The Batman Made a Big Swing but Somehow Punched Itself in the Face

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Iain McParland
| June 3, 2024
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Matt Reeves’ The Batman

The first noir genre Batman film we’ve been given in, like, forever. On paper, it sounds like a home run (SPORTSBALL!). It’s a gritty detective drama with an excellent cast, playing into the strengths of the World’s Greatest Detective

Or so we thought. 

In anticipation of HBO Max’s The Penguin which releases later this year, let’s re-look at this abomination of a Batman adaptation.


Batman is a Dumbass

Batman is so dumb

This is my biggest gripe with The Batman. He is an absolute dumbass. Batman is supposed to be the World’s Greatest Detective, and yet he is foiled, outmaneuvered, and outclassed by everyone he comes into contact with. Batman is reduced to being the muscle, never using his brain effectively. It’s a noir movie! Why are we making a detective movie where the detective is defective? He’s much less Columbo and more Mr Magoo

Everybody is smarter than him. The Riddler shows he’s smarter than him by ultimately carrying out his master plan of mass murder, flooding the city. Alfred is smarter than him, cracking one of the riddles before Master Wayne even understands what he’s looking at. EVEN PATROLMAN NUMBER 2 IS MORE CLEVER THAN HIM! He’s the one who tells Bruce what the freaking murder weapon was. You’re telling me Batman finds a weird looking murder weapon and he doesn’t even scan it through the Batcomputer to determine the exact nature of the object? Bruce is just DUMB.

I hear you shout: “But, he’s really young! He’s only in his second year of being Batman! He’s not the World’s Greatest Detective yet!” To this, I have two replies. 1) This movie establishes that the Caped Crusader has already defeated his most devious villain and longtime nemesis, Joker. This demonstrates his capability as a hero so there is no excuse to turn him into a drooling simpleton. 2) If he’s not yet a great detective, then WHY MAKE A NOIR MOVIE? You’re drawing attention to how unintelligent he is!

This is a detective mystery where Batman is supposed to be competent. World’s Greatest Detective? More like World’s Biggest Dimwit.

Relationship with Alfred

Insolent punk

Why is Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) so mean to Alfred (Andy Serkis) in this movie? Pennyworth is the man who raised you, you ungrateful emo brat! He barely acknowledges the best butler in comics, even when Alfred aids him with Riddler’s puzzles. 

It is even worse when Alfred almost explodes to death. He’s lying in a hospital bed, in really bad shape, and Bruce chooses this time to abandon his longtime guardian and mentor? Nah, dude. Yes, Alfred hid certain facts about the Wayne family history, but it’s no excuse to leave, letting him think he’d lost his only family while lying in the ER. Batman sucks in this film. 

And I mean BATMAN. Pattinson does a decent job with the script he’s given.

Overuse of Main Theme

The Batman has a runtime of 2 hours and 56 minutes. For the first 90 minutes, I loved the soundtrack, especially Batman’s main theme. After the halfway point, however, I started noticing the music. And not in a good way.


Batman appears, beats the crap out of someone. 


Batman appears from the smoke of burning cars.


Honestly, man, give it a rest! Give it a remix! Try something else! It’s a good riff, but it’s so overused it began to make me queasy. I listened to the same tune for 3 hours and then the proceeding 12 hours because it was seared into my brain from overexposure. 

It’s Not All Bad

Colin Farrell is one of the redeeming elements of the movie

Ok, so it’s not all bad. There are aspects which I liked. 

The cinematography was impressive. There are shots that are extremely beautiful, like when Bruce and Selina are talking on top of buildings and during the Penguin car chase. Reeves’ use of darkness made Batman legitimately scary, with criminals looking at shadows with unease. The shots where Bruce takes down henchmen while they fire their machine guns, causing strobe lighting and staccato sequences: chef’s kiss. 

I also liked the fight scenes. The violence is excellently choreographed, and Batman seems absolutely brutal. He takes it right to the edge of what is acceptable for a Batman, not killing the criminal but making sure they don’t get up from the beatdown. 

Most of all, I enjoyed Colin Farrell‘s portrayal of the Penguin. Farrell is unrecognizable as Cobblepot, Falcone’s head henchman, both in appearance and in voice work. He puts in a terrific performance, with his character stealing every scene he’s in. It made me want to see more of him.

But none of this makes up for the terrible choices that have been made in its narrative. Batman repeatedly fails to deliver any significant epiphanies for himself, making the decision to make a noir movie truly baffling. 

I can’t sit through another session of The Dunceman getting his ass handed to him for Matt Reeves’ sequel. However, The Penguin has emerged like a phoenix from the dumpster fire of this movie, and I’m happy about it.

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