The 2022 film in the caped-crusader franchise, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” clearly tries to put its focus on matters not really covered before. The superhero’s prowess as a hawk-eyed sleuth and also his own internal thoughts and struggles find more space in the new film, despite having had some mentions before. Robert Pattinson as Batman is definitely unique, as a pale, brooding figure who is often very visibly struggling with loneliness when in his real identity. With a slower tone and pace hardly seen in the superhero genre before, and on-point performances and direction, “The Batman” impresses easily and quickly, and continues to be a thrilling watch.
‘The Batman’ Plot Summary
Violent crimes and civilian unrest have been on the rise in Gotham City, as it prepares itself for the mayoral elections. Bruce Wayne has already established his identity as a masked vigilante fighting street crime, and the mere Batman sign lit across the sky is enough to strike fear among criminals. The police and administration have also recently brought an end to drug lord Salvatore Maroni’s operations. Around this time, Don Mitchell Jr., Gotham’s current mayor and candidate in the upcoming election, is found brutally murdered in his apartment. GCPD’s lieutenant James Gordon allows Batman to investigate the crime scene, and together they find a card left addressed to the vigilante, with riddles inside, and a page of ciphertext that needs to be deciphered.
Bruce’s butler, Alfred, helps him out with the puzzle, and they are led to a thumb-drive left by the murderer inside one of Don’s cars. Inside the drive are photographs of the mayor with an unknown young woman, suggesting a scandalous affair that the man was having outside of his marriage. In an effort to find out more about this woman, Batman visits the nightclub where the photographs were taken, the Iceberg Lounge, an infamous hangout spot for criminals. The manager of the joint, Penguin, does not cooperate, but Bruce notices one of the waitresses acting suspiciously. Following her home, he finds out that she lives with Annika, the woman in the photographs. Batman further follows her, by now introduced as Selina Kyle (who also wears a mask and shows off skills in agility and lock-picking) as she breaks into the mayor’s office and retrieves Annika’s passport from a safety vault, but the two find Annika abducted from her home when they return. The murderer then posts a video on social media, introducing himself as The Riddler and showing off the man he kept hostage.
Soon, the murder of police commissioner Pete Savage follows, and the Riddler claims to be putting an end to all lies in Gotham. Bruce sends a video camera into the Iceberg Lounge for more information, implanted in the eye-lens of Selina, and learns that most of Gotham’s authorities and police are directly paid by powerful mob boss Carmine Falcone. The city’s District Attorney, Gil Colson, is also on his payroll, and this man is next targeted by the Riddler. Alfred and Bruce solve a second note and cipher to find a cryptic note reading, “You are El Rata Alada,” and they interpret it to be referring to a “winged” rat, or informer, amidst the crime world. Meanwhile, the Riddler abducts Colson and prepares a sinister contraption to murder him.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What Are The Riddler’s Sinister Plans?
At a funeral service held in memory of Mayor Don Mitchell, all the personalities of Gotham’s high and mighty society gather, including mobsters like Penguin and Falcone, as well as those on the other side of the law, like Lieutenant Gordon and Bruce Wayne. The service is brought to a short end, though, as a car drives into the church and rams against the wall; DA Colson is found inside the car with a collar bomb on his neck, and his mobile phone taped to his hand. Through the phone, The Riddler talks with Batman while also live-streaming the conversation and makes the vigilante ask questions to the DA about the administration’s corruption and involvement in the crime.
Although Colson admits his corruption and also reveals the monthly bribe he receives from Falcone, he chooses not to disclose who the rat inside the setup is, and he is instantly blown to death. Solving the next riddle that he leaves behind, Batman goes over to the old, decrepit orphanage that was once funded by his parents. Through video clips and messages, the Riddler reveals that he had grown up in that very orphanage, and was scarred at a very young age when the world wept for the rich orphan Bruce after his parents’ death, while the hundreds of other orphans were looked after by the man. Since then, he has developed a particular hatred against the Wayne family for being only self-centered businessmen and now reveals the dark past of the family.
Bruce’s mother, Martha, was supposedly mentally unstable and often required institutional help, and his father, Thomas, had kept all of this carefully hidden from the public eye. When an independent journalist started investigating and writing about the matter, Thomas Wayne got the man killed by Falcone to avoid tarnishing his electoral campaign as the mayor. Riddler’s hatred, at present, is also about the Gotham Renewal Fund, which the family had started as a charitable fund but which quickly became a fund for crime, drugs, and violence.
Bruce is shocked to learn of all this, and then realizes that he himself is the Riddler’s next target, as the descendant of the Wayne family. Realizing the plot, he quickly calls up Alfred to warn him, but it is too late, as an envelope addressed to Bruce had exploded in Alfred’s hands, badly injuring him. The Riddler’s final puzzle for Batman is to bring the “rats” out into the open and expose them publicly.
When Batman ultimately does so, both metaphorically and literally, the Riddler shoots the “rat” dead, and then surrenders himself to the police. His real identity is now known—he is Edward Nashton, a forensic accountant. Put up at the Arkham asylum, Nashton asks to meet Batman, and then tells the vigilante how he had inspired him to put on a mask and create an identity to make his point heard, to get over his extreme loneliness. He then hints at his final and ultimate plan, and returning to his house; Batman finds out that the Riddler has planted seven bombs along Gotham’s seawall, the explosion of which will flood the city immediately. The floods would inevitably rush people towards Gotham Square Garden, where celebrations for the mayoral election would be taking place, and the Riddler’s followers on social media would take up arms and open fire at everyone gathered at the place.
