The new Batman beats Bale’s

Andrew Jáuregui, Interactive Media Editor

It can take years of retrospection to fully understand how great something was or is. People often escape into familiarity when the subject of the greatest of all time comes around. Seen especially in basketball, those who are unable to decide which they believe is the “GOAT” will often say Jordan. After all, why not? Jordan proved his unquestionable talent on the court years ago, making it easy for people to take his side as opposed to taking the risk of supporting LeBron who although his career has not yet concluded, has still proved beyond a doubt his capability to be considered the greatest of all time.

However, this is a Batman review, and I am not here to reflect on my opinions on the basketball “GOAT”, as a matter of fact, I don’t have any. My reason for bringing up the current and heated debate is the fact that I expect that the latest DC film, The Batman, will trigger the same controversy as the unavoidable comparison to the reigning “GOAT”, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, is made.

I went into The Batman with the highest expectations, but I made a conscious effort to make no comparisons to Nolan’s work as I watched it. During my viewing, I concluded that the films took vastly different approaches to the story, setting, and characters to a point where it is difficult to make large direct comparisons from this latest film and Nolan’s.

Simply put, The Batman is less philosophical than the Nolan trilogy, a quality which allowed those movies to create inherent moral tensions between Christian Bale’s Batman and his villains. However, this stems from the fact that in Nolan’s movies, Bruce Wayne knew exactly who and what he wanted to be, a symbol of hope for Gotham City, but Robert Pattinson’s Batman, young and emotional, is still figuring out who he needs to be. This version of Batman takes place in a much darker universe than Nolan’s trilogy, an aspect that I’m sure many will be surprised to learn, so a Batman forced to embrace hope in a hopeless world is a fresh take on the character I greatly look forward to watching develop.

The film also makes other decisions that I was happy to see, especially the decision to not include a scene of Thomas and Martha Wayne being killed. For years, fans have tired of watching Bruce Wayne’s family die. Having already been portrayed in the Keaton, Bale, and Affleck films, the scene has lost much impact, with the iconic imagery of Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace breaking as she drops dead becoming a joke among fans. The film also manages to transform the Riddler, a character defined by Jim Carrey’s campy portrayal, into a terrifying maniac, played expertly by Paul Dano, who’s hellbent on exposing the corrupt underbelly of Gotham through any means necessary.

The biggest difference from the Nolan trilogy, however, is that the film follows Batman’s roots as a detective, as the film follows Batman trying to unravel a conspiracy within Gotham’s government that threatens to expose the corruption of Gotham’s elected officials, police force, and even the Waynes. At the same time, the Riddler is killing officials attached to the conspiracy, leaving hints for Batman, who is hunting him down to bring him to justice. Riddler is eventually sent to prison, but not without leaving a devastating impact on the city, and at the end of the film, he finds himself in prison, devastated by his failure. In a surprise reveal, the Riddler is consoled by a prisoner in a neighboring cell. Although his face is mostly viewed by darkness, this mysterious prisoner is without a doubt, the Joker, played by famed actor Barry Keoghan. Based on their interaction, it seems that the two villains will form a team that we will see in the next or future film in this new continuity.

In short, I loved The Batman, and I’m eager to watch it again. I can say with confidence that, in time, people will view Matt Reeves’ Batman as the “GOAT”, assuming that any sequels maintain or elevate the quality seen in this first film, especially if the Joker is to be the next film’s protagonist.