Batman: Prey is a 1995 American film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. The film stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman along with Pat Corley, James Noble, Christopher Lloyd, Marlon Wayans, Andrew Bynarski, Martin Sheen, and Jack Nicholson. The plot focuses on Batman dealing with a smear campaign launched by Hugo Strange, a brilliant psychiatrist who holds a professional stake and a personal obsession in unraveling Batman's secrets, including his true identity. The goal of the campaign is to paint Batman as an unstable madman and this leads to Batman having to question his own sanity as well as the plausibility of his mission. This is a live action adaptation of the 1990s comic book Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #11-15.
months after the time of Christmas, a funeral was taking place on dreadful thunderstorm. The funeral was hosted by the current mayor William Monte psychiatrist Hugo Strange, and Arnold Flass, friends of the beloved police commissioner Gillian Loeb. the funeral was being held for. The attendants of the funeral were Bruce Wayne, Lucius Fox, Luke Fox, Jacob Kane, Harvey Dent, Lieutenant Eddie Bullock, Assistant District Attorney Catherine Monte, Mrs. Monte, and several other citizens of Gotham. The priest, Father Michael Stromwell, delivered a eulogy on what a kind and religious man that Loeb was. According to Father Michael, before Loeb died, he would always visit the church with a bible in his hand and that Loeb always gave back to the people of Gotham since he wanted to spread the love of God. Bruce snorted at the second part because Loeb was just as evil as any other criminal he encountered as Batman. Loeb was really a man who abused his power. Last Christmas, Loeb urged a man named Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin, to terrorize Gotham so Loeb can name Cobblepot as mayor in order to approve of his policies. During that time, Loeb's shy and timid secretary Selina Kyle discovered Loeb's corruption, which she had no business in doing in the first place. Loeb then feared that Selina would let this slip which is why he pushed her out a window hoping that would silence her. However, it didn't work out that way. Selina went through a breakdown and fashioned a black costume to become Catwoman in order to get revenge on Loeb. Selina finally succeeded by electrocuting her former boss to death with a taser. Because the way Loeb died was gruesome, Flass and Monte ensured that Loeb's coffin had no glass window so nobody would stare at his burns. After Father Michael commended Loeb's funeral, Monte asked that people say a few words about Loeb. The first was Lucius Fox. Lucius was in Metropolis at the time with his son Luke on a business meeting for Wayne Enterprises . Lucius only paid his respects to Loeb. The next person was Catherine. However, Catherine's words made Flass, Professor Strange and Monte her father, angry since Catherine accused Loeb of knowing that Penguin was a mobster and in working with him to terrorize a city. Before Flass could scream at Catherine, Monte screamed at his own daughter for insulting a holy man in the house of God. Mrs. Monte rushed to her daughter's defence by telling her husband that this was no way to talk to their daughter. Monte then started accusing Batman of murdering Loeb in cold blood, similar to how the Joker and Penguin died some time ago. Strange started supporting Monte's accusations by claiming that Batman's costumed vigilantism is primarily an exercise in power and control for his own benefit, rather than anyone else's since Batman feeds on darkness rather than love which is why he murdered. Monte asked his wife what she thought about all this. Mrs. Monte paused for a moment and then decided to admit it: during Bruce Wayne's Christmas party, when Penguin arrived to take hostages. Mrs. Monte thought Loeb volunteered to be a hostage in order to protect all the guests. But then after reading about Loeb's death in the news, she remembered that Penguin was very angry at Loeb the night he abducted him. Mrs. Monte correctly theorized that Loeb betrayed Penguin at the last minute which led to Penguin killing him. Believing that Batman turned his own wife and daughter against him, Monte left vowing to find proof, and Flass decided to join him. Strange tried to ask Catherine out for a date after her father left, however, Catherine politely declined and Mrs. Monte chided Strange for asking his daughter out at a funeral.
Bruce and Jacob returned home after the funeral. Bruce began to pull out all the files he had on Selina and a notebook containing theories on her current whereabouts, anything that could help him find her. Bruce firmly believed Selina is alive after their last encounter with Loeb, where Loeb tried to kill them both. Jacob tried to get Bruce to forget about Selina since Selina started a new life somewhere and wanted to be left alone. Bruce started to believe this and decided to respect Selina's wishes. The entire conversation then turned to whether Strange is right about Bruce being an unstable madman in a Halloween costume. Jacob assured that Bruce that Strange was wrong about him only for Bruce to admit that he let the Joker fall to his death in 1989 and on Christmas, he tricked the Penguin into blowing himself up. Although Bruce didn't necessarily cause their deaths, he showed disregard for their welfare. In 1989, Bruce wanted to kill the Joker after finding out that the Joker murdered his parents in 1963. Jacob then argued that it was for the best since Joker was a mob hitman prior to being a super villain. Bruce then told Jacob to forget about this and left to go on patrol as Batman.
