Review – The Batman



Synopsis The Batman is two years into his career as Gotham City's vigilante. A dangerous serial killer called The Riddler has begun attacking the city's leaders, threatening to undermine the peace and throw it into chaos.

Length 2 Hours 55 Minutes

Release Date March 4th, 2022


Rating PG-13

Distribution Warner Bros.

Directing Matt Reeves

Writing Matt Reeves, Peter Craig

Composition Michael Giacchino

Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell

It’s been almost a decade since we had a proper live-action Batman movie in theaters. It hasn’t been sparse for Batman content, of course. He was the costar of Batman vs. Superman (2016), got his own parody with The LEGO Batman Movie (2017), appeared in several DC films and cameoed in a spin-off Joker film (2019). We even got a number of TV shows like Gotham, Harley Quinn, Titans, and Batwoman that were nominally about him, in addition to the 16+ DC animated films and multiple Arkham video games about him. Batman is even scheduled to appear later this year in The Flash and HBO Max’s Batgirl, portrayed by Michael Keaton.

But we haven’t had a solo Batman film since The Dark Knight Rises (2012). There’s been talk about finally doing another live-action solo film since 2016, with Ben Affleck originally being signed to write, direct and star in his own movie. Then Affleck slowly backed out of his Warner Brothers agreements and the film fell to War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves to reboot with former Twilight star Robert Pattinson.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images: PG-13 violence but grim depictions of murder and violence. The film is about serial killers and corruption. Characters sometimes die brutally offscreen.
Language/Crude Humor: Some severe language.
Sexual Content: Some implicit sexual content. Characters wear low cut clothing, and some characters are implied to be prostitutes and strippers.
Drug/Alcohol Use: The plot involves a drug called “drops” that the mob is trying to produce and distribute.
Spiritual Content: None.
Other Negative Themes: Depictions of violence, terrorism, murder, and criminal activity.
Positive Content: Themes of legacy, change, and hope.


I’ve looked forward to the long overdue prospect of another Batman solo film on the big screen for almost a decade now. Maybe that’s providential. The entire DC franchise lives in the shadow of Nolan’s trilogy and I understand why Warner Brothers have dragged their feet on a new solo movie. They were nervous to follow up ANY rendition of that character.

The Batman is in many ways the exact kind of Batman movie that’s appropriate under the circumstances. It’s a smaller scale film than the previous renditions but it also manages to keep many of the better elements of the previous two iterations. It comes with the grittier crime drama aesthetic of Nolan’s trilogy but highlights the gothic high fantasy aesthetic of the Snyderverse rendition.

All the while, it manages to stay in its lane as a relatively modest murder mystery crime thriller. Instead of facing off against massive ninja conspiracies, alien invasions, rampaging monsters, hoards of anti-rich rioters, or Jim Carrey performances, The Batman is smart enough to scale the story back to just focus on Batman’s fight against mobsters and serial killers. It’s a murder mystery and it never goes overboard with its stakes.

The narrative is a Year Two-style Batman story. Bruce Wayne is already established in Gotham City and has made allies within the police department. When the mayoral candidate is brutally murdered, Batman starts delving into the machinations of the Falcone crime family and their associate, The Penguin, to find out how they’re connected to the murder. Eventually multiple conspiracies and corruption scandals are uncovered that threaten to bring chaos to the streets of the city.

As appropriately modest as this feels in comparison to the likes of Batman vs Superman, I can’t help but feel that The Batman is a film that doesn’t work. It isn’t a bad film but it is extremely messy and thematically unfocused. Matt Reeves, for all of his incredible talent as a genre filmmaker, isn’t a great structuralist in his dramatic storytelling. His movies have major structural weaknesses to them, namely undermotivated characters and weak payoffs.

Nothing about The Batman hits very hard. It almost feels safe at times to a fault. There are a handful of moments when the film does come close to genuine tension and risky story choices, but there’s nothing here as shocking as Rachel’s death in The Dark Knight. It lacks the slow character building of Batman Begins.

The story does have a bunch of interesting ideas to play with. Pattinson’s rendition of Batman is as an angry young man; a vengeful rich kid who is genuine in his desire to bring justice, but is clouded by his privilege and general lack of experience with the world to see the perspectives of others. The film’s nominal story arc, as well as his rivalry with femme fatale Selena Kyle (Catwoman), is to learn how to channel his inner torment to be a symbol of hope for the poor and downtrodden.

This feels like Matt Reeves directly addressing many of the core progressive complaints laid against the character in recent years: namely that he’s a rich, white billionaire who spends his nights beating up poor people for therapy instead of using his money to support social programs for the poor.

