Saturday, July 23, 2005

Should we hate Batman?

I finally saw Batman Begins last weekend, and while I enjoyed it, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. It's not that it was a bad movie, it was that we've seen it before. But this isn't a movie review, it's a critique of the whole Batman ethos. The movie nicely brought something up that the comics almost never do: why does Batman exist when Bruce Wayne could be more effective fighting crime?

A few weeks ago the always-interesting Tim O'Neil (with one 'l') posted a couple of long essays about why he hated Batman. Part One is here and Part Two is here, if you're curious (they're good reading, but don't go there until you're done here - that's an order!). I may reiterate some of his thoughts, but I'm confident I'll be original enough for the demanding readers here.

Tim points out what a stupid character Batman is. I tend to agree with him without hating the character as much as he does, but for different reasons. He points out the immaturity of the character, as opposed to a man from another planet with strange powers and someone who was bitten by a radioactive spider and didn't convulse and die immediately. That's a cheap shot, because the point is sound, and I'm going to expand on it a bit, if I may. Of all the major superheroes, Batman's motivation is the dumbest.

Superman is an alien with superhuman powers. He kind of has to be a superhero. Same with, say, Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four. Sure, they could lead normal, happy lives, but as writers have pointed out several times over the years, whenever Peter Parker tries to give it up, he realizes he must use his powers for the good of mankind! Wonder Woman is technically an ambassador. Green Lantern is a deputized police officer. Flash ... well, he's fast. Captain America works for the government (well, he should - that would be a better comic book, especially since they own his ass). You get the gist.

Batman? He's rich and bored. That's it. Don't give me this crap about punishing the criminals. I'll get to that. He has no job, he's spoiled (well, until he was eight and his parents ate some bullets), he has more money than J.K. Rowling. What's a young man to do? Well, some people base jump. Bruce dresses like a bat and kicks ass. That's all.

Is that any reason to hate him? Well, no, not really - if he wants to dress up like a bat and kick ass and no one thinks he's, well, psychotic, that's fine and dandy. That's where the movie comes into things, and where the reaction to the movie comes into things. Tom Peyer linked to a bunch of reviews of the movie, in which generally right-wing people loved it. That doesn't change my enjoyment or lack thereof of the movie, but it's interesting to note:

This Batman is the antithesis of your entire sick, parasitical, eat-the-rich, blame-the-victim-not-the-criminal, sacrifice-the-individual-to-the-collective-gang view of human nature and society.

Along the way, [Bruce] stages a hostile takeover of the publicly traded Wayne Enterprises, puts a dent in an evil mental health system, proves that individual initiative and guts are more effective than entrenched bureaucracies (in this case, Gotham's compromised police department) and, perhaps most notably, turns the typical Hollywood trope of rich-businessman-as-villain on its immaculately coiffed head.

The generation gap between the Wayne parents and son, Bruce, marks a transition from detached liberal philanthropy to engaged conservative crime fighting. Bruce’s generous parents live at a safe distance from the city in a protected mansion. Bruce converts to conservatism the old-fashioned way — a liberal mugged, not so much by reality, as by, well, a mugger who kills his parents. Delicate, liberal philanthropy collapses in the face of violent evil; Bruce is left with fear and nihilism, the pointlessness of his life. His response is to create a purpose for his life by exploring and striving to overcome his fears.

Although the central theme of Batman Begins is how Bruce controls his own phobia (bats) and redirects it to fight fear (personified in the villain Scarecrow), the film also presents a picture of a businessman -- an extraordinarily wealthy businessman -- that overcomes stereotypes about such people as almost inevitably corrupt, unethical, and heartless.

