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It's Time To Talk About That Penguin Scene In The Batman

Contains spoilers for "The Batman"

When "The Batman" kicks off, Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has already been patrolling Gotham for two years as the titular vigilante. He's already cemented himself as a brutal force on the streets, and he's created a sense of paranoia in the city's criminal element — so whenever they see his symbol in the sky, they know he could strike from the shadows at any moment. He's a savage fighter, as seen in the film's opening sequence with the skull-faced thugs who target a passenger on the subway.

But Bruce isn't just up against petty criminals in the 2022 film; he's also investigating a terrifying serial killer called the Riddler (Paul Dano) who goes after corruption at the highest levels of civil authority. Yes, that's a strangely heroic cause for a murderer who terrorizes his victims with bizarre traps and explosive collars, but Gotham has plenty of room for more than one costumed vigilante. Since the city is full to the brim with other criminals, it's not so surprising that the Dark Knight meets some other iconic characters over the course of the movie.

Chief among them is Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), who is much more like an anti-hero this time around than a proper villain, as the film leans into the steamy chemistry between the Bat and the Cat. She's also joined by notorious crime boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), who sits at the heart of Gotham's underworld. Last — but certainly not least — is the charismatic Oswald Cobblepot aka Penguin (Colin Farrell) — a gangster who is pulled into Batman's investigation into the Riddler. 

The Penguin has quite a few meaty scenes in Matt Reeves' first Batman flick, but one of those scenes doesn't really make any sense.

Penguin should've died in The Batman

One of the biggest action sequences of the film sees Batman chase the Penguin in a high-speed pursuit down the Gotham freeway after he suspects that the mobster is an informant for the GCPD. This unknown individual is called "el rata alada" by the Riddler, and they're the key to his entire war against the city. The dramatic scene causes plenty of chaos on the road, as it really shows what the new Batmobile is capable of.

The powerful muscle car hurtles after Penguin at breakneck speed, as the two opponents leave a trail of destruction in their wake. It's arguably one of the best action sequences in the entire film, as cinematographer Greg Fraser puts the audience right in the middle of the swerving vehicles. Battinson even lives out his wildest "Grand Theft Auto" dreams by using a ruined truck to leap through an explosion before ploughing into Penguin's car. It's a brutal crash, as the Bat sends the bird-brained mobster's vehicle spinning through the air before he lands upside down. Oz is trapped in his car, unable to escape as Batman walks toward the wreckage.

It's the moment we've all seen from the trailers, where Bruce gets the stereotypical action hero shot with a fiery explosion behind him. Luckily the villain only has a few minor injuries, so Batsy manages to question Penguin along with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright). 

So why is this scene so troubling? Honestly, because it's more than a little shocking that Oz isn't killed, considering how disastrous the crash is. The absurdity of it kinda challenges our suspension of disbelief — even in a film where a grown man dressed like a bat enacts vigilante justice against a riddling serial killer.

Why doesn't Penguin die?

So why doesn't Penguin die in "The Batman"? The answer is fairly obvious: Colin Farrell has much more to do with the role. Remember, this is only the second year of Batman's crime fighting career — so there's still plenty of time for Oz to become the version of the Penguin that DC fans know and love. The 2022 movie depicts him as an up-and-coming crime boss underneath Carmine Falcone, and he's also in charge of the sleazy Iceberg Lounge where Gotham's corrupt elite hang out most nights. The film ends with Falcone's death at the hands of the Riddler, this creates a power vacuum in the world of organized crime. It's highly likely that Oz will climb the ranks to become the new crime boss if Warner Bros. gives director Matt Reeves the green light for a sequel. The film's early reception has been overwhelmingly positive, so hopefully the cast and crew get to come back for round two. 

But there's another key reason that Penguin isn't killed off in the film: He's getting his own TV series on HBO Max. As per Variety, the Penguin show will be executively produced by Matt Reeves, Dylan Clark, and Colin Farrell — while Lauren LeFranc is on scribe duties. It's worth noting that the Penguin project is completely separate from the upcoming "Gotham PD" show helmed by executive producer and showrunner Joe Barton. Hopefully fans won't have to wait too long until the streaming service reveals more about what to expect from Farrell's spin-off series.