As much as Matt Reeves’ film The Batman draws inspiration from The Long Halloween, its biggest influence is actually Sean Gordon Murphy’s White Knight.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for The Batman, now in theaters.

It’s safe to say that Matt Reeves The Batman is influenced by Batman: The Long Halloween, one of the most popular and well-received Dark Knight stories in DC history. In 1996, Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale, Gregory Wright, Comiccraft and Richard Starkings took the bat on the detective’s path as he attempted to catch the Holiday Killer, who left cryptic puzzles and clues for the bat.

The film adopted a similar format with the demented Riddler (Paul Dano) playing cat-and-mouse, but this time it was about purging Gotham of corruption rather than engaging in a selfish vendetta. However, although the two stories have in common, the biggest influence of this movie is actually Sean Gordon Murphy’s Batman: White Knight.


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How does Long Halloween connect to Batman?


Feature of Batman Along Halloween

The Long Halloween focused on Batman and Catwoman working together while mob families were targeted. Reeves’ film began the same way, with a murder on Halloween night. But while this movie was about social justice, Loeb’s story was much more personal. The Long Halloween Catwoman also thought Falcone was her father, which this movie confirmed, making her role more organic after killing her loved ones.

Importantly, both stories were about corruption within the Gotham PD, though District Attorney Harvey Dent, an instrumental part of the comic, is noticeably absent from the film. This opened the door to another commonality: Bruce discovering that Falcone worked with his father, from bandaging gunshot wounds to other seedy pursuits. Still, these were only threads and not the main point of Reeves’ vision.


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What was Batman: White Knight about?


Azrael Curse of the White Knight

Batman: White Knight dissected the lies of the Wayne Empire, implying that there was more to Gotham’s First Family than was initially revealed. Curse of the White Knight delved into this theory even further, with Joker and Azrael dropping hints for Bruce about his murderous ancestor, Edmond Wayne, who built his fortune on lies and corruption.

This revelation led Bruce to give away his inheritance in an attempt to atone for past sins. It also led to the Caped Crusader unmasking and surrendering before asking his sidekicks to work alongside the police.


How does Batman: White Knight connect to Batman?


Riddle and Batman

Reeves’ film was driven by a similar beat regarding Bruce Wayne’s ancestry. In the comic, Joker found Laffy Arkham’s journal of how Edmond stabbed him in the back and Azrael got the truth from his ancestors. In the film, the Riddler uncovered the Wayne family’s corruption while conducting his own investigation, leading him to discover how Thomas Wayne worked with gangsters and corrupt police officers.

In the film, Bruce Wayne lashes out at Alfred for this, hating how his family’s actions were an affront to social equality. This Batman was then motivated to become a first responder to inspire and help people, transforming from a symbol of revenge to a symbol of hope. While white knights Bruce punished himself, the movie’s version of the character wanted to rebuild and honor the dream his father had before he got involved with questionable partners. Ultimately, however, both versions of the Dark Knight encouraged audiences to believe in the Caped Crusader’s mission and work together for a better future.


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