The Best Moments (And The Best Little Details) In The Batman

Matt Reeves' "The Batman" is packed with so many little details, moments, and Easter eggs that display an immense love and understanding of the source material. There's humor, there's heroism, there's a glorious mix of absurdity and realism. It's everything I've ever wanted in a live action Batman movie, and it's only right to show appreciation by gathering some of the best details and little moments that helped make "The Batman" arguably one the best Batman movies to ever grace the big screen.

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The Riddler is a lot of things: an unhinged murderer, an arts and crafts enthusiast, and  perhaps most interestingly a social media influencer on the rise. Despite living in the digital age, there are still movies and tv shows that get social media interactions laughably wrong. Fortunately, "The Batman" gets it humorously right. From the Riddler's "hey guys, welcome back to my channel" YouTuber energy, to the comments and the little cloud of heart reactions floating upon his live streams, it's so familiar and believable, even amidst the relative absurdity of it all. One of the police officers even notes how the Riddler "has like 500 followers." It's also worth pointing out that, in true influencer fashion, the Riddler's followers to following ratio is 507 to 0.

The DIY costumes

I will be the first to admit that I was not a fan of some of the costume designs before I saw "The Batman." In particular, the Riddler's entire getup and Catwoman's modified ski mask just didn't impress me, because I tend to be biased towards more theatrical and flamboyant designs as a cosplay nerd. After watching the movie and doing a little research, however, I totally get it. The heroes and villains in "The Batman ” come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and aren't very far along in their respective stories. Both of these elements are reflected in their attire. Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne has only been donning the suit for two years, but the brooding billionaire has access to resources that others don't, so his costume looks the most polished, and he has more high tech gadgets than others.

Compare this to Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who lives in relative poverty. Commissioning or creating a sleek, custom cat eared cowl probably isn't very high on her financial or aesthetic priorities list, so she has a modified ski mask. This is similar to the very DIY approach the Riddler takes with his own outfits and contraptions. Like Batman, the Riddler is an orphan with a knack for creating custom gear, but unlike Mr. Vengeance, he lacks the funds and resources to have a truly polished look. We even catch a glimpse of his social media followers offering advice for affordable equipment and DIY modifications for his weapons – to which he replies "Hey guys, thanks for all the comments and the tips on detonators" in one of his social media posts. 

It makes perfect sense that Catwoman and Riddler's costumes reflect their both socioeconomic status and the relatively awkward phase everyone is in as far as their respective hero or villain character arcs. Basically, Gotham is populated by a lot of traumatized cosplayers with very different budgets, and I ended up loving how this comes through in the costume designs.

The Riddler's use of duct tape

Further illustrating the Riddler's DIY prowess is his frequent use of duct tape. I'm not saying I like The Riddler. I'm saying I understand his reliance on duct tape. Every time he pulled out a roll of that sticky gray wonder-material, I couldn't help but relate. I'm not using it to restrain or suffocate anyone, but I get why the Riddler always has some on hand. Whether you're in need of a quick reinforcement or restraining your latest victim in a diabolical scheme to level the city and foster an age of chaos, the possibilities are endless with duct tape.

The Penguin's lil waddle

In one of several funny moments that occur within "The Batman", Batman and Jim Gordon leave the Penguin behind with his arms and legs still bound after interrogating him. All the aspiring crime lord can do is give an angry little waddle, cursing them for not having the decency to untie him before they sped off in their respective vehicles. It's not a particularly deep or major moment. In fact, it's as subtle as it is fun — a testament to the little details that went into making "The Batman" so special and entertaining.

The literal thumb drive

The fact that the Riddler amputated someone's thumb to make a literal thumb drive is so stupid, so gross, so darkly comical. He's a sicko for sure, but he's got a good sense of humor. Maybe he'd have had a successful entertainment career as a Carrot Top-styled comedian if the trajectory of his life had been less tragic. If only the renewal money had actually gone to helping orphans, rather than bankrolling the drug sales and corruption of Gotham's worst people, the Riddler wouldn't have to resort to expressing his comedic abilities in such macabre ways. I still laughed though. The Riddler is unfortunately a pretty funny guy despite being a depraved serial killer. I'm sorry. 

Jim Gordon calling Batman "man"

I don't know Jim Gordon's reason for habitually calling Batman "man." It could have been an indicator of camaraderie. It could be that he was avoiding the relative ridiculousness of referring to another human being as "Batman" the same way I avoid calling perfectly normal food items by their gimmicky menu names (please don't make me actually say "can I get a 'Juicy Lucy with bacon?'" because I will cry) so he calls him "man" for short. Whatever the reason, it works, and adds some character to their dynamic as an unlikely pair of detective bros.

Batman eating s*** in his wingsuit

I personally feel that this is the most relatable version of Batman we've seen in a live action movie. He's not yet the suave and polished playboy we've come to know in so many other iterations of the character; instead, he's kind of awkward. He's finding himself. He hesitates when doing things most of us would find intimidating or dangerous, like leaping off of tall buildings. These all are very human things, and one of the best moments of this is when Bruce uses his bat-wingsuit to escape from the cops only to crash really hard into an overpass and crash down to the hard, unforgiving ground. He doesn't just take the hit like a champ; he's clearly in pain, and the wingsuit is trashed. It was completely uncool and kind of hilarious, and I love that. The Caped Crusader we get to know throughout "The Batman" is in the adolescent phase of his heroic identity, and it shows.

