Overview of The Batman (2022)’s Critics

In the name of his murdered parents, Bruce Wayne wages eternal war on the criminals of Gotham City. He is vengeance. He is the night. He is Batman.

One of the most iconic fictional characters in the world, Batman has dedicated his life to a war on all criminals in the name of his murdered parents, who were taken from him when he was just a child.

Since that tragic night, he has trained his body and mind to near physical perfection to be a self-made superhero. The superhero has been through many film adaptations over the years. In the beginning of the 2000’s the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale.

Nolan returned to direct two further installments through the release of The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, with Bale reprising his role in both films. Both sequels earned over $1 billion worldwide, making Batman the second film franchise to have two of its films earn more than $1 billion worldwide.

Referred to as “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” the critical acclaim and commercial success of Nolan’s films have been credited with restoring widespread popularity to the superhero, with the second installment considered one of the best superhero movies of all time.

After Warner Bros. launched their own shared cinematic universe known as the “DC Extended Universe” in 2013, Ben Affleck was cast to portray Batman in the new expansive franchise, first appearing in 2016 with the Zack Snyder directed film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film would begin a sequence of further DC Comics adaptations, including Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League crossover films featuring other DC Comics characters.

Over the weekend the stand-alone film The Batman (2022) was released, directed by Matt Reeves, with Robert Pattinson portraying the role. The PG-13 film centers on Bruce Wayne’s earlier days of fighting crime and its portrayals of various Batman characters. Paul Dano plays the Riddler, a serial killer pursued by Batman, while Zoë Kravitz plays Catwoman and Colin Farrell appears as the Penguin.

The Batman is dark; no doubt the darkest Batman movie yet, but it’s also thoroughly gripping and will have you asking far more questions than even the characters at the center of it. And in spite of that darkness, it will once again leave you very excited about the incredibly bright future of the franchise.
The Batman flew to a huge $134 million in its domestic box office debut to secure the second-best opening of the pandemic era behind 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The Batman’s early performance is all the more impressive, considering it runs nearly three hours and is on the darker side. It is safe to say the pic’s strong opening launches a new Batman franchise for Warner Bros. and DC. In addition to dominating the box office, The Batman generally fared well with critics, receiving a solid 85 percent rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Even with a runtime of 2 hours and 56 minutes, the DC tentpole garnered an A-minus from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

Although the majority of audiences gave the movie positive reviews, critics were very mixed on the movie. The Batman has earned mixed reactions from critics. Some have praised the film as one of the best in the superhero genre, others found it to be a dark slog.

Eli Glasner from CBC News feels as if the movie is constrained by its PG-13 rating. The Riddler has been terrorizing Gotham’s rich and powerful with murderous traps, joyfully relishing in his work by leaving cryptic clues behind for the city’s masked vigilante.

However, “so much of this is about shock value rather than anything actually scary,” Eli Glasner wrote in his review. “The Batman is handcuffed by its family-friendly PG rating, the result being something like a ‘Saw’ movie made for Disney+.”

Many other critics felt the same way, that although the movie was good it would have been better if it had a maturer rating. For example, Kristy Puchko from Mashable wrote, “But without the freedom an R-rating allows, this movie—full of menace and murder—feels toothless.” Not all critics’ reviews were negative and bashing the rating, the best review appreciated all parts of the movie and it’s elements such as Katie Walsh’s review from Tribune News Service.

She wrote in her article, “In practice, it’s Batman by way of The Godfather and Zodiac, a serial killer mystery mashed up with a mobster movie. The genre-play is a welcome refresher, while the detective work is an evolution from merely banging up the clownish petty criminals of Gotham.”

She also said, “With cinematographer Greig Fraser, Reeves’ The Batman has a unique aesthetic—a rain-soaked black and red palette with pops of neon.” Walsh called the film, “thrillingly composed and lit,” noting that its style works with the story, not against it.