Media outlets began sharing their reviews of The Batman on Monday afternoon, and when we say it’s been polarising, we really mean it. While some critics have hailed the film as an “epic for our times”, holding it among “the best superhero movies ever made”, others have branded it “bland”, “forgettable” and “tiresome”.
So yes, it’s safe to say there’s a whole range of different opinions out there. Here’s just a selection of what the critics have had to say…
The Times (2/5)
“The performances are as complex as the colour palette (ie not very).
“Pattinson, who has delivered so many thrilling turns recently, struggles to elevate his antihero beyond a pouty emo brat. A latex-covered Colin Farrell, however, in the underused role of the Penguin, seems to be having a blast throughout. I’m glad that someone did.”
The New York Post (2/5)
“Bland and forgettable… In the latest perfunctory film, The Batman, Gotham is bleaker than ever. Too bleak, if you ask me.
“Director Matt Reeves’ downer movie embraces the realism of The Dark Knight, only without the payoff of excellent writing and acting. There’s an unshakable feeling here of ‘What’s the point?’.”
“Most of the action is sluggish, the twists aren’t exactly shocking, and the Riddler is nowhere near as terrifying or as ingenious as Heath Ledger’s Joker was. But, in its own way, The Batman is still impressive.
“As grim as the Burton, Nolan and Snyder films were, Reeves and his team have fashioned their own distinctive and stylish variety of grimness, and they commit to it for three whole hours. Frankly, it’s amazing that they got away with it.”
The Guardian (3/5)
“Inevitably, night falls on the latest Batman iteration with the cloudy sense that – of course – nothing has really been at stake. A classy turn from Pattinson, however, as the crime fighter with an injured soul.”
“It’s almost like Reeves forgot superhero movies should be fun. Sure, there are action sequences, big-budget and full of spectacle. There are villains, vicious and eccentric.
“Sometimes, there’s even a bit of grim humour amid the avalanche of exposition and Batman scowling... But Reeves appears more interested in creating grisly pageantry than entertainment.”
“It’s a soulful nocturne of corruption and chaos, and as much as I longed for a few more glimmers of humour, at no point during the hefty three-hour run time did my attention wander.
“But this film hammers home the realisation that somewhere along the line, someone — probably Christopher Nolan — decided that Batman movies should no longer be fun.”
“Even Batmen get the blues. Still, Robert Pattinson’s damaged young billionaire may be the Darkest Knight yet… For nearly three hours he gives great mood – and while that is not quite the same thing as a great movie, writer-director Matt Reeves nearly wills it to be in his sprawling, operatic update.”
“There’s a lot of plot, but for almost the entire running time, I was amused, intoxicated and shocked. Though some punches are pulled, this ‘young Batman’ yarn is definitely not canon… Truly, this is an epic for our times.”
“Pattinson conveys a fascinating fragility behind the façade of his impenetrable armour that leads Bruce Wayne into even unhappier places than the ones he started in, and that journey marks a shift that’s pointedly different from previous incarnations of the character, if only because it actually gives him somewhere to go when they inevitably make a couple of sequels.
“For all of his psychological trappings, Batman ultimately has been a pretty one-dimensional gloomy-Gus on screen, and I don’t mean to damn the film with faint praise by celebrating the fact that here, he actually gets a character arc, one that makes you root for him as a person and not just as a hero.”
“Pattinson’s main man holds down a revamped Gotham that feels distinctively gritty with its blueprint of madness and mayhem, a place you would never want to live in but still would love to revisit as soon as possible.”
“One of the best [Batman movies]... Reeves and his team have crafted a Batman film that offers a different side to the hero audiences have come to know and love.
“With exhilarating action scenes, a layered story, and poignant, in-depth characterisation, The Batman is a worthy addition to the live-action DC slate.”
“This grounded, frequently brutal and nearly three-hour film noir registers among the best of the genre, even if — or more aptly, because — what makes the film so great is its willingness to dismantle and interrogate the very concept of superheroes.”
“One of the best superhero movies ever made… Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s The Batman is a magnificent achievement: a crime epic that stands apart from previous versions of the character.”
Digital Spy (5/5)
“The level of detail and technical skill that has gone into creating this new version of Gotham City is why the [three-hour] runtime never becomes an issue. It’s a world you’re happy to luxuriate in, filled with fascinating characters that, although they’re well-known, feel different to what’s come before.
“It’s easy to get Batman wrong, but Reeves never even threatens to do so. The Batman is an enthralling, chilling and fresh new take on the iconic DC hero that’ll leave you desperate for another visit to this impeccably-crafted world.”
The Batman arrives in UK cinemas on 4 March.