The DC animated film, “Batman The Long Halloween, Part One & Part Two,” follows a parallel universe where the Godfather-like mafia family, The Romans, pulls the strings in a crime-stricken Gotham City and runs the city from the shadows. The head of the crime syndicate, Carmine Falcone, has his connections in all departments of justice and knows the weaknesses of each and every law-enforcer. Thus, he makes sure that no one is able to escape his symbolic mousetrap. The 2022 “The Batman,” directed by Matt Reeves, derives heavily from “Batman: The Long Halloween,” and it’s not a coincidence that the live-action film starts with Halloween too.
In the 2022 live-action film, Carmine Falcone acts as a link between the three prominent pillars of the narrative, who are: Edward Nashton, aka The Riddler; Selina Kyle, aka The Catwoman; and last but not least, the vengeance himself, Bruce Wayne, aka The Batman. Hence, without any further ado, let’s examine how the character of Carmine Falcone in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” acts as the main antagonist whose actions not only set things in motion but also compel an idealistic anarchist to come out of the shadows to take revenge after being inspired by the symbol of vengeance himself.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Carmine Falcone’: The Godfather Of Gotham
Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” begins with a piece of news that sets the conflict in motion. In a news report, Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. and his friends from Gotham City Police and the Justice Department celebrate their historic drug bust by arresting mobster Salvatore Maroni.
As depicted in “Batman: The Long Halloween,” Salvatore Maroni, son of mafia gangster Luigi “Big Lou” Maroni, is an arch-nemesis of the Romans in general, and Carmine Falcone in particular. Gotham City is divided between these two mafia families, as inspired by Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, which introduces the rivalry between the Corleone crime family and the Tattaglia family.
Taking more inspiration from Mario Puzo’s gangster universe, “Batman: The Long Halloween” depicts a scene where Luigi Maroni shoots Carmine Falcone five times in the chest. Carmine’s father, Vincent, brings his dying son to Gotham’s most efficient surgeon, Thomas Wayne, who, under his Hippocratic Oath, saves Carmine’s life. In return, the Romans promise a favor to the Wayne family (to Bruce in particular in the animated film).
In Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” when Carmine Falcone first meets Bruce Wayne at Mayor Don Mitchell Jr.’s funeral, he quickly recognizes the young lad whose father saved his life once. There is also a mention of the Hippocratic Oath because it is only under the oath that Thomas helped a gangster, or at least it is what Bruce wanted to believe about his father, as he always saw him in a good light. But the realm is broken, later, when Carmine reveals to Bruce that his father asked for the gangster’s favor during his election campaign and used it against a reporter named Edward Elliot, who had dug too much.
Edward had found out about Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne’s traumatic childhood, in which her mother brutally murdered her father and then killed herself. Due to her traumatic past, Martha suffered from a mental illness for which she was even admitted to Arkham State Hospital. To save his wife, Thomas Wayne didn’t want this information to be leaked in public and sought help from Carmine Falcone, who killed Edward Elliot to blackmail Thomas Wayne in the future.
At this point, Carmine reveals to Bruce that Salvatore Maroni killed Thomas and Martha Wayne because he feared that if Thomas won the elections, then Carmine would have the upper hand in Gotham City as he already knew Thomas’s secret and could blackmail anytime to pull the strings. But Alfred thought otherwise. According to him, Thomas wanted to confess being his part in Edward Elliot’s murder and wanted to expose Carmine. However, before he could admit his crimes, Carmine got him, and his wife killed, on the same night. But these two are just theories, as even Alfred doesn’t have concrete proof of Carmine’s involvement in the murder.
Nevertheless, whether Carmine killed Thomas and Martha Wayne or not, he did indeed find a way to reap the benefits from their deaths. In “Batman: The Long Halloween,” Thomas Wayne built hospitals with Carmine, and after Thomas’ death, Carmine used the hospitals to launder money. A similar crime is explored in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” where Thomas Wayne created a Gotham City Renewal fund to redevelop the city, but after his death, the fund was used by corrupt ministers and mobsters to fund their syndicate and launder their illegal money.
However, even Salvatore Maroni had his hands dipped inside Thomas Wayne’s Renewal fund, and that’s where Carmine got greedy. He wanted all of it for himself and hence ratted on Maroni and got him arrested with the help of corrupt mayor Don Mitchell Jr., DA Gil Colson, and Narcotics Officer Kenzie.
With Maroni arrested, Carmine had full control over Gotham, but before he could cherish his victory, the Riddler intervened and started killing everyone who helped the Rat, aka Carmine Falcone.
“Batman: The Long Halloween” also explores the duality of Carmine’s character, who claims to be a mafia with high principles due to which he refuses to welcome a child conceived out of wedlock into the family, yet kills people in cold blood. This particular conflict gives rise to a serial killer named “The Holliday,” who starts killing the members of the Roman family. But it was not the first time when Carmine refused to acknowledge a child born in his family out of wedlock. There is a theory that suggests Selina Kyle was born of a woman he fell in love with and killed later. And if the theory is true, as Selina Kyle believes, then indeed, Carmine Falcone is nothing else but a hypocrite.
Selina Kyle – The Alleged Daughter of Carmine Falcone
In both “Batman: The Long Halloween” and Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” Selina Kyle, aka the Cat Woman, obsessively follows Carmine Falcone to take revenge from him for abandoning her during her childhood. It is believed that Selina’s mother, Maria, had a secret affair with Carmine, whom she probably met in Iceberg Lounge, aka 44 below. Maria was murdered when Selina was just seven years old, and after her mother’s death, her father refused to acknowledge a child that was born out of wedlock, because of which Selina struggled with an identity crisis and grew up in an orphan (probably).
Selina, filled with vengeance, wanted to kill Carmine, but Batman stopped her from getting her hands stained with blood and becoming a criminal, thus repeating her father’s sins. In Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” Carmine confesses to killing Selina’s mother, Maria. However, in “Batman: The Long Halloween,” Carmine had a change of heart when he looked at unmasked Selina and muttered the name “Louisa,” who probably might be her mother.
Selina’s act of saving women in need may also be influenced by her own traumatic childhood, and subtle suggestions of her philanthropic acts are depicted in a few DC animated films, the most recent one being “Catwoman – Hunted.” Hence, when Selina is not robbing diamonds or emeralds, she is helping damsels in distress.
It can be surmised that in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” narrative, it is Carmine Falcone who is running the show from the shadows like a puppeteer and therefore becomes the center of conflict for almost all the significant characters in the films. Whether it’s The Riddler or Catwoman, both are attempting to exact revenge on Carmine, while Batman, who calls himself “the Vengeance,” finally realizes that his own ideology of instilling fear in people can be perceived and followed in the most violent ways, and thus he needs to be more than that. He needs to be a symbol of justice who brings hope to people rather than fear. The transformative journey of the knight has just begun.