The Batman is a 2015 live action comic book action film directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film is the opening film of the DC Cinematic Universe. The film stars Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne/ Batman, Brittany Snow as his love interest Jessica Dent, and Josh Brolin as the villain Black Mask. The film was released on June 19, 2015 and was both a critical and financial success, gaining a 91% overall approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing an estimated total of $903,446,722 in the box office.
- Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne/ Batman- The main protagonist of the film. At the age of nine, he watched in horror as his parents were killed right before his eyes. He was then placed in the care of his father's old friend, Alfred Pennyworth. After he turns eighteen, he leaves his hometown of Gotham City with no intention of returning, but ends up back when he is twenty-five, and vows on the grave of his parents that he will avenge their deaths by going after the criminals and corrupt of Gotham. Hammer was Aronofsky's first choice to play the role, but the studio wanted an actor with a bigger name. Hammer was ultimately chosen from a list of actors that reportedly also included Jake Gylenhaal, Bradley Cooper, and Matt Bomer. Hammer described the role as "a dream come true".
- Jackson Brundage as Bruce Wayne, age 9
- Josh Brolin as Roman Sionis/ Black Mask-The film's main antagonist. The film's continuity changes the background of the character from the comic books. Instead of Roman being a childhood friend of Bruce, he is instead a longtime adversary of Dr. Thomas Wayne, who bought his company many years ago, thus ruining him as a businessman. He was believed to have been killed in a fire that took the lives of his wife and child, but secretly lives as Black Mask, an underground Gotham crime boss who has a personal vendetta for Rupert Thorne, Gotham's biggest crime lord whom Roman believes is responsible for his family's death. Aronofsky described this interpretation of the character as "the exact opposite of Batman. He is also somewhat of a vigilante, but for completely different reasons as Batman. While Batman does what he does for the good of Gotham, Black Mask kills other criminals for his own personal reasons and for revenge, and does not care about Gotham as a city."
- Brittany Snow as Jessica Dent- Bruce Wayne's childhood friend and love interest. She is the twin sister of Gotham's Assistant District Attorney and another one of Bruce's friends, Harvey Dent. She is in charge of many non-for-profit organizations in Gotham, and her main goal is to work toward the end of poverty in Gotham. Snow was chosen to play the role after Jessica Biel turned it down. Kate Mara and Mary Elizabeth Winstead also auditioned for it.
- David Thewlis as Alfred Pennyworth- Former friend of Thomas Wayne, who was left as Bruce's legal guardian after the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Alfred continues to serve Bruce as his "butler", but mainly as a confidant and ally. He is the only one who Bruce trusts with the knowledge that he is Batman. Thewlis was casted after Aronofsky decided that he wanted this interpretation of the character to be younger than ones of the past.
- Bryan Cranston as Lt. Jim Gordon- A longtime cop on the Gotham City police force, who has given up hope for Gotham after living through all of its corruption. However, once the Batman emerges, some of Gordon's old hope is reinstated.
- Jim Sturgess as Harvey Dent- The assistant District Attorney of Gotham City, and longtime friend of Bruce Wayne.
- Anthony Mackie as Lucius Fox- A young engineer at Wayne Enterprises, who Bruce uses to make gadgets and weaponry to use as Batman.
- Michael Madsen as Sgt. Carl Bullock- Jim Gordon's partner and best friend. Character's name was changed from Harvey to Carl to avoid confusion with Harvey Dent.
- Ray Wise as Rupert Thorne- The biggest crime lord in Gotham City, and main target of both Batman and Black Mask.
- Bruce Greenwood as Hamilton Hill- The corrupt mayor of Gotham City.
- Brian Cox as Gillian Loeb- The corrupt commissioner of the Gotham Police Force.
- Adrian Pasdar as Dr. Thomas Wayne- Bruce Wayne's father.
- Melora Hardin as Martha Wayne- Bruce Wayne's mother.
Adam West and Burt Ward both have cameos as members of the Wayne Enterprises board of directors. In the scene where Bruce hears the story of Roman Sionis, West says the line, "I heard it was from watching too much crappy television," commenting on why Sionis burned down his house, and Ward then adds, "You would know all about that, wouldn't you?". U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has a brief cameo as the Gotham District Attorney. Professional wrestler John Cena also has a cameo as Rupert Thorne's bodyguard.
The film opens with a flashback to young Bruce Wayne playing with action figures when he overhears someone yelling in another room. He goes to see what it is, and sees that a mysterious man in a black coat is yelling at his father, Dr. Thomas Wayne. His mother soon comes up behind him and tells him that he should never eavesdrop on other people's conversations. He asks his mother what they are arguing about, and his mother says that it is just boring grown up stuff.