Now, this view of Batman is somewhat antithetical to how he has been portrayed in the comics. Not completely, but somewhat. The reason Batman is, well, silly is because of this balance between fascism and socialism in Batman's character. First, the fascism. Call it satire if you want, but The Dark Knight Returns definitely established Batman as a take-no-prisoners kind of hero with fascist undertones. There is no excuse for criminal activity - none. Criminals must be punished with extreme prejudice, and Batman cares little for the rule of law. "You've got rights. Lots of rights. Sometimes I count them just to make myself feel crazy," he tells one felon after he throws him through a window. As visceral literature, this is awesome, but as someone who cares about civil liberties - not so much. This Batman has become increasingly the norm over the 20 years since Dark Knight, as Tim points out, but it always has to balance with the DC edict that Batman doesn't kill. This means that no matter how "fascist" he gets, Batman always has that element of "soft-on-crime" that conservatives can bash him about. Does anyone - anyone - really think leaving the Joker alive all these years is a good thing? Tim makes the point that someone would have killed the Joker years ago, and I agree. How can Barbara Gordon even look at Batman? How can Jim Gordon - his daughter and his wife dead because Batman didn't kill the Joker years ago. There was even a graphic novel (by Dixon and Nolan) in which Batman has to clear the Joker of a crime he didn't commit or he'll get the death penalty! The reason conservative "tough-on-crime" movie reviewers love Batman Begins (and probably the other Batman movies too) is because this Batman does kill. Okay, in the latest movie he doesn't technically kill anyone, but a lot of people die directly because of his actions (that's the extent of the stuff I will reveal, for those who haven't seen it yet).

So is that the real reason why we should hate Batman? Again, not really, but it's an element. One thing all the conservative reviews mention is the glamorous portrayal of Bruce Wayne, über-capitalist. This is much more pronounced in the movie than it has been in the comics, and it's where my thoughts turned to why Batman is a menace. I don't agree with these conservative (and libertarian) reviewers that this movie shows how great Bruce Wayne is because he takes back his company from evil Rutger Hauer (I miss the young Rutger Hauer - Ladyhawke was on HBO today - what a cool movie). Thomas Wayne, it is made clear, was a saint-like figure - he endowed the city with a transit system, he gave money to the downtrodden - all without giving up his wealthy lifestyle. While the conservatives trumpet this as how society should run (rich people deigning to help those less fortunate than they are and government staying the hell out), this essay points out that Thomas Wayne gave up the capitalistic career to be a doctor, and Bruce is essentially a spoiled rich kid who didn't earn any of his wealth.

My point is, if you want to look at Batman realistically, he is hurting Gotham City with his dress-up antics. Like I said, of the major superheroes, he has the least justification for what he's doing. This is driven home whenever someone else tries to do what he does, and he comes down hard on the interloper. The writers eventually have to have the interloper commit some sort of crime so that they can be vilified while Batman remains the hero. The most obvious example of this is the Huntress. I like Helena more than I like Batman, actually, because she has a clearer focus (well, she used to) and she's not afraid to make the tough choices about dispatching foes. Since she's not as popular as Batman, however, the writers constantly have to cast her in a bad light so Batman's disapproval of her is justified (her scene in JLA with Prometheus leaps to my mind instantly, but there are other examples).

So Batman has no justification. Does this mean he's hurting Gotham? Well, sure. As Batman, he can only go after the symptoms of crime - the criminals. I don't want to get too touchy-feely liberal here, because criminals should be punished, but that doesn't mean there aren't root causes of crime, which Batman never addresses. I'll get back to that in a minute. Batman hurts Gotham because of the fact that the police can't actually convict most of the people he brings in - Batman doesn't testify in court - and because he hamstrings the cops when they're dealing with criminals. Say what you want about him, but Batman is technically an innocent bystander - and the cops probably flinch before using deadly force against, say, the Joker when Batman is in their way. To say nothing of the abuse the cop who accidentally puts a bullet in Batman's head would face!

