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‘The Batman’ Exit Survey

Gotham City is underwater, besieged by corruption and a dangerous enigma. The only thing that can save it is a man who wears a lot of eyeliner and has no friends. Let’s discuss.

Getty Images/Warner Bros/Ringer illustration

It’s raining again in Gotham City. The criminals are out, but so is someone else: Robert Pattinson as the most emo Batman you have ever seen. The Batman hit theaters on Friday, proving that there is somehow still space for a unique take on the Caped Crusader. After seeing the movie, some Ringer staffers divulged their thoughts, from MVPs to hypothetical campaign policies.

1. What is your tweet-length review of The Batman?

Miles Surrey: Mister Batman, you could have saved Gotham, I gave you all the clues.

Arjuna Ramgopal: The Batman is the movie we deserve and need right now.

Andrew Gruttadaro: Most Batman movies portray their protagonist as a slightly stranger James Bond. This one portrayed him as the weird kid who paints in Wedding Crashers. It was awesome.

Amelia Wedemeyer: I have nothing clever and quick to say here, only that it’s mostly worth your time—especially if you want a respite from Marvel’s quippy banter and the bright colors that we’ve come to associate with superhero movies.

Kate Halliwell: The Batman features an angsty, antisocial, sun-averse Robert Pattinson, who fears he will never live up to the charitable doings of his surgeon father. He and a petite woman drive very fast around a rainy city, and he saves someone from being squished by a car, nearly revealing his true identity. The Batman is Twilight.

2. What was the best moment of the film?

Surrey: Matt Reeves directed the hell out of this movie and Robert Pattinson was an awesome Emo Batman, but Michael Giacchino’s score has been playing in my head on a loop for two weeks. Give that man a very premature 2023 Oscar nomination.

Halliwell: Sure, it was in the trailers, but the moment when the Penguin watches upside down as Batman emerges from the burning cars … it’s a strong argument for capes, that’s all I’ll say. (Strong second place goes to Batman’s hilarious flying squirrel suit.)

Wedemeyer: The car chase between the Batman and the Penguin! Usually I don’t care about cars or car chases, but this one—with its wonderful editing and stylization—had me enthralled. I literally found my hands gripping my legs several times throughout this scene.

Ramgopal: The car chase lived up to the hype: seeing Batman chase down a manic Colin Farrell was a true delight; the cinematography was amazing; and Cobblepot schooling Bruce and Gordon on Spanish was hilarious. Throw in the Penguin wobble at the end and it’s a perfect moment.

Gruttadaro: The sequence in the church—when Batman is communicating with the Riddler through a cellphone that’s taped to the hand of Peter Sarsgaard’s Gil Colson—is amazingly paced and executed. So it’s either the car chase or the time when Bruce Wayne put on funny sunglasses to read a newspaper while indoors.

3. What was your least favorite part of the movie?

Wedemeyer: I mean, three hours is a little gratuitous.

Halliwell: Three hours is just too long! How many times can Batman and Gordon name different flying beasts?

Ramgopal: More of a nitpick, but how does Batman survive an explosion to the face?!

Surrey: The third act with Gotham flooding and the Riddler’s army attempting to assassinate the mayor went off the rails, which reminded me of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy never really knowing how to hit the brakes.

Gruttadaro: The movie probably could’ve paid more attention to and gone a little bit further with the mini-twist that the Riddler had been building a following of insurgents. It’s one of the most timely commentaries in the movie, but also one of the things that the movie seems least committed to.

4. Who is the best secondary character in The Batman?

Halliwell: Zoë Kravitz was a great Catwoman, but watching Colin Farrell’s absurd take on the Penguin brought me more joy than anything else in this movie.

Ramgopal: With all due respect to my guy Oswald Cobblepot, Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle was amazing. She brought a badass energy to the character that was familiar yet different, and her chemistry with Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne was on a different level that really helped carry the movie.

