Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Big Clue You Likely Missed Early In The Batman

The following article contains spoilers for "The Batman."

In previous Batman movies, the Caped Crusader has to stop whatever villain is threatening Gotham. He's never really had the chance to do genuine detective work on the big screen, which is a bit sad considering he's known as the world's greatest detective in the comics. That's all changed thanks to the release of "The Batman." In this outing, Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) is a genuine sleuth, making Riddler (Paul Dano) the perfect adversary for him to face.

It's not simply a matter of punching his opponent into submission. Batman could easily beat up Riddler, but the real test comes to one of wits. Riddler has laid out an intricate plan for Batman to follow, but unfortunately, he's too late. Riddler is successful in blowing up the sea walls surrounding Gotham. As a result, water begins flooding the streets, forcing everybody in the vicinity to seek shelter into the arena, where Riddler has already sent henchmen to take out the newly elected mayor, Bella Reál (Jayme Lawson).

It's a shocking, if not slightly controversial, finale, but if the audience had played detective alongside the Caped Crusader, they should've seen it coming, as well. A hint early on in the film points toward this conclusion if you pay attention carefully.

The sea walls come up early in the film

The audience learns of Riddler's twisty plan and why he set out on this path for vengeance in the first place. He learned of a massive conspiracy whereby the Wayne family set up what's known as the Renewal Fund. This allocated $1 billion to go to the city of Gotham for public works projects and help the neediest in society. However, a select group of individuals consisting of the mayor, police commissioner, and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), to name a few, decided to divert some of those funds into their own accounts, taking money meant for the poor and padding their own paychecks.

It makes the audience at least understand where Riddler's coming from, leading to the film's final act, where Riddler's already in custody, but the machinations of his plan are still going. While locked up, several bombs detonate around the city, destroying the sea walls and flooding Gotham's streets. On the first watch, it may seem like a development that comes out of nowhere, but eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a reference to those walls earlier in the film. 

Redditor u/CobaltMoon98 points out, "One thing I really enjoyed on a second watch is that in the opening scenes Mayor Mitchell mentions the sea wall specifically when saying Bella Réal wanted to take funding away from the Renewal project, which ends up being a bit ironic considering that's what his corrupt group has been doing the whole time. Really makes the sea wall bombing make even more sense." It makes Riddler's grand scheme a bit of poetic justice as he destroyed the very thing that could have been built better had the funds gone where they needed to go.

The Nirvana song also foreshadows the climax

Matt Reeves practically screamed to the audience about Riddler's master plan; we just didn't see it until it was too late.

For example, throughout the beginning of the film, you can see posters for Bella Reál in background shots that mention a rally to be held at the stadium. As it turns out, the stadium plays even greater significance than she will have realized as it's where Riddler's final plan comes into action. 

However, there was another sneaky location where Reeves hid a clue as to what the finale of "The Batman" would look like. It all comes in the song featured throughout the film and its marketing materials — "Something in the Way" by Nirvana. First, you have to really listen to the lyrics, which contain the line, "Tarp has sprung a leak." The city has also sprung a leak with the destroyed sea walls letting water into the city. The following line goes, "And the animals I've trapped / Have all become my pets." Riddler has trapped hundreds of Gotham's citizens inside the stadium, and now, they're literally his henchmen's playthings. 

But the significance of the song goes further than that. The title "Something in the Way" foreshadows Bruce Wayne's character arc. At first, he's merely a vessel for vengeance until he learns that he needs to be more. He needs to be a symbol of hope. He needs to get rid of "something in the way" of him recognizing that fact, which he ultimately attains by the movie's end. "The Batman" is a film that rewards rewatches, so check it out for a second or third time to see what else you notice.