Back to the root causes of crime. In the movie we're specifically told that when Thomas Wayne died, the city spiraled into corruption. I hate to break it to the conservatives who crow about the lack of enterprise causing the decline, but Wayne Industries hummed along and presumably made lots of money after his death. What was missing was the enlightened guidance of the company. Unlike most businessmen that today's conservatives admire, Thomas Wayne did not appear interested at all in using his money to make more money. He used it to help his city. Bruce does not. Instead he dresses like a bat and beats people up. Ultimately, he could do more good if he followed his father's example. How about instead of buying 10,000 (faulty) gas masks from Asia (a very funny scene in the movie), he use that money to improve the mass transit system so that poor Katie Holmes doesn't fear riding the train? Why doesn't Bruce run for office so that he can work on cleaning up the corruption in the police force instead of swimming with supermodels? In the comic books, a simple revamp of Arkham Asylum so that it's not a Gothic horror house haunted by the ghost of its founder and is instead a place with adequate security means Batman doesn't have to kill the Joker but he won't be running around slaughtering thousands of people. All of this stuff could be accomplished much more easily by a Bruce Wayne committed to making his city better, and it would alleviate some of the guilt he feels over his parents' murder. Putting more police on the street, as proved in the United States in the 1990s, helps lower crime far more than some crazy loner dressed like a flying rodent.

Of course this won't happen. Bruce Wayne, Super-Capitalist or Bruce Wayne the Mighty City Councilman wouldn't exactly sell well. It's worth pointing out, though, because although we have to suspend disbelief when we read superhero comic books, Batman strains even that credulity. I still like Batman, because of the other aspect of his character - his tragic and hopeless nature. However, the question remains - based on how Bruce Wayne is portrayed, should we hate Batman?

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Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

Good points. It's also interesting to point out that one of the most critically acclaimed comics to come out of recent years was a book about a (ahem) super-hero mayor. I don't read the book but I'll be damned if that doesn't sound like a more proactive and positive force for good than dressing up like a rodent and hitting people would be.

7/23/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Dammit, you figured out a key plot point of my Batman pitch.

7/23/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I have to turn in my geek card because I completely forgot about stupid Ex Machina. But you're absolutely right, Tim - it's what I'm talking about. I do read the book, and I'm eager to see how Vaughan continues to balance the action with the politics.

7/24/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Alexandre said...

I think that maybe you just overgrown the character. It's just a superhero and kids usually like him (if not in comics, at least in cartoons).

7/24/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, all the points you mention are what make Batman an interesting character to me. I think a lot of great stories lie in the contradictions and facts you pointed out. It's just that no writers ever tackle them.

7/24/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

But pre-Frank Miller, didn't Bruse Wayne and his Wayne Foundation do plenty to help the city with philanthropy and influence. It's just that recently we don't see bruce wayne at ALL anymore (and no, Batman in the cave without his mask doesn't count).

7/25/2005 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Alexandre: But DC wants us to act like he's an adult in an adults' world. I don't like Batman in the 1950s, but he acted like a superhero then.

T: Yeah, in the 1970s Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Foundation was a lot more evident. But these days, despite some efforts to make him more visible (Moench and Jones' run in Batman, and Rucka's in Detective), Bruce remains a cipher. I'm with Anonymous - writers should tackle these contradictions, because it would be interesting.

7/25/2005 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

So what do you guys think of Justice League cartoon's season finale? I think it's sad how much the animated Batman has evolved into the Miller asshole we all know and loathe.

7/25/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice limp-wristed review. No wonder liberals lost the election...

You could also make comparisons between Batman's futile battle against crime and Hillary's war against GTA3. That would have made a better article.

7/25/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Wow - impugning my masculinity AND my politics - and all while anonymous! How cool!

I'm just making the point that Batman, on his own, does less to fight crime than Bruce Wayne could do. Studies have shown that the only thing that helps crime is more police, and, if you believe Steven Levitt, abortion (and he makes a compelling case). "Getting tough on crime" by use of the death penalty and beating the crap out of criminals (like Batman does) isn't a deterrent. Bruce Wayne, it seems to me, could fight his war on evil A LOT better than Batman does.

7/25/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Anyone see the new Lying in the Gutters column? Throws an interesting twist in the equation.

7/25/2005 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Alexandre said...

Yes, I think I can see your point. Since No Man's Land that DC has been trying to show Batman as a "lone and darker hero" but has showed us just an arrogant bastard, instead. Batman can be treated like an "adult" character, but up to a point, I guess.

