There are many sad moments throughout the DCAU which is unsurprising considering how many different tv shows and movies comprise it, we've even covered many of them in a different article a couple of years ago. However, one of, if not the saddest moment in the entire universe may very well be the prologue of Batman Beyond. Batman's last night.
The prologue opens with Bruce Wayne, Batman. This is the same Batman that we see through the Batman Animated series, Superman series, justice league etc. But this is different, He’s older, he has a new suit, but is still fighting crime.
We see him sneak his way into an airfield to rescue a kidnapped girl, fighting the same kind of criminals he has for decades. We even get a line of dialogue from one of them saying that “ever since I was a kid big bad batman has been making life hard for guys like me”. But this scene is different from the off, he’s slower, his breathing heavier and his instincts don’t appear to be what they used to be considering a run of the mill bad guy is able to get the drop on him. But it isn’t just that. He keeps clutching his chest. During this scene Bruce has several hearty attacks which result in him getting beaten by a wench.
Unable to fight back during the beating Bruce chooses to break one of his rules, he grabs a gun. The weapon that took his parents lives, a weapon he always deemed to be used by cowards, is what he chooses to use to save his own life.
This causes the criminal to run away into the police that have just arrived on the scene. Bruce escapes the building before removing his mask and staring in horror at the gun that’s still in his hand before dropping it. In this moment we see something perhaps never shown in the DCAU before, Batman scared.
This whole scene echoes one from the animated series, when Batman ponders his own end “one day I’ll go down, it could Two-Face, Joker or just some punk that gets lucky, my decision, no regrets.” This is what happened here, some random punk was about to get lucky, Batman was about to be killed by a nobody, a nobody was about to take down Batman, a man that’s thought crazy clowns, superhumans and even gods. For Bruce in that moment to go for a gun was his lowest point, and he knows it. Because of this Bruce returns to the Batcave, puts away his suit, takes one last look at the Batcave before stating “Never Again”.
This was the end of Batman, the end of the war on crime he chose to wage, and Bruce lost. He gives up because he knows his body can’t carry the fight on any longer. But not only that at this point he is truly alone, no sidekicks, no Alfred and even soon his own company will be taken from him. At this point in time Bruce literally has nothing left, and even though we know down the line things change with the introduction of Terry, the new batman, that won’t be for another 20 years. Except for one instance where Bruce controls a Batman-style mecha-suit he will never suit up as the Dark Knight again after this night That is why this moment, this scene is the saddest in the whole DCAU, a man that has saved so many lives and done so many amazing things, reduced to nothing. The character that started this animated universe back in 1992 given a tragic end, at least until the introduction of Terry years later.
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