Shift to present day in an Asian prison. A guard walks up to a cell and unlocks it. The door opens to reveal a grown up Bruce Wayne in raggy clothes, long dirty hair, and a scruffy beard. The guard tells him that he is being released. Bruce walks out of the prison and sees Alfred Pennyworth waiting for him. Alfred sarcastically asks him if he's had enough fun, and Bruce reminds him that it was his idea to have Bruce leave Gotham, but Alfred points out that the point was for Bruce to keep a low profile, not get arrested. Bruce tells Alfred that he's ready, and when Alfred asks what for, Bruce replies that he is ready to go home.
The film goes back to the past, where Bruce is begging his mother to take him to the movies, but she tells him that his father is too busy. His father soon comes into the room and says that he is never too busy for his family. It then changes to the three of them leaving after the movie (The Mask of Zorro), and Bruce is excited from all of the action and exclaims that when he grows up, he wants to fight bad guys just like Zorro. All of a sudden, a hooded figure appears and grabs Bruce and points a gun to his head. As his parents beg the mugger to let Bruce go, he tells them to give him their money and jewels. Thomas hands over his wallet, and then breaks Bruce free from his grasp. After Bruce gets away, the mugger fires his gun and shoots Thomas. As he hits the ground, Martha screams and the mugger shoots her as well, and then removes her diamond necklace. After the mugger runs away, Bruce sits alone at the site, crying.
Back in present day, Bruce is back in Gotham, at his home of Wayne Manor. He stands alone staring at a portrait of his parents, and in the background is a news station on the TV reporting breaking news that Bruce Wayne has returned to Gotham after being away for seven years. Alfred enters and tells Bruce that the Wayne Enterprises board of directors wants to meet with him to discuss his stock options. Bruce ignores this, and continues to look at his parents. Alfred gets Bruce's attention and tells him that he knows there is a reason that Bruce has returned home, and asks what it is. Bruce just says: "It was my fault".
The scene changes back to the past, where Alfred arrives at Wayne Manor on the night of the murder, and a horrified Bruce keeps muttering to himself: "It was my fault". A representative from child services explains to Alfred that the Waynes left Bruce in Alfred's custody. Alfred is confused, and explains that he hasn't seen the Waynes in years, and has never even met Bruce before. The rep asks how he knows the family, and Alfred tells the story of how Thomas Wayne was volunteering his medical services to the British Royal Navy when Alfred was a soldier, and Thomas saved his life. The rep then explains that if he refuses custody, Bruce will be placed in foster care. Alfred looks at Bruce with a worried expression.
Back in present day, Jessica Dent is in her office at the Gotham City Foster Care Headquarters, and is yelling at someone over the phone, scolding them for cutting the funding to the program. After she hangs up, she looks out the window with a distraught look on her face. She hears her office door open behind her, and assumes it is her assistant, but realizes that it is Bruce after hearing him say her name. Stunned, she turns around, and obviously does not know what to think about his sudden appearance. He tells her that he missed her, but she still doesn't say anything. Trying to break the ice, Bruce asks her how her brother is and says that he heard he was recently appointed as the assistant D.A., and she explains that she rarely sees Harvey due to both of their busy schedules. After another brief period of awkward silence, she gets emotional and asks him why he left so suddenly without even saying goodbye. He tells her that it all happened so fast that he barely had time to tell himself that he was leaving. He apologizes, and she asks if he had been with anyone when he was away. He doesn't answer, and she quickly tells him that she is busy, so he leaves.
Meanwhile, mob boss Rupert Thorne is sitting at his desk with two henchmen standing on both sides of him, while Hamilton Hill, the mayor of Gotham City, sits on the other side of the desk and asks Thorne for help in his re-election campaign. Thorne asks the mayor why he should help him when the mayor hasn't even done anything about Harvey Dent snooping around Thorne's business. The mayor assures Thorne that he will not have to worry about Dent for long, and Thorne tells him that if the Dent problem isn't solved within the month, then he will have to see to it that a new mayor gets elected who can do something about Dent. Hill understands, and then leaves, again assuring Thorne that he will take care of Dent.
Thorne then leaves his office and gets into the back of his limousine. While he sits in the back, gas comes through the air vents that knock him unconcious, and he falls to the floor. When he wakes up, he is tied to a chair in the middle of an empty warehouse. He screams for help, and a dark figure with a dark coat on and a black fidora enters. Thorne asks the man who he is, but the mysterious man just asks Thorne if he ever wondered how it would feel to lose everything that he worked for in his life. Thorne laughs and calls the man crazy. The man stops, removes his hat, and turns around to reveal to Thorne that his face is nothing but a black skull. Thorne screams in horror, and the man tells him that he is going to let him live, just so he can know how it feels to lose everything. He punches Thorne in the face, knocking him out, and Thorne wakes up back in his limousine. He sees that two of his henchmen are on the car's floor, both with bulletholes in their foreheads. He sees that one of them has a note taped to him that reads: "Watch your back." Thorne is obviously horrified.