Who Is The “Rat” Inside The Crime Syndicate?
When Batman first receives the clue reading “you are el rata elada,” he assumes it to be referring to a Spanish translation of “rat with wings.” He and Gordon suspect Penguin to be the police informer, as he sits lower than Falcone in the syndicate and might have an interest in taking over.
Following the man, they find out that Salvatore Maroni’s drug business has been revived and now belongs to Falcone. Batman even suggests that the entire drug bust could have been a fraud setup, since most of GCPD is on the side of Falcone. After a chase, Batman apprehends Penguin and interrogates him about being a spy for the syndicate. It is only now that they realize that the clue is actually meant to be read as “you areEl (url) rata elada,” suggesting a website, and on visiting the site, Batman is able to directly talk with the Riddler via text. Riddler dismisses the Penguin as an answer to the rat puzzle and promises to present more clues for Batman, and leads him to the orphanage episode.
After learning about his father’s actions, Bruce directly visits Carmine Falcone, looking for answers. Falcone says that he had indeed killed the journalist on the saying of Thomas Wayne, which apparently brought him close to the businessman; Salvatore Maroni could not stand this as his rival grew close to the wealthiest businessman in town, and killed off Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Bruce then visits Alfred in the hospital and confronts him about hiding the truth from him, but the butler has a different story to tell. He reports the incidents as Thomas Wayne having actually hired Falcone to rough up the journalist because he loved Martha despite her ailments and wanted to keep her safe and out of the public eye. But Falcone, being a cunning criminal, had used this opportunity to murder the journalist so that he could blackmail Thomas with it. But upon hearing of his actions, Thomas was terribly sorry and wanted to immediately surrender to the police and come out clean. It was this that killed Bruce’s parents, as they were shot dead the same night they were supposed to go to the police, almost surely by Carmine Falcone.
Meanwhile, Selina Kyle gets hold of a corrupt police officer working directly with Falcone’s gang and discovers that it was Falcone who had murdered her friend, Annika, and she also lets Batman and Gordon know of this. Now the detectives realize that Falcone (a falcon has wings too) is the rat inside the syndicate, and he had killed Annika because the mayor had told her about Falcone’s real identity. Selina had also revealed to Batman that she was the illegitimate child of Falcone, but had let the authorities take her away as an orphan after her mother died at the hands of Falcone, and now she wants to avenge her mother and her friend’s deaths.
Batman, realizing that Falcone is the biggest piece to catching the Riddler, and also to save Selina from becoming a similar criminal, follows her to Falcone’s club-within-a-club, 44 Below. Selina confronts her father and tries to shoot him, but misses as Batman cuts off the power, plunging the club into total darkness. Falcone then admits to having killed Annika, Selina’s mother, who was also a waitress in his bar, and tries to kill Selina in a similar manner by strangling her. Batman intervenes and apprehends Falcone, taking him hostage and walking out of the bar. As Falcone stands underneath a lamp post, an argument breaks out between him and Penguin, and in a quick instant, the mob boss is shot dead by Edward Nashton from a nearby building.
‘The Batman’ Ending Explained: What Happens To The Riddler At The End?
After discovering Riddler’s destructive plan, Batman rushes to Gotham Square Garden and also sends Gordon and his entire team to control the situation. By now, the bombs have gone off, and the streets of Gotham are devastatingly flooded. Newly elected mayor, Bella Real, tries to put up her public image as a savior, but is quickly shot by one of the Riddler’s followers, who have by now gathered atop the Garden and now open fire. Batman arrives and stops their destruction, and then also risks his own life by trying to save others from possible electrocution. The great massacre is avoided, and no significant lives are lost.
After a few days, Gotham is still flooded, and Batman now actively participates in recovery efforts, even in broad daylight, rather than remaining in the shadows. Selina tells him of her plans to move upstate in search of more mischief and adventure, and she also asks him to join her. Batman turns down the offer, though, wanting to stay back in Gotham, and the two ride their motorcycles together for some distance before parting ways. Meanwhile, at the Arkham penitentiary, the Riddler speaks to another inmate, who suggests that the two could be friends, and then breaks into a typical hysterical laugh.
One quite interesting thing about Robert Pattinson’s Batman is that this version has a lot of thoughts on his mental state and his inner feelings. He keeps a record of whatever he does and feels as part of his vigilance, and the film often offers his words as background narration.
A similar scene happens at the end, when Batman is seen actively participating in relief work while his voice narrates how he has finally found his place in the city of Gotham and has also realized that his strive for vengeance won’t change his past or what kind of a person his father was. For a majority portion of the film, Bruce suffers from loneliness rather visibly, and he is stuck between being the successor of a rich, successful family and helping out on a very street level. With the realizations and their admittance at the end, perhaps, Bruce finds himself more comfortable in the identity of Batman. Not one who searches for personal vengeance and related answers, but one who has the well-being of Gotham more in mind.