The Batman Reviews Have Dropped, Here’s What Critics Are Saying About Robert Pattinson's Caped Crusader

The time has finally come to see Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader. The Batman will make its highly anticipated premiere in theaters this Friday, March 4, with lofty box office expectations. Critics have already had a chance to see Batman and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) team up to take on the Riddler (Paul Dano). Let’s take a look at what the reviews are saying about the Matt Reeves blockbuster.

The Batman takes the superhero back to his second year of fighting crime. The Dark Knight will face off against the classic villain the Riddler, a serial killer targeting Gotham City’s elite. Along the way Bruce Wayne uncovers corruption that connects back to his own family. Joining Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz and Paul Dano in the star-studded cast are Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, John Turturro as Gotham City crime lord Carmine Falcone, and Colin Farrell as Penguin, to name just a few. So what did the critics think of The Batman

Starting with our CinemaBlend review, Eric Eisenberg rates the blockbuster 4.5 stars out of 5, saying Robert Pattinson and Colin Farrell are standouts, but the director does right by all of the film's actors, giving Matt Reeves' take on the well-known superhero story a special personality:

In many ways, The Batman is the film I’ve been waiting for as long as I’ve been a DC Comics fan. It doesn’t treat movie-goers as though it has to teach them who the main character is, and instead drops us into a Bat-centric story without all the needless exposition. The key figures enter the picture organically from the narrative in a way that tells you everything you need to know about them, and it all flows without excess or stiltedness.

Matt Singer of ScreenCrush gives the movie a 7 out of 10, commending Matt Reeves' ambition in making the viewer see the familiar superhero in a new way. He says it also differs stylistically from its predecessors:

It primarily differs from Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder’s Batman films in the focus of its plot. Rather than presenting a nonstop barrage of chases and fights, The Batman director Matt Reeves uses action as sporadic punctuation in a genuine detective story. Unlike most of Batman’s recent cinematic adventures — and most superhero films in general these days — this is a mystery of epic length, not an adventure of epic scale.

Alex Stedman of IGN rates the film a "masterpiece," or 10 out of 10, saying when Robert Pattinson and Paul Dano face off, it's impossible to look away:

The Batman is a gripping, gorgeous, and, at times, genuinely scary psychological crime thriller that gives Bruce Wayne the grounded detective story he deserves. Robert Pattinson is great as a very broken Batman, but it’s Zoe Kravitz and Paul Dano who steal the show, with a movingly layered Selina Kyle/Catwoman and a terrifyingly unhinged Riddler. Writer/director Matt Reeves managed to make a Batman movie that’s entirely different from the others in the live-action canon, yet surprisingly loyal to Gotham lore as a whole. Ultimately, it’s one that thoroughly earns its place in this iconic character’s legacy.

Several critics make note of this version's serious tone and Robert Pattinson as what Leah Greenblatt of EW calls possibly "the Darkest Knight yet." She grades the movie a B, noting of Pattinson: 

He journals, he broods, he plucks a single blueberry from a silver urn and gazes at it mournfully. 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 (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) nearly wills it to be in his sprawling, operatic update.

Germain Lussier of io9 says The Batman is unlike any version of this superhero we've ever seen, noting that the movie is more detective procedural than superhero blockbuster. But he's not the only critic who takes issue with the film's finale, saying it betrays the rest of the movie's vision:

The story is a gritty mystery that’s gripping and exciting, coupled with several high-octane action scenes and tons of gorgeous imagery. However, the film’s dense story and long runtime create such a deep investment in this untraditional superhero story, it’s consequently a letdown when the film’s finale betrays that overarching vision. After being wowed by The Batman’s ambition and commitment to realism, everything flies right out the door in its finale, leaving us with a detached set piece that could have been in any other Batman movie before it. Thankfully, there’s so much good to be found before that, it’s only a minor gripe on what’s the most unique, and interesting, Batman film since The Dark Knight.

The critics also all make note of the detective story that highlights The Batman, and Mike Ryan of Uproxx says the film feels like a murder mystery that just happens to feature Batman. It differs from other superhero movies in a way Ryan calls refreshing.

I really liked this movie and I went in feeling pretty suspect of the whole endeavor. I do think Matt Reeves is a terrific director, but, gosh, there have been a lot of superhero movies as of late and now it feels like charts and graphs are needed to figure out what timeline or universe anyone comes from. But with The Batman is all feels back to basics. It feels like a street-level Batman movie where Batman is just trying to figure out a murder and a mystery. There’s a pretty nifty car chase between the Batmobile and Penguin … and even that feels pretty grounded.

Will you be checking out The Batman on opening weekend? The movie premieres Friday, March 4, and director Matt Reeves has really hyped the IMAX version. Also be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to plan ahead for your next movie night!

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.