The next day, Bruce is meeting with the board of directors for Wayne Enterprises, who explain to him that ever since his father died, the company has been tanking, due to an investment he made just before he died. Bruce asks what the investment was, and a board member says that Thomas bought out Janus Cosmetics, thus firing its previous owner, Roman Sionis. A few days later, the Waynes were murdered, and the ventures involving Wayne Enterprises and Janus Cosmetics fell through, causing the company to lose millions of dollars. Bruce asks what happened to Sionis, and another board member explains that a year later, he went insane due to losing his company, and then burned down his mansion with himself, along with his wife and daughter, inside. Bruce is intrigued by the story, and then tells the board that he wants the company's vision to shift to applied sciences and engineering, and that he has no doubt that they will turn a profit very soon. Just before he leaves, he tells them that he will also be using company money to fund the Gotham Foster Care Program (Jessica's charity).
Bruce goes down to the applied sciences department and sees how poor the equipment is and how few employees they have. After meeting with the director, Bruce recognizes Lucius Fox, a young engineer whose father was friends with Thomas Wayne. Lucius explains to Bruce that his father was killed a few years ago in a driveby shooting, but that he was behaving rather strangely in the time leading up to his death, and Lucius does not believe that the shooting was a random act of violence. Bruce realizes that Lucius is in the same boat as himself, and offers Lucius to work as his assistant on a special project. Lucius asks what the project is, and Bruce explains that it will be for the greater good, and that it will have made both of their fathers proud. Although suspicious, Lucius agrees.
Shift to city hall, where Mayor Hill is giving a speech officially announcing his candidacy for re-election. He promises to clean up the streets of the city. The scene shifts to Harvey Dent's office, where he is watching the speech on TV and exclaims to himself that he has been promising that for years. He turns around and sees his sister standing there, startling him. Jessica asks him if he had known that Bruce was back, and Harvey responds that it was all over the news. He asks her if she is alright with it, and she responds that she doesn't know how she feels just yet. Harvey tells her that she should probably just steer clear of Bruce, since he will probably just break her heart, like he did when they were together in high school.
The next scene is in a slum of Gotham City, where a group of thugs are mugging an elderly woman. Suddenly, Bruce arrives dressed in all black and tries to fight them off. He is eventually successful, but not after a long and enduring fight. In the next scene, we see Bruce looking through documents and on his computer for information on Roman Sionis. He finds several sources, but not anything useful. Out of frustration, he throws the pieces of paper against the wall, when Alfred walks in. Bruce vents his frustration of this and of the previous night to Alfred, saying that he wishes to embark on a war on crime in order to avenge his parents' death, but has no idea where to start. Alfred asks what it is that he wants out of this, aside from vengeance for his parents, and Bruce answers after a long pause that he wants to make the criminals of Gotham City afraid, just like the citizens of the city have been for many years. Just then, Bruce sees a bat trapped inside a grandfather clock. He walks over to it, and then asks Alfred if he remembers when he was a child, and he fell into the underground cave below the grounds of the mansion. Alfred says that he remembers, and Bruce points out that he had never been more afraid in his life than he was at that moment. Alfred tells Bruce that it doesn't mean that Gotham's criminals will also be afraid, and Bruce simply responds; "I'll make them afraid of bats." Bruce is then shown making his way into the underground cave, and setting up technology to use.
The film shifts to the police department, where Commissioner Gillian Loeb is leaving to get into his car. When he gets in, he sees that there is a thug in the back seat. He recognizes the thug, and asks what he wants, and the thug responds that Mr. Thorne would like to see him. We then see the thug escorting Loeb into Thorne's office, where he is sitting with his bodyguards. Thorne tells Loeb about the man with the black skull mask, and says that he wants him dead within the week. Loeb is reluctant, saying that he has no leads whatsoever, but then Thorne's henchman puts a gun up to Loeb's head, and Loeb agrees to do what Thorne asks. After he agrees, we see someone listening to the conversation through a microphone, but do not see the face. He is standing on the roof of the building, and is wearing a black cape.
Loeb is escorted out of the building by two thugs, when all of a sudden, a figure dressed in black leaps down and takes out the two thugs. Loeb turns around after hearing screams, but there is nothing there. He looks around the area, trying to figure out what just happened. When he turns back around, we see Batman for literally a split second before he lifts up his cape to cover over Loeb. We then see Thorne walking out of the building with numerous henchmen surrounding him. When they are about to get in the limousine, Loeb falls onto the car from out of nowhere and has many scars from being beat up. The henchmen all pull out their guns and look around, while Thorne ducks down. After a brief period of suspense, Batman jumps down and single handedly beats up all of Thorne's henchmen. Thorne tries to open the car door to get away, but it is locked and he can't find his key. Panicked, he turns around and sees that Batman is gone. He looks around to see where he went, and soon sees that he is standing on top of the car, and we see a full shot of him for the first time. Thorne screams and tries to run away, but Batman shoots him with a grapple gun and pulls him back. Batman then grabs him by his coat and tells him that he will no longer go unpunished for his crimes.