7/25/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

It isn't about how effective Bruce Wayne could be. It's about what Bruce Wayne feels the need to do to seek out relief for his guilt.

Hiring police would allow for a greater reduction in crime, but it wouldn't be Bruce personally reducing it. And since it wasn't some anonymous cop's failure to prevent his parents' murder, but Bruce's, it's to him, personally, to make it right.

And anyway, wouldn't Gotham be sparkling at this point? How idiotic and goddamn determined are these crooks that they don't just leave Gotham for greener pastures?

7/25/2005 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

of course, the other main consideration is that rather than being about how much good Bruce Wayne could do, the comic is about a masked man of mystery who fights crime.
While it would make for a more 'realistic' comic, I just can't see the adventures of 'Millionnaire Philanthropist Man' being quite as entertaining.

"This Week - Millionnaire Philanthropist Man battles the malevolent spectre of illiteracy in today's young people! Ka-POW!"

7/27/2005 01:40:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/27/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Not just that, but as several decades of the War on Poverty has shown, throwing money at social ills doesn't really have much of a good track record outside of making some wealthy liberals feel better about themselves. You can see it on a grander scale with the abysmal failure of African Aid. Since LBJ's Great Society reforms, not much has improved in the ghetto.

Yet in NY the tougher and more prevalent law enforcement and zero-tolerance policies of William Bratton and Rudy Giuliani crime dropped dramatically. It's covered well in the book The Tipping Point.

It just goes to show that sensitivity, empathy, philanthropy and social programs just don't deter crime as well as fear of a good old-fashioned ass-whupping.

7/27/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is wrong. You know, every so often T. will post and I'll think he's a smart, likeable guy, and then he'll whip out his political stance:

"It just goes to show that sensitivity, empathy, philanthropy and social programs just don't deter crime as well as fear of a good old-fashioned ass-whupping."

Do you really believe that? Just because something was published,

"Yet in NY the tougher and more prevalent law enforcement and zero-tolerance policies of William Bratton and Rudy Giuliani crime dropped dramatically. It's covered well in the book The Tipping Point."

in "The Tipping Point" or wherever else doesn't mean it's true. "Rogue Economist" is also well-documented with a persuasive argument, that totally contradicts the speculation that Bratton and Giuliani are or were responsible for any drop in the crime rate.
And T., if you believe that

"It just goes to show that sensitivity, empathy, philanthropy and social programs just don't deter crime as well as fear of a good old-fashioned ass-whupping."

do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

How big are you?
Because if you're not big enough to "whup" anybody's ass then you aren't big enough to hold an opinion like that.

7/27/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Wait, I'm likeable until my political stance comes up?!? Geez!

And whether you subscribe to Steven Leavitt's abortion theory (which I think plays a part but is not the driving force since it doesn't explain why so many existing criminals stopped committing crime) or you subscribe to the Broken Windows theory, either way neither cause of crime decline amounts to philanthropy, does it?

There is simply no evidence that throwing tons of money at a problem can eradicate crime. Poverty is not what perpetuates crime, crime is what perpetuates poverty.

7/27/2005 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said philanthropy causes a drop in crime. Nor do I believe that throwing money at a problem will do anything to stop it. In most cases it only transforms the problem and makes it worse.
But still I disagree that

"Poverty is not what perpetuates crime, crime is what perpetuates poverty. "

You see, I live in a high poverty area with that also has the lowest crime rate in the country.
And I get the funny idea that you don't live and that you have never lived in a really bad neighborhood or a place where sixty percent of the population is either unemployed and unable to scrape together enough funds to move away or on welfare.
But you seem willing to disregard that anybody out there might need help. You advocate that they need

"a good old-fashioned ass-whupping. "

I'm calling bullshit on you.

7/28/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

You disagree with my statement that "poverty doesn't cause crime," then turn around and say that you live in a poor neighborhood with an extremely low crime rate. YOU JUST MADE THE EXACT POINT YOU CLAIM TO DISAGREE WITH! If poverty alone caused crime, then your neighborhood would have an out of control crime rate. The fact that you don't shows that poverty is not necessarily a factor that causes crime. It's a culture problem, and crime-ridden neighborhoods usually have an engrained culture that celebrates crime more than other neighborhoods do.

