"Batman Finds Some Hope to Counter the Darkness"
What You Need To Know:
THE BATMAN takes place in a dark world and is seriously hampered by many strong profanities about Jesus and other foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution. THE BATMAN has lots of intense action violence and two big endings instead of just one. However, it tells an exciting, compelling story that engages viewers. THE BATMAN also has a strong redemptive, morally uplifting worldview where justice, hope, goodness, faith, and redemption overcome vengeance, political corruption and criminal behavior.
THE BATMAN is a new version of the famous comic book hero where a mysterious masked man calling himself The Riddler murders two key political leaders and involves the caped crusader on a dangerous investigation of city-wide corruption controlled by Gotham’s head mobster and his right-hand man, who’s known as The Penguin. THE BATMAN takes place in a dark world and is seriously hampered by many strong profanities about Jesus and other foul language, but it tells an exciting, compelling story where justice, hope, goodness, faith, sacrifice, and redemption overcome vengeance, political corruption and criminal behavior.
As the movie opens, Batman (aka millionaire Bruce Wayne) has been working for two years with a police detective, Lt. Jim Gordon, to stop the rampant crime in Gotham City. Despite their efforts, however, crime has increased, and Bruce (haunted by his parents’ murder) wonders if he’s truly making a difference.
On a chaotic Halloween night, a mysterious vigilante calling himself the Riddler murders the Mayor, who’s in the midst of a re-election campaign. Gordon lights up the Bat Signal for Batman to visit the crime scene. The other cops are unhappy that Gordon is letting a vigilante look at the scene. However, Gordon shows Batman that The Riddler left a card with a riddle for Batman, accusing the Mayor of corruption, along with digital photos of the Mayor, who’s married with a young son, with a young woman. They happen to be visiting a nightclub run by Oswald Cobblepot, who’s reported to be the right-hand man of the leading mobster and drug lord in Gotham, Carmine Falcone. Oswald is known as The Penguin because of a bad limp.
Batman barges into the nightclub to see Oswald and ask him about the woman in the photo. However, The Penguin says he knows nothing about her. At the club, Batman notices a young woman who seems to take a special interest in the photo and in Batman’s conversation with Penguin.
So, Batman starts tailing the woman, whose name is Selina Kyle. He finds out that Selina is actually roommates with the mystery woman in the photo. After coming home from work, Selina puts on a black leather outfit and a black hood. Batman trails her to the Mayor’s mansion, where she opens the Mayor’s safe and steals something. Batman lets Selina know he’s in the room with her. After a fight, Batman manages to corner Selina and finds out she stole a passport from the safe. The passport belongs to Selina’s roommate, a Russian immigrant named Annika.
Under questioning, Selina tells Batman that Annika worked at Falcone and Penguin’s nightclub. She tells Batman that many of Gotham’s movers and shakers visited the nightclub. She also tells him there’s a secret club within the club where the VIPs go to hobnob with one another. Selina goes home, only to find that Annika has left or been taken.
The next night, Batman asks Selina to wear a contact lens with a special camera inside when she goes to work at Penguin’s nightclub. He also asks her to go into the club within the club to spy on the visitors there and Penguin’s men. He also gives her an earbud so he can hear what’s happening and can talk her through her undercover investigation. Batman and Selina learn that many of the security guys in the club are off-duty cops. They also find out that the District Attorney is a customer.
Meanwhile, Gotham City is shocked when the Riddler murders the police commissioner and exposes the commissioner’s corruption. The Riddler then attacks the District Attorney, who’s reported missing.
The next day, Batman attends the Mayor’s funeral as Bruce Wayne. Bruce is cornered by the Mayor’s leading opponent, a black woman who chastises Bruce for cutting himself off from the community and not being as philanthropic as his parents, who were murdered by an unknown criminal when Bruce was a child.
As the funeral is getting ready to begin, screams are heard outside the cathedral. Suddenly, the District Attorney’s car bursts through the doors as the crowd scrambles out of the way. The DA emerges from the car, with a bomb around his neck and a ringing smartphone taped to his right hand.
As Lt. Gordon and the police stand frozen in place, Bruce suddenly appears in his Batman costume. He approaches the DA and finds a card to Batman taped to the DA’s chest. The card contains another riddle and a command saying, “Answer Me.” So, Batman presses the phone’s green answer button. The caller turns out to be the Riddler, who now considers Batman his partner in trying to expose Gotham’s corruption and exacting vengeance. The Riddler threatens to trigger the bomb around the DA’s neck unless he gives honest answers to three questions about Falcone and the city’s corrupt officials and VIPs.
More plot twists follow this first part of the movie. Batman soon learns that, as a boy, the Riddler was an orphan living in a Catholic orphanage before it burned down. The Riddler is upset because he thinks that a citywide renewal plan for poor neighborhoods begun by Bruce Wayne’s father just before he was murdered was corrupt from the very beginning. He also claims Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, was involved indirectly in the death of a reporter who uncovered a scandal concerning Batman’s mother.
All the corruption, including the corruption involving some of Gotham’s other movers and shakers, lead to Carmine Falcone. In one of his clues to Batman, Riddler claims there’s a stool pigeon in the Mob, who led to the death of Falcone’s predecessor, the man who was also Penguin’s predecessor at the Mob-run nightclub. Batman and Lt. Gordon decide to focus on The Penguin, who clearly would now like to replace Falcone. So, maybe Penguin’s the stool pigeon.
Can Batman discover whether or not Penguin is the stool pigeon? Will he get the evidence to put Carmine Falcone in jail? And, can he stop The Riddler from exacting revenge against Bruce Wayne’s father by killing Bruce?
Despite its nearly three-hour length, THE BATMAN barely slows down. It has enough suspense and action to hold most moviegoers’ attention. Also, in the second act, it has the best car chase in any of the recent Batman movies, going back to 1989’s blockbuster with Michael Keaton playing Batman. In fact, the car chase is one of the best ones ever made. That said, the movie does have two endings, though the second ending definitely kicks things up a notch.
THE BATMAN also has a little epilogue wrapping up the relationship with Selina, aka Catwoman. The epilogue also briefly shows the positive changes that have occurred in Batman and Bruce Wayne after his experiences dealing with Falcone, Penguin and The Riddler and protecting Gotham and its people from them. During the movie, for example, Batman aka Bruce Wayne goes from a vengeful crimefighter haunted by the murder of his parents to a more well-rounded hero trying to bring justice and hope to Gotham and its people. During his hero’s journey, Bruce confronts Alfred, who’s been like a second father to him, about The Riddler’s accusations against Bruce’s biological father. Alfred’s reply creates what is perhaps the movie’s most powerful, most moving moment. It restores Bruce’s faith in his father and in Alfred.
Despite its positive themes about justice, hope and other redemptive, morally uplifting, biblical values overcoming vengeance, THE BATMAN is seriously hampered by many Jesus profanities. It also has some GD profanities and many obscenities, including one or two “f” words. The movie also has one or two “woke,” politically correct moments. For example, at one point, Selina, who’s played by a half-black and half-white actress, complains about the “white privilege” of Gotham’s leaders, including the two lead mobsters. However, The Riddler is a white man the same age as Batman who grew up in poverty and angrily resents and envies wealthy people and wants to get revenge against them by murdering them. Finally, THE BATMAN also has some positive overt references to faith and having faith, as well as some symbolic references and metaphors to baptism, sacrifice and duty. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution, however.
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