The Batman Ending Explained

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The Batman Ending Explained

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
You don't need to be the world's greatest detective to know that there will be spoilers in this video. For this video, we'll be dissecting the ending of Matt Reeves' first “Batman” movie and what it could mean for future installments. Our video includes a recap of past Batman movies, Robert Pattinson's take on the character, and, of course, what it all means!
Transcript

The Batman Ending Explained


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re discussing the ending of “The Batman.”

For this video, we’ll be dissecting the ending of Matt Reeves’ first “Batman” movie and what it could mean for future installments. You don’t need to be a master detective to know that there will be spoilers.

What did you think of “The Batman?” Let us know in the comments.

Tim Burton’s “Batman” and Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” both ended on triumphant notes with the Dark Knight saving the day. Reeves’ forway into “Batman” takes a bleaker turn with the Riddler essentially winning. The enigmatic villain successfully sets off a series of bombs around Gotham, flooding the city. While Batman saves newly elected mayor Bella Reál and numerous others, Gotham is thrown into turmoil when we last see it. With Carmine Falcone out of the way, Colin Farrell’s Penguin is left in a prime position to step up as the new kingpin and take over the vulnerable city.


The ending sets up a sequel that could draw inspiration from two well-known comic arcs. [1] Published in 1999, “Batman: No Man’s Land” followed the aftermath of a 7.6 earthquake that hit Gotham. Just as the military arrives to provide aid at the end of “The Batman,” the comic storyline sees the U.S. government evacuate Gotham and close off the city, declaring it no man’s land. Numerous villains, including Penguin, remain behind to seize control. Elements of this story have carried over to other “Batman” properties like the “Arkham City” game, the “Harley Quinn” animated series, and even “The Dark Knight Rises.” Where “The Batman” primarily draws inspiration from “The Long Halloween,” the sequel may be Reeves’ answer to “No Man’s Land.”


The ending of “The Batman” shares even more in common with “Zero Year,” which reworked the Caped Crusader’s backstory for The New 52. This storyline also provides an origin of sorts for the Riddler, who blows up the city’s reservoir and floods Gotham just like in Reeves’ film. One difference is that Riddler temporarily takes over Gotham following the flood in “Zero Year.” “The Batman” sees the Riddler apprehended and locked up before Gotham is flooded. The Riddler watches the madness unfold from his cell, but Gotham seems destined to forget about him after that. If the Riddler can find a partner in crime, perhaps he can make a comeback.


At Arkham Hospital, the Riddler strikes up a conversation with another inmate in the adjacent cell. While we hear the unnamed prisoner’s voice, we only see parts of his face. The prisoner drops two major clues pertaining to his identity, however. He laughs maniacally and directly references a clown. While he doesn’t have the green hair or white face (yet), it’s strongly implied that Riddler’s new friend is going to be the Joker.

From Jack Nicholson, to Heath Ledger, to Joaquin Phoenix, the Joker has primarily acted as a lone wolf in his cinematic outings. A Joker-Riddler team-up would be a fresh approach for the sequel to take. Both characters have similar MOs, but they’re just different enough to stand out from each other. The pairing honestly makes more sense than Riddler and Two-Face in “Batman Forever.” It’s worth noting that the Clown Prince of Crime plays an essential role in “No Man’s Land,” establishing his own territory called Jokerville, kidnapping Gotham’s babies, and killing Sarah Essen Gordon.


Of course, we might be getting ahead of ourselves. It’s not like the unnamed prisoner had a Joker card teasing his inevitable arrival. This character could be any number of “Batman” villains. [3] While the Joker is the most obvious candidate, we could also see this being Calendar Man given this film’s “Long Halloween” ties. [4] Robert Pattinson even mentioned that he’d like for his Batman to fight Calendar Man someday. [5] In one of his video messages, the Riddler drops a not-so-subtle reference to Hush, who’s introduced as Dr. Thomas Elliot in the original comic arc. [6] The animated adaptation of that 12-issue series reworked the character, making Hush and Riddler one in the same. So, a Riddler-Hush team-up wouldn’t be out of the blue.

Reeves has expressed interest in introducing a “grounded” version of Mr. Freeze as well. We don’t think the unnamed prisoner is Dr. Victor Fries. If he were to pop up in the sequel, though, Gotham is flooded, which would make it much easier to freeze. [4] Pattinson, meanwhile, is hoping to see the Court of Owls in the sequel. Since this movie was heavy on conspiracies that go all the way to the top, the Court of Owls might be the next logical step. Maybe the unnamed prisoner has a connection to the Court and will recruit the Riddler. Given the Riddler’s state of mind, we also wouldn’t be surprised if his new friend was a split personality, although that’s really more of a Two-Face thing.


Whoever the unnamed prisoner is, we’re reportedly getting at least two “Batman” sequels and two HBO Max spinoffs. One series will focus on Gotham City Police Department, which we find isn’t completely corrupt, but still likely has some crooked cops on the mob’s payroll. The other series shines the spotlight on Penguin, which could depict his ascension to power after the flood or even explore his early days in crime. We also think there’s real potential for a series centered on Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, who departs from Gotham in the end. Batman remains behind to fight for Gotham, but the ending leaves us with an interesting question: would Gotham be better off without Batman?


During an interrogation, Riddler tells Batman that he inspired him to unleash hell. Batman says throughout the film that he’s “Vengeance.” His word choice comes back to haunt him towards the climax when one armed thug says that he’s working on the side of vengeance. Although they have different definitions, both Batman and the Riddler seek vengeance throughout the film. In his quest for vengeance, Batman may’ve created an even greater threat. Despite this, Gotham becomes more accepting of Batman in the end. As he rescues several survivors from the flood, Batman is viewed less as a vigilante and more as a savior. If Bruce Wayne hadn’t put on the cape and cowl, though, would there have been a flood to save people from?

A post-credits scene presents us with one last question. On a computer screen with the Riddler’s signature green font, it reads “Goodbye?” before the screen glitches out. It’s safe to say that this won’t be the last that we see of the Riddler. His final message could be hinting at a follow-up plan for after the flood. The Riddler knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and we’re sure he could do something sinister with that information. If the Joker is the unnamed prisoner at Arkham, though, the Riddler and him are sure to differ on one thing. The Riddler always has a plan. Does the Joker look like a guy with a plan?
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