A warning: Spoilers for Batman ahead.
Batman is a violent, atmospheric, aggressively moody superhero film that deserves the highest praise. He respects every Batman movie that has come before him and also creates a fresh noir detective story with a villain that draws parallels with the Zodiac Killer.
But Batman forgot one thing: a satisfying ending.
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In the finale, Batman kills several armed thugs. In it, Batman falls in slow motion from the sky into a pool of water that splashes around him in a cool motion portrait inspired by Zack Snyder.
The ending of “Batman” created another opportunity for Darth Vader’s thrilling “Imperial March” theme music to reverberate through our ears. This saw a grounded version of Zoë Kravitz of Catwoman and Batman finally become partners as they fought for their lives.
Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman.
Problem: Their lives have never been in danger. There was no sense of danger. As soon as the Riddler disappeared from view, locked in prison, his Internet friends had to kill the newly elected mayor Bella Real. However, by the time Batman arrived to prevent this, she had already been shot.
It wasn’t fatal – she quickly found the strength to make her way through the foul water lagoon – but her survival is another reason Batman’s ending suffered from low stakes.
Another reason: Gotham City has already been flooded with Riddler bombs. Batman could only help by saving civilians from the flood. Batman did not know that Catwoman would be at the mayor’s address, so he was in no hurry to help her either.
One bet: Batman prevents further damage.
The Batmobile is the Beast.
One key moment stands out from the meek final showdown: a Trump-era incel-style Riddler-inspired follower claims he is also “taking revenge” by imitating Batman’s catchphrase. This taught Batman that he should be driven by different values, in particular the strength to endure and the strength to fight. An allegory for the political climate in the US, Batman, through Bruce’s final voice-over, wants people in Gotham and elsewhere to be able to believe in politicians and institutions again.
Batman is a shadow until, at the end of the day, he holds up a beacon of light, literally and figuratively, to banish the darkness and bring everyone to safety.
It was a serious end to a movie about a serial killer, corrupt cops, and Wayne’s tainted legacy.
It probably works for some, providing a glimmer of hope at the end of a dark three-hour odyssey. Batman’s failures undermine the usual last-second superhero victories. This hero has entered an impossible final battle in the middle of an avalanche.
At the same time, the tame, drawn-out ending broke the magic trick. A rain-soaked crime mystery emerging in chilling moments straight out of a horror movie has lost its nerve. The hypnotic, slow-burning spell washed away.
Mandatory teasers for the future, including a certain Joker, took the focus away from the chapter that had just unfolded. There are reportedly two more Battinson movies to come, but Batman already feels like the final trilogy that doesn’t live up to Avengers: Endgame’s lead time.
The Batman ending was supposed to hurt Batman. Instead, his divine armor turned bullets into beautiful sparks. Gotham lives on, even wetter, and relatively unscathed.
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