In the sea of trending DC news about the Snyderverse, canceled movies, and The Flash actor Ezra Miller, a developing story concerning The Batman — particularly the originality of the film’s script — is lost amongst the waves.
Moreover, if it’s accurate it will prove to be a damning indictment of director Matt Reeves, longtime Batman film producer Michael Uslan, and the lows Warner Bros. is willing to go to change course with a property when things at the studio are in flux.
A bit over a month ago, former penciler for Batman comics Chris Wozniak uploaded a video that aimed to show Reeves ripped off, beat for beat, an outline for a story he wrote in 1990 and later submitted to Uslan. He’s now followed that up with the sequel he promised and added his voice literally to the controversy.
In the upload titled Batmangate 2, Wozniak seeks to prove further that Reeves did not write a wholly original script as he claimed in interviews and lied to the press about where his “young reboot” story came from.
Wozniak notes the one thing they needed and did to make the reboot a “starting-out version” was to keep it in Gotham; from there, striking parallels remained between the treatment and the film with a few exceptions.
A checklist was assembled to illustrate not much of the film is actually different at all. Riddler’s surrogate families, a biblical catastrophe and judgment befalling Gotham, as well as Batman being in a specific phase of his career are virtually the same — whereas the sources of the city’s decay and corruption vary.
Wozniak had in mind a criminal banking conglomerate and economic collapse as the causes which Reeves substituted with organized crime and broad systemic corruption punctuated by misuse of the Renewal Fund.
“Both stories, despite their differences, play out exactly the same; same beats, same plot twists, same character motivations, ending, and that is because these are not differences, these are rewrites,” Wozniak claims.
There are two sequences within The Batman that make no sense when scrutinized but they fit right into Wozniak’s storyline. One is at the beginning when punks vandalize a bank that went under. A full-blown economic collapse doesn’t occur in the film so it’s argued this incident is totally out of place.
The other twist is at the climax when Batman injects himself with a green serum to stay in the fight against Riddler’s radicalized followers in Gotham Square Garden.
Although it could be explained away easily as adrenaline, the substance ultimately has no justification in the fight except tension.
For Wozniak, however, it did serve a purpose in his story. Batman, finding out he was poisoned with a slow-acting toxin, needed an antidote in his final battle with Riddler and takes it with him.
Both cases present an inconsistency within The Batman that mostly goes unnoticed but Wozniak contends they are leftover ideas of his that further prove Reeves copied a treatment given to him rather than grabbing coincidentally similar tropes out of thin air.
And it gets even more interesting in two other scenes Wozniak uses to make his case. The DC penciler also reveals in his video that he came up with the scene where the Mayor was attacked in his home by The Riddler and the one in which Alfred was nearly killed in an explosion.
However, in a case of “compositing characters,” the first scene was rewritten to include the Mayor instead of Alfred, who the Riddler originally attacked in Wozniak’s treatment. Conversely, Alfred replaced Barbara Gordon in the latter case due to age and not being present in Reeve’s movie.
Wozniak knows Reeves and Uslan can laugh at his claims all the way to the bank but he defies them to refute his evidence as nothing more than coincidence when that would be statistically impossible, he argues.
Nothing may come of Chris Wozniak’s Batmangate campaign though he teases a third video at the end of this second one, as well as urging Bat-fans everywhere to stand up and speak out in the name of righting a wrong.