Movie Reviews

Metropolis Is In The Batman: 10 Big Things The Before The Batman Tie-In Novel Reveals

The Batman does such a great job at world-building, as it introduces tons of new characters and sets up so many story arcs that fans will have to wait years to finally see get paid off. And though there’s so much history in this Gotham, there’s too much going on in the movie, which means that certain things aren’t given a backstory no matter how much fans wanted it.

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However, the tie-in novel Before The Batman answers a lot of questions that audiences had, fills in a lot of gaps, and even has some huge reveals. Between Bruce being a street racer, the Batcave’s origin, and Bruce and Edward’s relationship going further back than fans know, the book is a must-read for viewers who want more of this rich world.

Batman not only looks like a demon hiding in the shadows, but he’s a speed demon too. The book explains that before the vehicle was all tricked out as seen in the movie, Bruce would work on the engine and the body kit to make it as fast as possible, to the point where he was ripping out the interior.

The Batmobile in the new movie is unlike any other Batmobile that came before it, and while others might be more battle-ready, there’s so much horsepower beneath the hood of the car. And every night, he would test the car’s speed by taking part in illegal street races. With a car like that, it’s impossible not to flag down other boy racers and drag race from traffic light to traffic light.

It’s three hours in length, and The Batman handled its runtime well, but because it’s so long and there are so many characters that are introduced that set up this new world, Alfred (Andy Serkis) gets the short end of the stick. For as talented as Serkis is, he was unforgivably underused, but the book almost makes up for it, as it details more of his and Bruce’s relationship.

Though it would have been great to see in the movie, especially as Serkis is a much leaner Alfred than fans have ever seen, the book explains that Alfred taught Bruce everything he knows when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. They would often go to the gym in Wayne Tower in the morning to train together, and Alfred called it “Brucejitsu.”

After Bruce graduated from boarding school, he enrolled in the best colleges around the world, but he’d quickly get bored. The billionaire would switch schools between semesters and change his studies. The book details that Bruce was a huge lab rat, as he was most interested in chemistry, physics, and biology.

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Even though he quickly got bored of the colleges, he would continue studying by teaching himself in the Batcave. And that explains a lot of grey areas in the movie and gives credence as to how Bruce is as intelligent as he is. Early on in the 2022 movie, Bruce becomes somewhat of a forensic scientist when he sees the mayor’s severed thumb.

Long before Edward got a job as an accountant, he delivered fast food to the civilians of Gotham. And one thing the book does so well is that it goes into detail about how hard of a life and upbringing Nashton had. It shines more of a light on why the soon-to-be supervillain is so irked by the people of Gotham.

Nashton had to deal with customers treating him badly, and then he’d cycle back to the orphanage where he’d continue to get bullied to no end. Though it doesn’t try to humanize him, as he comes off just as bitter and jealous of Bruce Wayne in the novel too.

While some viewers think that the romance in The Batman was unnecessary, it was a fresh take on the character, and as it turns out, Batman has a thing for adrenaline junkies that roam around at night. When Bruce was cruising around the streets of Gotham at night looking for drag races, he was pulled over by another street racer named Dex.

Dex introduced Bruce to a world of street racing that he could never have imagined, and the two bonded over souping up their cars. The novel paints Gotham like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as it briefly turns into a story about rich teenagers with expensive cars risking their lives.

In The Batman, there’s a newspaper cutout of a young Edward staring at Bruce when the Wayne family is at the orphanage. It’s during Thomas Wayne’s announcement that he’s running for mayor, but it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot. However, Before the Batman goes into detail about the moment. Edward is in the orphanage choir, and even at such young ages, both Edward and Bruce feel animosity from each other.

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And they hadn’t just crossed paths once, but twice. Not only was there an awkward moment at the orphanage, but Nashton also blew up Dex’s car during a street race too. Edward decided to sabotage a race when he saw how entitled the rich boy racers were when cycling back to the orphanage one night. Bruce did deduce that the explosion wasn’t an accident and that something was planted in the car’s exhaust pipe, but he never found out who did it.

The scene where Bruce is looking through the footage from his contact lens is one of The Batman scenes that won’t get talked about enough. But before Bruce had turned the dark and dusty cave into his office, it was nothing more than a hideout for him to escape from what was expected of him in Wayne Tower.

And even before that, it used to be a railway station. Though it does say “Wayne Terminus” on the wall of the Batcave in the movie, it isn’t explained why, but Before The Batman answers that. According to Comic Book Resources, the cave is based on real-life secret underground railways in New York.

When Bruce first decided to go out and fight crime, he didn’t have a Batsuit or any of his gadgets, just his brains and brawn. It didn’t take long to find his first criminal, as he quickly found a thief breaking into a jewelry store. And the copious amounts of criminal activity taking are part of why The Batman features the best depiction of Gotham.

Just like the movie, Before The Batman is a pretty great detective tale. The jewelry store robbery led to an even bigger story, and it became the first of many levels of uncovering a much larger crime syndicate. The thief was using advanced, military-grade explosive gel, and that first altercation sent Bruce down a path of tracking down the source of the gel.

There wasn’t much Bruce Wayne in the movie, so it’s hard to understand what Bruce is really like in the public eye, as the only time he’s seen communicating with anybody outside of Alfred is during the Mayor’s memorial. However, the book sheds some light on it, and he isn’t exactly the charming people-person like how he’s portrayed in other movies.

Bruce is extremely reclusive, and he often tries to hide behind sunglasses and hats. He hates that he has the reputation of being, as Carmine Falcone puts it, “the prince of the city.” Every time anybody recognizes him he gets embarrassed and hates the special treatment that he gets, whether it’s police officers or owners of race tracks.

This is the most shocking reveal in the whole novel, especially given that The Batman is being sold as just that, a movie that’s setting up a universe about the Bat that’s inherently gothic and dark. Metropolis and LexCorp aren’t just hinted at, but they’re mentioned by name, as the end of the book sees Dex travel to the city and attempt to get a job at the Lex Luthor-owned company.

It’s hard to imagine Metropolis existing in the world, let alone Lex Luthor and maybe even Superman, who is a much more positive hero and represents hope. But the revelation creates a huge question; will fans see Superman or even Clark Kent in an upcoming Batman movie in this universe?

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