Why Batman is a Cop
Updated: Feb 10
I don’t like Batman. There I said it. I don’t like Bruce Wayne. I don’t like him and his trust fund and his white privilege and his desperation to have suffered adversity. It goes so far beyond vengeance that at a certain point it is absolute narcissism. Bruce Wayne has no sense of self, no identity outside of losing his parents. He was raised on classism and ignorance and in an effort to find a personality, he trains under the guise of “vengeance” to feed his God complex. Batman feeds off of the fear and admiration in the eyes of Gotham’s citizens and he requires this loyalty to feel real. Without power, without a power trip, there would be no Batman.
For some back story on the idiot writing this article, I had never consumed one single Batman related anything until very recently. I was forced (eyeballs taped open) to watch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (begrudgingly) and let me tell you I was more than underwhelmed. Take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt. All complaints are specifically regarding these two movies, as my Batman knowledge goes absolutely no further. My audacity, however, is endless.
Here’s my issue, if you’re going to portray Batman with all his character flaws and eccentricities (I’m under the impression he may really believe he is a bat) then really go for it! The psychological aspect of the Batman franchise is why it should be so successful, and not for sub-par action scenes and the world’s most hoarse voice. The thing is, if anyone could properly pull off Batman’s clearly twisted world-view it would have been Christian Bale. That’s what is so frustrating. In Batman Begins we see a man who needs therapy more than a boot-camp vacation with Liam Neeson. Katie Holmes/Maggie Gyllenhaal should have seen right through it!
I like the concept of an anti-hero. I like that Bruce Wayne has layers, but I wish they played into that more. Batman Begins could have been less blockbuster entertainment and more deep rooted backstory, and I think that would have helped catapult the story for the next two movies. There is a lack of understanding with who Bruce Wayne is as a person. I want his uncontrolled side to be looked into and fed as an audience member. I don’t feel like I got the chance to know him. They show the Bruce Wayne character as being shallow, which I imagine is supposed to contrast his Batman side. In reality, his Batman side is less morale and more superiority complex. Really, how much does Batman even accomplish? How many people have died because his “moral high ground” didn’t allow him to kill highly dangerous murderers? How many people does he injure driving recklessly in his pre-tesla Morgan Freeman tesla? Batman is a glorified cop with only slightly less blood on his hands. If he really wanted to help Gotham he would address the root issues of criminality by shining a light on systemic poverty and following by re-distributing his wealth.
I like the concept that is truly only brushed upon in The Dark Knight that The Joker and Batman are supposed to have this complex relationship. Some sort of unspoken understanding of one another. The idea is there, and I’m sure it’s detailed beautifully in much of the comics, but I’m talking about the movie. Heath Ledger plays the most wonderfully unhinged character, in contrast to Bruce Wayne’s stoicism, but their interactions are so boring. Everything about their relationship seems weak and uninteresting and I wanted so badly to believe that they were capable of psychologically tormenting each other but it was no competition! This boring and stubborn Christian
Bale Batman had absolutely nothing on Heath Ledger’s Joker. I can’t say anything bad about Heath Ledger’s performance because it carried the movie. Harvey Dent? Useless. Cut those scenes. Get him some eye drops and call it a night. The Joker? Insane, fascinating, a true monster. Batman? Insane, fascinating, a true monster.. but disguised as a hero, which discredits any interest he would have had otherwise. His human side is not human enough and his bat side is even worse. Gotham would arguably be better off without him.
All that being said, I understand their popularity. Movie makers pour dump trucks full of hundred dollar bills into these movies because they get double in return. So make them loud, full of action, full of crazy costumes and cars and hire great actors. Re-tell beloved stories and put them on the big screen. I get it, this super-hero stuff is timeless, it’s just not for me.
Joker, however, with Joaquin Phoenix? A different story entirely. Probably to blame for my distaste of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I watched it first and the bar was set too high. That’s what I wanted.
Illustrations by Tanner Houghton | @darntootin.artboy
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