Review by Cat Earley
When Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut finally hit cinemas in 1992, audiences were relieved to see – among many other things – that the infamous voiceover had been axed from the film at last. After years of waiting, fans could finally enjoy the ice-cold Harrison Ford experience that had so long been tainted by Scott’s choice to add just a little bit too much Harrison Ford to the film. And when I first sat down and watched the opening moments of Matt Reeves’ new The Batman (2022), I had the similar thought that in a decade, fans would be crying out for a Reeves Cut – the cut that would remove the cringeworthy voiceover and transform an already solid film into a brilliant one.
In the remaining slow and painful three hours of The Batman’s runtime I would come to discover that this film is not Blade Runner. The pretentious, edgy voiceover is only the tip of the iceberg of problems and grievances ailing Robert Pattinson’s onscreen debut as the Caped Crusader. The film’s plot is one that I was initially impressed to see – Batman attempts to solve a murder-mystery surrounding The Riddler, while also navigating the increasingly corrupt and untrustworthy authorities that govern Gotham City. Perhaps my expectations had already been set so low that to anticipate the antics of a villain
that was not The Joker for once had already placed the film in high regard for me, and yet DC still managed to disappoint me.
The murder-mystery plot was gossemer-thin, at all times propped up by at least ten different Mcguffins and plot contrivances keeping it in place. Pattinson’s acting leaves much to be desired, and leaves most of the work of creating any chemistry between Batman and Catwoman to his co-star, Zoe Kravitz, one of the few actors in the film that actually seems to remember what film she is in. Granted, the majority of the dialogue ensures that nobody – actors and audience alike – is ever quite sure what exactly the
genre is, with the tone constantly careening between one of a horror, an action, a psychological thriller, and a romance, while still leaving plenty of time in its three hour runtime for a wacky Mafia subplot.
All of these elements band together nightmarishly in some kind of attempt to create a social commentary that is so niche and nuanced that none of us can figure out what it is. Is it critical of the failing systems in place in Gotham? Is it acknowledging that wealthy billionaires like Bruce Wayne may be the real problem? Should the citizens of Gotham eat the rich, or is this bat just too cool to eat? Only Matt Reeves knows. All we know after its release is that The Batman is destined to become another flop in DC’s impressive legacy of them. But hey, at least the Batmobile was pretty cool.