The film then shifts to Jim Gordon's home, where he is eating dinner with his pregnant wife, and his young son. The phone rings, the wife answers, and tells Gordon that it's Bullock. Jim takes the phone, and Bullock tells him that he has to get down to the station right away. Gordon gets to the station, where Bullock, Harvey Dent, and the Gotham District Attorney are waiting. Gordon looks to see why they are all there, and sees that Loeb and Thorne are in separate interrogation cells. Gordon asks what happened, and Bullock says that they were both found downtown, beaten to a pulp. Gordon asks who, and the scene shifts to inside Loeb's cell where he is telling Dent that it was a man dressed up as a bat. Dent, who is clearly having fun with a corrupt police officer in custody, teases Loeb and tells him that the man dressed as a bat probably just provided them with enough evidence to put him away for a long time.
The next morning, the incident is all over the news. The media dubs the vigilante "the Batman", and report on how he humiliated mobster Rupert Thorne and suspected corrupt police commissioner, Gillian Loeb. Mayor Hill is shown angrily throwing a glass against his TV. Jessica is in her office and asks someone to turn up the volume, clearly intrigued. Lucius is shown working on some type of machine, and looks at the TV with a smile on his face when the story is reported on (indicating he is aware that Bruce is Batman). The TV story is also shown on the TV of a dark room, and is turned off by the owner, whose face is unseen by the audience. He is shown walking around a room full of masks and newspaper cutouts of Rupert Thorne. The camera then shows a newspaper on a desk with a story about the Batman. The man takes a knife and angrily stabs it, and then the camera pans on his face and reveals him to be Black Mask, the man who attacked Thorne.
The next scene shows Harvey Dent arriving at his office as his secretary gives him tons of messages regarding several different subjects. She then tells him that he has a visitor, and when he asks who, he opens his office door to see Bruce sitting at his desk with a smirk on his face. Harvey is pleasantly surprised to see his old friend, and happily hugs him. Harvey asks Bruce why it took him so long to come and see him, and Bruce says he had some details to work out at the company. Harvey then asks if they can reschedule, since Harvey is very busy regarding the incident last night. Bruce, acting oblivious, asks what incident he is referring to, and Harvey is stunned and asks sarcastically asks Bruce if he owns a TV, and then tells him about the Batman delivering Thorne and Loeb to the police. Bruce makes a snide comment about how an idiot dressed up as a bat did something that the police can't even do. Harvey grins and then says that not the entire police force is crooked, that he just met an honest detective named Jim Gordon. Bruce is clearly interested that there is a trustworthy cop in Gotham. As Bruce is about to leave, Harvey stops him and warns him that even though he loves Bruce as a brother, he does not want him to hurt Jessica again. Bruce nods understandingly, and then walks out.
The film shifts to the holding cells at the police department, where Thorne is sitting in a cell alone. A guard walks up and tells him that he has a visitor. Thorne replies that he was inder the impression he wasn't allowed to have visitors, but the guard tells him this is a special visit. The guard escorts Thorne to the visiting hall, and Black Mask is shown holding a gun to another guard's head. The guard hands over Thorne to Black Mask, who immediately shoots the guard he was holding, and then the other guard. He looks Thorne in the eye and asks if he remembers him. Thorne is literally too horrified to speak. Black Mask laughs and reitterates that he is going to ruin his life, just like he did to him many years ago. Thorne asks who he is, and Black Mask replies; "I'm your creation."
The scene changes to outside the department, where Gordon is going to his car. When he gets inside, he sees a piece of paper with a bat on it. He turns it over and sees it reads: "The roof of city hall." Gordon goes to the roof, and sees there is nobody there. He is annoyed and turns to leave, but then hears a deep voice from behind him. He turns and sees Batman standing there. Gordon asks what he wants, and Batman replies that he wants the same thing that Gordon does, a safer Gotham. Gordon asks who he is, and Batman replies that the less he knows about him, the better. Batman then tells him that he is going to work toward ending all organized crime in Gotham, but that he is going to need his help. Gordon asks how he can be sure that he can trust Batman, and Batman points out that if he didn't trust him, then he wouldn't still be here. Gordon clearly respects him, and understands what he means to stand for. All of a sudden, Gordon's cell phone rings. After he answers, he begins yelling and asking how that could be allowed to happen. He hangs up, and Batman asks what happened. Gordon responds that Thorne escaped. He looks up and sees that Batman is gone.
Back at the station, Gordon arrives and joins Bullock and several uniformed officers by Thorne's cell. Gordon asks how this was able to happen, and Bullock tells him to follow him. They go into the security room and Bullock shows Gordon footage of a dark cloaked man killing several guards, and eventually taking Thorne away. Gordon insists that it wasn't a breakout. Bullock asks why, and Gordon points out that Thorne is afraid in the video, and does not want to be taken away. Gordon tells Bullock that it was a kidnapping, not a breakout.