In the meantime, Flass and Monte went to visit the Arctic Zoo, Penguin's former hideout, where Loeb died. Monte gave Flass the police file he had on Loeb's death and they began investigating. Monte had to cover his nose to avoid inhaling the fumes of the toxic waste that was present in the Penguin's lair. Penguin was planning to use that toxic waste pit to drown several toddlers in it and the thought of it made Monte shiver. Monte and Flass have been there for hours and haven't found anything. Just as they were about to give up, Monte spotted Batman's half ripped rubber mask laying behind the broken generator, where Loeb's corpse was found. Monte then held up the mask and scrunched it in his hand. Now having evidence, Monte held a meeting with Flass, Catherine, Bullock, Lucius, and Mrs. Monte in Bullock's office at the police station to make plans against Batman. Catherine, on the other hand, wasn't really convinced by all this. Although Catherine believed it was Batman's mask found at the crime scene, they already know that Batman was there that night when Loeb and Penguin died. Upon hearing this, Lucius pointed out that to get proof Batman is responsible for Loeb's death, they would get DNA from Loeb's body after running several tests on Batman's mask to get his hair follicles. However, getting DNA from Loeb's body would be impossible since he was already electrocuted to death. Bullock then asked about Loeb's clothes only for Lucius to point out Loeb's clothes were also found to be destroyed. Monte agreed to Flass's wishes to launch the police manhunt against Batman and assigned Bullock to it.
While out on patrol, Batman spotted Catwoman stealing from mobster Boxy Bennett's penthouse and began to pursue her. Catwoman was amused by this and began to flee by using her whip and gymnastic abilities. Batman managed to catch up to her in an alleyway where Catwoman attacked. Catwoman managed to bury him under trashcans and ran, but her cat Isis is almost ran over in the middle by a truck driver. Fortunately, Batman manged to save Isis. Catwoman then blew a cat-whistle and called Isis up. Batman was left puzzled as to why Selina was back in Gotham, but was secretly glad she was since he missed her. In the meantime, Flass went to visit Strange to ask for his help in thinking like Batman so he can beat him. Strange convinced Flass to be hypnotized under the false pretense of relieving stress. After the hypnosis, Strange gave Flass a makeshift costume, complete with a mask and two samurai swords.
On the way home, Flass passed by Bennett's night club and suddenly felt the compulsion to don the equipment and start hunting for criminals. Calling himself the Night Scourge, Flass went into the club where a drunk mistook him for a stripper. Flass rudely brushed her aside and walked over to Bennett, who was having a drink with his lieutenants. Bennett told his men how business was going well for everyone. The Night Scourge confronted Bennett demanding 40% of Bennett's income and he will leave him alone. Bennett thought this was a joke until Night Scourge pulled out his samurai swords to indicate that he was being serious. Suddenly, an epic gun battle started to happen in Bennett's club with several people running out screaming while Bennett and the rest of his lieutenants tried to take out the intruder. Flass slaughtered all of them as the Night Scourge and stabbed Bennett in the hand to repeat his demand again. Bennett reluctantly agreed and opened his safe. Rather than taking 40%, Flass took all the money out of the safe and stored in a bag while Bennett was nursing his hand. Flass then walked out on Bennett, who was now cowering in fear which Bennett never did before to anyone.
The next morning, the media picked up the story about the incident at Bennett's club. Strange publicly denounced Night Scourge's violent exploits as a result of Batman's existence. Flass himself is pleased with his work, believing that it proves he was just as 'good' as Batman, but admitted he will need to face Batman to prove that he is better. As Bruce is reading the news, he is confronted in the Batcave by Lucius Fox, who is revealed to be his god father. Lucius told Bruce about Monte finding his mask at the crime scene where Loeb died which is why Monte was assembling the task force. Bruce thanked Lucius for the warning and reassured him that he had everything under control since Batman was pursued by the police before. Lucius then asked Bruce if he really did kill Loeb only for Bruce to suddenly pause. Lucius reassured Bruce that if Batman had to kill Loeb in self defence, then he'll understand. Although feeling responsible for Loeb's death even though Selina was the culprit, Bruce denied it. Lucius was then relieved to hear that and apologized to Bruce for interrogating him like that since Lucius just had to be sure. Bruce understood and forgave him.