Catwoman drinking milk

In a spectacular moment of writing and journalism, I'm pleased to report that Catwoman drinks milk in this movie. It's not a big deal. It's not even a huge focal point. She doesn't even drink it like a cat (though Zoe Kravitz apparently practiced drinking milk like a cat for the role) but it happens. I specifically remember seeing her holding a glass of milk, stewing in my lactose-intolerant envy. Sometimes it's the little things.

The way the Riddler says "Bruce Wayne"

It's incredibly creepy the way the Riddler half chants, half sings "Bruuuuuuce Waaayne" from his prison cell. It's still stuck in my head, like a bad song with a catchy hook. It really f***ed with Batman, who thought that the Riddler had put the pieces together to figure out his secret identity, and it really f***ed with me and the rest of the people in the theater because we all gasped at the same time. Thankfully, it was a fakeout; the Riddler is as clever as he is crazy, but even he wasn't able to figure out that Bruce and The Bat are one and the same.

Spanish grammar lessons with Mr. Penguin

One of the clues the Riddler leaves for Batman spells out "you are el rata alada," which roughly translates to "you are the rat with wings." Except that in Spanish, you wouldn't use "el" — the masculine form of "the" — with the feminine noun "rata." Instead, the correct way to say it would be "la rata," because "la" is the feminine form of "the." The Penguin is quick to point this out to Jim Gordon and Batman, who have mistakenly misinterpreted the clue, believing it to mean that the Gentleman of Crime is the elusive "rat" (you know, a snitch, a narc, a tattletale, if you will) they've been looking for. He taunts them, saying "no habla español?" and laughing in their faces, which is kind of fair. It turns out that the grammatical error was intentional on the part of the Riddler, who actually meant it as a play on words that revealed the name of his creepy website.

Batman rejecting the Riddler's friend request

When the Riddler reveals that he sees himself and Batman as allies, Batman replies by telling him that they're not friends, and that the riddle-loving greeting card connoisseur is going to die alone. Okay, I don't remember the exact dialogue, so allow me to paraphrase with an exchange that I believe captures the essence of the moment.

The Riddler: Besties? ^_^

Batman: NO. F*** you. You're gonna die alone.

The Riddler: (;﹏;)

I have a lot of thoughts about that moment, and one of them is that it was deeply satisfying and a bit funny. Batman's swift rebuke of the Riddler is fantastic, and there's a bit of humor in a guy wearing $100,000 worth of bat-themed gear calling out another guy for being a poorly adjusted weirdo.

Realistic reactions to out of place cosplay

Speaking of Batman's super expensive outfit, the people of Gotham are not exactly thrilled to see a guy in weaponized Bat cosplay walking around. It's understandable; he shows up in full bat regalia to crime scenes and nightclubs when everyone else is in casual (or at least more appropriate) attire. He hasn't yet earned the trust of the citizens, and he's not yet intimidating enough to really spook some of the more powerful villains and crime lords. Knowing this, it's completely realistic for people to be a little put off by Batman. Imagine trying to collect evidence as a gruesome murder scene only for a guy in a fully loaded, custom leather fursuit of sorts to show up. You'd probably think, "Oh god, here comes that weirdo in the bat costume again. It's not even Halloween. I wonder if it's a BDSM thing. It's gotta be." Batman isn't exactly approachable or warm either, which probably doesn't help.

The flare shot

"The Batman" is full of stunning cinematography, and there are some standout shots that actually gave viewers chills. One of the most memorable of these shots is definitely the image of Batman holding a flare and leading people through the floodwaters. It's a beautiful image that illustrates how he has gone through a journey from being a feared vigilante who solves problems through violence, to a literal and figurative guiding light — a true hero. It's also just aesthetically beautiful and I'm not ashamed to say that I cried when I watched it. The best thing about the impact of this scene is that it was featured in the trailers and promotional material prior to the film's release, but the weight of it doesn't hit you until you see it within the context of the movie.

The excellent eyeshadow

I found myself admiring how well Bruce Wayne's black eyeshadow blended in with his mask, adding to the freakish mystique of his Batman persona by intensifying the darkness of his gaze. It turns out that I wasn't alone in this admiration, as evidenced by the following tweet:

Of course, this wasn't the only example of well done eyeshadow in "The Batman." The story told with Selina Kyle's eye makeup is phenomenal. 

Maybe it's just me being an overly analytical makeup nerd, but to me, her eye makeup conveyed the pain of her character's background with the shimmery/wet look on her undereye that made her constantly look like she'd only just wiped away freshly fallen tears. This was perfectly contrasted with the sultriness of her smokey cat eye makeup, and I can't help thinking it was very intentional, very effective visual storytelling.

Batman's small gesture was a big deal

After Batman carries an injured woman to a stretcher, she reaches out for him, not wanting him to leave her side. In response, a clearly moved Batman holds her hand before she's flown away to safety in a helicopter. It's a small gesture, but it signified a turning point in Batman's approach to justice. He realized he could be something more than the violent freak in the fetish gear who lurked in the shadows, waiting to beat petty criminals within an inch of their lives. He could be a symbol of hope and humanity, serving the people of Gotham with acts of kindness rather than relying solely on violence and intimidation. 

"The Batman" is in theaters now.