What You Didn’t Like About The Batman, By Rachel Foley
Like a lot of people, I went to see The Batman over spring break, not for my love of the DC franchise, but for Robert Pattinson, of course. We all loved him in Twilight and you can’t deny it—he’s pretty hot (and so is Zoë Kravitz). The movie has gotten a lot of praise, and a lot of backlash. Most of the backlash was before the movie had even premiered, but The Batman has successfully defeated the naysayers once it hit theaters and more people started seeing it. Most complaints fall into the same three categories: Robert Pattinson isn’t right for the role, the movie is too long, and the Riddler’s character didn’t live up to the hype. Here’s my two cents on these critiques:
#1: Robert Pattinson is not Batman
Robert Pattinson got a lot of hate right as it was announced that he would be playing Batman because he “isn’t muscular enough.” Of course, in many interviews, he was asked about whether he would gain muscle to play the role. He refused; you don’t need to be jacked to play Batman, especially when the suit is all padded anyway. (As if every Batman before him was that muscular underneath that suit.) This really shows the toxic expectations for male actors that aren’t discussed nearly enough. Most of the focus is on female actresses and the expectation to be as thin as a rail and perfectly beautiful according to the standards at the time. However, male beauty standards don’t really seem to shift nearly as much. Male actors are expected to be this muscular, John Cena–like shape that’s incredibly difficult to attain by most people. If Timothée Chalamet is still hot and he’s that skinny, Robert Pattinson can totally play Batman.
Pattinson does an amazing job in the role in spite of those insults. He manages to express so many emotions with only the slightest expression. So much is conveyed with a single look, which really shows the pain behind the mask. The vigilantism is expressed so much more in this movie, revealing real crimes in a dark and corrupted city like Gotham. This is a Gotham, and a Batman, like we have never seen before, and we should all be praising its depiction of a harsh reality.
#2: The movie is waaay too long
Now, I do agree with you here. The Batman had a lot of what seemed like empty space and not enough action. That being said, this is supposed to be a crime thriller, not an action superhero movie. This isn’t a Marvel movie, and it certainly isn’t Superman. While I agree that the movie was a bit too long, you have to give it credit for doing what it was trying to do: depicting the crime-ridden city of Gotham in a newer and darker way and showing Batman as the word’s greatest detective Batman is emotionally troubled (as are most of the city's residents) and there’s definitely something to appreciate there.
The movie has a few too many plotlines, making it more like a video game than a movie. I couldn’t help but think of games like Grand Theft Auto IV and V while I was watching the car chase scene and the entire Penguin plotline. I would have enjoyed playing it more than watching it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great movie.
#3: The Riddler isn’t what we expected him to be
While I do understand this one, considering that Batman’s usual nemesis is the Joker, the Riddler has every right to be in this movie. We don’t need another Joker, not after Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Nicholson, and—controversially—Jared Leto (although, I really liked him in the role). The Riddler seems like he “isn’t crazy enough,” but he just isn’t the Joker, and comparing him to the Joker isn’t fair. The Joker is a full-fledged psycho who bases his entire identity around s being a psycho. The Riddler, however, uses riddles and hidden messages to prove his intellect , and when these riddles aren’t solved, he brings death and destruction. He plans everything meticulously and without direct violence, using bombs and hitmen to do his dirty work. What makes his character terrifying is how realistic it is. He just looks like your average guy and shows that the Riddler could really be anyone.
Overall, The Batman was a masterpiece of realism that brings Batman full circle. He is his purest form here: a masked vigilante fighting crime. He isn’t glorified; no one is making him out to be a superhero. Deep down, he’s just a guy still mourning the death of his parents and uncovering family secrets, as well as the secrets of Gotham, one by one. This Gotham is the most realistic of them all, encompassing all aspects of a crime-ridden city and its residents. Robert Pattinson is amazing, The Riddler is a breath of fresh air, and the music is incredible. The most terrifying aspect is that this could all happen in any city, from the hero to the villain and everything in between. The editing and the lighting really capture the gloomy city and all it has to offer. Sure, it might be a little bit long, but do yourself a favor and go watch The Batman (maybe even twice).