What critics thought of the new Dark Knight movie

Robert Pattinson stars in ‘The Batman’.

Warner Bros.

Batman has taken many forms on the big screen, from goofy and campy to soft and gritty. Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” introduces the audience to a new version of the Dark Knight: emo.

The film, which hits theaters on Friday, has been met with mixed reactions from critics. Some hailed the nearly three-hour feature film as a deconstruction of the superhero genre, others thought it was a dark slog.

Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” skips over the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, the spark that inevitably leads the young billionaire on his way to becoming Batman. Set during the character’s second year as the masked crime fighter, the film follows the vigilante as he tries to catch a serial killer who is targeting corrupt officials in Gotham.

The standalone feature will not connect to other movies in the DC Extended Universe.

Robert Pattinson dons the hood while Zoe Kravitz takes on the role of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and terrorizes Paul Dano as the Riddler. Other cast members include Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin.

“The Batman” currently holds an 86% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 217 reviews. Here’s what critics thought of the film ahead of its theatrical debut on Friday:

Bilge Ebiri, Gier

Unlike previous versions of the comic book character, there’s little difference between Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman in Reeves’ film, Bilge Ebiri wrote in his review for Vulture.

The film doesn’t spend much time on Bruce’s struggles with leading a double life. Here, the billionaire is a brooding recluse who rarely appears in public, unlike other adaptations that have portrayed him as a playboy or sociable businessman.

“Robert Pattinson’s Batman walks so gently, so quietly in most of his scenes in Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ that you sometimes wonder if he’s more of a ghost than a superhero,” wrote Ebiri. “…Pattinson is a tall, handsome fellow with solid tires, but he plays Bruce Wayne with such broken, mournful despair that his body is practically hollow when not in a batsuit.”

The film also reframes the typical superhero trope of subtle similarities between the good guy and the bad guy. Here it is openly, wrote Ebiri.

“Reeves shoots Batman’s hunt at his targets with the same psychotic, heavy-breathing, point-of-view aesthetic with which he shoots the Riddlers,” he said. “Now we have to try and figure out how the hero differs from the villain – and that includes Batman.”

Read the full Vulture review.

Robert Pattinson plays Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros.’ “The Batter.”

Warner Bros.

Eli Glasner, CBC News

To many critics, ‘The Batman’ appears to be a cross between ‘Saw’, ‘Seven’ and ‘Zodiac’. It is a film that deals with different genres: horror, thriller, noir, but feels limited by its PG-13 rating.

The Riddler terrorizes the rich and powerful of Gotham with murderous traps and joyfully enjoyed his job leaving cryptic clues for the city’s masked vigilantes.

However, “so much of this is about the shock value rather than something really scary,” Eli Glasner wrote in his review for CBC News. “‘The Batman’ is captivated by its family-friendly PG rating, resulting in something like a ‘Saw’ movie made for Disney+.”

Read the full CBC News review.

Kristy Puchko, Mashable

“It’s about time Batman got a proper R-rated movie,” Kristy Puchko wrote in her review of “The Batman” for Mashable.

“With ‘The Batman’ writer/director Matt Reeves teams up with Robert Pattinson to put a different spin on the iconic superhero,” she wrote. “But without the freedom that an R rating affords, this movie — full of menace and murder — feels toothless. .”

For Puchko, one of the film’s biggest misses was the way Kravitz was used as Catwoman.

“Zoe Kravitz’s natural charisma is stifled in a role that mostly asks her to mock and rock hips while wearing leather,” she wrote.

Puchko noted that the chemistry between Catwoman and Batman was lacking “spice,” pales in comparison to the sexual tension between Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

“Their forbidden romance feels more required than deserved or authentically lustful,” she wrote.

Read the full review of Mashable.

Still by Warner Bros.’ “The Batter.”

Warner Bros.

Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“On paper, ‘The Batman’ is a standard Batman story: He fights crime in Gotham, confronts the Riddler and Penguin, and tangles with Catwoman,” Katie Walsh wrote in her review of the film for Tribune. News Service. “In practice, it’s Batman through ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Zodiac’, a serial killer mystery mixed with a gangster movie. The genre play is a welcome refresher, while the detective work is an evolution of just the clownish petty criminals of Gotham.”

Featuring cinematographer Greig Fraser (“Dune”), Reeves’ “The Batman” has a unique aesthetic—a rain-soaked black and red palate with pops of neon. Walsh called the film “excitingly composed and illuminated”, noting that the style works with the story, not against it.

Batman also has a new aesthetic in Reeves’ film.

“We’ve had plenty of Batmen, from the suave (Michael Keaton) to the campy (George Clooney), the goofy (Adam West) to the rugged (Christian Bale), from the glamorous (Val Kilmer) to the cranky (Ben Affleck) Walsh explained. “But this Batman… is our goth Bruce Wayne, more disaffected youth than playboy billionaire, and that allows Reeves as a director to play around with all kinds of dirty imagery, and as a writer, to struggle. with the real function of batman.”

“It’s a necessary interrogation that puts a revealing twist on this well-known character,” she said.

Read the full Tribune News Service review.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and Slice Mag. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.