The Batman is a 2008 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a reboot of the Batman film series directed by Darren Aronofsky which stars Hugh Jackman as Bruce Wayne AKA The Batman, Bryan Cranston as his ally, Police Commissioner James Gordon, David Tennant as Edward Nygma, an employee at Wayne Industries who becomes the film's main villain, the Riddler, as well as John Cleese, Denzel Washington and Emma Stone in supporting roles. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer, with the score being provided by John Debney. The film was distributed by Warner Bros and ties into the DC Movie Universe.
The film opens with a shot of the Gotham City skyline at night. The camera is taken to be the point of view of a bat as it flies through the city streets and the credits play. It eventually settles on a movie theater as a wealthy couple, Thomas (Adrian Pasdar) and Martha Wayne (Radha Mitchell), leave a showing of The Mark of Zorro with their young son, Bruce. As they walk home through a dark alley, a mugger emerges from the shadows and holds the Waynes at gunpoint, demanding that Thomas give up his wallet. After Thomas does so, the mugger requests that Martha give him her pearls, and then reaches for them. Thomas demands that the man take his hands off of his wife and attacks the mugger, who fires a shot into Thomas' stomach. Martha begins to scream, causing the mugger to shoot her in the chest before running away. As Bruce (Max Charles) kneels next to his father, Thomas uses his last breath to tell Bruce not to be afraid. It then starts to rain as Bruce sobs over the lifeless bodies of his parents. Suddenly, Bruce Wayne (Hugh Jackman), now an adult, wakes up in bed, revealing what we saw to have been a nightmare.
Bruce, unable to sleep, sits in his study in silence. Suddenly, a bright light appears in the sky, projecting the image of a bat. Bruce gets up and goes down to the secret cave beneath Wayne Manor, where he changes into his alter ego; the Batman. Batman takes off into the night on his endless crusade against injustice and encounters a gang of thieves in the middle of a robbery. After defeating them and tying them up, Batman vanishes into the shadows.
Edward Nygma (David Tennant), a nerdy and eccentric Wayne Enterprises employee, is on the verge of perfecting his new invention, which could possibly change the world; a machine that can enhance the human brain. However, Roland Daggett (Chris Cooper), Nygma's corrupt superior and a member of the Wayne Enterprises Board, wants to steal Nygma's invention. When his first attempt fails, Daggett sends a gang of thugs after Nygma on his way home from work. Nygma's world is changed forever when he is saved by Gotham's legendary protector; Batman, the dark knight.
The following day, a quiet and reserved Nygma returns to work, trying to keep face, only to learn that Daggett has been pulling strings and gotten him fired. Nygma becomes violent and must be dragged away by security. Later, Nygma learns that Daggett has revealed Nygma's invention to Bruce Wayne and has taken credit for himself. Nygma finally snaps and decides to take his revenge using his new identity as the Riddler.
As the Riddler, Nygma begins to play mind games with Daggett and other members of his inner circle, eventually starting to kill them off one by one. Meanwhile, Batman and police commissioner James Gordon (Bryan Cranston) are investigating the murders and it isn't long before Batman makes the connection between the killings and Nygma.
Nygma kidnaps Fred Stickley (William Fichner), one of the men who conspired with Daggett, and locks him in the basement of a run down factory owned by Wayne Enterprises. He sends a cryptic message to the police to taunt them, but Batman deciphers it and identifies Stickley's location. Gordon leads a squad of men in and they rescue Stickley before he can be killed by Nygma's trap. Nygma, by this point insane, counts Gordon as his enemy and sets out to eliminate him.
When Daggett realizes the true nature of what is happening, he demands police protection, only to be arrested by Gordon. The remaining conspirators are also rounded up thanks to Stickley's confession (although Stickley himself is killed in the hospital by Nygma, who uses an epidermic needle on him when no one is looking).
Gordon returns home, only to find that his daughter Barbara (Emma Stone) has been kidnapped by Nygma, who has taken her to his former lab at Wayne Enterprises. Gordon and the police pursue him, and Gordon heads up alone while the police wait below. When Nygma is about to kill either Barbara or Gordon in revenge, Batman crashes through the window. Nygma, enraged, attacks him while Gordon and Barbara escape into the elevator. In a last ditch effort, Nygma tries to cut the elevator cord and kill them, but Batman rescues them before Nygma's plan can come to fruition. Nygma himself then falls on top of the elevator as the rope finally snaps, plummeting several stories down the shaft and taking Nygma to his death.
