|For other uses, see Batman (disambiguation).|
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The Batman is a 2022 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is the first installment of The Batman shared universe. Produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, 6th & Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film was directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig.
The Batman premiered at Lincoln Center, New York, on March 1, 2022, and was theatrically released worldwide on March 4. It was delayed twice from an initial June 2021 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film grossed over $770 million against a $185–200 million budget, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2022. It received praise for the performances, score, cinematography, Reeves' direction, action sequences, and story, although the runtime received some criticism.
In August 2013, Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman for multiple films set in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). He made his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) before appearing in Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017). In October 2014, Warner Bros. revealed plans for a standalone Batman film starring Affleck, and he was in negotiations to direct and co-write the screenplay with Geoff Johns by July 2015. Production was expected to begin after Affleck finished work on Live by Night (2016).
Affleck and Johns finished the first draft in March 2016. Set after the events of Batman v Superman and Justice League, the script told an original story inspired by comic book elements, an approach that Affleck compared to director Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman story, with specific influence from Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989) and "Knightfall" (1992–1994) as well as the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009). Cinematographer Robert Richardson, who was attached early in development, confirmed that the script was primarily set in Arkham Asylum. It featured Slade Wilson / Deathstroke orchestrating a breakout at Arkham to tire Batman and make him vulnerable, before fighting him in the streets of Gotham during the climax. Batgirl was planned to appear and help Batman. Johns said the film would also explore the death of Robin, which was hinted at in Batman v Superman.
Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed at CinemaCon in April 2016 that Affleck was directing. Jeremy Irons said he would reprise his Batman v Superman role of Alfred Pennyworth in May, and Joe Manganiello was cast as Deathstroke in September. Manganiello explained that Deathstroke believed Batman was responsible for his son's death and was depicted as systematically dismantling Batman's life and killing those close to him like a "horror movie villain". He compared the story to David Fincher's The Game (1997). Snyder enjoyed the story and filmed a post-credits scene for Justice League — featuring Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) revealing Batman's secret identity to Deathstroke—to help set up the film. Affleck revealed the title was The Batman in October, and in December he said filming was on track to begin in mid-2017 for a 2018 release. That month, a planned Justice League sequel was delayed to accommodate The Batman. Chris Terrio turned in a rewrite of the script in January 2017.
Affleck began to have reservations about directing the film and announced in January 2017 that he was stepping down as director but still planned to star and produce. He initially said he had stepped down to focus more on starring as Batman but soon stated that he had been unable to get the script where he needed it and felt it was time for someone else to "have a shot at it". Affleck later added that he did not think he would have enjoyed directing the film and felt it should be directed by someone who would love working on it. At the time, Warner Bros. was re-evaluating its approach to superhero films following the release of Batman v Superman, which led to Affleck's film being "sidelined" according to Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter. The Justice League post-credits scene was altered in post-production to tease the Injustice League in a Justice League sequel instead of Deathstroke's role in The Batman, though the original was restored in the 2021 director's cut Zack Snyder's Justice League.
Matt Reeves, Matt Ross, Ridley Scott, Gavin O'Connor, George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Fede Álvarez were all considered as replacements for Affleck as director. Reeves, a longtime Batman fan, quickly moved to the top of the shortlist and entered negotiations after meeting with Warner Bros. on February 10, 2017. Warner Bros. sent Reeves a copy of the script, but Reeves felt that Affleck's take, while "totally valid", was not the film he wanted to make. Reeves only wanted to join if he was guaranteed creative control, and Warner Bros. Pictures Group chair Toby Emmerich—who wanted an "auteur" to make the next Batman film—was impressed by his initial ideas. An issue with his salary soon arose, but it was quickly overcome, and Reeves was hired to direct The Batman on February 23. He was also set to produce the film with Dylan Clark. Reeves was not willing to share his full vision with the studio while he was working on War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), and Warner Bros. agreed to delay production until he was available.
Reeves began working on the script in March 2017. He initially planned to keep The Batman's connections to the DCEU, and spoke with Affleck during the writing process, but soon reworked the story to focus on Batman earlier in his vigilante career, with plans to cast a younger actor to play Batman; Warner Bros. was planning to replace Affleck by July 2017. In August 2018, Affleck went to rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, and it was considered unlikely that he would reprise his role in the film after that. On a Television Critics Association panel in August 2018, Reeves said the script was nearing completion. He hoped to finish it within a couple of weeks and was aiming to begin production in early-to-mid-2019. Reeves submitted his first draft to Warner Bros. the following month. Mattson Tomlin and Peter Craig also contributed to the script, though only Reeves and Craig received credit. Tomlin used some of the ideas he developed for The Batman in a comic book limited series, Batman: The Imposter (2021).