Also, I live in Bedford-Stuvesant, Brooklyn, which i think qualifies as a high-crime poor area. So your wrong there about never living in poor neighborhoods.

7/28/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're ignoring the fact that you linked that statement with another idea.
I'd like to continue this discussion off the board. I'll leave my e-mail address with one of the moderators, probably Greg, and we can continue from there if you like.

7/28/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>sigh< You know what, forget it. I just realized this will take a lot more time than I'm willing to give it and I never should have opened my mouth in the first place.
I tried e-mailing Greg to leave my e-mail address but it didn't go through. After I did that I realized I never should have said I would in the first place, it's only drawing someone in who wasn't involved in the first place.
Let's just say we agree to disagree and leave it at that.
If I offended you T., I apologize. I'm sure we all have better things to do.

7/28/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

I'm not offended.

7/29/2005 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i do feel although your points make perfect sense about him being spoilt rich... and bored... how not better to help the society than pour your wealth into a bad guy kick ass super persona. altho he could buy more police or new asylums they would eventually fall into a state of disrepair and corruption then and the problem would be bigger wouldnt it.

he is a master of the mind, masterd his fear and uses his cunning to stike fear into the hearts of his enemies he doesnt care for his money or himself, he cares for the population of the city. imagine if every rich bastard were to invest in superhero activities would the world not be a better place instantly plus if he were to use his powers others would invest [it cant really be called investing] and donate in making the city a better place also but in the ways they can.

he could have just got all his money packed up and left gotham for somewhere much more fitting, but stayed to save his fatherslegacy and the memory of his parents who died because of the city they tried to help protect.

althrough the whoe thing you are bagging him and saying if he should be liked have you not stll referred to him as a superheroe the whole time?

11/16/2007 01:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"altho he could buy more police or new asylums they would eventually fall into a state of disrepair and corruption then and the problem would be bigger wouldnt it."

NO. No. A thousand times no. If Bruce Wayne were as obsessively dedicated to those causes as Batman is to taking out "Masks" and brooding on rooftops, then he wouldn't allow for that to happen. He's still the same character, and by saying that he would be ineffective at up-keeping his civic projects, you're saying that Batman is equally lax at keeping the corruption at bay within his Bat-circle.

"imagine if every rich bastard were to invest in superhero activities would the world not be a better place instantly plus if he were to use his powers others would invest [it cant really be called investing] and donate in making the city a better place also but in the ways they can."

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. Are you saying that if every rich person dropped what they were doing and started dressing up as fuzzy nocturnal animals, the world would turn to butterflies, puppies, and rainbows? Or are you saying that they should pool their money and establish some kind of "Superhero Fund" for grants aimed at caped crusaders in-the-making to apply for? I have no idea what you were trying to say there.

"he could have just got all his money packed up and left gotham for somewhere much more fitting, but stayed to save his fatherslegacy"

His father's legacy was a foundation of philanthropy and generousity dedicated to bettering the lives of the people of Gotham. Batman focuses on providing positive punishment to criminals for their actions, and yet doesn't provide positive reinforcement to law-abiding citizens. Batman is a firm believer in punishing bad behavior, but rarely takes time to reward good behavior. In fact, most of the morally upright, non-criminal, everyday types in Gotham think that Batman is either a myth or a nutjob.

I just find it interesting that you claim he's saving his father's legacy, when he has clearly veered off the path that Thomas Wayne followed.

"his parents who died because of the city they tried to help protect"

Hmm... now isn't that an intriguing way to phrase it? I think a better way to put it would be "his parents who died *despite their efforts* to protect the city." But your way is better, actually, because it alludes to the the rage that Batman has for Gotham itself: He sees the city as ungrateful, disdainful, and rotten to the core. He sees the police as impotent, yet leaves the prosecution and incarceration of the criminals he hunts to the same corrupt higher power. Batman isn't the patron Saint of Gotham City - he's the lone viginante who wages an underground war to *punish* the people who he truly feels are responsible for his parent's deaths. He has the means to pick and choose his battles, and he consistently goes for the violent, illegal ones. He doesn't want to *save* Gotham - he wants to punish it because he holds it responsible for the deaths of his parents.

