Matt Reeves’ film is spectacular and well-cast but an intriguing saga of corruption devolves into a tiresome third act

That definite article means it’s the genuine article. Adding “the” to Batman’s name has become a huge part of the brand identity, a sign of how elemental and atavistic this shadowy figure is supposed to be. You can imagine some growly voice saying “the Batman” – but not Tom Holland putting on a deep baritone to say he’s “the Spider-Man”, or Henry Cavill booming he’s “the Superman” (although maybe you could have Billy Joel stride into a dark Gotham City bar to raspingly confront “the Piano Man”).

Director and co-writer Matt Reeves has created a new Batman iteration in which Robert Pattinson reinvents billionaire Bruce Wayne as an elegantly wasted rock star recluse, willowy and dandyish in his black suit with tendrils of dark hair falling over his face; but Wayne magically trebles in bulk when he reappears in costume and mask as the Dark Knight, his whole being weaponised into a slab-like impassivity. And this of course is happening in the sepulchral vastness of Gotham City, the brutal and murky world which Christopher Nolan thrillingly pioneered with his Dark Knight trilogy and made indispensable for imagining Batman on screen.

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