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‘The Batman’ director responds to runtime criticism: “It was once longer”

Matt Reeves claims the three-hour blockbuster "keeps you engrossed"

By Joe Goggins

Robert Pattinson in 'The Batman', 2022
Robert Pattinson in 'The Batman', 2022.

The Batman’ director Matt Reeves has responded to criticism of the blockbuster’s three-hour runtime.

The Caped Crusader’s latest big-screen outing, which is set for release on Friday (March 4), is 176 minutes long. This makes it the third longest superhero film of the modern era, behind ‘Avengers: Endgame’, at 181 minutes, and ‘Zach Snyder’s Justice League’, which ran 242 minutes, although the latter was a director’s cut intended for hardcore fans and not given a wide theatrical release.

The first reviews for ‘The Batman’, which stars Robert Pattinson in the title role, have begun to roll in this week, and whilst they have been largely positive – with the film holding an 87% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing – some critics have suggested that the marathon runtime was unwarranted.

In an interview with The New York Times, Reeves, who directed from a script he co-wrote with Peter Craig, said: “Once you see the movie, I think that ceases to be an issue. It’s immersive, it takes you along and it keeps you engrossed.” He went on to add “by the way, it was once longer.”

‘The Batman’ heralds the beginning of DC Comics’ long-awaited reboot of the franchise, one that got off to a faltering start when both ‘Justice League’ and ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’, in which Ben Affleck played Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, were met with a lukewarm reception by critics and fans alike.

Affleck had been slated to take on the role, as well as co-write and direct, in a standalone Batman film, but left the project in January 2017. Pattinson beat the likes of Nicholas Hoult and Aaron Taylor-Johnson to the part. He has called ‘The Batman’ “sad” and described his iteration of the superhero as a “weirdo”; Reeves apparently based him in part on Kurt Cobain.

Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano and Colin Farrell round out the main cast as Catwoman, The Riddler and The Penguin, respectively. Farrell is rendered unrecognisable by heavy prosthetics in the film; in December, he talked about the influence of ‘The Godfather’ on his mobster character. Dano, meanwhile, discussed his Riddler last month, telling Entertainment Weekly that he suffered from insomnia during filming.