For a full review you'll want to read The Batman Spoiler Free Review. This is a discussion of the characters, plot points, and events of the movie that I couldn't talk about without spoiling it heavily.
Characters: It's hard to discuss anything really about the characters without spoiling the movie so here I'm going to talk about what I liked and disliked (if anything) about each character with full spoilers.
I loved that the movie opens with Bruce Wayne's Rorschach style diary, I thought it was a nice twist on the character. The decision to make Bruce Wayne a clearly mentally ill recluse was excellent, it was a really bold choice that I can't wait to play out more as we see Bruce become the arrogant billionaire we so often get in the movies. The Carmine Falcone subplot (that I so accurately called here) was a great way to fold the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne without actually making us watch it for the hundredth time. I also just loved the overall character of Batman, the year 2 slightly disheartened Batman was really well done. There's not much I didn't cover with Batman in the review though so anything more and I'll just be repeating myself.
They went with the New 52 approach by making Selena Kyle Carmine Falcone's daughter was quite surprising but it gave her a good reason for being there and made her plot and character arc feel like it actually carried some weight rather than her just sort of being a thief. The way that the story at first leads you to believe she might be in a sort of relationship with Falcone was really well done too (I think they actually shot decoy throwaway scenes with Zoe Kravitz for this too, the court scene was also shot with her). Finally her very on and off relationship with Batman was done perfectly, it felt like it was ripped straight from the comics. With her going to Bludhaven at the end maybe we'll see a spin off, it'd be a good way to establish the city before a potential Dick Grayson/Nightwing plot down the line.
Alfred wasn't in the film all the much but Andy Serkis was great and it was a take on the character more in line with Sean Pertwee's performance in Gotham. I'm very much looking forward to see how he'll play a role in training and raising a future Robin (clearly Bruce Wayne won't be able to do it) especially with his admission that he couldn't do anything with Bruce other than teach him to fight. It was genuinely sad when it looked like he had died so hopefully they don't kill him off down the line (if they do it'll be Bane I'm calling it now, if I'm write everyone who reads this owed me a tenner). I don't think Andy Serkis has topped Michael Caine or even Jeremy Irons yet (only looking at recent Alfred actors, Michael Gough is also great) but that comes down to a lack of screentime really, maybe in the future with a couple of films under his belt he will.
There's not much to spoil here, he's original recipe Jim Gordon and he's in my opinion the best one yet, I can't wait for the Gotham PD series. I did love that he was actively involved with solving the Riddler's clues with Batman, especially the Penguin post car chase scene.
John Turturro absolutely killed the Falcone role and it's a massive shame that he gets killed off so early in the franchise. Seeing a Falcone subplot in the Gotham PD/Arkham series would be great and is still possible with it being set a year before the movie but I don't think it'll happen. Him being the potential killer of the Wayne's was done really well and gave us a very good setup for Hush with Thomas Elliott's dad being the reporter that kicked that subplot off (Hush would be a very safe bet if you were betting on sequel villains). I did think that the fact that he runs pretty much everything in Gotham was swept under the rug a bit quickly and it would have been great to see them go a bit more into how much power he actually has in sequels but his death sort of rules that out.
Oswald Cobblepot is just getting started but is already a key player in Gotham city's underworld. He didn't have a huge amount of screentime It seems as though he will take a big chunk of Falcone's power in sequels to come and having now had several run ins with both Bruce and Batman I'd expect him to have a lot to do in future sequels.
Paul Dano put in a performance to genuinely rival Heath Ledger and the whole Riddler character benefitted from it. The Riddler in this movie felt like a villain that could genuinely exist in the real world, that sort of self marginalised internet creep is something we see too often and it was such a great take on a normally very whacky character. I loved that he was almost a mirrored version of Batman and that he plays on this to break Batman down throughout the movie, he's sick twisted version of his heroic counterpart. The movie ends with him seemingly forming some sort of alliance with the Joker which means that we definitely haven't seen the last of the character either.
Miscellaneous and plot spoilers ahead:
I loved that they went with the New 52 Zero Year plot point in which the Riddler floods Gotham by blowing up the sea walls. In Zero Year this happens before the main story but in the movie it comes at the end so we'll see the knock on effects of that in the next movie rather than this one but either way it was great to see.
Seeing the Joker was maybe unnecessary, I get that he's the biggest Batman villain and I'm extremely excited to see Barry Keoghan play the clown prince of crime fully but I feel as though with this being the fifth live action jokers in 15 years we need to take a bit of a break. Either way it looks like he's already had a run in with Batman which will make for a very interesting dynamic in the future.
Bruce Wayne living in Wayne tower and using the abandoned train track as a Batcave was very cool and it does make a lot more sense for Batman to operate in the centre of Gotham rather than from a cave miles away.
At the end of the movie Batman injects himself with a glowing green vial in order to save Catwoman from the Riddler copycats (if you had told me that would be the climax of the movie before watching I would have laughed), but what was in the vial? If I had to guess I'd just say it's a fancy adrenaline vial but it also seems like it could be an early precursor to the venom that Bane takes. Maybe down the line we'll see it get into the wrong hands and get Bane as a villain in future movies.
I'm extremely excited at the prospect of a Thomas Elliot Hush appearance. Thomas Elliott's dad seems to be the journalist that covered Martha Wayne's mental illness so that gives him a reason to go after Bruce and if they use the Riddler as his puppet master (as is usually the case) then that gives a reason for him to go after Batman. It seems like Hush is being perfectly set up (there is also a name drop reference in the renewal news montage) to be at least a side villain in the sequel and I for one am so on board with that.
This article has been a bit less of a traditional one but I felt it was about time to discuss the spoiler filled aspects of The Batman.