WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Batman (2022).
Matt Reeves’ The Batman leaves out an important flashback scene typically featured in the first movie of each reboot of the film series, which already makes the upcoming sequel better. As is the case with every new Batman film series, Matt Reeves’ The Batman approaches Bruce Wayne, Gotham, and the legacy of Batman in a new style, which is also very loyal to the comics version of the character. The brooding, dark, and grim The Batman The series begins by establishing the hero as vengeance-turned-hope as he realizes the impact of not only what Batman represents for Gotham, but more importantly what Bruce Wayne’s legacy means for the city.
The Batman largely leaves Bruce Wayne out of its story, instead focusing on the beginning of Batman’s career as a crime detective uncovering the deep-seated corruption of Gotham’s elite. Whilst bringing the secrets of Gotham’s police force, politicians, and wealthy leaders to the surface, Bruce Wayne discovers that his father, the murdered Thomas Wayne, was essentially the catalyst for Carmine Falcone’s criminal empire when he got hold of the Wayne Renewal Fund. With Bruce being a product of the Waynes and Arkhams, two of Gotham’s most powerful families, his battle for vengeance turns the mirror on himself as he realizes the tainted legacy of his family is even more of a mystery to him now than it was before.
After Thomas and Martha Wayne’s long-kept secrets were released to the public by The Riddler, The Batman set up Bruce Wayne to tackle an even bigger case in the sequel: the murder of his parents. Batman lore typically cites the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents as the beginning of his fight for vengeance against Gotham’s criminals, but The Batman has just barely dipped its toes into the influence and significance of Bruce Wayne in Batman’s legacy. With The Batman 2‘s story being set up for a much more personal dive into Bruce Wayne’s background, it makes sense that Matt Reeves left the most important missing scene out of the film that primarily explored Batman, not Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne.
The Batman’s Biggest Missing Scene Is The Wayne Murders Flashback
While each Batman film series takes a new angle on Bruce Wayne, there’s one common scene featured in the first installment of each that provides the emotional crux for Batman: The flashback to his parents’ murders. Batman (1989) and Batman Begins (2005) both began their respective film series by giving background about Bruce Wayne, making sure to distinguish the wealthy playboy from the Dark Knight. In doing so, both films, along with many others, feature a flashback scene to the Wayne Murders as a young Bruce leaves the theater with his parents, who are both shot and killed while Bruce walks away (physically) unscathed. Leaving Bruce an orphan, the traumatizing memory of watching Thomas and Martha’s murder stays with him throughout his life, and becomes the catalyst for moonlighting as Batman.
While most audiences were expecting a flashback to the Waynes ‘murder in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the scene never came. The murder of Martha and Thomas Wayne is only briefly mentioned, mostly because the film is far more an exploration of Batman than Gotham’s wealthy, reclusive billionaire; Bruce Wayne only appears in four scenes during the 3-hour movie, in fact. What is said of the Waynes’ murder is that it happened after the family left a movie in 2001, with their deaths still being felt decades later in Gotham. While a few characters tell differing accounts of who murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne, their deaths are left as much of a mystery to Bruce as they are to viewers in The Batman.
Why The Batman Leaving Out The Waynes’ Murder Flashback Is Smart
Although a flashback to the Waynes ‘murder almost seems like a given for the first movie in a Batman trilogy at this point, Matt Reeves’ decision to leave the scene was the right choice for The Batman. As explained, The Batman is much more concerned with the legacy and purpose of Batman, not Bruce Wayne. Since The Batman hardly even taps into Bruce’s personal reckoning with his parents ‘deaths or why Bruce Wayne’s persona matters so much to the pursuits of Batman, the flashback to the Waynes’ murder did not have a place in the movie. The Waynes’ murder flashback belongs in the movie that best explores Bruce Wayne over Batman, especially for the movie that solves the identity of who killed his parents.
The Batman leaves Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murders a mystery for Gotham’s best detective, The Batman, to solve. Since Bruce actually watched his parents’ traumatic murder as a child, the flashback would have to occur when Robert Pattinson’s character reverts back to and embraces his Bruce Wayne persona, as The Batman suggests that Batman isn’t just a mask – he is Batman in the first film. Once Bruce is able to tap back into his origins and fully utilize his privilege for hope as set up in The Batman’s ending, he’ll not only be able to redeem the Wayne and Arkham legacies in Gotham, but also better resolve his personal conflict with the murder of his parents.
The Batman 2’s Best Mystery Is Thomas & Martha Wayne’s Murder
The Batman ends with just as many mysteries as it solves, thus setting up the trajectories of Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader and Bruce Wayne in future films. The most significant question viewers are left with after The Batman is who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, and what the exact circumstances of their deaths were. While Bruce may not seek vengeance on the murderer of his parents since The Batman establishes that the hero means so much more to Gotham, it’s still an unsolved piece of Bruce Wayne’s legacy that is left to be explored in The Batman 2.
In The BatmanBruce is told by Carmine Falcone that Sal Maroni put a hit on the Waynes as retribution for arranging the death of a reporter on his payroll, but Alfred believes Falcone was responsible. The BatmanAlfred reveals that no one may know exactly why Thomas and Martha were killed, but he has two theories about Falcone being responsible: One suggests that Falcone killed Thomas Wayne and The BatmanMartha Arkham after they threatened to go to the police about the reporter’s murder, and the other stipulates that Falcone killed the Waynes to silence them, which also allowed him to access the Waynes’ funds for the Renewal Plan that would help cover up his own crimes. On the other hand, Alfred thinks Thomas and Martha Wayne could have simply run into a mugger who pulled the trigger without thinking about how their deaths would change Gotham’s society forever. The Batman‘s ending may have set up future storylines in Reeves’ film series with The Riddler, The Joker, and Colin Farrell’s Penguin, but the real mystery for Bruce Wayne and Gotham-at-large in The Batman 2 is the murder of the Waynes.
The Wayne Murders Can Turn Batman Back Into Bruce Wayne
The Batman was an excellent exploration of the relationship between Gotham and Batman, but it largely excluded the next most significant character: Bruce Wayne. In The BatmanBruce Wayne is Batman, there’s no real distinction. Bruce Wayne isn’t even quite used as a mask yet, as the character doesn’t quite know how to utilize Bruce to further his cause until The Batman‘s ending. Since The Batman established the masked vigilante as Gotham’s best crime detective, hero, and beacon of hope outside of Bruce Wayne’s legacy and history, the sequel exploring the Wayne murders can finally integrate Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne as an important character. It’s almost impossible for Batman to investigate the Wayne murders objectively, meaning he’ll have to engage with the persona he’s effectively pushed down in the year since he put on the suit and mask.
The Batman makes a point to establish the good that Thomas and Martha Wayne did for Gotham, but the Waynes are still an enigma for Bruce after so many of their secrets were uncovered by The Riddler. Matt Reeves’ film concludes with Bruce deciding to use Batman as a beacon for hope rather than vengeance, which aligns with the legacy that his parents intended to leave with their philanthropic pursuits. Bruce finally cues into what his name means to the city of Gotham and the change he can enact by the end of The Batmanwhich means The Batman 2 can finally see Bruce Wayne as a prominent figure as he solves the mystery of his parents’ murders and restores their hopeful legacy. The Batman has established the importance of Batman in Gotham, and the sequel can now construct Bruce Wayne’s role when he confronts the Wayne murders.
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