DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. brings in another critical and box office winner with Matt Reeves’ The Batman. But is the film a grand slam? Not entirely, as it has major inconsistencies and plot holes.
As of the time of this writing, The Batman has a domestic box office gross of $144 million (with a worldwide gross of $269 million) since its theatrical release on March 4, 2022. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes currently gives it an 86% Fresh rating, with an 89% audience score. And yet, despite enjoying remarkable numbers, there are big flaws in its nearly 3 hour runtime.
What are these inconsistent elements and plot holes in The Batman? Check out the breakdown below.
SPOILER WARNING: Stop reading if you have not watched The Batman.
Batman has no reputation
The opening scenes establish how The Batman (Robert Pattinson) uses fear as his weapon against the criminal superstitious, cowardly lot of Gotham. It echoes the Tim Burton 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton.
However, this is supposed to be the second year that the masked vigilante has been in operation. Not just that, but his activities have been followed by the authorities and the media. And yet, thugs in the streets of Gotham still ask who he is.
This would be acceptable if Batman had only been operating a short while (as with the aforementioned 1989 movie or in stories like Batman: Year One). But being active for 2 years publicly? This glaring inconsistency sticks out when you consider how knowledge of the Batman’s nocturnal war is a key element in the overall thread of the film, particularly how it connects to the motivations of The Ridder (Paul Dano).
Batman walks through the front door
In a pivotal scene where The Batman meets Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) at the crime lord’s Iceberg Lounge, he enters… by walking through the front door.
In most depictions, Batman either uses his ninja skills to stealthily infiltrate his quarry, entering through the roof or windows. And if he does take the direct approach, he crashes the proceedings spectacularly to establish his dominance (or as Jim Carrey states in Batman Forever, "showmanship"). But in this instance, his entire mystique dissolves by just casually strolling in and without a sense of urgency. In addition to that, Cobblepot gives him false information and the Dark Knight Detective takes it at face value.
For a film that is supposed to highlight Batman’s unmatched deductive prowess and his creature of the night persona, this Iceberg Lounge scene interferes with the suspension of disbelief.
Bruce Wayne and Alfred have a housekeeper
Unlike prior depictions, Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis) do not live in stately Wayne Manor. Instead, the duo house in a posh apartment in Gotham City while Wayne Manor had been donated as an orphanage.
But aside from the deviation from Bruce Wayne’s traditional home, the movie adds Dory (Sandra Dickinson) as the Wayne apartment’s housekeeper. This is significant, as Dory apparently manages the mundane day-to-day chores and supervision. As this was previously one of Alfred’s roles, the addition of Dory presents a problem.
Does Dory know about Bruce Wayne’s nightly habits of leaving to beat up on criminals? If she is unaware of the billionaire recluse’s dual identity, does she not ask questions about where he goes? And what about the injuries he sustains? Bruce turned the living room into a conspiracy board, but Dory apparently, does not see that? The film asks the audience to believe that in the course of two years, Dory has not encountered anything suspicious about Bruce Wayne or Alfred.
And we know Dory is not in on the secret. When Alfred fell victim to the mail bomb sent by The Riddler, she is unable to reach Bruce (who was out as Batman at the time). It would also be extremely careless having Dory around, both in terms of protecting Bruce’s secret and in keeping her out of harm’s way.
The Batman movie introduces us to the newest muscle car version of the Batmobile. Unlike the previous versions of the Dark Knight’s iconic ride, it is closer to a contemporary automobile, but with the familiar jet engine powering it. However, there are two plot holes that is centered on it.
The first plot hole is how Batman managed to hide in the car when he went to The Penguin’s warehouse. This badass machine is very loud and, unlike the more advanced versions, has no stealth capabilities. The entire compound was supposed to be very secure and with henchmen patrolling. What did Batman do? Push it on foot into the shadows until it was time for the car chase?
— The Batman (@TheBatman) March 8, 2022
And about that car chase. In the trailer and the movie itself, it was an exciting sequence. The climactic part has the car jump through the flames after a massive explosion, to the surprise of The Penguin. But the convenience of finding a ramp at exactly the right time and the fact that the explosion probably killed a number of bystanders puts a damper on it, once you take a second to realize what just happened.
How exactly did Riddler discover Batman’s secret?
Edward Nashton was a forensic accountant before he became The Riddler. His discovery of the corruption within the elites of Gotham City (including the Waynes) was the driving motive behind his entire scheme. So how exactly did he discover Bruce Wayne is Batman?
This revelation that Nashton is aware of Bruce Wayne’s secret identity comes out of nowhere and is never resolved. This is a different situation than in The Dark Knight where the Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese (played by Joshua Harto) confronted Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) about missing funds and technology that Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) repurposed for his war on crime. Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne built most of his equipment and spends his personal fortune, instead of his company’s assets.