In January 2019, Warner Bros. set a June 25, 2021, release date for The Batman, and Affleck confirmed that he was no longer starring. Affleck explained that he stepped down due to a combination of factors, including his divorce from Jennifer Garner, the tumultuous production of Justice League, his lack of enjoyment in the role at that point, and his alcohol problems. Elaborating on his Justice League experience, Affleck said it had particularly soured his interest in the role since it involved his divorce, frequent traveling, and competing agendas, as well as the death of Snyder's daughter Autumn (which led to the director's exit from the project) and the subsequent extensive reshoots for the film. Affleck recalled that he had shown a version of The Batman's script to a friend who said, "I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through [on Justice League] again." 
On Halloween, Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr. is murdered by a masked psychopath calling himself the Riddler. Reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated for two years as the vigilante Batman, investigates the murder alongside the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD). Lieutenant James Gordon discovers a message that the Riddler left for Batman. The following night, the Riddler kills commissioner Pete Savage and leaves another message for Batman.
Batman and Gordon discover that the Riddler left a thumb drive in Mitchell's car containing images of Mitchell with a woman, Annika Kosolov, at the Iceberg Lounge—a nightclub operated by the Penguin, mobster Carmine Falcone's lieutenant. While the Penguin pleads ignorance, Batman notices that Selina Kyle, Annika's roommate and lover, works at the club as a waitress. When Annika disappears, Batman sends Selina back to the Iceberg Lounge for answers and discovers that Savage was on Falcone's payroll, as is district attorney Gil Colson.
The Riddler abducts Colson, straps a timed collar bomb to his neck, and sends him to interrupt Mitchell's funeral. When Batman arrives, the Riddler calls him via Colson's phone and threatens to detonate the bomb if Colson cannot answer three riddles. Colson refuses to answer the third—the name of the informant who gave the GCPD information that led to a historic drug bust ending mobster Salvatore Maroni's operation—and dies. Batman and Gordon deduce that the informant may be the Penguin and track him to a drug deal. They discover that Maroni's operation transferred to Falcone, with many corrupt GCPD officers involved. Selina inadvertently exposes them when she arrives to steal money and discovers Annika's corpse in a car trunk. After a car chase, Batman captures the Penguin but learns he is not the informant.
Batman and Gordon follow the Riddler's trail to the ruins of an orphanage funded by Bruce's murdered parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, where they learn that the Riddler holds a grudge against the Wayne family. Bruce's butler and caretaker, Alfred Pennyworth, is hospitalized after opening a letter bomb addressed to Bruce. The Riddler leaks evidence that Thomas, who was running for mayor before he was murdered, hired Falcone to kill a journalist for threatening to reveal details about Martha and her family's history of mental illness. Bruce, who grew up believing his father was morally upstanding, confronts Alfred, who maintains that Thomas only asked Falcone to threaten the journalist into silence; Thomas planned to turn himself and Falcone over to the police once he found out Falcone murdered the journalist instead. Alfred believes that Falcone had Thomas and Martha killed to prevent this.
Selina reveals to Batman that Falcone is her neglectful father. She decides to kill him after learning that he strangled Annika because Mitchell told her that Falcone was the informant. Batman and Gordon arrive in time to stop her, but the Riddler kills Falcone as he is being arrested. The Riddler is unmasked as forensic accountant Edward Nashton and is incarcerated in Arkham State Hospital, where he tells Batman he took inspiration from him when targeting the corrupt. Batman learns that Nashton has stationed car bombs around Gotham and cultivated an online following that plans to assassinate mayor-elect Bella Reál.
The bombs destroy the seawall around Gotham and flood the city. Nashton's followers attempt to kill Reál but are stopped by Batman and Selina. In the aftermath, Nashton befriends another inmate, while Selina deems Gotham beyond saving and leaves. Batman aids recovery efforts and vows to inspire hope in Gotham. 
- Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
- Jeffrey Wright as Lieutenant James Gordon
- Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/The Riddler
- Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin
- John Turturro as Carmine Falcone
- Hana Hrzic as Annika Kosolov
- Charlie and Max Carver as The Twins
- Peter McDonald as William Kenzie
- Murder of Don Mitchell, Jr.
- Attentat at Don Mitchell, Jr.' funeral
- Murder of Peter Savage
- Chasing of Penguin
- Arrest of Riddler
- Flooding of Gotham City