In the evening, Catherine Monte reluctantly went on a date with Strange because her father insisted while her mother objected since Strange was old enough to be Catherine's father. During the date, however, Strange was endlessly ranting about Batman prompting Catherine to end the date. Strange then snapped and screamed at her in front of the entire restaurant. Finally after screaming at Catherine, Strange went home to his penthouse where Flass was waiting for him. Believing that Catherine was in love with Batman, Strange concocted a scheme to make Catherine fall in love with him which is why he asked Flass for a very special favor. In a fake Batman costume, Flass broke into Mayor Monte's home and suffocated Mrs. Monte with a pillow while she was sleeping. Catherine caught Flass killing her mother prompting Flass to knock her out. Monte, who was downstairs reading a newspaper by the fireplace, heard some noise and went up to investigate. Flass then ambushed Monte and began hitting him for fun while mocking Monte about killing his wife and kidnapping his daughter. Using Mrs. Monte as an example, Flass vowed to kill Catherine unless Monte disbanded the task force. The next day, Mayor Monte instituted a 'shoot to kill' order against Batman and demanded his daughter be returned to him within five days or Bullock will be fired from the police force. However, Bullock secretly had doubts Batman kidnapped Catherine because since 1989, Bullock was persecuting Batman in public and Batman never kidnapped Bullock's daughter in order to blackmail him. No, Bullock decided, this was obviously a frame up. As much as Lieutenant Bullock hated Batman, Bullock refused to allow Batman to blamed for crimes he didn't commit.
Batman then spent the entire evening being pursued by the police across Gotham. After a lengthy foot chase, Batman accused Strange of framing him. In the meantime, Catherine woke up tied up in a bed where Batman was standing in front of her. Batman then took off his revealing himself to be Hugo Strange. Strange then started flapping his hands in front of Catherine claiming he was Batman, the man she loved. However, Catherine wasn't at all amused by this and told Strange that he was not a psychiatrist, he was a madman, a lunatic who should be locked up in an asylum. Believing that Catherine was laughing at him, Strange started hitting her in anger by screaming that he did all this for her and started breathing heavily to try to calm down. When Strange heard noises outside the bedroom, he duct tapped Catherine's mouth and left the bedroom to check what he was going on. There, Strange was faced to face with the real Batman. Batman, who didn't hear anything in the bedroom, demanded to know where Catherine was and the identity of the Night Scourge. Without revealing any information, Strange mocked Batman and hit him with a hallucinogenic gas that causes him to relive the night his parents were murdered. Completely disoriented, Batman fell off a balcony, but not before audibly crying out for his mother and father, which made Strange confused.
Batman's body didn't necessarily hit the pavement. Luke was driving home from school until Batman fell on the trunk of his car. Luke was then shocked by this at first and unmasked Batman to Bruce Wayne, his father's god son. Luke was surprised that Batman was Bruce Wayne, but he was also thrilled by this since Batman is his hero. Luke then panicked thinking Bruce was dead, but after checking his pulse, Luke realized Bruce was still alive. Luke didn't necessarily believe that Batman kidnapped Catherine, so he decided to take Bruce to Wayne Manor for help.
While at Wayne Manor, Jacob was having tea with Lucius. Jacob asked Lucius how his trip to Metropolis was and Lucius told Jacob of an encounter that Luke had with Superman, a vigilante who has been been active since 1978. Lucius then talked about how Superman can fly, shoot lasers out of his eyes, and run super fast. Jacob laughed at this by arguing that Superman is a fictional character created by Lois Lane just so she can sell more newspapers and that Batman is the original vigilante. Lucius then chuckled at this and after sipping some tea, he urged Jacob to take Bruce to Metropolis next time so they can see for themselves and Jacob agreed just so he can prove Lucius wrong.
Lucius and Jacob were then surprised find Luke at his doorstep when Luke arrived dragging Batman's body with him and told Luke to come inside. In the meantime, Bruce was reliving the murder of his parents at the hands of the Joker for when Bruce was five years old. After killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, Joker began to pursue Bruce while laughing hysterically and firing his gun in different directions just to frighten the five year old. The young Bruce managed to run back to Wayne Manor while still being pursued by the Joker, who was still firing his gun in different directions to frighten him. Bruce then fell down into a centuries old cave where a swarm of bats began to attack him. The last thing Bruce remembered was the Joker looking down and laughing at him.