Surrey: Colin Farrell was the best scene-stealing weirdo covered in an unnecessary heaping of prosthetics since, well, Jared Leto in House of Gucci. Put those two together in the Penguin spinoff show.

Wedemeyer: Farrell’s Penguin because he stole every scene he was in. He was hilarious, larger than life, and dare I say likable? Give us his HBO series NOW!

Gruttadaro: The Penguin doesn’t just run an extremely successful nightclub—he’s also very well-versed in Spanish gender agreement.

5. Use this space to offer a brief character study of this Bruce Wayne.

Ramgopal: This is a Bruce that is very much on his own, figuring out who he is as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. It’s the most time we’ve ever spent with Bruce/Batman in a movie, and it’s exciting to catch him before he’s fully discovered himself but not right at the beginning.

Halliwell: Robert Pattinson really gave us the most emo-teen superhero of all time. Pale skin, eyeliner, greasy hair, one-word answers, spray-painting creepy shit in his room. … He hit us with a “You’re not my real dad” in the first 15 minutes and I ascended. Incredible stuff.

Surrey: The only time that Bruce perked up was when he saw Selina Kyle put on her Catwoman suit and slink out of her apartment window, like: Hey, she’s a freak like me. My guy needs to lighten up—and he could really use some sun.


6. Finish the sentence: “The Riddler was …”

Surrey: … what would happen if incels got really into puzzles.

Gruttadaro: … legitimately scary at times, and made even scarier by the meekness Paul Dano brought to the character when unmasked. This guy was doing Saw-level shit while wearing a leather mask and breathing really hard. Pretty unsettling.

Wedemeyer: … definitely at the Capitol on January 6.

Ramgopal: … ultimately a really bad wannabe influencer.

Halliwell: … quite possibly responsible for ruining my lifelong love affair with Paul Dano. I will never be able to look at him with my previous level of affection again.

7. You’re running for mayor of Gotham City—give us a preview of your campaign platform.

Gruttadaro: All right, well, first thing we’re definitely going to do is reinforce Gotham’s storm walls—we can’t at all times be six-to-eight economy vans away from the entire city flooding. But I think we’re also going to have to consider the reality that Gotham City’s founders built on unbelievably disadvantageous ground, and that no matter what we do the city will not exist by the end of my first term.

Ramgopal: Flood insurance for all!

Surrey: I am also concerned that this was ever a problem to begin with.

Halliwell: Consider: We should all move out of Gotham.

Wedemeyer: Not gonna lie, I don’t think I can beat Bella Reál’s “Reál Change,” which cleverly doubles as both slogan and platform.

8. What else is on Bruce Wayne’s playlist?

Gruttadaro: “Karma Police” by Radiohead when he’s feeling down, “Hurt” by Johnny Cash on a sunny day.

Ramgopal: “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance.

Wedemeyer: “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman; “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers; “Creep” by Radiohead; “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden; “Starboy” by the Weeknd; “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by the Smiths; “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage.

Surrey: The audio of news reports of his parents’ deaths.

Halliwell: If I’m the only person on this survey to give this obvious answer—“Decode” by Paramore—I no longer trust any of you. I eagerly anticipate the inevitable Bruce Wayne fan edits featuring this song. Please forward them directly to my inbox.

9. Where does The Batman rank amongst the rest of the live-action Batman films?

Halliwell: I’m no expert, but nothing is better than The Dark Knight, and it’s also not as good as the one where Michelle Pfeiffer licks Michael Keaton’s face.

Gruttadaro: It’s top three, surpassed only by The Dark Knight and Batman Returns. Who knew that the secret to unlocking another level to Batman was making him even more angsty and antisocial?

Wedemeyer: I can confidently say that I enjoyed The Batman more than The Dark Knight.

Ramgopal: It’s not the best Batman of all time, but it’s certainly in the top third.

Surrey: I’ll put it in my top three, but if The Batman follows the franchise’s pattern, then the sequel will surpass it.