Warning: This story accommodates spoilers for The Batman
Although Matt Reeves and Peter Craig wrote the script for The Batman in 2017, nicely earlier than the occasions of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, audiences can be forgiven for considering the movie’s climax is a direct reference to the tried riot. “That was the way in which it had been written earlier than,” Reeves tells TIME. “Over the course of these 5 years, from once we wrote the script till now, occasions transpired that made it appear much more well timed, which was very unusual.”
The parallels are so shut—armed conspirators plan an assault on Gotham’s mayor utilizing social media—that Reeves briefly thought-about altering the ending of the movie. “I by no means ever would have got down to attempt to take one thing so present and say, ‘Hey, let’s simply put it in a film’ as a result of that would appear actually exploitive and actually flawed,” he says. “In the end we felt that it was totally different sufficient. It’s not the identical, however there are echoes of it.”
Initially of the movie, Batman (Robert Pattinson) leverages worry as a device—to the purpose that even the folks he saves are frightened of him. In a voiceover, Batman tells us he has spent two years operating across the metropolis calling himself “Vengeance,” when folks ask his identify. (Individuals name him Batman, too, however Bruce Wayne tosses out the “Vengeance” line a lot that Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman begins to name him “Vengeance” as a nickname.)
On the finish of the movie, two revelations power Batman to rethink whether or not he actually needs to be an emblem of terror. First, Batman catches a serial killer referred to as the Riddler (Paul Dano). The Riddler reveals that Batman has impressed him. They’re each concentrating on Gotham’s corrupt; the Riddler is simply keen to kill his targets, whereas Batman is just not. Nonetheless, the concept that donning a masks has created extra villains, not fewer, disturbs Bruce Wayne. He admits whereas writing in his journal that he has performed vigilante making an attempt to guard the streets of Gotham for 2 years, and crime has solely gotten worse.
Within the climax of the movie, The Batman discovers too late that the Riddler plans to flood the town by setting off bombs at strategic places. Many voters, together with mayoral hopeful Bella Reál (Jayme Lawson), head to a Madison Sq. Backyard-esque area in quest of refuge.
The Batman then discovers the Riddler has amassed a violent, fringe following by utilizing the web to foment an rebellion of the disenfranchised in opposition to Gotham’s elites. We see screenshots of chatrooms the place the Riddler’s followers talk about what weapons to purchase and the way they may assault the mayoral candidate and her supporters within the area. The screenshots look eerily much like the social media posts made by Jan. 6 conspirators once they have been planning the assaults: A number of the insurrectionists messaged about concentrating on feminine lawmakers like Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi and significantly ladies of coloration, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The assassination try on Reál, a Black lady who’s operating on a message of hope, echoes the real-world assault.
By the point Batman arrives on the area, the masked terrorists have already infiltrated the constructing, armed with sniper rifles and different weapons. They start taking pictures at members within the crowd from up within the rafters. When the Caped Crusader catches one of many shooters and asks, “Who’re you?” the masked man replies, “I’m Vengeance.”
Batman is visibly distraught. What actually separates him from the boys he’s combating?
He appears to have impressed the Riddler and the Riddler’s followers to take justice into their very own palms. Worse nonetheless, The Riddler isn’t the one villain who has taken to the streets due to Batman’s antics. In a short scene, an imprisoned Riddler commiserates over his failure to destroy Gotham with an unseen inmate. However the film closely hints from this mysterious determine’s snigger that he’ll grow to be The Joker.
Hopefully, by the point Batman meets this new Joker, he may have realized that turning into an emblem of hope is simply as potent, and fewer harmful, than embodying worry.
“There’s a model of glorifying a sort of brutality of Batman that’s fascist,” says Reeves. “You can see that meme. After which there are different portrayals the place you might see that he’s struggling on this very human manner. So I needed him to be compelled to have an awakening … and confront what he’s doing.”
Reeves needed to pause manufacturing of The Batman in London due to the pandemic. And even as soon as filming resumed, information of the Jan. 6 assault perturbed his forged and crew. “Gotham is supposed to be a heightened model of our world,” says Reeves. “However there have been sure moments on set the place we have been like, ‘Wow, possibly the actual world is worse than Gotham.’ We have been fairly shaken by world occasions whereas filming.”
Batman finally does save the day, main the folks of Gotham out of hazard by holding a beacon of sunshine. Up till this second, The Batman is a darkish film—actually. It feels grim and claustrophobic. A lot of the motion of the movie takes place at night time, in darkish night time golf equipment, or contained in the bat cave. One of many few brighter, daytime pictures comes on the very finish as Bruce helps rescue survivors from the sector the morning after the battle with the Riddler’s males. In that second, it seems to be like Batman is contemplating evolving into an emblem of hope reasonably than worry.
Learn the Assessment: The Batman Is Darkish, Actual Darkish—Or So It Needs Us to Assume
Whether or not deliberately or not, Reeves has made a film that captures this significantly darkish second when a endless pandemic, worry of local weather change, and struggle in Europe have contributed to a way of doom. The tip gives a glimmer of hope—which, depressingly, could be the least practical a part of the plot.