Courtesy Jonathan Olley, Warner Bros. Pictures

Robert Pattinson shuts all his haters up with a vulnerable and terrifying performance in Matt Reeves’s The Batman. When Pattinson’s casting was announced, it was quickly met with criticism—mostly from folks who haven’t noticed that Pattinson has spent the majority of his career giving incredible performances in indie flicks after wrapping up his role as sparkly-vampire-stalker Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga. But ‘O ye, of little faith’; for those of us who watched Pattinson turn New York City upside down in the Safdie brothers’ dizzying crime thriller Good Time, we knew we’d be in for a treat. The Batman finds an angsty Bruce Wayne working alongside Gotham City police as a serial killer runs loose, targeting the rich and powerful and leaving behind twisted clues. The film is immediately violent and genuinely scary; gritty, dark, and fully leaning into the crime noir feel that made The Dark Knight one of the best superhero movies of the 21st century. But this is no copycat: Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne feels younger with floppy hair and goth-boy eye makeup. He’s desperate and dangerous with lots of sore spots lurking just below the surface; this is a Bruce who is still grieving. He’s scrappier too, and less suave in flinching action sequences that play out like a real street fight. Zoë Kravitz and her cheekbones are both sensitive and sexy as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, the perfect feline, though her burglar backstory is begging for an origin story spin-off. There are bits of cheesy dialogue with a narration that feels out of place and a heavy-handed score, but The Batman proves that any story can be retold with freshness and ferocity—plus one of the best third acts you’ll ever see. PG-13, 175 min.

Wide release in theaters