Matt Reeves’ The Batman remixed Geoff Johns’ Batman: Earth One trilogy to create a shocking family twist regarding the Wayne legacy in Gotham.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Batman, now playing in theaters.
In the Batman, director Matt Reeves shocked fans by revealing a dark secret behind Thomas Wayne’s empire. This was discovered by the Riddler, who decided to weaponize it and many other skeletons in the closet, all to wage war on Gotham’s elite and their legacies.
It’s why he trained his gaze on Bruce, wanting to kill him to end yet another corrupt dynasty in the city. In the process, the director remixed Geoff Johns’ Batman: Earth One trilogy to create Thomas’ shocking family twist.
What Was The Wayne Twist In The Batman?
Thomas’ wife, Martha, wasn’t a Kane as she is in the comics, but an Arkham. She suffered from mental illness, which ran in her family de ella and caused her to be institutionalized for some time. She eventually got better but Thomas tried to cover it up, asking Carmine Falcone to convince a reporter, Edward Elliot, to drop his story from her. Thomas didn’t want him exposing the truth and potentially hurting his family through reliving the trauma.
Unfortunately, Carmine killed the reporter, with rampant speculation that he then murdered the Waynes to keep it a secret after they tried to confess to the police. This would allow him and other criminals access to the Gotham Renewal Fund Thomas set up, pillaging the city’s finances for 20 years, evoking the capitalism from White Knight. Riddler did not know about Carmine backstabbing the Waynes, though, so he leaked a video painting Thomas as someone evil, aiming to sanitize the truth and protect his mayoral prospects from him.
What Was The Wayne Twist In Earth One?
Johns and Gary Frank’s story teased Martha’s mental issues in Vol 1 with Harvey Dent bullying a young Bruce. Dent told him that Martha, an Arkham here too, saw her mom de ella bludgeon her dad de ella, Adrian, to death and then jump off the roof of Arkham Manor. Last years’ Vol 3 would reveal she actually shot Adrian dead and then jumped off the roof because her mental issues crept up again.
It’s never confirmed what happened but Vol 3 had Clayface imitating Martha’s dad, Adrian, in the present. Claiming to be long-lost, he said his wife lost her son in the womb and blamed Martha (her twin) for her death. He hid Martha from his wife from him, only for tragedy to then occur. Ironically, Clayface revealed Martha’s brother would have been named Bruce, ergo why she named her son de ella that. However, it’s hard to believe Clayface as he was just playing a game to kill Bruce for the estate.
Which Twist Worked Better?
Earth One’s twist works because of how it played on people who used to think mental health was affiliated with demons. Clayface touched on this ‘mysticism,’ revealing the Arkhams helped the Waynes build Gotham. However, seeing as the city was built on the dead people — an allusion towards Native Americans — the Arkhams went insane. Bats attacked them in the caves for desecrating holy ground, thus, the curse was passed down the bloodline. It added a social justice edge and a bit of dark karma while speaking to genocides across the history of indigenous peoples. Admittedly, it was taken with a grain of salt from Clayface, so Bruce easily overcame it.
The film’s twist informed why Arkham Asylum was built by Thomas — to ensure others weren’t suffering like his wife was. It also spoke to the stigmas of politicians hiding such issues in their families, making the topic taboo. Thus, it felt real and relatable, with many families in the world today avoiding the discussion. Most of all, this secret broke Bruce, who thought his parents were sinners, and actually started to feel guilty.
At the time, Bruce even thought that The Riddler was right for going after him, but ultimately, Alfred made sure to reveal his parents were good. They simply made mistakes and the ambiguity over their passing from him eventually helped him recover. Still, this twist shook him to his core and had Bruce second-guessing himself, making it the better emotional dagger.
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