Again though, I don’t think the film is well structured enough to make these themes work. Selena Kyle may give a second-act speech about privileged white males like Bruce Wayne or talk about killing rich CEOs, but it’s mostly fluff that’s unreflected in the actual plot. Reeves is generally a very intelligent writer but I don’t think the story is justified in how it is laid out. Batman still feels like Batman by the end of the film, even if he has learned a nice moral lesson about helping other people. If this was supposed to be a radical take, it doesn’t hit in execution.

The Batman isn’t a bad movie for sure but it definitely feels messy. It certainly deserves credit for its amazing production design. Like most DC films – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, etc – the film was shot in Chicago, but this film actually manages to transform the city’s already gothic architecture into something that looks and feels closer to the foreboding smoke-filled city of the Tim Burton era films. It’s a beautiful looking film and Reeves’ action manages to capture some of the frenetic Arkham Asylum-style action that made the Snyderverse Batman fun. As a whole though, the film doesn’t totally fit together.


+ Amazing production design/color grading
+ Solid performances


- Somewhat underwhelming story
- Excessive length
- Overly serious interpretations of goofy silver age characters

The Bottom Line

The Batman is engaging but underwhelming. It's nowhere near the worst Batman film but it's also somewhat safe and doesn't explore any of its themes well.



Tyler Hummel

Born into the unexplored residential backwater of Chicago, Tyler Hummel is a graduate of Tribeca Flashpoint College where he studied Sound Design for Film and Interactive Media. When he isn't hosting his public access talk show The Fox Valley Film Critics or collecting DragonBall Z figurines, he enjoys writing and directing short films. As with Rick from Casablanca, "he's a man like any other man, just more so!"


  1. Joash Naidoo on March 10, 2022 at 2:14 am

    Wow, this is a take. FYI, I love your guys reviews but I’m not sure about this one. This feels like the most batman movie to ever batman, The Suit, the music, Gotham, the main and supporting cast all felt so perfect. While it’s not scale wise on the level of nolan trilogy, I actually love that. It’s Batman “The World’s Greatest Detective”, seriously if you have ever read “Batman: Hush” or “Batman: The Long Halloween” (if you haven’t, get on it), you will love this movie. It adapts elements from 2 of the best batman stories ever told and does so well. I agree it felt a bit long but the serious nature of goofy characters made it feel real. Like this could maybe happen in real life. I also though that the story was perfect for what it was trying to be, which is a detective movie. Anyway that’s my two cents, God Bless.

  2. David ferguson on February 28, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Chris stuckman not able to edit my comment

    • William Bontrager on March 11, 2022 at 11:10 pm

      Yes. A terrible movie. A snore. So dark visually is almost comical. Every effort to praise this movie fails and sounds hollow to a comic book guy who does not pander to everything Batman. Best detective? Batman solved nothing. He answered a few riddles found on the back of Laffy Taffy wrappers, but was “riddled” with ineptitude throughout. He was all dark and shadows one moment, and the next he’s out in the open being laughed at by criminals. Emo Bruce is wooden. Hey, let’s act by not acting. The setting was dull. Let’s have lighting by having no lighting. The people writing it wanted to say something by not saying anything. Everybody mumbled.
      Hey, here is a genius movie idea: Let’s have a classic hero movie with no hero. In the end, Batman is a glorified usher, showing people the exit to a washout. The only redemption for the movie is its short run time…oh wait, dang. This was a fair review by GUG actually, and very well-written. Forget the Bat fanboys. They are naive to compare great stories like The Long Halloween and Hush to this poorly executed, overhyped film disaster.

  3. David ferguson on February 28, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Wow this is literally the only bad review I’ve seen which is why I can’t take this website serious just more of how Snyder is better yada yada yada can’t wait to see this movie it doesn’t seem like people here know how to have fun Christ stickman gave a better review

    • Jacob Bradshaw on February 28, 2022 at 10:17 pm

      Gamespot gave it a worse review. (6.0/10.0). Associated press gave it a 63/100, and San Francisco Chronical gave it a 25/100. Guess you didn’t look very hard?

      • David ferguson on March 1, 2022 at 1:40 am

        I don’t care what those sites say gamespot? Really like I care what they say I’ll listen to people I actually like and also form my own opinion the little things this review pokes at is petty and just more Snyder fanboy pettiness.

      • David ferguson on March 1, 2022 at 1:42 am

        Nice try in trying to make me look stupid I still seen the good outweigh the bad I can tell you’re a Snyder fan and I don’t care what you have to say about it.

      • David ferguson on March 1, 2022 at 1:44 am

        I assume you want an argument since you decided to insult me good luck this is the last time I’m coming to this post

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