The Batman Reshapes “The Dark Knight”

Movie review


Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the first published posters of The Batman.

Daniel Hampton, Staff Writer

The Batman is absolutely one of the most anticipated films of the year, but does it hold up to The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises? I think so.

Despite the extremely positive reception of the movie and its incredible box office success, I still think the movie has flaws. But first, I will cover the positives of the film.

First off, the plot involving The Riddler was an incredibly intricate and intelligent villain with strong writing. The Riddler was played by Paul Dano, who did a fantastic job portraying the character who is a conspiracy theorist gone absolutely insane, from his laughter to his seemingly insane dialogue, I don’t think any actor could have done better.

The Batman pictured with Catwoman. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Another strong piece was Batman himself. The dynamic between Batman and Catwoman added detail to the movie and further strengthened Batman’s character overall. Catwoman exposed a more emotional side of Batman, a side that actually cares for people and expresses emotions. Even without Catwoman to help him develop, he was still a formidable character who had extremely strong development.

Andy Serkis, who played Alfred, did a good job playing the character as well with strong line delivery. He did a superb job as the Australian butler and had a well-developed dynamic with Bruce Wayne, serving as his father-figure.

Next, I want to discuss the politics featured in The Batman. In the film, themes of wealth inequality, drugs, violence against sex workers, and local-government failure were all somewhat prominent in the film.

In The Riddler, we can see a reflection of a modern-day conspiracy theorist gone off the deep end. He is violent, as shown when he plants bombs around Gotham. Instead of posting random, incomprehensible things online, he goes out of his way to kill the people he views as “corrupt,” executing them with bombs or torturing them alive. In him, we see a white nationalist who uses social media to manipulate people into supporting him.

None of that is to say the inclusion of these politics is a bad thing. They add a great amount of world-building and strengthen the scenes of Gotham.

The most obvious problem was the lighting—the film was extremely dark. Not just in tone, but the lighting was just incredibly dark. I know this was intentional, in order to transmit a dark theme; however, in practice, this just makes certain scenes hard to see for almost no reason. Only during scenes in which Batman was undergoing huge character development did we see even a slight increase in brightness.

95% of the movie had some of the darkest scenes in any film I have viewed to date. On rare occasions, it was even somewhat difficult to see the faces of characters in the film.

Despite the flaws in the lighting, I think The Batman holds a candle to The Dark Knight and other Batman films, and almost surpasses them.