By Abbie Stokes
Batman 2022 is a renewal of character depth in superhero movies that audiences haven’t seen in a while, with amazing visuals, lighting, and perhaps the most unintentionally funny moments sprinkled throughout the movie.
Robert Pattinson’s emotional and intelligent portrayal of the Batman is not something that audiences have seen often on screen. If anything, this newest iteration of the Batman character is something more akin to the animated film “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,” released nearly 30 years ago in 1993. Pattinson commented on how The Batman presents the conflicted, tortuous nature of Bruce Wayne’s relationship with his alter ego as opposed to other film versions over the years that have focused on his nature as strictly a hero. ‘‘I sincerely believe that the tone of ‘The Batman’ has nothing to do (opposed to the previous movies), it feels new. In the comics, Batman is someone more… unstable. If you read between the lines, it’s actually very sad. Whereas in the cinema, it is always his heroic side that is put forward” (Screenrant). This Batman is far more emotionally deep, and focuses more so on the character as a whole rather than his motivations behind becoming and acting as the Batman. He’s less of a James Bond hero and more of a troubled noir-style detective transplanted into the modern era, with cool technology and a gruff voice to match.
The visuals and lighting in the 2022 Batman are also stunning. A common complaint of recent DC films is that they’re always too dark on the screen. However, this movie’s darkness isn’t overwhelming; if anything the darkness (which isn’t too dark to see what’s going on in the background) is well utilized, and is a good contrast to the near-blinding flashes of light that are placed throughout the movie. There are also a lot of shots centered on Pattinson, providing a strong visual effect of loneliness and power at the same time. “Harsh, neon-lush lighting, a color palette rich in blacks and reds and a wide variety of fantastical angles” (Tufts) notes Grieg Fraser, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on 2021’s Dune, adds serious depth to many of the scenes throughout the movie, a stark contrast to many of the superhero movies that are available today.
As for funny moments in the movie, there are a few moments that are certainly supposed to be there–like when the Penguin goes off on Batman and Gordon for not knowing basic Spanish–but there are a host of other scenes that many considered funny. Many scenes with the Riddler or scenes that reference him are completely hilarious out of context, like when he sings “Ave Maria” or when the brief flashes of the Polaroids he took pop up on screen when Batman is investigating his apartment. While unintentional, these moments break up the dark and serious tone of the movie, and if anything, add to the development of the characters. Thankfully, the humor is certainly not to the level of recent Marvel movies, which honestly take “breaking the tone” to a whole different level of un-immersion, and is a welcome break from the trend.
Overall, the 2022 Batman is a definite game-changer for the superhero movie genre. With a change in pace, added character depth, and more, this new Batman is a welcome addition to the catalogue of superhero movies.