Gordon leaves the building and hears Batman say Loeb's name from behind. Startled, he turns around and sees Batman standing in the shadows. He asks Batman to repeat what he said, and Batman tells him that Loeb will know what is going on, because the night Batman attacked them, Thorne asked Loeb to go after a man, a man who Thorne was afraid of. Surprised at all of the information he has, Gordon asks Batman why he is doing what he is doing. Batman replies: "Because no one else will."
The film shifts to Black Mask's hideout, where Thorne is tied to a chair with a brown hood over his head. Black Mask walks up to him and removes the hood. Thorne offers to pay him $50 million to let him go. Black Mask tells him if it was money he was after, he'd have it by now. Thorne asks what he wants, and Black Mask repeats what he already told him, to ruin his life. Thorne asks what he did to deserve this, and Black Mask replies that he ruined the lives of many, including Black Mask's. Thorne asks who he is and how he ruined his life, and Black Mask replies: "You killed me."
The next scene is in the police interrogation room, where Gordon is asking Loeb about what Thorne asked him to do that night. Loeb is silent, and Gordon begins to get aggressive. As Bullock watches from outside, he is pleasantly surprised to see that his partner cares about his job again. After a while, Loeb demands that he get full immunity for his crimes in exchange for information about Thorne. Gordon angrily leaves the room and tells Bullock to call Harvey Dent.
The next scene is the batcave, where Bruce is on his computer. Alfred walks in and asks Bruce what he is doing. Bruce doesn't even realize that Alfred is in the room because of how focused he is. Alfred continues asking him, still with no response. Alfred eventually shouts at him, and finally gets Bruce's attention. Bruce replies that Rupert Thorne was kidnapped from his prison cell by an unidentified man. Alfred tells Bruce that this is not his fight, and Bruce replies that it is Gotham's fight. After shooting words back at each other, Alfred finally exclaims to Bruce that he can't bring his parents back. Bruce is clearly angered by the statement, and tells Alfred that isn't what he is trying to do. Alfred says that Bruce is only trying to make up for his guilt of making his parents take him to the movies, thus prompting the mugging. Alfred says that nothing is going to change the past. Bruce is now furious, and exclaims: "I'm not trying to change this city's past. I'm trying to GIVE this city a future." Bruce sits back down and asks Alfred to leave. Alfred is clearly moved by Bruce's last statement, and comments that Jessica had called for him several times that night, but he was out as Batman.
The next scene shows Bruce having lunch with Jessica the next day. Jessica apologizes for being rude to him when he came to see her, and Bruce says that he understands her frustration. They then have a conversation about their past relationship, in which we learn for the first time that they had an on again-off again relationship in high school and Bruce would occassionally verbally abuse her out of frustration. Bruce assures her that if there was anything in his life that he could take back, it would be how he treated her when they were together, which makes her smile, and she makes a comment about the reason she stayed with him. He asks what it was, and she says that it was the look he had in his eyes right now. She said that there was something in that look that made her fall in love with him all over again, even after a fight. The conversation then shifts to Harvey, and Jessica says that she was having dinner with him the previous night, but he had to leave after he got a call from a detective. He asks what the call was, and she says that she has never liked to eavesdrop. Bruce grins and says that his mother was like that. Right after he says that, he gets a facial expression that implies that he just had a realization. Jessica asks what is wrong, and Bruce comments that he has a meeting he has to be at that he completely forgot about, and then rushes away.
Bruce rushes back home, and when he gets there, he goes straight for the batcave. Alfred sees the determination in his face, and follows him down there to see what is going on. When Bruce and Alfred get down there, Alfred asks what is going on, and Bruce pulls up the security footage of Thorne's kidnapping on the computer. Bruce zooms in on the coat of the kidnapper, and then has an astonished look on his face. Alfred again asks what is going on, and Bruce says that the coat on the kidnapper is the same coat that was worn by a man who was at the mansion the day his parents were murdered. He tells Alfred that he saw the man arguing with his father, and then his mother came over and told him to stop eavesdropping. Alfred asks if he can remember what they were arguing about, but Bruce says no. Alfred suggests that it is just a coincidence, that many people probably own a coat like that. Bruce then says that he had never seen any coat like that before in his life, except for the day his parents died and in the security footage. Alfred asks Bruce how this helps in finding out who the man is, and Bruce says that he just has to figure out who the man arguing with his father was. Alfred asks how, and Bruce says that he could find out what kind of business his father was doing at the time, and then pauses. After Alfred asks what caused him to stop, Bruce says Roman Sionis's name, and remembers that his father had just bought out Sionis's company, and Sionis hated him for it. Alfred reminds Bruce that Sionis is dead, and again tells Bruce that he is just grasping at straws to make up for the guilt he feels for his parents' death. Bruce is again angry at Alfred and tells him that he has no idea the pain that he has had to go through over the past sixteen years, knowing that if he had not begged his parents to take him to the movies that night, they'd still be alive. He says that if he can bury it and protect his home city at the same time, then he will do just that.