Finally, Bruce awakened because of Jacob, who was able to revive him with surgery. Bruce then admitted to Jacob that he enjoyed killing as he murdered the Joker and Penguin's henchmen years ago and began to weep. Luke and Jacob tried their best to be there for Bruce only for Bruce to walk into the Batcave, asking to be alone. Bruce finally considered himself to be a deranged lunatic who enjoyed killing that Strange, a world renowned psychiatrist, declared.
Luke was twice as shocked in one night to learn that his father Lucius worked with Batman. Lucius and Jacob made Luke promise never to tell anyone, not even friends at school, about Bruce being Batman. Luke then asked if could be Bruce's sidekick by revealing that he has been studying martial arts and gymnastics at his school just so he could be like him. Lucius, however, refused since vigilantism was a dangerous life style. Jacob tried to bring Bruce some food to eat only to realize that Bruce trapped himself in the Batcave since Strange broke him.
While trapped in the Batcave, Bruce began to believe that he killed his parents and not Jack Napier since he wanted to watch Zorro the night his parents died while Thomas wanted to stay home since Thomas had surgery in the morning. In the Batcave, Bruce found Thomas Wayne's diary that he confiscated years ago after his father died. Bruce read the entry about him insisting his parents take him to the theater to see 'Zorro' the same night that they were killed. He realizes he had misread it, and his father had written "'even though Bruce insisted, we wanted to see Zorro so his show wouldn't have to wait until next week". Bruce then realized that the death of his parents was never his fault. All of a sudden, Luke came into the Batcave after finding a way in through with help from Jacob.
Luke told Bruce that his mother died some time ago and he started making bad choices as a result of that which led to Luke joining a gang until Lucius, with help from Bullock, got him out of it. Luke then explained to Bruce that he had to live with that guilt of wanting to take part in a street gang and urged Bruce to whatever guilt he had to become a better person. Luke also told Bruce that Batman is not mentally disturbed despite what Strange said. To Luke, Bruce only became Batman as a sign so that his tragedy does not repeat itself on others so they don't loose their loved ones. As for dressing like a bat, Strange believed Bruce had schizophrenia while Luke believed it was to frighten criminals rather than cope with psychological issues. Upon realizing that Luke was right, Bruce finally stood from his chair, coming to his senses. Bruce could dress up as Batman once again, Luke asked to come along by revealing he had a blue and black costume that Lucius and Jacob designed for him. Bruce reluctantly agreed to do so and began to call Bullock, asking the police for help in clearing his name and hopefully saving Catherine.
Back at the penthouse where Catherine is tied up, Strange kept emulating Batman even further in order to amaze her even though she was already disturbed by him. Strange was angry with Catherine for denying his attempts to romance her and after drinking some beer, he threw a bottle at the wall behind Catherine. After calming down, Strange finally admitted to Catherine that she and her mother were right about Loeb being corrupt and being allies with Penguin. Strange was indeed telling the truth because before Loeb died, he was Strange's patient. During the sessions, Loeb talked about how Gotham was already a place of madness even before Batman appeared as there were criminals such as a university professor who thought he was an Egyptian, a weak old man with a dummy, and a crazy surgeon who wore a pig's head as a mask. This made Loeb start to fear that one can never have too much power. Before Christmas, Loeb purchased a music box, however, it would not play music. Loeb was given three options: taking the box back to the store, having it repaired, or putting the company out of business. However, Strange convinced Loeb that the ballerina on the music box needed to be punished, tortured. As a stress release, Strange had Loeb torture the ballerina on the music box with needles, hands, and fingernails, to pretend to torture an actual woman. And then when the music box would completely be demolished, Loeb would then have to buy female mannequins, not males, and pretend to torture them whenever he was stressed just to be feel in control. Loeb even admitted that at times, he could hear those women scream in pain which urged him to continue even further. Strange knew what Loeb thought about Penguin as Strange was pushing Loeb to embrace his inner darkness, how Loeb pushed his secretary out a window to silence her, and how Loeb manipulated Penguin into running for mayor even though Penguin tried to manipulate Loeb first. Strange considered Loeb to be lucky and brilliant while Catherine considered him to be monstrous. Strange was looking forward to proving that embracing your dark side can make you powerful by using Loeb as a test subject, however, that never got to be since Batman murdered Loeb made Strange hate the vigilante for disrupting his experiment. As Strange continued talking, he suddenly stopped when he heard a noise outside the bedroom and went out to investigate only to be faced to face with Batman and Luke, now calling himself Batwing.
