One of the things that we already knew before The Batman was released is that Robert Pattinson’s version of the Batman is Vengeance. This is the time when he was just starting out as a masked vigilante fighting criminals on the streets of Gotham City. However, throughout the entire movie, he was also called Vengeance by the other characters. So, why does Batman call himself Vengeance in The Batman?
Batman calls himself Vengeance in The Batman because he is actually the spirit of Gotham’s vengeance against the different criminals that seek to prey on the weak. And he is also Vengeance because his role as a vigilante is something that is personal because criminals were the ones who took his parents from him.
It is important to note that the reason why Batman is a vigilante is due to his childhood trauma. Everything stems from the death of his parents, and that’s why he wore the mask and sought out criminals throughout Gotham. However, we are here to discuss why the vengeance aspect of Batman is actually more focused in The Batman than it has ever been in other movies.
Why Does Batman Call Himself Vengeance?
When The Batman was announced as the newest movie in the story of the titular superhero’s history of live-action films, it was also announced that it was not going to be an origin story, even though Robert Pattinson’s youthful appearance gives us that impression. Instead, The Batman is actually a story about Bruce Wayne’s first few years as Batman, as the movie shows that it has only been two years since he started living in the night.
While The Batman certainly isn’t an origin story, as we didn’t even see the origins of the character in the movie (unlike how it was shown in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins), one of the things that we did learn is that Bruce Wayne hardly ever referred to himself as Batman. Instead, he called himself Vengeance throughout much of the entire movie. So, why does Batman call himself Vengeance?
During the start of the movie, when Batman attacked a group of thugs that wanted to mug a citizen on the night of Halloween, he actually introduced himself with the line, “I am Vengeance.” This is cut out from the comic book line, “I am vengeance. I am night. I am Batman.” However, notably absent are the final two parts of that line, as Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne only says the first one, which refers to him being “Vengeance.”
It is worthy to note that almost all incarnations of Batman, whether we are talking about the illustrated versions of the onscreen versions, have the same origin story, which goes back to the death of his parents at the hands of an unknown criminal who shot them in an alleyway.
In most incarnations of Batman, Bruce Wayne developed a childhood trauma from that experience, and that was what led to him dedicating his entire life to fighting crime in the city of Gotham, as he doesn’t want anyone else to experience what he went through as a child.
However, in The Batman, he was notably fueled by vengeance the entire time precisely because he was still new to the job and that it was his vengeance against the criminals of Gotham that allowed him to push on forward. Vengeance can even be seen in the eyes of Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne.
While not a lot of movies have shown this side of Batman, Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is seemingly consumed by vengeance, as he uses his desire for revenge as his main driving force. He doesn’t know who killed his parents and why they were killed. But by fighting crime as a masked vigilante throughout the city of Gotham, he would be able to take his desire for revenge on criminals that may also end up producing more orphans in the future.
So, in a sense, Bruce Wayne’s mission as Batman is a personal one to him because he is trying to seek redemption for his parents’ death. At the same time, he also embodies Gotham’s vengeance against the criminals that prey on the weak, as he himself has become the city’s spirit of vengeance.
Because of his identity as Gotham’s spirit of vengeance, different people throughout the movie referred to him as “Vengeance.” Even Penguin and Selina Kyle call him Vengeance instead of Batman, as he had already become the embodiment of Gotham’s own vengeance against the criminals plaguing the city.
Will Batman Still Be Vengeance In The Future?
One of the most notable things that happened in The Batman was Bruce Wayne’s own character development. During the entire movie, he and the Gotham police were chasing around the Riddler, who himself also embodied the spirit of vengeance but in a more extreme way because murder and terrorism weren’t off the books for him.
Throughout the film, Batman also discovered that the Riddler’s group also referred to themselves as “Vengeance,” and that means that they were inspired by Batman’s actions as a masked vigilante. But unlike Batman, who has a strict no-kill policy that allows him to get on the good side of the Gordon, those who were inspired by his actions as the spirit of vengeance were more than willing to go through any lengths to seek out their own brand of justice.
As such, at the end of the film, while Batman was seen helping the people who were affected by the flooding of Gotham, Bruce Wayne could be heard monologuing in the background. He said that being Vengeance wasn’t enough because that was what led to characters like the Riddler.
That was when he also said that, instead of being the spirit of vengeance, he needed to become the city’s symbol of hope instead. He realized that Gotham didn’t need someone who embodied vengeance because it was only going to cause more people like the Riddler to appear. Instead, what the people needed was someone who they could look up to as their symbol of hope for better things to come.
So, in a manner of speaking, the vengeance aspect of Batman might tone down a bit in the next installments of the series, considering that the character had already developed well enough to understand that he didn’t need to be Vengeance. This was something that was cut straight out of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, wherein Batman himself became the embodiment of the people’s hopes in the fight against the Joker and against Bane’s forces.
However, it would be interesting to see where Matt Reeves takes this entire vengeance vs. hope narrative in the future, considering that, even in most of the comics, Batman is still the embodiment of Gotham’s vengeance but has toned down a bit on the part where his personal vendetta against the city’s criminals often got the better part of him.