The Grand Renewal of the DC Cinematic Universe

Tiffani Adams, Volunteer Writer

Lead: Robert Pattinson sheds his fangs from his popular role in Twilight and adorns his cloak and mask for The Batman which premiered March 4th in theatres. The movie, written and directed by Matt Reeves, stars Zoë Kravitz as the iconic Catwoman and Paul Dano as the film’s main villain, The Riddler. The movie scored 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with the audience giving it an 88.

The gritty and noir inspired 176-minute film with a matching grunge soundtrack centers on Batman’s detective skills and the corruption surrounding Gotham City- favorably played by Chicago for most of the film. Pattinson’s slow and turbulent walk, his growls and stares, and empty voice dialogue fits the spirit of this different perspective of Batman. The first line uttered by him the film is “I’m vengeance”- a popular line by Batman seen in the comics as well- which sets the theme of the movie and outlines every character’s motivation. The Riddler wants vengeance from the corrupt city of Gotham, Catwoman wants vengeance for her deceased friend murdered by the city’s notorious kingpins.

Costumes are an important focus in any superhero movie, especially with the likes of Batman. Batman iterations are critical of his suit, car, and cave. What makes The Batman stand out from other adaptations is the new capture of the Bat suit. Though the film is not an origin story (no showing of the dead parents seen a thousand times), it is apparent that Bruce Wayne is novel in his crime fighting career. The suit is presented as though he made it himself, with slashes in the mask and armor, offering incredible detail to this unique character and further emphasizing the notion that Batman is not untouchable. A new aspect of the suit are “wings” that resemble a flying squirrel and is used to escape authorities in one scene. Likewise audiences are surprised by the new technology used in the film, such as the recording contacts. The suit is not futuristic and there is no magical nanotech ready to heal him or blast enemies, but the armor and simple design have pleased fans worldwide. Many questioned The Riddler’s costumes. Past adaptations have made him a colorful character dressed in bright greens and grand question marks. This film emphasizes his role as an underground, anarchist style criminal with a costume to match. While at first the costume was not well received, it became apparent that the design was used to match the theme and further the story.

The universally adored The Dark Knight trilogy has set the standard for Batman movies, but this film may have surpassed its hype. The slow- burn action movie actually does not feature action until later acts of the movie. The first scene offers Pattinson taking on gang members and narrating how the city crime has gone up. The mayoral election happening in the film paints Batman as a rowdy vigilante, and he is treated as such by government officials and city police. James Gordan, played by Jeffrey Wright, is the only officer that trust him and aids in deciphering Riddler’s twisted riddles to stop his murder of city officials. Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is inserted in the action when her friend, Annika Koslov, is murdered by the city’s kingpins for “knowing too much”. The relationship between this trio reveals the scale of Riddler’s plan with Bruce Wayne being in the center. A concept that was introduced in the Batman Telltale game series is the Wayne Empire’s money and influence being tied to corruption. The movie depicts Wayne’s father, Thomas Wayne, money laundering from a renewal project for Gotham City and doing business with The Penguin and Carmine Falcone, the city’s notorious mobsters. Several reveals are made, such as Falcone killing Wayne’s parents and Kyle being Falcone’s daughter. The movie climaxes with the killing of Falcone by the Riddler and the Riddler being arrested where he is sent to Arkham State Hospital. Even though he seems defeated, the Riddler has one last plan to flood Gotham which he succeeds in. Selina Kyle leaves the city, claiming it is beyond saving, while Batman aids in recovery measures while pondering on a new aspect of The Bat- hope. He vows to inspire hope in Gotham while renouncing his trademark, vengeance. The movie ends with The Riddler conversing a plan with another patient, the Joker (although not revealed) and an end credit scene with a green question mark followed by the words “Good Bye?” These hints allude to sequel movie possibly starring a rendition of the Joker.

Overall, The Batman is a perfect addition to DC’s cinematic universe and is sure to inspire other DC films, as they have a history of not exceeding expectations. The movie excels in fanservice for Batman and comic fans alike and has an original, unique depiction of a character that has been featured in films and comics for decades. Even though the runtime is long, the film’s constant twist, turns, and reveal will keep audiences in their seats and deeply invested in the state of Gotham. The movie’s thrilling and horror aspects offer a fresh new insight, and the movie avoids being just “another adaptation”. Pattison and Kravitz’s electric energy are captivating and entertaining to watch, and it would be no surprise if Kravitz is starred in more blockbuster films in the future because of her amazing performance. Her transition from previous Marvel superhero films such X-Men: First Class and Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse is flawless, and it is no surprise she takes on this hero in similar grace. This film was very determined to have a different perspective of Batman and has in turn set a new standard which will make anticipation for other DC films immense.