I didn’t think anyone could do Batman as much justice as Christopher Nolan did.

But I was wrong. Matt Reeves (known for directing the “Planet of the Apes” movies, as well as “Let Me In”) creates an even darker, more brooding character with Robert Pattinson as “The Batman.”

This is a Batman for grownup audiences, who will relate to the character’s desperate longing for something better for Gotham and for a star-crossed love. It’s borderline-R-rated, with tension and a grim tone that never lets up.

Batman is, of course, Bruce Wayne, who lives in his mansion with his faithful butler Alfred (Andy Serkis, visible now instead of being covered in a CGI mask for such characters as the ones he played in the “Planet of the Apes” movies.) 

Tension mounts from the very first moments. Gotham is a city under siege, with violence and corruption lurking around every street corner and politician’s office. Rain is persistent in this grimy environment where even the Bat Signal takes on a gritty appearance.

Zoë Kravitz (“Kimi”) is Selena Kyle/Catwoman, who has an interesting back story that unfolds as does the history of Wayne’s family. Although bodies pile up, there’s more than one mystery to be solved.The most memorable and possibly the most fascinating of the characters The Riddler, played by Paul Dano as a clever psychopath who creates elaborate clues that lead to his next victims. The idea of The Riddler as an online presence with a band of devotees who follow his every word makes him all the more disturbing.  

Another villain is The Penguin, portrayed in all his waddling slime by an unrecognizable Colin Farrell.

Jeffrey Wright is most welcome as Batman’s friend Police Lt. James Gordon, who isn’t a commissioner yet.

The score by Michael Giacchino is absolutely perfect. Listen to the feline strains of Catwoman’s theme – music doesn’t get any better than this when it represents a character.

The look of the film, with its images of red and black throughout, is mind-boggling. Some scenes explode onto the screen. Every frame is worthy of a graphic in an illustrated novel.

And this movie is worthy of a second chapter on the big screen.

4 stars

Rated:  PG-13 for violence and foul language.

Running time: Two hours and 55 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.

Watch the trailer here.

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