I’ve always liked detective stories, who doesn’t like a good mystery? And I’ve been into comics since I was old enough to remember. I wasn’t into the superhero element of them so much as the art, character design, and the stories. Luckily, my sister enjoyed watching the excellent Batman: The Animated Series of the mid ’90s with me. I even tuned in to see Adam West in reruns of The Batman from the 60s. That theme song was amazing and everything down to the spinning newspaper transitions were cool as hell to me. Those series really cemented my love of Batman.
Understandably, I was excited for a new Batman movie, especially after being personally disappointed by Nolan’s The Dark Knight. The only thing I lamented after seeing the announcement was that we may miss out on a bunch of potential Robert Pattinson projects if he spends the next decade being Batman. Anyway, after a dreadful experience at the theater watching The Matrix Resurrections (tldr; some kids had to get thrown out, to which I clapped), I wanted to wait until I could see The Batman in peace. I waited about 2 weeks for a good seat with a calm crowd.
Fast-forward to movie night. I get to the mall just in time to grab some Nando’s for dinner, hit the dollar store for some peanut M&Ms, and then settle into my seat. As I blaze a trail from the dollar store, peanut M&Ms in hand, to the theater, the folks from the Special Olympics grab my attention. Their spiel this time is about superheroes, and how real life heroes are working to empower folks with intellectual disabilities.
Despite my scheduled show starting in 2 minutes, the superhero thing hooked me on a night I chose to see The Batman. We’re chatting it up as I sign up to become a Sustaining Partner, and they ask me what struck me as a very interesting question: “If you needed help, what superhero would you want to save you?” Since we had just talked about The Batman, he was the first that came to mind, however, I was conflicted. I said:
Don’t get me wrong, Batman is a total badass. I have no doubt that he could crush the most evil criminal elements of society. But… he is also a frigging psycho, I don’t think he’s the one I hope shows up.
Shortly after that, as I settle into my seat, all I could think about was that Batman wasn’t much different than the bad guys of the city. He is in the unique position of still having his integrity and being insanely rich. He could do so much, but instead he has become consumed by vengeance. He has become as broken and twisted as the Riddler and all the rest. Is he a doer of good or just a madman with a mission and a lot of expensive gadgets?
As Batman is introduced on screen, walking out of the darkness, we see him intervening just as a gang is conducting an initiation for a new member. Interestingly, Batman is aggressive and sloppy. He tackles a guy and punches him over and over. He’s hit in the back with a crowbar so he turns around to choke the guy. He seems to be brimming with rage. He’s as myopic in battle as he is with the direction of his life.
After beating up the gang members, without saying a word, he stares at the gang initiate with a half painted face - the kid runs away. Finally, standing there, it cuts to the guy that was originally getting attacked by the gang and the guy, visibly shaken says:
Please don’t hurt me!
As our story begins, Batman is nobody’s hero. He’s just another monster in a city full of them. I think that’s a great start to any story about Batman. I haven’t taken the time to analyze it, but I enjoyed myself and look forward to seeing this one again.