How Batman has changed with Robert Pattinson? Mysteries, suffering and a three-hour noir

The digital premiere of the new “Batman” by Matt Reeves took place in the world – a film that has been in development for more than eight years and came out, it seems, by a miracle. It has Warner Bros. once again restarted the well-known franchise, with a new cast and a different tone of narration. Time Out figured out what exactly has changed in Batman 2022 and why it is so different from previous ones.


Batman who always suffers

Unsurprisingly, the fundamental differences in this iteration of The Greatest Detective story start with the titular character. Initially, they wanted to devote a solo project to Ben Affleck’s Batman – moreover, he was also going to shoot a picture and participate in writing the script. Since then, however, the DCEU has been radically rethought, with Affleck handing over the mask and cape to Twilight and festival film star Robert Pattinson.

However, Batman-Pattinson is completely different from Batman-Affleck, as he was in the entertaining “skit” “Justice League” , and even in the much darker “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” . No more flirting with Wonder Woman and jokes about the superpower that lies in money. All Pattinson’s character can do is suffer.

Batman 2022 highlights from the very beginning how grueling it really is to lead a social life during the day and superhero at night. Returning to the Batcave after another outing, the protagonist performs a painful ritual: he takes out smart lenses from reddened eyes, uploads a video from them to the database and simultaneously documents the events of the night in a diary. Not for the sake of reflection, but to capture important details and not rely on an exhausted brain that now and then admits memory lapses.

Without a suit, the new Batman is not Bruce Wayne, a billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, as you might think, but an empty shell. The famous rich man does not go out at all: apart from the butler Alfred and another servant, he has no social ties.

Bruce Wayne appears as a public figure only once in the film – and in these scenes on the screen is not “the same hero without his armored suit.” On the contrary, it was Batman who, as an exception, put on a secular disguise, and did it for the sake of the investigation.

The same backstory behind the scenes

Movies and series about Batman have been filmed for several decades, so the viewer knows him somehow even better than the no less hackneyed Spider-Man. And Matt Reeves, perfectly aware of this, missed the background and the formation of the hero in his tape. Yes, this Batman also had his parents killed in childhood, he also grew up alone with fabulous wealth and Alfred, he also devoted himself to the fight against fears and crime. There is no need to say it again – not in the form of a beautiful opening montage a la Snyder, or in any other way.

Ironically, Bruce Wayne’s past now plays even more of a role than before. As conceived by Matt Reeves, this is not just a convenient explanation why Bruce is so sad, but also a full-fledged storyline, organically integrated into what is happening in a not-so-banal way. So they also talk about the tragedy of the hero in the new “Batman” – they just do it to the point and without tortured flashbacks.

Less flirting with gadgets

DC Batman is not in vain compared to Marvel’s Iron Man: both rich people compensate for the lack of superpowers with various gadgets, vehicles and other expensive technologies.

Film studios, of course, monetize the hobbies of the characters in every possible way and release dozens of licensed toys, collectibles and designers for each film. To do this, individual scenes in the works themselves are filmed almost like native advertising: in this episode, we have a close-up of the Bat-mobile beautifully launching rockets, and here Batman flies spectacularly on a grappling hook so that children want the same.

It’s all the more surprising that Pattinson’s character doesn’t look like a technologist at all. The already mentioned smart lenses are clearly not the best candidate for merchandise. The Batmobile seems to be cool and technologically advanced, but they don’t really let you see it. The spy earpiece is shown from afar. Of the non-lethal weapons, the hero has only an inconspicuous shocker and his own fists. And even the exciting scene of escaping with the help of a wingsuit ends in a way that makes you want to buy a similar outfit after it.

More symbolism

But where the film comes off to the fullest is in symbolism. One of the most memorable episodes takes place at the beginning and focuses on the meaning of the Bat-signal – a giant projection of the silhouette of a bat in the sky over Gotham, which appears whenever Commissioner Gordon turns on a special searchlight.