You know, Batman really is a pretty screwed up character, and frankly, you should feel relieved that he *was* referred to as a superhero. Because when you dig deep, deep down, the things that Batman does aren't heroic: they're motivated by selfish urges to satisfy the sucking, dark fathomless void where his parents used to be. Honoring his father's legacy would have been continuing in his footsteps, not using his power, influence and money to enact his own personal Might is Right policy on alleged criminals who, by law, are innocent until proven guilty.

Batman is sort of like Elvis in a way. He has such presence that no one is ever allowed or is brave enough to move against him when he is wrong. He has no one to answer to, and he revels in that. What do you think the odds of Bruce Wayne dying on the toilet are?

11/18/2007 06:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, as to the causes of crime and poverty, it is a combination of many factors. To deal with the glorification of crime in some areas (not just poor), that has to do with the development and maintenance of a truly extreme individualistic mentality that says "as long as you win nothing else matters." This applies to everyone from Al Capone, to Hugh Hefner, to the multitudes of multi-million/billion dollar companies. Also, yes poverty creates crime, to some segments of the population in any non-egalitarian society the only means to financial security are to work outside the accepted rules of society to pave the way for future generations and those future generations then have the option to use those resources for good or more selfish or possibly destructive ends (think of the Kennedy’s on the arguably good side).

Now as for the place of batman as being silly or contradictory I believe that that depends upon the version that you look at. When you look at many comic book versions and the actual working world of some of the films of the Burton started franchise, yes, that version is a bit silly with a Bruce Wayne obsessed with the symptoms of crime and not learning anything from the example of his very left-leaning father about the causes and effects of society and the types of people it produces. Over-simplification, however, often rears its ugly head in the super-hero universes. Think of Superman, to name one, who will spend an afternoon saving one bus/plane full of screaming, frightened, soon to die citizens of humanity, but to my knowledge has yet to devote any time to the plight of those in need of basic necessities in the third world (of which far more people die).

Now, with Christopher Nolan's version different rules apply. Batman is not out for vengeance as he is strongly deterred by the strongly voiced ideals of Rachel Dawes. His family also has a history of working outside of the law for social justice in its involvement in such underground groups as The Underground Railroad. Though the death of his parents gives him an extreme level of drive he does not seek vengeance but instead is constantly arguing that the city "is not beyond saving" but knows he can not save it alone. As was so well pointed out earlier, you can't solve these social problems by throwing money at it even if you are a billionaire. That is where Batman comes in. Bruce attacks one level of society (the mayor, Rutger Hauer's character, and the rest of the upper crust), for this he puts on the mask of a selfish billionaire to fit in with the high society of Gotham with the advice of Alfred Pennyworth to "drive sports cars" and "date movie stars." On the other end, because those on high do maintain their position with some level of coercion, Batman must engage. This, however, is not the only reason for Batman as Bruce explains that the people need a symbol to shake them out of apathy. The public and dramatic acts of Batman bring motivation to the citizenry of Gotham who previously felt it impossible to improve their own surroundings. The severely anti-democratic sentiment "what can one vote do" voiced by Gordon's "in a town this bad, who's there to rat to anyway." to his partner after declining a bribe, is turned into a message that every vote counts and previously paralyzed citizens such as Sgt. Gordon, the District Attorney, Mr. Fox, and the blond haired child from the apartment balcony are given an optimistic motivation to follow. Fox aids and equips Bruce who he by virtue of common sense has deduced as Batman, Gordon works the street level and improves the general moral fiber of the police force, and the District Attorney gains the support and confidence needed to actually pursue the crimes of those wielding power in society like Mob boss Falconi (spelling?). Batman gathers intelligence (such as blackmail on judge Fayden), gives support to good men like Gordon (preventing the escape of Falconi and his men until they are apprehended by police so that they have Falconi and witnesses testifying to what happened), and when he acts alone it isn't for legal purposes as much as an all out fight between the forces of justice and humanity against those of the ideals of supremacy and tyranny, as when he fights the league of shadows. In the real world many movements work like this with a political side and a militant side. Although the ideals of democracy and equality are brought to the people by voice and reason, it would be naive to think that men such as Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein would not resort to the use of their coercive powers of violence to protect the status quo which, they feel, justly supports their privileged place in society as well as others alongside them.

