Matt Reeves’ The Batman will go down as a classic Batman movie. It may even rival my love for the original Tim Burton Batman films.
While I was a fan of the Christopher Nolan Batman films, especially Batman Begins, the other two didn’t hold my attention as his first movie did.
Now, there’s The Batman…
The Batman is all about Batman (Robert Pattinson). It’s more of a detective story than a typical Batman movie. And that’s what I loved about this version of Batman.
He stalked the night. He checked out leads. He took it to the bad guys. And he solved the case. The Batman reminded me a lot of the Arkham Collection video games.
There’s very little Bruce Wayne seen throughout the movie. The lack of Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego, was strange, but it worked for the film. So did Robert Pattinson as Batman. All his haters were wrong.
But… Riddle me this: Does The Batman contain leadership lessons?
Read on to see if we can answer this riddle.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Batman
1. Catwoman/Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz):
If we don’t stand up, no one will.
In a scene that wasn’t in the movie but was in a few previews, Catwoman tells Batman that they need to stand up. If they didn’t, no one would.
I was hoping to see this played out more in the movie, but they cut this line. Maybe there will be a Reeves cut where they put this back in.
I liked this line, a lot. It’s why leaders lead.
We know that someone has to stand up. We have to go into the unknown, the dangerous and lead.
Who will lead if you do not?
2. Leaders cannot be everywhere:
There was a reason Batman used fear. He knew how big of a city Gotham was.
It would be impossible for Batman to be everywhere. On the other hand, the fear of Batman could permeate the city.
You cannot be everywhere in your business. You will find dead zones where you cannot stretch yourself to.
Be okay with not being involved in every aspect of the job.
You cannot be everywhere. Be okay with that.
3. Bruce Wayne:
I wish I could say I’m making a difference but I don’t know.
The Batman contained a young Bruce Wayne and Batman. Bruce had only donned the Batman mantle two years prior.
Since he became Batman, he didn’t see a change in Gotham City. In fact, he thought he saw things getting worse.
He had his doubts. Still, he went out to handle the crime he could.
Leaders will doubt their effectiveness. They’ll look back at their career and wonder if they made a difference.
Know you made a difference.
I’ve faced this in youth ministry. We see so many students come and go. We deal with students who are a breeze and others you swear won’t make it.
Then, one of those troubled students pops back into your life. You realize you made a difference after a brief talk with them.
You will doubt your impact, but you are making a massive impact on those you lead.
4. Your skills in different positions will serve you in new roles:
Bruce’s butler, Alfred (Andy Serkis), had served in the military. Alfred’s experience may not have served him well as a butler. However, it served him well in other areas.
The Riddler (Paul Dano) had left clues for Batman. Those clues were often in the form of ciphers.
Alfred used the skills he had learned in the service to crack the cipher. He made progress but didn’t fully figure it out.
We’ve all come from varied backgrounds. We’ve experienced situations and training that others haven’t.
You may think these skills you’ve picked up are worthless in your current position. They’re not.
Figure out how to use the skills you’ve obtained over the years to lead better.
5. Let your people know how to reach you:
Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) had a way to reach out to Batman. He created a spotlight with a bat symbol.
Gordon’s work created a beacon for Batman to see at night. He could then go to the spot where Gordon was calling from.
Does your team know how they can reach you? Do they know you’ll answer when you call?
If you give your team the means to reach you, you will build trust with your team. They will know they can reach out when appropriate.
Give your people the means to contact you.
6. Leaders need to be called out:
Bella Reál (Jayme Lawson) was a mayoral candidate in Gotham. Meeting Bruce at the memorial for murdered Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr (Rupert Penry-Jones), Bella called Bruce out.
Bella understood the history of the Wayne family. She had seen the generosity of Thomas (Luke Roberts) and Martha (Stella Stocker) Wayne.
The family had been generous in supporting the community. Bruce’s parents were philanthropists.
Bruce was not. He needed to be called out for his inaction there.
