and Commissioner Gordon that countless viewers love, entirely sidestepping the overdone initial stages of their relationship where Gordon still wants to bring an end to Batman’s vigilantism. Moviegoers will find the two’s dynamic engaging as they work together to unravel the complex mystery presented by the antagonist, The Riddler. 

On the topic of engaging relationships, the chemistry between Catwoman and Batman seems electric from the moment the two share the screen together. She effectively serves as his sidekick throughout the film, and despite this, director Matt Reeves makes sure to never compromise her character. Her morals and outlook feel entirely different from Batman’s, and because of this the two’s methods of problem-solving take on drastically different appearances. Her stealthy yet shortsighted approach to most situations compliments and contrasts Batman’s brutish yet calculated actions, and thankfully the movie avoids the overdone damsel in distress trope with her character.

Within the comics, Batman takes the shape of a man shriveling under the extensive trauma of his past. “The Batman” understands this and hones in on the distinct aspects of Bruce’s troubled personality with a refreshing perspective. Bruce, two years into becoming Batman, embodied everything other than a mentally stable and functional person. His family’s financial legacy disintegrating into ruins does not even make him bat an eye. He “is vengeance”, and walks with brutality and desperation like no other Batman; a skin-deep obsession oh-so-familiar to the original source material. Throughout the entirety of the film, Reeves makes it blatantly clear that the “Brucie” playboy persona so synonymous with Bruce does not exist, with characters within the film commenting on the truth that within Batman makes up Bruce’s true vengeful self.

Nevertheless, as great as this latest portrayal of the Dark Knight seems, there still remain certain factors that contribute to its downfall. Edward Nygma, otherwise known as The Riddler, serves as an amazing placeholder for the insanity that the Joker emanates, while also not giving the audience an aneurysm from yet another conflict between the two titans. Reeves understands that the tired Joker-Batman conflict would feel redundant, so choosing a smarter, yet more unhinged villain felt like the obvious choice for the movie. However, as incredible the blatant links between The Riddler and real-life criminals like the Unabomber and the Zodiac Killer appear, certain points within the movie make him, frankly, ridiculous. Reeves makes it apparent that the audience should see Edward as a laughing stock, for his motivations lie within the pettiest and trivial of means. Nevertheless, with the incredible tone set by the rest of the supporting cast, The Riddler continued to throw off the important factor of an audience’s suspension of disbelief and left the overall tone of the film feeling disjointed. 

In order to maintain the PG-13 rating, the intimidation factor of the Riddler suffered incredibly. Scenes that showed the depravity that The Riddler casts onto the cinematic world were censored to the point where something that obviously started off as a brutal death scene became nothing more than a blur. For the hopeful continuation of this renovated Batman, the unspoken requirement outside of anything dwells within its ability to satisfyingly show this dark Gotham at its most perverted. 

“The Batman” ending, while dragged in the mud by numerous online critics, only fails in its ability to leadup for future adaptations within the current storyline. Major city name drops, on the nose references to Batman comic book lore and the “unnamed prisoner” really drag the runtime far beyond where it naturally ended. In any case, Reeves excelled at bringing a new, dynamic Batman to the big screen once again, reminding a  disillusioned audience of the excitement yet to come.

“As a person who really only watches Marvel movies, the (new) Batman really switched what I expect out of a superhero movie. I liked it, it’s something different, certainly exciting, and intimidating,” magnet junior Maisey Wasulio said. 


The Chant’s Grade: B