The next scene is at Lucius's home, where he is working on the same machine that he was shown working on previously in the film. Bruce arrives, and tells Lucius that he needs to ask him something about his father. Lucius says okay, and Bruce asks if his father ever mentioned the name, Roman Sionis. Lucius mentions that it sounds familiar, but that he never remembered his father making a big deal about it. Bruce tells Lucius that he was in his house the day his parents were murdered, and that he believes he may be connected to the Rupert Thorne kidnapping. Lucius asks Bruce if he knows how to find him, and Bruce says that he is dead, or at least presumed dead. Bruce then asks if Lucius's father kept any record of the company's business transactions from when he and Dr. Wayne were friends, and Lucius shows Bruce his father's journal. Lucius tells Bruce that he tried reading it once, but it was too painful, but suggests that there may be answers in there.
Bruce goes through the pages and finds the date of his parents' death. He turns the pages back to find any useful information in the days leading up, and stops when he sees the name Roman Sionis written on a page. The page says that Thomas had just finished the purchase of Janus Cosmetics, and that Eugene (Lucius's father) wasn't sure about the sanity of its previous owner, Roman Sionis, who had allowed the company to go bankrupt because he kept trying to market some product that wouldn't sell, and was now trying to convince Thomas to sell it. However, there is nothing about what the product was.
Bruce goes back to the batcave and goes back through his previous research on Roman Sionis, eventually finding out that Sionis had caused the company to go broke because he invested in a cosmetic product that was meant to protect human skin from radiation, and possibly even make it immune to things such as flames. Bruce then remembers that Roman was presumed dead because his mansion burned down. Bruce then says to himself: "The product worked."
The film then shifts to Black Mask's hideout. Thorne is still in the same place that he was before, tied to a chair. Black Mask enters and puts a knife up to Thorne's cheek. He asks Thorne for the information to open his bank account. Thorne says that he thought it wasn't money he was after, and Black Mask carves the knife into Thorne's shoulder, causing him to scream in pain. Thorne then gives Black Mask his account number and password, and Black Mask laughs.
The next scene is at the police station, where Gordon and Dent are discussing the possibility of giving Loeb full immunity in exchange for providing useful information on Thorne. Dent doesn't like the idea, but Gordon believes it may be the only way. Batman, who is hiding in the shadows, says that it may not be, revealing his presence to the two men.
The scene cuts to Loeb's cell, where he is sleeping. All of a sudden, Batman arrives out of nowhere and grabs Loeb, who is horrified. Batman asks him about a connection between Thorne and Roman Sionis, but Loeb insists that he doesn't know anything. Batman becomes more aggressive, and eventually scares Loeb into admitting that Sionis came to Thorne after he lost his company and asked him to help him get it back, and in exchange he'd give pay him a large sum of cash. Sionis never ended up paying Thorne, so Thorne burned down his mansion and killed him. Batman asks what Thorne did help Sionis get the company back, and Loeb admits that he had the new owner killed. Batman stops the interrogating and comes to the realization that his parents' murder was a conspiracy, set up by Roman Sionis and Rupert Thorne.
The film goes back to Black Mask's hideout, where Black Mask arrives with millions of dollars in cash. Thorne asks what he is doing with his money, and Black Mask sets fire to it. Thorne beams and begins screaming. Black Mask then tells Thorne that he once set fire to what he loved, so now he is setting fire to what Thorne loves. Thorne then realizes that Black Mask is Roman Sionis, and asks how he was able to survive the fire. Sionis laughs and tells him that he finally got the product to work, but he didn't realize it until the day of the fire, when out of desperation, he placed the product (which had since been formatted into a skull mask) on his face, and then when he woke up, he saw that his home was in ashes and his family was dead, and the fire left the product burned onto his face permanently. Sionis laughs and tells Thorne that had he waited just a little bit longer, the product would have been marketed, and Thorne would have gotten his money from Sionis, but now, since Thorne killed Sionis's family, Sionis will leave him with no money, which seems to be the only thing that Thorne loves.
The film cuts to the batcave, where Bruce, still in his batsuit, is sitting down and thinking to himself, when Alfred walks in. Alfred asks Bruce why he looks so depressed, and Bruce responds that it wasn't his fault. Alfred is confused, and Bruce says that for the last sixteen years he had carried a burden that he never should have carried in the first place. He then tells Alfred about how Thorne and Sionis conspired to kill his parents, meaning that his motivation for becoming the Batman was a lie. Alfred tells Bruce that while the truth may have prevented him from becoming the Batman, it served a purpose, as now the Batman has gotten rid of a corrupt public official and Gotham's most dangerous crime lord, and is giving Gotham a sense of feeling safe. Bruce tells Alfred that he was right when he said that Bruce was only doing this to get rid of the guilt he felt, because now that he no longer feels the guilt, he no longer feels motivated to be the Batman. Alfred then says that he only said that because he was worried about Bruce's safety, and didn't truly believe that Bruce was acting out of selfishness, and still doesn't. He then reminds Bruce of what he said to him earlier, that he cannot change Gotham's past, but can most certainly give it a future. Bruce comes to his senses and gets up. Alfred asks where he is going, and Bruce replies that there is a madman on the loose who is the reason his parents are dead, and he is going to find him. Bruce then gets his phone and calls Lucius, and asks if it is ready. The scene then cuts to Lucius's workspace, where it is revealed to the audience what he had been working on throughout the film: the batmobile. Batman gets in the car and drives away.
