The Batman: Jeffrey Wright on the importance of superheroes

The Batman: Jeffrey Wright on the importance of superheroes

The Batman

The Batman star Jeffrey Wright explained the popularity of comic book characters, giving his own take on the success of superheroes. While waiting to see Wright go from James Bond's unfortunate sidekick in No Time To Die to new Commissioner Gordon in The Batman, the actor has shown his point of view on the popularity of comics in modern culture.

The Batman: Jeffrey Wright on the importance of superheroes

During an interview with Screen Rant for The Batman, Jeffrey Wright explained the popularity of comics, analyzing how, starting from the first years of the new millennium, the production of films inspired by comic book characters has made its relevance felt within the world of entertainment, a success that does not seem to be over yet.

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"There is a very personal relationship that develops between the public and these franchises, with the comics and their characters. This is why we want to do justice to these heroes, but we also want to honor this passion. And here we are, there is no doubt about this aspect, and I understand how all this is possible. The eighty years of this franchise has allowed, and I say this referring to the present, for people to trust these characters, I know them. They can place their trust in them, especially at a time when they choose to trust everything. There are probably people who struggle to trust something, but they know where they can find themselves in these stories. I believe they are extremely important for this very reason. I think that's why people are able to trust them, it's not a trivial thing, it's a result that also involves responsibilities "

A responsibility that is now up to The Batman, to be released in Italian cinemas next March 3.


The Batman: A History of Corruption in Gotham City

Gotham City breeds crime. The city is almost always in a state of unrest, and organized crime in particular has a stranglehold on its people and their way of life. Batman was created by a criminal act, and made it his mission to fight crime in Gotham City so that no one else has to suffer like he did. He wages a one-man war against petty crooks, mafia families, and supervillains alike. So it should be no surprise that crime is a main theme of The Batman, with director Matt Reeves shining a light on Gotham’s corrupt elite by way of the Riddler.

Warning: this article contains spoilers from Batman comics and video games, and if our speculation is correct then it may spoil the movie, so proceed with caution!

While the Riddler’s (Paul Dano) true motivations behind murdering public figures in Gotham City (as shown in the trailers) remain a mystery, he makes it clear that Batman (Robert Pattionson) is personally involved. “You’re part of this too,” the Riddler taunts the Caped Crusader. That raises the question, how is Batman, and, more to the point, Bruce Wayne, related to the crime and corruption of Gotham City? All signs point to a character that has received little attention in The Batman’s marketing campaign, Carmine Falcone, played by John Turturro. He may very well be the key link between Batman and Gotham’s corruption, and he just so happens to have a personal connection to Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), as well. So who is Falcone, and how is he linked to the Waynes and The Batman?

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Who Is Carmine Falcone?

Gotham City is infested with crime families who use violence and dirty money to exploit the innocent. While there are many such crime families that call Gotham home, the most storied and notorious in Batman’s comic book history is none other than Carmine’s.

Carmine “The Roman” Falcone first appeared in 1987’s Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli–which is arguably the most influential and defining take on Batman’s origin, forever making Carmine an integral part of the Dark Knight’s DNA. In Year One, virtually every powerful figure in Gotham is on the take from Carmine–from the mayor to the commissioner of the GCPD–giving the crime boss near-total control over the city. Breaking Carmine’s hold over the people of Gotham was Batman’s first major victory.

Trailers for The Batman show Riddler targeting the mayor and other people in positions of power in Gotham. But what connects all of his victims? Perhaps they’re all in Carmine’s pocket, just like in Year One, and the Riddler is exposing that corruption by killing them off and leaving behind clues to their crimes, Zodiac-killer style.

How Is Falcone Connected to the Waynes?

With Carmine Falcone being a part of The Batman, it should be no surprise to hear that Matt Reeves took inspiration from not just Batman: Year One but also Batman: The Long Halloween when crafting the film’s story, given that both comics feature the character in a pivotal role.

In 1996’s Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, we learn there’s an important connection between Carmine Falcone and the Wayne family. After Carmine was shot by a member of the rival Maroni crime family, his father Vincent Falcone brought him to renowned doctor Thomas Wayne for treatment. Even though Thomas was knowingly helping a murderous criminal, he ultimately chose to save Carmine’s life. When Thomas was killed along with his wife Martha, Carmine attended the funeral and told young Bruce that he owes him a favor–the life debt he owed his father.

Or perhaps Reeves is taking a similar approach to the video game Batman: The Telltale Series, where Bruce learns his parents were indeed in league with Carmine Falcone (and Mayor Hamilton Hill) as part of a vast criminal conspiracy to control Gotham City. So in The Batman, if Bruce’s parents were corrupt, and the Riddler knows Bruce’s secret identity, then it makes sense that he would leave clues addressed to Batman–to reveal their connection to Falcone and expose their role in Gotham’s deep-rooted corruption.

What Is Falcone’s Relationship to Catwoman?

The Batman also features Catwoman, and while she’s popularly known as the thief who stole Batman’s heart, one lesser known fact about her is that she’s related to Carmine Falcone. In 1999’s Batman: Dark Victory by Loeb and Sale (the sequel to The Long Halloween), we learn that Catwoman believes she is Carmine’s daughter.

That would certainly throw a wrench in any prospective romance Batman intends to have with Catwoman. Then again, if Batman’s parents are corrupt and Catwoman’s parents belong to a crime family, then maybe they’ll have something to bond over and a reason to devote themselves to righting their parents’ wrongs.

How Does Falcone Fit Into the Riddler’s Plan?

Is Carmine Falcone the key to unlocking The Batman? It is notable that Turturro’s character has been largely absent from the marketing campaign, and that may be because his part is too connected to the spoilery mystery of the story to be publicized. If we do learn he’s behind all of the corruption in Gotham and has criminal ties to Bruce’s family, as we’ve speculated, that’s the kind of thing that would likely be revealed deep into the third act, not something that usually pops up in trailers and commercials.

If our theory comes to pass, then we expect it to have the same impact as it did in the comics. The Long Halloween comic ends with (spoilers!) Two-Face leading a raid on the Falcone estate joined by fellow supervillains such as Catwoman, Joker, and Penguin and shooting Carmine to death. This ushers in a significant change in Batman’s world, as it marks the fall of organized crime and the rise of costumed villains. The Batman director Matt Reeves has gone on the record saying the film is not a Batman origin story, but we will see the origins of baddies like Selina Kyle and Oswald Cobblepot as they become Catwoman and Penguin, respectively. So it’s a possibility that Carmine’s downfall in the film will be what brings a similar change to Gotham in this new take on Batman’s world.

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But whether that’s the correct answer to the Riddler’s puzzle or not, we’ll just have to wait and see. Riddle me this: what do YOU think Reeves has up his sleeve? Is Falcone a major player, or just a passing cameo? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.