Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader is still early in his career, and the lessons he learns in The Batman reveal his greatest power.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Batman, now in theaters.
Robert Pattinson’s version of Bruce Wayne and the titular character in The Batman is just the latest live-action portrayal of the iconic Caped Crusader. In the new film from director Matt Reeves, Batman faces off against The Riddler and the corruption of Gotham City. This version of the character is still in the early stages of his vigilante crusade, and throughout the movie, he learns a lot about how to improve his efforts and make the most effective change in the city. He starts the film claiming to be Gotham’s vengeance, but in the end, he learns he must become Gotham’s hope instead. This transformation reveals that his greatest power isn’t his impressive car or bulletproof armor: instead, it is his compassion.
Batman is called to the scene of a crime when The Riddler calls him out specifically to join in on his mission to weed out and expose the rampant corruption that plagues the city. This leads Batman to cross paths with Selina Kyle, who plays a huge role in improving his understanding of the crime problems in the city as well as realizing the impact of his compassion. At first, Catwoman’s main objective is to locate her friend Annika, who was kidnapped after her affiliation with the murdered and corrupt mayor was revealed. Catwoman’s mission is not affected by Batman’s, as she’s singularly focused on her own goals, but Batman joins her when their goals intertwine.
Initially, Batman is less than sympathetic towards Annika, expressing that she knew the risks of getting involved with corrupt and dangerous people. Catwoman reminds him that not everyone has the same privileges as he does, and it’s not Annika’s fault she ended up in that position. Batman later accuses Catwoman of making similar mistakes and allowing herself to get caught up in Falcone’s inner circle. When Catwoman explains that she’s Falcone’s daughter, it forces him to again reevaluate his prejudices and his assumptions.
Both Selina and Annika are victims of circumstance in The Batman, and Bruce learns through his relationship with Catwoman that people are more grey than they are morally black and white. It causes a shift in his understanding of the city’s crime problem and allows for a more nuanced approach to his mission. It’s not solely about reigning down vengeance in the form of violence, but instead, it must be more than that — it has to be compassionate as well.
At the end of The Batman, the titular hero is among the first responders providing medical attention and aiding in the evacuation after the city has flooded. But he doesn’t disappear when the sun comes up; instead, he literally reaches out his hand to help and not just to strike fear. Some people are initially hesitant to accept his help, given his reputation, but a small boy, the mayor’s son, recognizes the look of compassion Batman gave him at his father’s crime scene and is the first to accept help from the wreckage. Batman’s compassion for the child allows him to have a greater impact on the rest of the flood victims later. This makes it so clear how integral his compassion is to his ability to be Batman.
Finally, when he’s part of the evacuation team, Batman carries an injured woman to the National Guard evacuation helicopter. When he hands her off to the National Guard, she reaches from him, wordlessly giving thanks for his efforts. It’s an emotional moment for sure when he reaches down and holds her hand reassuringly. There’s a warmth to this version of Batman, a compassion that connects him to the people that he helps. It’s not enough to make petty criminals spooked by the shadows; he has to provide a sense of hope and safety to the regular citizens he has sworn to protect.
Batman is well known for his fancy gadgets and cool car, but his greatest power is more personal: it’s his compassion. His compassion and care for the citizens of Gotham will allow him to be the hope for the city’s future that he needs to be in order for his vigilante persona to have a long-term impact on improving the city. By the end of his journey in The Batman, the Caped Crusader taps into his compassion and makes meaningful connections with the city that will invoke the greater, positive change he has been working toward.
To witness Batman’s transformation from vengeance to hope, check out The Batman now playing in theaters.
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About The Author
Margaret Lockyer (372 Articles Published)
Margaret Lockyer has a degree in English with an emphasis on Apocalyptic Literature and a double major in History which she earned while playing ice hockey for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. She currently works in the Canadian film industry and in her spare time she likes practicing yoga, talking about movies, and petting dogs. You can find her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-lockyer-msl6