Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Matt Reeves and Peter Craig
Batman has been one of the largest media franchises in DC Comics history. Akin to the hype over the actor to don the tuxedo for James Bond, the list of actors to wear the cape and cowl is quite impressive. Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and now Robert Pattinson. Best known for the Twilight series, Robert has typically been cast in roles that make use of his stoic presence on camera. Perfect for a dark and gritty Batman film. Fans have long waited for a Batman that hearkens back to it’s detective comics roots as Batman being a great detective. This film brushes along those ideas, but I feel they missed a huge opportunity to generate repeat viewings. I hope to that point I find out I am wrong and would welcome something more ‘meta’ from these writers.
Here comes the spoilers.
Right off the bat we are thrown into a creepy voyeur watching a family through their windows. We then see it is the city mayors home. The serial killer calling himself The Riddler (Paul Dano) brutally murders the mayor and starts off a series of messages and clues for Batman to solve. The Riddler continues to kill people associated with a cover-up crime from years ago that involve the Wayne family. Bruce Wayne (Pattinson) with help from his loyal butler, Alfred (Andy Serkis), work tirelessly to decipher the clues and crack the riddles left behind. Batman crosses paths with Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz) aka Catwoman whose roommate is missing due to a connection to the mayor. They team up to gather information, but soon butt heads over her relationship to Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). Batman chases down some leads to Penguin (Colin Farrell), but finds out he was wrong and the main person he is supposed to track down is Falcone. Bruce discovers a family secret that resulted in the murder of a reporter that was covered up, and following events led to the murder of his parents. Here is where I think we needed more emotion from Pattinson and perhaps show some madness under the guise of control for this character. Two years of fighting crime in what is played as a crusade by himself, you begin to wonder where is Bruce Wayne among this nearly three hour runtime? Sure he makes an appearance during a public memorial service for the Mayor, but that is it. Previous Batman films always try to balance out the duality of the man and the mask. I think this film needed to show more of the man and not the mask.
Best scene is when Batman is facing The Riddler at Arkham and he thinks The Riddler know he is Bruce Wayne. That was written perfectly. When he comes to realize the Riddler doesn’t know is perfect. Otherwise the film has some nice brutal fight sequences and the darkness doesn’t distract too much from the action. A small issue I take is when you see Pattinson shirtless you see wounds and scars. What you don’t see is muscles. Did the suit augment his strength? Again some missed background details to help suspend the disbelief a bit better. Some flashbacks to his training, his two years of fighting crime in Gotham, and events that drove him to who he is at the point of this film would help tremendously to connect to him as a character.
Now the biggest issue I have with a film about riddles and clue would be why not insert some hidden messages for eagle-eyed fans. Messages like Easter eggs for upcoming DC films and references to other characters. Things that would significantly raise the repeat viewing factor to catch all these clues. Turn the audience into detectives themselves would be a superb meta move by the writers. I hope I am wrong and they did indeed do such a thing. Regardless this film will be praised as a smashing success and hopefully we get to see a few more with some character growth for the caped crusader.
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