“You want to hurry up, Clark? I need to make a call.”

I don’t hate the Christopher Nolan films, but outside of making some of his gadgets more believable having a “grounded in reality” Batman takes all the fun of Batman out of it for me. Superheroes don’t exist in this world, outside of a small group of people who like to dress up and help others community action style because it makes the experience more fun for everybody. Plus do you want to mess with the guy in the padded suit just in case he CAN kick your face in? It’s that unreality that makes superheroes more fun to watch, and through that enjoyment I see what it takes to actually be a hero not because of what toys Bruce Wayne bought but what he does with them.

However, the idea that superheroes need to be grounded in “reality” (read “cynical and depressingly violent”) seems to be prevalent in not only Hollywood but increasingly in the comics. I reject this and two videos by Matthew “MatPat” Patrick and his team over at The Film Theorists kind of prove that Batman can’t exist in reality. This wasn’t his intention of course. Like his other fictional theories this was meant to put the fake world of Gotham City through the real spectrum and see the differences to learn about science, economics, and the legal system. However, the guy who knows parts of every martial art on Earth, numerous languages, and trivia that would ordinarily serve nobody who isn’t playing the hard edition of Trivial Pursuit while having more money than some nations surprisingly isn’t “realistic” at concept. Let me show you.

The first video, “Batman Is Stealing From You”, almost became a versus article as MatPat dives into how Bruce funds his war on crime.

If memory serves, the story where the Joker steals Bruce’s money was the same reason Matt Reeves wanted Bruce poor…to make it harder for Bruce to operate as Batman for whatever reason. The only reason Bruce is rich is to explain how he can fund Batman’s operation, have a place where he can’t get caught, and can take excursions around the world with a good cover while stopping Ra’s Al Ghul from destroying the world. Certainly when the comic and other Bat-Media were less kid-hating (all kids get now is the preschool show Batwheels, which does give us Batman, Robin, and Batgirl fighting crime but the focus is on their vehicles fighting the Joker and company’s vehicles) nobody cared about his business dealings. He was rich both with the company and presumable other financial planning of his inheritance. The point was to give a reasonable explanation as to how Bruce pulls off being Batman. We barely care about Stark Industries but Marvel isn’t DC so Tony Stark’s business matters more to his character than Bruce’s.

This is a key detail that sets DC apart from Marvel, and many of us DC fans like it that way. Bruce uses his money to give to charity, help raises money for less corruptible cops, donates to orphanages, and later is shown to be a donator to Batman when he starts Batman Incorporated. I prefer Kids Incorporated myself…but I have heard Batman’s singing voice. It’s part of showing the DC heroes using their civilian lives to help others just as much as their hero identities. Bruce will even give jobs to ex-cons so they don’t fall back into the henchmen business, thus having less fodder for the villains of Gotham to throw at Batman and making the city that much safer, plus further charity because Bruce love his city.

So what is Batman’s fatal flaw? MatPat looks at that in…The Batman’s Fatal Flaw, our other video for this article. This one takes a look at the Matt Reeves movie and why Batman should be dead. As MatPat praises the movie I see why it isn’t as interesting to me.

So even the “realistic” Batman isn’t really realistic.

Batman wearing armor isn’t too hard to believe, especially after watching various videos by Gaijin Goombah confirming that ninja armor was a real thing ninjas had. Despite what the DCAU tells you in its misunderstanding of what a ninja or a samurai were (neither were inherently the goodies nor the baddies) Batman does indeed take many skills from a ninja. However, that’s why he wouldn’t be walking down a hallway while half of the Gotham underworld was shooting all the bullets at him. I know this isn’t MatPat’s other show, Game Theory, but you’d think he’d pull something from the Arkham games when it comes to how Batman operates.

In the games you, as Batman, have the option to sneak up on enemies, throw things at them to distract them, make noises to surprise and misdirect them, to build up their fear meter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if later levels also allowed you to avoid them altogether to reach a target. Maybe when I can finally get Batman: Vengeance running and played through as well as a joypad that doesn’t glitch (apparently Arkham Asylum doesn’t get along with certain joypads, including mine) I’ll find out for sure, but that’s part of Batman’s modus operandi. It’s why he dresses up as a bat, to put fear in the thugs thus reducing the chances of them being able to shoot him properly. There’s just enough bulletproofing (or bullet resistance) to not restrict his fighting and stealth skills but can handle a stray shot. The padding really started with the Tim Burton movies and has been part of live-action superhero movies since (I’d say it was refined but then you have the Snyder outfits and the basketball material used in the Amazing Spider-Man films). It might look cool in the trailer but there’s a reason Batman doesn’t do that. This is of course when you can get a cowl that allows the actor to even turn his head. Even the 60s show couldn’t figure that one out.

This is the flaw with trying to make superheroes, or even their pulp hero ancestors, set in a realistic world. They were designed to be part of a more fantastic world, even in the early Golden Age where the science fiction or fantasy levels for most superheroes was actually low, at best an explanation for their powers and gadgets. They were designed for our world but for theirs. You can create an original superhero and set it in a variation of “our” world but that still requires certain suspensions of disbelief depending on the hero. Batman was never realistic, even in the Golden Age where he didn’t have as many gadgets and supervillains hadn’t been invented yet. The real world is too restricting and at least for me isn’t as enjoyable as the superheroes of comics and cartoons I grew up with. If your live-action universe isn’t going the way of Power Rangers or The Greatest American Hero and embracing the superhero world (Ralph Hinkley didn’t get any supervillains either come to think of it) what you put out is not going to be as fun.

It’s not going to be what I come to Batman stories for. Especially the grimdark hero torture and nightmare-inducing villains we get now.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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