Batman appealed to Strange's ego and allowed him to gloat about staging the frame-up. But when Strange turned the subject towards Batman's true identity, Batman simply played ignorant to Strange's ravings, by claiming he had no idea what Strange was referring, and that his parents lived in Paraguay while Strange accused them of having been murdered. Bullock and Bullock, along with two police officers burst through Strange's door. Strange got nervous and told the police that he was arresting Batman only for Bullock to tell Strange to stop since they heard everything. Batman even revealed that he recorded Strange's entire confession to the kidnapping and gave the recording to Bullock. Bullock started to call out for Catherine's name as did everyone else. Bat Wing then screamed "Wilma" while mimicking Fred Flintstone's voice which prompted Bullock to give him a lecture about taking things seriously. Finally, a police officer found Catherine tied up in the bedroom, but otherwise unharmed. When Bullock attempted to arrest Strange, the doctor ran outside and found himself cornered by more police officers. Confusing Strange for Batman since Strange was still wearing the costume, the police began acting on Mayor Monte's shoot-to-kill orders, and open fire. Strange was hit numerous times before falling to the ground to his death. The police officers who pulled the trigger were then horrified to see that they have shot the wrong guy, they also wondered why Strange was dressed up as Batman in the first place. Since Strange admitted earlier that Arnold Flass was the Night Scourge, Batman and Bat Wing then left the penthouse to go look for him.
Batwing then managed to find Night Scourge, now trying to kill Bennett in the hospital in revenge for missing his payment. Batwing and Flass managed to fight with Flass eventually gaining the upper hand. Just as Flass was about to execute Batwing with two of his samurai swords, Catwoman used her whip to take them away and easily defeated Flass by kicking him into several trash cans. Now completely disillusioned, Flass then began to flee to the police station, while in his Night Scourge uniform. When the police were about to shoot him, Flass unmasked himself screaming for help claiming that Catwoman was trying to kill him. Batman, Bullock, and Bullock then arrived where Bullock explained everything to his fellow officers. Bullock ordered them to put their guns away since Flass was no longer dangerous. As for Batman, Bullock was willing to allow him to leave and take full responsibility for it. Flass got angry screaming that Bullock is corrupt and pulled out a gun to shoot him only to be tackled to the ground by the other officers while Batman stood in front of Bullock to take a bullet for him. Bullock then ordered his men to get Flass out of there.
Bullock then asked what happened the night Loeb died although Bullock insisted that they didn't need to know and Batman to decided to explain it to them: Cat Woman is Loeb's former secretary Selina Kyle. Loeb tried to kill Selina after Selina found out about his corruption. Finally at the Arctic Zoo, Batman tried to convince Selina to turn Loeb to the police only for Selina to refuse and electrocute her boss to death while Batman's mask got caught on fire when he tried to prevent the murder. Although Bullock and the police were satisfied by all this, Bullock warned Batman that there had to be no more secrets between them, which Batman agreed upon. Bullock then allowed Batman to leave the scene, again insisting to the other officers that he will explain everything to Monte and take full responsibility for what happened, even if it meant turning in his resignation.
Later on, Bullock and Bullock explained everything to Monte, how Strange and Flass kidnapped Catherine and that it was Batman who saved her, as well as what really happened to Loeb that night at the Arctic Zoo. Feeling grateful, Monte decided to disband the task-force so that the police can concentrate on the "actual criminals".
In the next evening, Batman confronted Catwoman once again on a rooftop. Catwoman asked Batman to leave Gotham with her and never come back. Batman refused and told Catwoman that he could turn her in for killing Loeb, however, because Catwoman saved Batwing's life, even though she didn't have to, Batman will allow her to leave Gotham and never come back until she is ready to give up being a criminal. Although annoyed by this, Cat Woman accepted the terms and Batman then left pulling a disappearance act upon spotting the Bat Signal. Cat Woman then frowned, shook her head and said to herself how she almost got him.
- Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Marlon Wayans as Luke Fox/Bat Wing
- Martin Sheen as Brigadier General Jacob Kane
- Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent
- Michelle Peffeir as Selina Kyle/Cat Woman
- Pat Corley as Lieutenant Eddie Bullock
- Nicole Kidman as Catherine Monte
- James Avery as Lucius Fox
- Robert Loggia as Boxy Bennett
- Christopher Lylod as Professor Hugo Strange
- Andrew Bryniarski as Arnold Flass/The Night Scourge
- James Noble as Mayor William Monte