The Batman - The worst way to spend 3 hours
On April 1st, I was robbed at AMC Theaters. The Batman stole three hours of my life, as well as $13.42. To those who value cinema, superheroes, or even their free time, I suggest you avoid this movie like the plague.
The main failing of Matt Reeves’s adaption of the classic superhero flick is that his movie isn’t about Batman. It consists of a web of complex plots, each more confusing and irrelevant to each other than the next. Batman takes somewhat of a backseat in what seems like a story about corruption in Gotham City. The last 45 minutes of the movie are a sequence of unending reveals: the true kingpin of the Gotham Mob, the truth about Catwoman’s mother’s death, the Riddler’s identity, the Riddler’s final plan, Thomas Wayne’s corruption, and eventually, the truth of the Waynes’ murder. It’s almost hard to keep up with the twists and turns, each taking momentum from the next.
Reeves took a similar approach to his Batman as Jon Watts to his recent Spiderman installments, omitting the protagonist’s origin story on the assumption that viewers know it already. Although this was a wise choice, Reeves doesn’t use the extra time to develop Batman’s character. In fact, unlike in the Spiderman movies, Batman doesn’t demonstrate any profound character growth. Viewers of The Batman rarely see Batman as his alternate personality, Bruce Wayne. Instead, we watch high budget car chases and shootouts―rarely seeing the man behind the mask―leaving viewers with the feeling that they know less about Batman than when they started.
Overall, The Batman looks and feels like a pale imitation of the Dark Knight Trilogy. In terms of the antagonist, The Dark Knight’s Joker was shocking and chilling, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, but the main antagonist of The Batman, The Riddler, is a weak successor. He lacks the edge and mystery of The Joker and is equipped with a flat and predictable backstory: he was an orphan at the destitute Wayne Orphanage, which was underfunded and forgotten in the corruption and political games of Gotham City. This motivates him to start his gory murder spree, making corrupt city officials and mob leaders pay. The movie consists of cruel punishments he inflicts on the bad people of Gotham, as well as reveals of their crimes. In one instance, he forces the DA to admit his corruption on a livestream with a bomb around his neck, promising to blow it up if the DA is untruthful. This Saw-like scene was only gripping for the first 10 seconds, and was overall underwhelming compared to the Joker’s tests of human nature.
Perhaps the Batman subject matter is just too tired to create more movies. Or perhaps Reeves wasn’t up to the task of originality. Either way, when deciding whether or not to see The Batman in theaters, ask yourself “Is there anything else I could be doing with my time?” If the answer is yes, I’d suggest you skip the movie. As one movie-goer, Rebecca Fogle, put it, “That was three hours of my life I’ll never get back”.