Why ‘The Batman’ (2022) Is My Favorite Batman


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 01: Robert Pattinson attends “The Batman” World Premiere on March 01, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Steven Dunn, Staff Writer

Warner Brothers’ films about the caped crusader have always been my favorite DC movies. The idea of a man with no superpowers fighting gangsters, serial murderers, and even domestic terrorists is far more interesting than anything else DC has put forward. However, Matt Reeves’ The Batman quickly became better, at least to me, than any of Christian Bale’s movies starring the Dark Knight.

How realistically Bruce Wayne’s abilities are portrayed makes the new movie outshine the old. In the earlier films, Batman could fight off a group of mobsters without breaking a sweat, and these night-time escapades have no adverse effects on him. However, in the new film, Bruce goes up against a group of untrained street gang members and gets hit multiple times. He gets shot twice; if he didn’t have armor, he would have died. This film subtly points out that Batman has only been out protecting the city for a morsel of time, being relatively untrained compared to him at his peak and still not perfect at protecting himself. Also, in the more recent film, just the job, in general, wears him down: he is pale, socially awkward, recluse, and exhausted. Again, this is a far more realistic portrayal of how this crusade would affect someone.

Another reason I like this movie is because of how unique the villain of the story is. In the older films, the villains portrayed had already been considered credible threats to Gotham. However, before this film, Edward Nygma was not much of a threat. Sure, he killed a little bit, but most of the time, those people were just bait for Batman. In most media, Riddler focuses on defeating Batman, not the city. However, in this film, things are different. Instead of leaving elaborate puzzles for Batman to potentially die in, the Riddler focuses on assassinating corrupt political figures. This plan of action fits very well with America’s political climate, where people will blow up at each other if you even lift a finger about their preferred side. And while this version of Riddler is much more murder-happy than other iterations, he still keeps his namesake riddles, allowing the Caped Crusader to finally showcase his detective skills in full.

Now, these two things alone do make this movie as good as, but not better than, The Dark Knight. What manages to make this film greater is Gotham itself. In the Christian Bale films, Gotham does look ominous sometimes, but most of the time, it would be hard to distinguish it from New York or Chicago. However, in this new Gotham, the streets are always dark, and there is almost always rain. The architecture has a decidedly gothic look, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for a giant bat to hide in. This Gotham is much more stylized to fit in with what Gotham was meant to be for a long time: a dark, ominous place that looks like it would eat you alive. This attention to what Gotham is supposed to be catapults this movie to what, in my opinion, is the greatest Batman movie.