Leaders have a lot of power and influence. They can make a choice. YOU can make a choice.
Will you use your power and influence to better people? Will you use your power to benefit yourself?
The choice is yours.
7. Great leaders take the hits:
Batman was arrested after the Riddler had District Attorney Gil Colson (Peter Sarsgaard) crash a car into the memorial service. Colson then died after he refused to answer the Riddler’s question.
The police saw Batman’s involvement and blamed him. They took him to jail.
Gordon, though, knew Batman wasn’t at fault for Colson’s death. He concocted a way for Batman to escape from jail.
The plan was to have Batman punch Gordon in the face, Batman takes his keys, and then flee.
Are you willing to take the hits required to be a leader? Are you willing to take the hits so your people are in a better position?
Great leaders understand they’re the fall guy. They’re the one who has to take responsibility for what happens under their watch.
Take the hits.
Yeah, that’s your thing.
Batman and Catwoman were led to the old Gotham orphanage through the Riddler’s clues. As they were preparing to enter, Catwoman readies a gun.
This troubled Batman. A thug with a gun had killed his parents. He couldn’t bring himself to use one.
Catwoman had no trouble in using a gun.
Her methods differed from Batman’s.
We’re taught that there is a specific way to do things. Whether this is giving speeches in a Toastmasters International club meeting, reprimanding an employee, or how to grow as a leader.
Everyone believes their way is the only way.
We know this isn’t true. There are plenty of different ways to get things done. Use the method (as long as it is ethical and fair) that works best for you.
Your father was a good man. He made a mistake.
The sins of Bruce’s father were revisited on his son. We discovered Thomas Wayne had made a deal with crime lord Carmine Falcone (John Turturro).
Thomas’ misdeed was one of the reasons the Riddler began to hunt Bruce.
Thomas had asked Falcone to stop a reporter from investigating Martha’s mental issues. Falcone took it to an extreme. Falcone had the reporter murdered.
Thomas was going to turn himself in. However, Thomas and Martha were murdered before he could.
Even great leaders make mistakes. They will decide on the wrong course of action. They may miss a piece of the puzzle that brought a project down.
Whatever mistakes you’ve made, know you can overcome them. Your mistakes do not make you a bad person.
10. People want to be seen:
Why did the Riddler create mayhem in Gotham? Sure, he wanted to see justice for the covered lies.
Yet, there was something more.
The Riddler was also an orphan. He felt unseen. All he wanted was to be seen and known.
As a leader, you have this power. You can help your team be seen. To feel heard. To be known.
Your people want to be seen and known. Help them be seen and known.
11. Great leaders are a light for their people:
The Riddler set explosives around Gotham’s sea walls. He detonated the explosives that set a rush of water through Gotham.
The city pushed everyone to Gotham Square Gardens. There, the water crashed through the glass doors and flooded the arena.
A live electrical wire began to fall towards the water. Batman jumped to the wire, cut it, and fell into the water below. Batman’s actions were to prevent the water from becoming electrified.
This also caused the arena to go dark.
Batman usually worked in the dark. Now, he had to become the light.
He pulled a bat flare out of his utility belt. He ignited the flare. And he led the people away from danger.
We’ve got to understand that leaders are a beacon of light for their people. You can guide them because you’re the brightest person in the organization.
Will you be a light? Will you help guide your people?
The choice is up to you, but you know the correct answer.
The Batman Afterthoughts
It’s hard to dislike a movie such as The Batman. Reeves did such a great job directing the film. I believe it will be up there with the Nolan and Burton films in terms of fan love.
Reeves crammed so much into a 3-hour movie that it didn’t feel nearly as long as it should have.
Fans of Batman will see many classic comic book characters. I loved the introduction of the new Penguin (Colin Farrell). There’s also a brief scene at the end of the movie that may be introducing the new Joker (Barry Keoghan). It’s a love letter to comic book fans of Batman.
I hope you’ll see the new The Batman film and enjoy it as much as I did.