Afterwards, Barbara is seen writing in her diary about her experience with Batman and how she hopes that one day they will cross paths again. Gordon meets with the hero on a rooftop and thanks him for saving his daughter, before the Bat Signal appears in the distance and Batman jumps into the night, forever Gotham's watchful protector.
- Hugh Jackman as Batman/Bruce Wayne
- David Tennant as The Riddler/Edward Nygma
- John Cleese as Alfred Pennyworth
- Bryan Cranston as Comissioner James "Jim" Gordon
- Emma Stone as Barbara Gordon
- Denzel Washington as Lucius Fox
- Chris Cooper as Rolland Daggett
- William Fichtner as Frederick "Fred" Stickley
Development When the Superman reboot was announced in late 2006, Warner Bros. and DC confirmed that they would be creating a cinematic universe based on their characters in hopes of creating a Justice League movie. The universe would begin with the Superman film, and the second film announced to be a part of the universe was a Batman reboot.
Based on his work on films such as The Wrestler and The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky was selected as the director. Aronofsky was reportedly thrilled to be taking part in the construction of the universe and was especially happy to be overseeing the Batman reboot.
Next, James Vanderbilt, based on his work on Zodiac and The Amazing Spider-Man, was hired to write the film's script. He talked with Aronofsky and they both agreed that they wanted a slightly older Batman then Christian Bale. The casting directors remembered this when selecting the cast.
Hugh Jackman was the first actor cast. Jackman had previous experience with Darren Aronofsky on his 2006 film The Fountain and in comic book movies as he had appeared in Bryan Singer's X-Men series. Jackman's casting was met with a mix of praise and criticism by some fans, but the studio stood by their decision. Next, two important members of the supporting cast were chosen; John Cleese and Denzel Washington as Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox respectively. Washington was reportedly overjoyed to be entering the role, while Cleese said Alfred was one of the roles of his life.
As soon as the reboot was announced, Bryan Cranston was a fan favorite for the role of James Gordon. Cranston had previously voiced the character in the animated Batman: Year One film and was reportedly interesting in reprising the role. The fanbase's reaction to his casting was overwhelmingly positive, with Cranston commenting on Twitter that he was honored to get such a reaction. Emma Stone was then announced to be playing his daughter; Barbara Gordon. This fueled speculation that Batgirl, Barbara's alter ego in the comics, might appear in the film, but when the film was released it became clear that she was only appearing as Barbara.
The most anticipated casting was kept to last; who would be playing the Riddler. Amongst those reportedly considered were Johnny Depp and Guy Pearce (Pearce later went on to appear in the film's sequel as Black Mask). After much speculation and waiting, the actor was revealed to be Doctor Who star David Tennant, who was met with overwhlemingly positive comments on his casting.
A big part of the film was design, as the creators wanted to set it apart from previous Batman films and make it unique. The most important aspect was the design of the Batsuit. The suit's design was based on the Batsuit which had appeared in Arkham video games, with a black bat symbol on a grey bodysuit. The ears on the cowl were elongated to make the suit look unique.
The Riddler's design was also based on the Arkham games. He is depicted as wearing a green suit with small question marks covering it, along with a green hat and a long question mark cane. The Riddler also wears purple gloves and a purple tie.
The film was a huge success, amongst both critics and fans. The performances of Hugh Jackman and David Tennant were highly praised. Captain Logan from the review show Superhero Rewind said that he "fell in love with the film in the opening shots of Gotham." Internet reviewer James Rolfe said that the film was everything he had wanted in a Batman film, while Doug Walker stated that he was left satisfied as a Batman fan. Angry Joe considered the film "the best Batman movie to date."
The Batman was followed by Shadow of the Batman, which introduced the characters of Harvey Bullock, Vicki Vale, Victor Fries/Mr Freeze and Killer Croc. A second sequel followed, Legend of the Batman, which added Dick Grayson AKA Robin to the mythos as well as the villain Black Mask. Hugh Jackman also went on to portray Batman in World's Finest opposite Jake Gyllenhaal as Superman.