The column gets into very specific plot points about The Batman, so stop reading it now if you haven’t yet seen the film, or care a lot about spoilers.
By the time we reach the ending of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the film does something that very few Batman films have done to this point – namely, it leaves the bulk of its villains alive and well, and capable of popping up in the Dark Knight’s life in a future film. From Jack Nicholson’s Joker to Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul, multiple on-screen Batman villains met their maker following a final confrontation with the Caped Crusader… unusual, because one of his defining characteristics is a lack of desire to kill any antagonist. Still, people end up dying around the Dark Knight, and in the case of one The Batman villain, we do lose them before the credits roll, and I really wish this wasn’t the case.
Carmine Falcone ended up being the person pulling a lot of the strings that led to the crimes being investigated by The Batman (Robert Pattinson) in Gotham. He eliminated a journalist who was making life difficult for Thomas Wayne’s political aspirations. He led the charge to acquire access to the Gotham Restoration Funds, then spread that money around to purchase influence in the city’s government, and its police department. He could have been established as a large thorn in the side of our hero as he fights, tirelessly, to clean up Gotham of the criminal stink that hangs over the legendary location.
Except, The Riddler (Paul Dano) killed Falcone off. Batman brought Falcone “into the light,” per one of Riddler’s cryptic clues, and the crime boss was assassinated by a bullet shot from a nearby apartment building. And for a movie that went to great lengths to keep the bulk of its rogues gallery intact, I lament the fact that Carmine Falcone – and specifically, John Turturro’s performance as the criminal – had to be taken off of the table.
Given his ties to the Waynes, and the manipulations he no doubt conducted in order to reach the top of Gotham’s criminal pyramid, Falcone could have been a rich character to explore in future Batman sequels. I personally enjoyed the way that Turturro played him close to the vest, menacing and powerful yet unpredictable, so terrifying. The sight of him choking Selina – whom he knows to be his daughter – still sends chills.
In the Macro sense, Carmine Falcone might not have been needed moving forward. There certainly are plenty of colorful characters left behind in the villain’s wake. And as is pointed out in the closing narration for the film, the power vacuum created by Falcone’s departure can lead to all sorts of interesting headaches for The Batman (Robert Pattinson). But in a Micro sense, it’s my belief that there was still plenty of “juice” left to squeeze out of Bruce Wayne’s issues with Falcone and his organization, particularly with how it’s traced back to “The Sins of The Father.” This all still can be explored without Falcone in the picture. But that means less Turturro… and when is that ever a good thing?
Matt Reeves will have plenty of avenues down which to travel if and when he returns for a sequel to The Batman. Nothing has been confirmed yet, though after the blockbuster cleaned up at the box office during its opening weekend, we expect that Warner Bros. is investigating the best ways to move forward on this franchise. Maybe with Robin? Or maybe with the Court of Owls, as Robert Pattinson himself has suggested. DC recently shuffled a slew of their upcoming dates, so keep your eyes peeled for our guide to Upcoming DC Movies and see which films are next in the pipeline.
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