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The Batman

When the Riddler, a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.

The saga of the Dark Knight is rebooted as a brooding noir mystery with . For the last two years, reclusive millionaire Bruce Wayne () has been enacting vigilante justice as The Batman and he found an alley in Lt. James Gordon (). Batman's biggest challenge arises when a serial killer named The Riddler () begins killing Gotham City's elite, leaving cyphers at the crime scenes for The Batman to decipher, with the help of his concerned butler Alfred (). The clues lead Batman to Gotham's criminal underworld headed by Carmine Falcone () and his main associate Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot () and Batman receives unlikely assistance from cat burglar Selina Kyle ().

A decade after The Dark Knight Rises concluded the trilogy of films directed by Christopher Nolan, co-writer and director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) steps in to create a new brooding take on Batman. The Batman was envisioned as a solo outing for 's portrayal of Batman from the DCEU films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League and Affleck was even attached to direct at one point. When Matt Reeves came on board, the film was repurposed as a standalone effort that emphasized the detective and noir elements of the character of Batman.

The Batman recreates the villain of The Riddler as a Zodiac-like serial killer, who leaves cryptic clues for The Batman at the scenes of his crimes. The ultimate goal of The Riddler is to expose the lies and corruption within the elite of Gotham City and he leads The Batman down a dark path into Gotham's underworld and the criminals who rule the city.

A cynical person would ask why do we need yet another Batman film since The Batman marks the third time the character has been rebooted, in a relatively short 17 year time span. However, Matt Reeves opts to take the character in a direction that hasn't been done before, with The Batman undoubtedly being the darkest film depiction of Batman.

The film kicks off with the beginning of The Riddler's killing spree, with the scene playing out in a similar fashion to a horror film. This dark tone continues throughout the film, with a noir-like narration by Batman and a very brooding score by Michael Giacchino. The Batman also plays heavily with the dual-personality of Batman and Bruce Wayne, with the latter being depicted in this iteration as a reclusive who is rarely seen in public, despite the urging of his butler Alfred to keep up appearances.

While The Batman is meant as a standalone story, the seeds are planted for this to turn into a new franchise. This includes featuring The Penguin, played by Colin Farrell under layers of prosthetics, as a secondary antagonist in the film and a not-that-subtle hint towards another key member of Batman's rogue gallery.

While The Batman is not a perfect film, Matt Reeves does succeed in taking the character in a new dark and brooding direction, with more focus on detective and noir elements of Batman, despite there also being a number of action scenes in the film, including the obligatory Batmobile chase. Ultimately, The Batman should satisfy fans of the Dark Knight.

Trailer for The Batman

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.