The film goes back to Sionis's hideout, where Thorne is still tied to the chair. Trying to escape, he pushes himself around, eventually pushing the chair onto the ground. He then struggles to make his way over to Sionis's desk, where there are scissors from all of the newspaper cutouts earlier in the film. After a long struggle, he finally manages to retrieve the scissors with his mouth, and then gets them over to his hands and frees himself from the chair. He gets up to run, but then a gunshot is heard and he falls to the ground screaming. Sionis shot him in the leg, therefore leaving him unable to walk. Thorne then asks why Sionis is still keeping him there, since he had already gotten rid of all of his money. Sionis replies by explaining that his original plan was to drive Thorne insane over a series of events, but the Batman ruined that for him by delivering Thorne to the police. Therefore, Sionis had to ruin Thorne as quickly as possible, ruining over a decade of preparation. Sionis then says that he wants revenge on Batman for ruining a plan that he had been dedicating his life to ever since his family died. Thorne then points out that Sionis is simply insane, and that the only reason he wants the Batman is that now that he has destroyed Thorne's life, he needs something else to do with himself. Sionis screams out of anger and shoots Thorne in the head, killing him. He then picks up the scissors and stabs a newspaper drawing of the Batman.
The film cuts to Harvey's apartment, where he is sitting by himself and drinking scotch, and all of a sudden, Jessica enters. Harvey asks her what she is doing there, and she responds that she saw Bruce and that she is still in love with him. After a brief conversation in which Harvey tries to dissuade her from seeing Bruce anymore, gunshots begin firing, and both Harvey and Jessica duck down. Black Mask then arrives, grabs Harvey, and asks who the Batman is. Harvey insists that he doesn't know, and Black Mask punches him in the face. The scene cuts to Batman inside the batmobile, where he is driving around the city, looking for Black Mask, and he hears over a police scanner that there has been a reported disturbance at Harvey dent's apartment. The scene cuts back to the apartment, where Black Mask is continuing to beat up Harvey. Jessica screams from behind the couch, and Black Mask becomes aware of her presence for the first time. He points a gun to her head and forces Harvey to tell him where to find the Batman. Before Harvey gets a chance to answer, Batman is heard offscreen saying: "Try turning around." As Black Mask turns his head, Batman punches him, thus breaking Jessica free from his grasp.
A fight ensues between Batman and Black Mask that progresses outside of the apartment, after breaking through a window. Batman asks what Black Mask wants with him, and Black Mask replies that Batman ruined a plan that he dedicated his life to. Batman asks where Thorne is, and Black Mask says that he will never hurt anyone again. The fight continues, as Gordon and a few other cops arrive at the apartment. Gordon asks Harvey and Jessica what happened, and Dent replies that they were attacked by the same man who kidnapped Thorne, and that he wants the Batman. Gordon then looks out the window and sees them fighting each other from afar. Jessica sits alone with a stunned expression on her face.
As the fighting continues in an unfinished building, Black Mask tells Batman that he is just another example of a Gothamite who hides behind a mask. Batman angrily asks how he explains himself and his masks, and Black Mask replies that he is what he is because Thorne killed his loved ones, and that Thorne created the monster he is now. Batman continues to fight Black Mask and tells him that he is insane because he keeps looking for something to blame for his misery. This infuriates Black Mask and he aggressively tries to attack Batman, to no avail. Batman now sees that it is his temper that is his weakness, so he continues taunting him about how Janus Cosmetics failed because of him. This angers him even more, and he shoots at Batman, missing wide. Batman then hides in the shadows, and Black Mask looks around paranoid, while Batman continues to taunt him. Black Mask screams out of anger and tells Batman that he will ruin his life. Batman emerges from nowhere and tackles Black Mask to the ground. Batman then tells him that he already ruined his life, and takes off his mask. Black Mask then comes to the realization that he created the Batman, just as Thorne created him. Batman then grabs Black Mask's gun and points it at his head. Black Mask closes his eyes and waits for Batman to kill him. As Bruce has the gun pointed at Black Mask, he has flashbacks of the night that his parents were killed, and remembers what Alfred told him, that the Batman is giving Gotham a sense of hope. He then drops the gun, and tells Black Mask that he refuses to sink to his level.
Gordon and Bullock enter the building, searching for Black Mask. However, a uniformed cop gets their attention and points to something above them. They both turn and see that Black Mask is tied to the wall, and stretched out to mimick the shape of a bat. Gordon then turns around and sees Batman gliding away outside.
