There’s a flapping of wings in the Batcave, and Alfred is shuffling in with the fine china, as Matt Reeves The Batman takes flight in cinemas. Giving the Caped Crusader his first solo outing since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Robert Pattinson is stepping into the shoes of Batfleck and hoping to give the brooding billionaire a whole new lease of life.
Following in the footsteps of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, this is an origin story of sorts – which follows a more junior version of the masked vigilante trying to save the crime-riddled streets of Gotham City. With the rumour mill in overdrive that this is the start of a new trilogy (and a sequel already confirmed), Reeves does his best at world-building one of the best-rounded Batman universes we’ve ever seen.
As with any movie these days, we’ve been left a treasure trove of Easter eggs that even the Riddler himself would be proud of. From secret post-credit scenes to Batman villains waiting in the ‘wings’, the Batphone, to a certain Clown Prince of Crime, here are The Batman’s Easter eggs you might’ve missed.
The Court of Owls
Much like the Thomas Wayne of 2019’s Joker, it looks like Bruce’s father wasn’t as squeaky clean as we’d all thought. There’s already wild speculation that Thomas could’ve been involved with the shadowy Court of Owls – a mask-wearing society of Gotham’s elite.
The Court of Owls kidnaps children and trains them as deadly assassins called Talons, which is one way to use the various orphans of the Gotham Renewal Project and tie back to the Riddler for The Batman 2.
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During the movie, the Riddler sends a series of cards to Batman. Each appears to be a subtle nod to a villain, with likenesses of Hugo Strange and Poison Ivy appearing on two of them. You don’t need Batman’s detective skills to guess what the card featuring an owl is alluding to.
Reeves has repeatedly said he’s a big fan of 1966’s Batman movie, and it turns out there’s a deep cut to the campy caper hidden in plain sight of The Batman. The Adam West era was full of wacky gadgets like shark repellent, and although it doesn’t appear here, we get to see the Batphone.
After the Riddler attacks Wayne Tower, Bruce phones to check up on Alfred. He has a butler of his own in the form of Dory, the housekeeper. When she answers the phone, its retro styling and flashing buttons look a lot like the one West used some 56 years ago.
Ice to meet you
Colin Farrell’s Penguin only appears in a handful of scenes – presumably to set up his HBO Max spin-off series. Still, we get to know plenty about the waddling mob boss, as The Batman gives us a pretty comic book accurate version of Penguin.
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Much like the comics, Penguin runs a nightclub called The Iceberg Lounge, however, it’s just a front in The Batman. The real action goes on at 44 Below, which is Penguin’s underground den for the rich and powerful of Gotham to carry out their illicit dealings.
A little Hush, please
Setting up another big bad of the Batverse, a sneaky Riddler Easter egg points to the arrival of Thomas Elliot, aka Hush. In the comics, Elliot was a fellow billionaire baby and childhood friend of Bruce, who murdered his parents in a car accident and tried to bring down Batman.
With blood on Thomas Wayne’s hands, there’s a mention of a journalist called Edward Elliot, which seems too convenient a surname to ignore. There’s also a viral Riddler website that features Thomas Waye’s Mayoral campaign and a flash of an image with the word “hush” scrawled across it.
Brushing up on your reading
There are a number of comics that have influenced the plot of The Batman, but in particular, we see some significant nods to The Long Halloween, Zero Year, and No Man’s Land. Opening on Halloween night, The Batman also references The Long Halloween thanks to Carmine Falcone’s relationship with Thomas Wayne after the latter saved his life.
Zero Year famously featured a convoluted plot where the Riddler tried to flood Gotham, whereas No Man’s Land was teased for The Batman’s sequel. The 1999 crossover had Gotham struck by an earthquake and the various villains carving it up for their own piece of the pie.
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The Batman’s ending monologue sets this up, with a brooding Penguin looking out over a ruined Gotham and ready to take advantage of the power vacuum. Any number of other rogues could be waiting in the wings; just don’t expect Superman to pop by like in the comics.
Another possible tease of what’s to come is Batman’s use of a secret serum. During his final battle, an injured Bruce looks like he could be done for. The Dark Knight then pulls a vial of green liquid and injects it into his veins via his suit.
With rage in his eyes, a jacked-up Batman gets a new lease of life and pummels a Riddler grunt until Jim Gordon has to pull him away. It’s unclear what this mystery liquid is, but it looks a lot like the Venom that gives Bane his superstrength in the comics and 1997’s Batman & Robin.
No longer an Asylum
It’s established that the Waynes and the Arkhams were founding families of Gotham City, and if the name Arkham rings a bell, that’s because the famous asylum is known for housing Batman’s greatest and grisliest enemies.
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We only get a brief glimpse of Arkham – which looks a million miles away from the crumbling confines of Rocksteady’s games. Continuing the revamps, it’s actually named Arkham State Hospital here. With Reeves confirming one of The Batman’s many spin-offs will focus on Arkham, get ready to learn a lot more about the villain lockup.
The Boy Wonder
Catwoman makes a brief reference to Bludhaven, which just so happens to be the stomping ground of a certain Boy Wonder when he takes on the mantle of Nightwing. Much like The Dark Knight rises alluded to Batman’s partner in fighting crime, The Batman neatly teases Robin’s imminent arrival.
There are wild theories that Jay Lycurgo’s unnamed thug could end up being Robin. If you need a refresher, Lycurgo was part of the face-painted gang causing trouble. While the rest of his friends got a beating from the Bat, Lycurgo’s young kid goes running scared. Ironically, Lycurgo is known for playing Tim Drake (the third Robin) in Titans, so it’s not like he’s unprepared for stepping into the spandex.
The last laugh
You might recognise Eternals’ Barry Keoghan as an inmate at Arkham. Before The Batman even hit cinemas, the internet went into overdrive that Keoghan would be playing Joker. Reeves himself has confirmed this is the Crown Prince of Crime, just not his fully-formed version yet.
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Alongside a potential return for the Riddler, Keoghan’s laughing maniac is destined to be a big part of Reeves’ proposed trilogy. Complete with a Joker-esque laugh, the Arkham inmate has a suitably disfigured face that Reeves has said was inspired by 2005’s Batman: The Man Who Laughs one-shot. As the cherry on top, Mr J says, “One day you’re on top, the next you’re a clown.”
Riddle me this
Due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe forcing us to sit through the credits under the allusion of a post-credit scene, those who stuck around until The Batman’s final curtain will be disappointed that there’s no post-credit scene… or is there?
In classic Riddler style, it turns out there’s a secret post-credit scene that can be unlocked. The final moments include the Riddler typing “goodbye”, a question mark, and the URL for rataalada.com.
If you head there, you can play Eddie’s game. Asking if you want to play, simply press [Y] and get started. We won’t ruin the surprise here, but if you think you can out-riddle the Riddler, give it a go.