*** Spoiler Alert! This article discusses The Batman. You have been warned! ***
When it comes to superhero films, none can hold up against the Dark Knight, the non-superpowered hero who has dominated live-action since the 1960s. Matt Reeves The Batman has a lot to live up to, but it has also been one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Its unique take on who Bruce Wayne is, and how he navigates becoming the Defender of Gotham have got many comic book fans, especially fans of the Detective Comics comic book, buzzing.
While Reeves has shaped this beloved superhero into someone different from what fans have seen before, there are still a lot of familiarities, and while things are different and new, we can’t help but have a question or two at the end of this three-hour masterpiece.
Of course, not every question needs answering right now, and we’d love to see Reeves explore and expand more of his Batverse in the upcoming Penguin and Gotham City Police Department spin-off series, and quite possibly a sequel.
But not everything is explained and if you have seen the movie, we’re sure you have questions of your own too, especially since there are plenty of things that happened in this dark, brooding epic. If you have not seen The Batman, please leave. Take this as your final warning!
#1. What did Batman inject himself with at the end of the movie? Adrenaline? Or… could it be the Venom derivative?
Just as we thought it was the end of the Caped Crusader, Batman pulled out a syringe and injected himself. Just like that, he gained immense strength and was able to leap forward and punch (the hell out of) one of Riddler’s followers. The scene happened pretty quickly, and it wasn’t brought up again. All we know is that it made our dear Batman, well, a little Bats. Naturally, our first thought is that he injected adrenaline to give himself an edge, but we can’t help but think of the Venom derivative that the hero got addicted to in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #16, before it became the ultimate enhancement compound associated with the villain Bane.
What if… indeed.
#2. The Batman starts with Year 2. What happened in Year 1? How did he build a lair under Gotham City?
The Batman skipped past a few chapters. Reeves’ Batverse takes place in Year 2, when the Dark Knight was busy learning the ropes of being a vigilante. What audiences are seeing is what Reeves considers to be Batman’s arc – not an origin, nor him approaching his glory Justice League days – so there’s none of the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of things. For example, how did he manage to build a lair under Gotham City, if for most of The Batman he was barely seen in person by the general public at all? Who helped him?
#3. The prisoner in Arkham Asylum – how did he get there?
Following up on our previous question, we don’t get to see the WWWW and H of things, including the mysterious fourth rogue that we see getting all chummy with The Riddler at Arkham Asylum. Although there have been some discussions as to who he may be (our bet is that it’s Barry Keoghan as The Joker), we can’t help but wonder, what exactly did he do to land himself in such a cell in Arkham Asylum, and is the Batman aware of this maniacal clown?
#4. Is the flooding of Gotham City a precursor of No Man’s Land?
Batman: No Man’s Land was a massive comic book crossover storyline that ran for almost all of 1999, through all the Batman family of comic book titles, including the Detective Comics series, which The Batman does take inspiration from. In No Man’s Land, Gotham City suffers from a terrible earthquake that evacuates most of the civilian population, and the US Government subsequently declares Gotham City a ‘No Man’s Land’. Military blockades were set up to prevent anyone from entering or exiting, and the city essentially became a lost cause, run by supervillains like Joker and Penguin, with the authorities refusing to continue to aid Gotham City and its remaining inhabitants.
This strikes a strong similarity at the end of The Batman, when the entire city has been flooded, thanks to The Riddler’s bombs. Civilians had to be helicoptered out to safety, and the newly elected mayor and the Gotham City Police Department are seen struggling to keep Gotham City at peace. Although Batman did decide to stay in Gotham City to protect it even further, there’s no telling if the city will recover or not. Is this the start of more trouble brewing for Gotham City? Most likely. Will we see this in the potential sequel? We sure hope so.
#5. The idea of two families who founded and control the city is mentioned in this movie. Can it lead to the live-action theatrical debut of the Court of Owls?
Bruce Wayne became one of the targets of The Riddler’s schemes due to his birthright. As a Wayne, the Riddler deemed Bruce as the by-product of all things corrupted in Gotham City. Both his parents came from powerful families, who seemingly controlled the city however they deemed fit, and supposedly lacking in ethics. While this was deemed to be untrue at the end of the movie, this set-up mirrors elements from the comic books, namely the Court of Owls.