We know what this means for the hero: he must get to the light fixture as quickly as possible and help those in need. And Reeves’ Batman shows what numerous criminals are experiencing at this time: wild chthonic horror. But what if Batman now emerges from a dark gateway and punishes them specifically?

The protagonist himself thinks a lot about himself, not so much as a person who performs specific actions, but as a driving force that changes Gotham at all levels, globally. The evolution of Batman in this film is also rather metaphorical, from Vengeance itself to the embodiment of Hope.

This Batman is just a man

Despite off-scale pathos and near-noir off-screen speculation, Robert Pattinson’s Batman is much more like a real person than previous iterations of the Bat.

Remember even Batman in the reading of Christopher Nolan: his character was considered more mundane and believable than, say, in the films of Tim Burton. That’s just Christian Bale in the image managed, for example, to heal a broken spine and defeat the laws of physics with the help of mystical auto-training. Batman-Affleck from the very beginning did nothing but fight superpowered aliens. Well, it’s not worth talking about the earliest versions in this vein – there are all the signs of simpler times, when the titular superheroes walked around in caricature tights and were not at all complexed about this.

Here Batman-Pattinson is a completely different creature. They don’t try to portray him as an animated action figure or Superman’s equal, he is just a physically fit man dressed in an armored suit – no more, no less. Such a Batman is able to protect Gotham with money and a sharp mind, but in battle he is forced to risk his life every time. In the film, the hero several times finds himself on the verge of death – and not through the fault of the demigods, but from a point-blank shot by some nameless psychopath.

Moreover, it seems that in a potential sequel, Batman will not become much stronger and invulnerable overnight. Still, in a solo picture, the hero is no longer a novice in his field – which means that his mistakes cannot be attributed to inexperience. He’s just human.

An affair with Catwoman is another reason to be sad

To the surprise of many, already in the first film, the new Batman-loner meets his great canon love from the comics – the dexterous and insidious thief Catwoman. The heroine, this time played by Zoe Kravitz, is also very different from the versions performed by Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Reeves has moderated the sexualization of the Cat within reasonable limits: she now wears provocative outfits except in the image of Selina Kyle and uses beauty to achieve her own goals. But the girl’s combat outfit did without absolutely flashy design solutions: a motorcycle, moderately tight-fitting suit complete with a knitted hat with barely noticeable funny “ears”.

Much less in the film they romanticize the “professional activity” of the heroine. She, of course, can open the safe in a matter of seconds, and lay the big opponent on the shoulder blades – but this doesn’t seem to be too cool. At least much more attention is paid to the tragedy of Selina Kyle: she, like Batman, is deeply unhappy, with varying degrees of success trying to fight for what is important to her.

Therefore, the inevitable romance of the duo does not look like a beautiful love story. These are just two lonely souls who, out of impotence, strive to find at least some kind of intimacy – but they are well aware that their dangerous hobbies leave no room for such joys of life.

Until the Joker

Another big and bold decision for the new film is to introduce Batman not through conflict with the notorious arch-villain the Joker. Instead, The Greatest Detective faces off against the Riddler, another unstable intruder who prefers puzzles and quests to cruel pranks. In general, this is no less dangerous opponent, and he framed the detective talent of Bruce Wayne a little better. Well, as a “detective”: the hero definitely copes with solving witty riddles no worse than the winners of school olympiads.

Also, the less eminent crime boss Penguin appeared in the picture, briefly teased and – a spoiler! – a new version of the Joker.

It is noteworthy that Batman did not completely finish off with any of the antagonists – he sent the maximum to the bench in the Arkham Asylum, so that the next meeting in the sequels would be more meaningful and thorough.

It’s already three o’clock

Feature-length Batman films have always been immodestly long, but in this regard, the work of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson clearly took the lead: “Batman” in 2022 is 176 minutes, or almost three hours. So, maybe it’s for the best that viewers will watch the film right away at home, with the opportunity to pause at any moment.

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