Though I can not speak as of yet as to how this Batman would react to another costumed crusader, I hope he would not disregard them on blind sentiments of self supremacy or sexism (Huntress can't fight crime, she's a girl!) but rather on their reasons, motivations, and tactics, or on concern for their well being (one person sacrificing their life is working well enough so to sacrifice two lives would be a needless extra risk).

The future of this rendition of the character, as with every fictional character, will all depend on who tells that story and whether they believe that the root cause of some of the problems dealt with in the Batman Universe lies with the individual, with the societal whole, a combination of those entities (as society is made up of individuals), or some totally new theory.

Thank you for reading to this point,

3/31/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a comic book! Of course dressing up like a bat and beating people up doesn't make sense in the real world. That's why it is a comic book. Picasso doesn't make sense in the real world either. But I like it none the less.

Now moving on...
1: often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.(this has nothing to do with right or left ideology in essence. e.g., USSR and Stalin)

I know it is cool to call everything fascist these days, but if anything, Batman epitomizes anarchy. He does what he believes to be right in opposition to the centralized intellectual ideology. It's not like he is busting weed smokers or parking violators, he stops violent criminals from hurting others.

Yea he may be a little rich for some peoples liking, but he is not spoiled. Maybe he could have been, but he choose a life of trail and tribulation for himself. Trial by fire, because like you say, he is f--uked up in the head.

Just because a few artists and writers (e.g., Frank Miller) tried to make him more human, doesn't mean that there are all these political underpinnings. People just see what they want to see.

8/22/2008 02:36:00 AM  
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Ok I'm gonna go all Nerd Attack on you. Wow, you're dumb. Batman isn't a rich guy who got bored.
He is a symbol for a ruined city to stand up against the dirt that plagues it.
A rich man who decided to dedicate his entire life to rid the city of evil.

So if you're trying to analyse Batman by a simple story book view you're pathetic.

Batman is a symbol not just a pathetic little Iron Man or a stupid shallow character.

Have you ever felt dedicated to a cause? A true cause?
That's what Batman is a symbol for someone to throw away their life and dedicate it to the better of an entire city.

He's also a boy who lost his childhood and deep down he's trying to get it back, even though it'll take forever.

So go crawl up in your pathetic hole and live your simple life

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The reasons for there to be Batman are more of a personal choice. If I use the movie as a reference, Bruce vanished for quite a long time and by the moment he returned it wouldn't have been smart to put himself in the position of crime fighter, or anything. He needed to keep that charade of being the rich man of the state and had no reason to care for the rest. While Batman is the realization of his desires of revenge

9/06/2010 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter Haiden said...

The reasons for there to be Batman are more of a personal choice. If I use the movie as a reference, Bruce vanished for quite a long time and by the moment he returned it wouldn't have been smart to put himself in the position of crime fighter, or anything

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol. Be jealous. Batmans the best. He could woop anybody. Your points are TERRIBLE. he fights crime because his parents are killed and he doesn't want that to happen to anybody. And he does have a job. He works at Wayne industries. He's the smartest. Toughest and scariest man on earth. U can't see him. He spent years training. Hes the freaking batman. You guys need to think of a better argument. And while you do that. You should play batman arkham city. BEST GAME EVER!!!!! He can take down the whole justice league. Joker took down the whole justice league and batman DESTROYED him. He's the best. GET OVER IT!!

12/02/2011 12:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting points.

The amount of raging the fans are doing here is hilarious. 'Be jealous'? Lol, of what? A comic book character?

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