In the comics, the Waynes and Kanes aren’t the only wealthy and powerful families in the city, and some of them went ahead to create an organised crime group known as ‘The Court of Owls’ who went around kidnapping and performing experiments on citizens of Gotham. They were behind the assassination of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and even went for Bruce at one point as well. The Court of Owls leapt out of the pages in the animated Batman vs. Robin film and the Gotham live-action TV series, but are strangers to the big screen (and many non-Batman fans). Perhaps, Reeves is setting up for a big bad debut of this organised crime group in the sequel? Who knows?
#6. Is Matt Reeves open to introducing the Boy Wonder?
Speaking of debuts, is Matt Reeves planning to debut Robin? In the movie, Bludhaven, the home of Nightwing aka Dick Grayson aka Robin was mentioned. While there have been multiple theatrical live-action Batman films, there hasn’t been many Robin. Seeing how Reeves is excited to explore more characters in the Batverse via his spin-off series, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll catch The Boy Wonder in action somehow. After all, Robin does debut in Year 3 in the comics. Should the sequel focus on the next year in Batman’s journey, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Robin may appear.
#7. The Batman has no mention of Wayne Tech or futuristic technology, so where did Bruce Wayne get all his wonderful toys, including his bulletproof suit?
Our beloved Dark Knight in The Batman is stripped of fancy tech. Kinda. His Batmobile, while still cool, is undoubtedly not as high-tech as the ones we’ve seen in other movies, though the suit is definitely quite an upgrade. That said, where and how did Bruce have access to all this technology?
Yes, The Batman takes place in the modern-day – some even theorising in 2019 – and yes, Bruce could’ve purchased them or made them somehow, but the fact that the rest of the technology we see in the film still seemed rather old and not at all as advanced as what we typically see and expect in most superhero genres, have us wondering… just how? And where?
#8. Did the Batmobile stall in its debut against The Penguin, or did Batman cut his engine?
One hill we will die on is that the Batmobile had an oopsie moment and stalled. It makes sense given how our vigilante is still learning the ropes and doesn’t have access to the best tech just yet. Makes the revving seem more necessary, and makes him appear more grounded. A humble crimefighter? That’s our Batman!
Of course, other members of Team Geek Culture disagree, and say it was a pause. What say you?
#9. Martha Wayne was implied to be suffering from a mental breakdown. Could this be the set-up for the introduction of Thomas Wayne Jr?
In The Riddler’s explanation of why he’s targeting Bruce Wayne, he provides a really detailed and fleshed out premise, with photos, news clips, and the whole she-bang. The big focus that even Alfred didn’t deny, was that Martha Wayne suffered from a mental breakdown that was covered up, in hopes that it wouldn’t hinder Thomas Wayne’s political campaign. Although The Riddler didn’t delve into why Martha had a breakdown, we can’t help but wonder if it had anything to do with the birth and disappearance of Thomas Wayne Jr, the older brother of sole heir Bruce Wayne.
Thomas who? Ah, in the comics, Thomas Wayne Jr was the older brother of Bruce and in one reality, grew up to become Owlman and is one of the founding members of the Crime Syndicate. Seeing how Bruce wasn’t aware of his mother’s admission to Arkham, the timeline adds up as Thomas Jr could very well have been born, and perhaps kidnapped. In the recent comics, a man purporting to be Thomas Wayne Jr heckles Bruce, with knowledge of the family that only Alfred would be familiar with.
So, is Reeves open to introducing Thomas, along with the Court of Owls?
#10. Where is Renee Montoya?
You can’t have the Gotham City Police Department and not have Renee Montoya. It’s a crime (heh!). One of the cops prominently featured in the movie is Sal Martinez and while his character is pretty fun to have around throughout the film, he isn’t exactly the strongest character. Montoya has a much cooler character trajectory – and DC fans are likely more familiar with her as she was seen in Birds of Prey. Yes, we know that a Sal Martinez existed in the Gotham TV series, but did Martinez become the successor of the Question, an affiliated Justice League character? Nope. Bring on our girl Montoya!
Bonus: When did Batman, martial arts expert, and master detective, fail his Spanish class?
Batman is cool and all, but not being able to tell the difference between ‘la’ and ‘le’ is downright embarrassing. C’mon Detective, you could do better than that.