ATTENTION: This article contains spoilers for the movie “Batman” (2022).
Matt Reeves’ Batman misses an important flashback scene that usually appears in the first movie of every reboot of the movie series, which already makes the upcoming sequel better. As is the case with every new Batman movie series, Matt Reeves’ Batman approaches Bruce Wayne, Gotham and Batman’s legacy in a new style that is also very faithful to the comic book version of the character. The brooding, dark and dark Batman series begins with the hero becoming a retribution turned hope as he realizes the impact not only of what Batman represents for Gotham, but more importantly, of what Bruce Wayne’s legacy means for the city.
“Batman” largely leaves Bruce Wayne out of the scope of its story, instead focusing on Batman’s early career as a detective uncovering the deep-rooted corruption of Gotham’s elite. Bringing to the surface the secrets of the Gotham police, politicians and wealthy leaders, Bruce Wayne discovers that his father, the murdered Thomas Wayne, was in fact the catalyst for the criminal empire of Carmine Falcone when he took over the Wayne Renewal Fund. As Bruce is a product of the Waynes and the Arkhams, two of Gotham’s most powerful families, his battle for revenge turns the mirror on himself as he realizes that his family’s tainted legacy is now an even bigger mystery to him than it was before.
After the “Riddler” revealed the long-kept secrets of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Batman assigned Bruce Wayne to investigate an even more serious case in the sequel: the murder of his parents. Batman legends usually refer to the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents as the beginning of his fight for revenge against Gotham criminals, but Batman has just delved into the essence of Bruce Wayne’s influence and significance in Batman’s legacy. Since the Batman 2 story is meant to be a much more personal dive into Bruce Wayne’s backstory, it makes sense that Matt Reeves missed the most important missing scene from a movie that mostly explores Batman, not Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne.
The biggest missing Scene in “Batman” — Memories of the Wayne murders
While each Batman movie series takes a fresh look at Bruce Wayne, the first part of each has one common scene that provides an emotional foundation for Batman: memories of the murders of his parents. “Batman” (1989) and “Batman: The Beginning” (2005) began their respective series of films with a story about Bruce Wayne, trying to distinguish a rich playboy from a Dark Knight. At the same time, in both films, along with many others, there is a scene of memories of the Wayne murders, when a young Bruce leaves the theater with his parents, who are both shot, and Bruce leaves (physically) unharmed. Leaving Bruce an orphan, the traumatic memories of watching Thomas and Martha murder remain with him throughout his life and become a catalyst for moonlighting as Batman.
While most viewers were expecting flashbacks to the Wayne murders in Matt Reeves’ Batman, the scene never came. The murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne are mentioned only briefly, mainly because the film is much more of an exploration of Batman than a wealthy reclusive Gotham billionaire; in fact, Bruce Wayne appears in only four scenes during the three-hour film. What they say about the Wayne murder is that it happened after the family left the cinema in 2001, and their death is still felt decades later in Gotham. While several characters tell different versions of who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, their deaths remain as much a mystery to Bruce as they are to the audience in Batman.
Why Batman, who omitted the memory of killing Waynes, is Smart
Although memories of the Wayne murders seem like a given for the first Batman trilogy movie at the moment, Matt Reeves’ decision to skip this scene was the right choice for Batman. As already explained, Batman is much more concerned with Batman’s legacy and purpose than Bruce Wayne. Since “Batman” hardly touches on Bruce’s personal reckoning with the death of his parents or why Bruce Wayne’s identity is so important to Batman’s aspirations, memories of the Wayne murder had no place in the film. The memory of the Wayne murders belongs to a film that best explores Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, especially for a film that reveals the identity of the one who killed his parents.
Batman leaves the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne a mystery to Gotham’s best detective, Batman. Since Bruce did witness the traumatic murder of his parents as a child, the flashbacks should have happened when Robert Pattinson’s character returns and assumes his Bruce Wayne identity, as Batman assumes Batman isn’t just a mask — he’s Batman in the first movie.