starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell
written by Matt Reeves & Peter Craig
directed by Matt Reeves
by Walter Chaw I love Matt Reeves. I think Cloverfield is exceptional, that I underestimated Let Me In upon its initial release, and that, for as popular as it was, the Planet of the Apes trilogy--to which he contributed two entries--remains underappreciated for how cogent and incisive a satire it is of the doomed trajectory of our irredeemable state. Reeves appears to be the rare bird who can work within the framework of franchise and intellectual property and still manage to produce largely uncompromised pieces, unbeholden to stock set-ups and happy pay-offs. I had the highest of hopes for his turn at the wheel of the Batman machine: if anyone was going to do a down Batman in defiance of the jealous protectors of a billion-dollar money tree, it was Reeves. Alas, The Batman is overlong, over-serious, poorly-paced, and the first of Reeves's films to show obvious production interference in the sort of narrative post-script--delivered via world-weary Blade Runner voiceover, no less--that is never not embarrassing for its awkward pandering. Any sins of structure can at least be attributed to Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig, who lean heavily on the "detective" part of Batman's "Dark Knight Detective" moniker in an earnest, all-in go at neo-noir. But the grafted-on epilogue suffers an instant, gaudy tissue rejection. It's sap in a movie that, for all its gravid clumsiness, has decidedly not been sap.