The film shifts to the next day, where a Gotham news station is reporting that the madman who killed Rupert Thorne and attacked Harvey Dent has been caught by the police and placed in Arkham Asylum. The reporter also mentions that rumors have circulated that the vigilante known as the Batman was involved in the capturing of the criminal. The mayor is then shown making a speech in which he says that vigilantes will never have a place in Gotham City. Harvey is then shown turning off his office's TV, and then Jessica walks in. He asks her how she is holding up, and she is just silent. He tells her that she is worrying him, and that she should consider seeing someone for help. She then asks Harvey is he has ever loved someone who had so much more to them than he could have ever imagined, implying to the audience that somehow, she knows that Bruce is Batman.
The film then shifts to Wayne Manor, where Alfred goes down to the batcave to look for Bruce, but sees that he isn't there. He then goes upstairs to see that he is finally actually sleeping in his own room. He wakes him up, and asks why he isn't down in the cave like usual. Bruce replies that he needs a break. Alfred says that the criminals of Gotham will not take a break, so why should the Batman. Bruce simply smiles, and asks Alfred to get Lucius on the phone.
The next scene is at the police station, where Gordon arrives and Bullock tells him congratulations. Gordon does not know what he is talking about, and then Bullock takes him to his new office, which is labeled "Captain James Gordon". Someone then walks in and tells Gordon that a package has just arrived for him. Bullock asks what the package is, and Gordon says that he is going to need some way to contact their newest associate, implying that the package is the bat-signal.
The next scene shows Jessica in her office, sitting alone, still deep in thought about Bruce. She then has a flashback of when she told Bruce that it was the look in his eyes that made her fall in love with him, and then has a flashback of the Batman saving her from Black Mask, and seeing the same look in Batman's eyes, which is how she knows that Bruce is Batman. She looks at a picture of Bruce and says to herself; "I knew you were destined for greatness." She then turns around to see the bat-signal in the sky. Batman is then shown getting into the batmobile in the batcave, and then driving off, with a proud Alfred looking on.
During the end-credits, Black Mask is shown inside his cell at Arkham Asylum. He sits alone, and in silence, until a guard walks in and says that someone would like to see him. Black Mask asks who, and the guard replies that he doesn't know his name, but that he has a riddle for him.
The idea for the film was pitched to Warner Bros. in late-2012 by David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns. The studio liked the story that they had come up with, and went forward with the project. Darren Anorofsky was hired to direct the film in December of 2012.
Anorofsky wanted to cast Armie Hammer as Batman right away, but the studio wanted an A-List actor instead. Bradley Cooper publicly expressed interest in the role, and was given an audition. In February 2013, it was announced that Armie Hammer had been chosen to play the the title role.
The studio and Anorofsky asked Josh Brolin to play the role of Black Mask, but he turned them down, twice. Ultimately, Brolin accepted the role after reading the script and seeing that the character was very intriguing and fun to play.
After casting was complete, filming began in August 2013 and continued until March 2014. Locations included New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and the Himalayas.
The first footage from the film was released at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, which showed Alfred getting Bruce out of the Asian Prison, asking him what he plans to do, and then shows quick flashes of Batman fighting thugs, before showing Bruce reply that he wants to return to Gotham, and then a shot of Batman is shown. An extended form of this footage was released to the public two weeks later as the film's first teaser trailer.
In December 2014, the first full theatrical trailer was released and was met with critical acclaim, generating loads of buzz from fans. A second theatrical trailer was released in March 2015.
Release and Reception
The film was released in the U.S. on June 19, 2015. In it's opening weekend, it finished at the #1 spot in the box office, grossing $113 million. Reviews of the film have been positive, gaining a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Will Tyler of the New York Times called it a "Great, new look of the franchise, and a perfect way to reincarnate the franchise after Christopher Nolan set the bar so high with the Dark Knight trilogy."
Many critics praised Armie Hammer's portrayal of the character, as well as Josh Brolin's portrayal of Black Mask. Kris Perry of Rolling Stone said that "even though the men share only one scene together, the buildup and background given for both characters leaves you feeling like they are legitimate foes. You feel empathy for both men, and are left wishing that you could see more interactions with both of them."
Main Article: The Batman Crusade
In August 2015, Warner Bros. officially announced that a sequel to the film was under development. Darren Anorofsky officially announced that he would direct the sequel, and hopes to direct at least two more after that. Armie Hammer, Brittany Snow, Bryan Cranston, Jim Sturgess, and Anthony Mackie have all been confirmed to reprise their roles. In an interview with TMZ, Jim Sturgess hinted that his character would go down the road of his obvious fate in the second film, but would not say whether or not Harvey Dent would actually become Two-Face in the next film. A screenplay was submitted to Warner Bros. in January 2016, and the studio hopes to have the sequel released in summer 2017. Hammer said in an interview with Stephen Colbert that the sequel will be "much more suspensful and action-packed than the first one."