“The Batman” isn’t a superhero movie. Not really. All the trappings are there: the Batmobile, the rugged suit, the gadgets courtesy of trusty butler Alfred.
And of course, at the center, is the Caped Crusader himself: brooding, tormented, seeking his own brand of nighttime justice in a Gotham City that’s spiraling into squalor and decay.
But in Reeves’ confident hands, everything is breathtakingly alive and new. As director and co-writer, he’s taken what might seem like a familiar tale and made it epic, even operatic.
His “Batman” is more akin to a gritty, ‘70s crime drama than a soaring and transporting blockbuster.
With its kinetic, unpredictable action, it calls to mind films like “The Warriors” as well as one of the greatest of them all in the genre, “The French Connection.”
And with a series of high-profile murders driving the plot, it sometimes feels as if the Zodiac killer is terrorizing the citizens of Gotham.
And yet, despite these touchstones, this is unmistakably a Matt Reeves film. He accomplishes here what he did with his gripping entries in the “Planet of the Apes” franchise:
This is a Batman movie that’s aware of its own place within pop culture, but not in winking, meta fashion;
rather, it acknowledges the comic book character’s lore, only to examine it and reinvent it in a way that’s both substantial and daring.
The script from Reeves and Peter Craig forces this hero to question his history as well as confront his purpose.
and in doing so, creates an opening for us as viewers to challenge the narratives we cling to in our own lives.
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