Without a clear link between Wayne’s company to Bruce Wayne’s vigilante activities, simply dropping The Riddler’s knowledge of Batman’s secret is a stretch. Also, it makes no sense for him not to share this vital information to his online group.
Riddler could have killed Falcone during the funeral
One of the key goals of The Riddler is to get Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) out in the open to get rid of the crime boss, and he did accomplish this as early as the mayor’s funeral where Falcone was exposed. But he didn’t kill Falcone in that instance.
Why? Given how a lot of emphasis was made that Falcone built a proverbial fortress around himself in the Iceberg Lounge, not taking the opportunity to kill him during the funeral seems counterproductive. This point is further highlighted by the fact that The Riddler was in an ideal position to use a sniper during the funeral scene.
Prolonging the life of Falcone beyond the funeral does not fit his modus operandi that had been on display throughout the movie.
The Riddler’s endgame makes no sense
For all the build-up of The Riddler as a victim of Gotham’s corrupt society and how this corruption left orphans, his ultimate endgame is to create more orphans.
The culmination of The Riddler’s plans to change everything in the status quo is to flood Gotham City’s streets. This level of flooding would realistically have led to innocents in every level of society getting serious injuries and fatalities. Moreover, The Riddler instructed his followers to shoot civilians trapped when they sought shelter.
If The Riddler’s goal was to expose and end Gotham’s corruption beginning from the Renewal façade, his terrorist-style endgame certainly didn’t accomplish that.
Everything about Catwoman
Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) has often been depicted as a blind spot when it comes to Bruce Wayne. The Batman’s sound judgment and common sense goes out the window whenever Catwoman is involved. But there are big leaps of logic in the newest version.
Why didn’t Batman chase Selina after he took Penguin in? How did she recover the contact lenses after flushing them down the sink during the Iceberg Lounge/44 Below infiltration? It was shown that the lenses fizzled out as she exits the Iceberg Lounge. Why did Batman almost let her murder a corrupt cop? After the much discussed no-killing rule, letting Catwoman skirt it right in front of Batman’s and Gordon’s view is a big loophole.
Plus, we have not even touched on how Catwoman leaving for Bludhaven to signal her spinoff on HBO Max is an obvious plot contrivance.
The GCPD are incompetent
Gotham’s police are never presented as very effective in doing their job. But the way they are depicted in The Batman borders on comedic levels.
Detective James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) never figures out or even suspects that the reclusive, always angry billionaire Bruce Wayne might be The Batman. This is a far cry from the unassuming and quirky Bruce Wayne of the Keaton-era or the carefree and disinterested portrayal by Christian Bale. Pattinson’s Wayne is obviously unhinged and emotionally broken. If the detectives in the GCPD are not suspecting him to be a grim vigilante that welcomes pain from bullet bruises on his body armor, that is comical.
And at one point, the Gotham City Police Department had Batman captured after he passes out during the memorial sequence. They lock him up in an interrogation room and none of the dozens of police in the area had the idea to remove his gear or unmask him. If Gotham’s police are this incompetent, it’s no wonder the city is submerged under water by the end of the film.
Is it the Joker?
Although The Batman does not technically have an end credits scene, the Arkham conversation between The Riddler and a vaguely visible prisoner seems to confirm the Joker. Or does it?
Played by Barry Keoghan, the credits only refer to him as Unnamed Arkham Prisoner. But he does not appear to have the green hair or pasty white face of the Clown Prince of Crime. What we can see is that his face has some form of damage or deformity, but not clearly enough. Though this might mean a different take on the Joker’s look, facial damage on a Batman villain are a dime a dozen. Two-Face, Clayface, Black Mask, Hush, Firefly… Batman has a long list of adversaries with a disfigured visage.
Furthermore, if it is The Joker, does his appearance here mean he had already operating as that moniker prior to his incarceration? Was he captured by The Batman? What are his motivations and why would he befriend the Riddler? Was his disfigurement caused by The Batman or due to other circumstances?
Thankfully, Matt Reeves went on record to state that this was not yet The Joker. The Batman director had more plans for Keoghan’s proto-Joker, but the two additional scenes with Pattinson’s Batman were cut from the final theatrical release.
Keoghan's mysterious character had a bit more to do in earlier stages of The Batman, but director Matt Reeves eventually decided the Mindhunter-esque scenes weren't "necessary" to the story. pic.twitter.com/2XomWQOA7d
— IGN (@IGN) March 8, 2022
However, the director also stated that he wasn’t sure whether the direct sequel would involve the Joker. This leaves another hanging plot hole in the meantime.
Until the next Bat-Time
There are a many questions left by the end of The Batman that expect the audience to simply put on hold as a setup to the sequel and confirmed spin-offs. These inconsistencies and plot holes may negatively impact the film’s long-term legacy.
The Batman is currently running in theaters with a projected HBO Max streaming release on April 19, 2022.