The Batman - Game Infinite Review
If anyone had asked me if DC needed yet another spin-off live action universe in it’s already fragmented cinematic universe I would have said no. If that someone also said it was going to be yet another batman movie, not connected to the Nolan-verse or the DCEU or even the phenomenal 2019 Joker film, I would have not been on board. I know that Marvel makes it look easy, but how hard can it be to make a single cohesive cinematic universe? When DC announced they were green lighting more spin offs after the wake of Jokers success, I was not a fan. I wanted to them to do everything in their power to sign Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck back on to save the DCEU. I felt without them, the future of the DCEU was in danger. With the Flash and Aquaman, Shazam, and Black Adam movies still coming, I felt that the spin off movies approach would muddy those waters. If someone had also told me that the people making this unrelated batman movie were also going to try to one up the Dark Knight, I probably would have laughed.
So all these things, a spin off new universe, yet another reboot, another Batman movie is announced. No DCEU, no Nolan-verse, no Batfleck. It is lead by…WAIT IS THAT THE GUY FROM TWILIGHT?
Robert Pattinson as Batman?!?
I will admit, he was pretty good in Tenet, but I was very much hesitant on that news. When the first trailer dropped, I was very much not sold on this film. It was just a scene of batman beating some random thugs to a pulp. Lacking context, it just felt like gratuitous violence, not “Action”. I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t really like the trailer. I didn’t think Pattinson was anywhere near my top 10 picks for batman.
Wow was I wrong.
I was surprised when the early reviews and fan response started coming in. Phrases like “Best Batman Ever” coming up more often than I expected. I saw a rare 10/10 review from a large outlet I follow. Everyone was saying how good this film is. I decided to reset my expectations and went in with an open mind.
It is hard to compensate for recency bias, so I even rewatched the Dark Knight after to be sure, but I think even taking it into account, I can confidently this is my favorite Batman film, and my favorite Batman. The Dark Knight is such a classic Empire Strikes Back level S tier film, so it is hard to compare, but I think they are close. This film is a dark, gritty, noir that gives us the Detective aspect to Batman. We see him as an investigator, not just a superhero.
I will say one of the things that makes this film stand out, is how little of this feels like another super hero movie. It is all very down to earth. Batman’s tech is brought way way down to realism. The Nolan-verse was always praised for being very realism focused, but it still had a very tech-forward batman. Rewatching the Dark Knight, I remembered just how sci-fi and tech focused it is. In this Batman, there still is tech, but at the end of the day, he feels like a real character that could exist in reality. Batman is just…a vigilante. The same is more true of the Riddler. The riddler feels like a real life serial killer instead of a super villain. The entire film is this murder mystery, killer chasing thriller. It plays like a crime thriller, not a super hero film. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat as your are sucked in, wanting to know who is the Riddler, what is going on? The only thing I would add to the film that I would like to see, is a black and white version. The atmosphere and the noir style is begging for a dark black and white version.
Another thing that really makes this Batman film unique, is how different Bruce Wayne is. In a role that has been played so many times, it is amazing how Pattinson manage to bring a unique approach to a role that has been done James Bond level of times. In depictions such as Ben Affleck or Christian Bale, we see a man who is succeeding at maintaining the billionaire playboy persona while being batman, but we see Pattinson’s character failing at being both. I don’t mean that Pattinson failed to act that. I mean he is playing a character that is failing to be both in the story. Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne doesn’t know how to be Batman and Bruce Wayne. He is a recluse, a brooding shell of a man, and doesn’t have the billionaire playboy presence at all. He is a Batman who no longer has a real double life, and all that is left is the Batman. In fact, this weakness adds depth and flaws to the character. I noticed it is evident how he doesn’t know how to be both when there is a building he tries to get into early in the film. He first goes as Batman and has a difficult time getting in, and has to fight his way though. Later in the film he goes as Bruce Wayne and is able to walk right in no problem, because he is a Billionaire celebrity and should be able to just go in. The fact that he didn’t think to go as Wayne earlier in the film, I found interesting and just goes to show his character’s struggle with his identity. Other depictions of Batman give us a Bruce Wayne who dresses up and becomes Batman. This depiction shows us a man who is just Batman who struggles to dress up as Bruce Wayne.
I also want to mention Zoe Kravitz portrayal as Catwoman. I didn’t like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and Zoe Kravitz shows just how Catwoman needs to be played. In a role where she could have felt like an unnecessary romance shoe in, or just filler, her character has meaning to the plot, the romance works, and there connection seems solid. She is tough, charismatic, and steals the scenes in an already impressive film of acting. I honestly really want Zoe to get her own Catwoman movie after this performance. She is strong enough to hold her own film, and helped bring this film to the S tier that it is.