The Batman could be the best Batman movie to date. Not everyone agrees, and that’s okay. My friends and acquaintances on social media either love it or hate it. At the barbershop, everyone either loved it or hated it. After the lights came on in the theater last night, people talked about how they loved it or hated it. It’s very polarizing and there seems to be no middle ground.
Those that liked it saw it as something new and refreshing. They liked the story and how smart Batman was. Those that hated it said it was too long. The fights were boring and too few, and Batman wasn’t intimidating enough.
Since 1989, and especially during the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Batman movies have led us to believe that Batman is a brawler who breaks jaws with impunity and beats his opponents into submission. Every problem is a nail and he is the hammer. But as a long time comic book reader I know there is much more to Batman than a fist, a kick, and a headbutt.
You see there are two sides to Batman. Vengeance and Detective. The vengeance side of him was brought to the forefront by Frank Miller during a revolution in the comic industry to make characters gritty, dark, and “more real.” The detective side of Batman is his core, as created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, then perpetuated by several incredible talents over the decades like Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Jeph Loeb, and Tim Sale.
Batman always has been and always will be the “world’s greatest detective,” something the Christopher Nolan movies neglected. However Matt Reeves has done an incredible job bringing this aspect of the character to life. Batman’s detective skills and intelligence are on full display here, and it is clear this is where he shines.
The opening scene alone tells you everything you need to know about Batman. He has capitalized on the fear and superstition of the criminal element. He has already beaten them before he throws the first punch, because he knows the real war is in their heads. From there we see that, while Batman works in the shadows, he does have allies. This is an important distinction from other Batman movies, people care more about solving problems than who gets the glory.
Finally we have moved past the origin story, as Marvel rightly did with Spiderman. We all know Bruce…