Earlier this month Warner Brothers announced that we’d all finally get our first look at next year’s big event movie Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice when it attaches the trailer to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road, which comes out May 15th.
Now, I, like most comic book nerds am excited to see what director Zack Snyder has in store for us, but the one thing I hope for is to not make Batman the end all and be all problem-solver that most of his fans make him out to be.
I know people complain about how overpowered Superman can be (he’s super strong, and fast, and can fly, and is near invulnerable, and he has super hearing, and x-ray vision, and heat vision, and freeze breath) but I feel the same could be said about Batman. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that Batman can totally take Superman in a fight, simply because he’s Batman… which makes no sense to me, because Batman has no super powers. He’s just a really rich, smart, athletic dude in a cape and cowl, and to be honest, I even question the validity of his intelligence.
I can name another rich, smart, crime fighter: Tony Stark, and you know what he fights crime in? A technological suit of armor that makes him strong, and he can fly in it, and it has rockets and lasers, and I’m sure there’s some kind of heat vision or x-ray vision or radar built into the suit. Tony Stark is Bruce Wayne minus the pathos of having his parents killed in front of him, and when Tony Stark decided to fight crime, he was smart enough to build himself a suit of armor that made up for his lack of super powers. Bruce Wayne on the other hand decided to fight crime by doing a bunch of push-ups and hoping that his mask would scare people. Not the smartest of moves.
Batman is supposedly the “world’s greatest detective” but is he? Batman has a pretty colorful rogues gallery, maybe the most colorful (though the Flash and Spider-Man might have something to say about that) so is it really that difficult to figure out who stole all the penguins from the Gotham zoo? Or who is freezing all the banks in Gotham in a giant block of ice? How about all those stolen diamonds, you know where the thief left all those riddles hoping to be caught… do you really need to be the “world’s greatest detective” in order to suss out who’s behind those crimes?
I just re-read The Killing Joke, which by design is more of a Joker story, but still, you know how Batman caught the Joker at the end of that story? It wasn’t with cunning and guile… nope… the Joker simply told Batman where his hideout was. Good detecting Batman.
At the beginning of the movie Batman Forever Two Face is caught robbing the 2nd Bank of Gotham on the second anniversary of his initial arrest… how did Batman not see that coming? HE’S TWO FACE! Batman went the nearly the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises not knowing Miranda Tate (Talia al Ghul) was the antogonist. How long did it take for Batman to figure out Selina Kyle was Catwoman in Batman Returns? It seems that Batman doesn’t solve crimes so much as he stumbles upon crimes happening and then just kinda punches stuff.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Batman. I really like Batman. I love his rouges gallery. I love that he keeps adopting little boys and making them stay out way past their bed times. I love his cars. But he is not the end all and be all to the end of every fight. “Because he’s Batman” isn’t a valid argument. Your conviction does not hold up to reason. Sorry. He’s not nearly as clever as we’d all like to believe. He’s not super strong, or fast. Honestly, in the world of comics, he’s not even that scary. I’d be much more terrified to run into The Question (a man without a face!) over Batman (a guy in a costume).
Batman is cool. He drives an awesome car. He has a plane. He has a boat. He has shark repellent. He has all those "wonderful toys." But, come on... he can’t beat Superman in a fight. He can’t beat Spider-Man in a fight. He’d probably have a difficult time beating Iron Fist in a fight. So let’s all let up on Batman being the best thing ever, and just say he’s pretty good for a guy without powers who dresses up kinda like a bat.