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Old April 4 2013, 02:40 AM   #27
Christopher
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Fledermausman... He is a nutter. In real life he won't last very long, even if he might make the occasional amusing story.
But that's just it -- he doesn't exist in real life. He exists in a universe where gorillas can talk, dwarf-matter costumes can shrink people to microscopic size, emotions are color-coded as cosmic forces that can be harnessed as energy sources by space cops, gangs are bankrolled by evil gods from a planet called Apokolips, and both crimefighters and criminals all over the world have been donning colorful costumes and themed gadgets for generations. It isn't Batman that's crazy; it's his world that's crazy. Within the context of the world he inhabits, his behavior is perfectly normative and adaptive.

Indeed, turn it around. Take the most Bruce Wayne-like person in our world, a billionaire philanthropist who supports law enforcement and social reform without personally becoming a master martial artist and animal-themed ninja, and put him in the DC Universe. He wouldn't last very long there -- he'd probably be robbed blind by Catwoman or the Penguin or driven out of business by Lex Luthor or gunned down by Intergang within months. And people there might think he was crazy to think he could successfully fight crime without having a secret identity, fighting skills, or some kind of superpowers to protect him against the inevitable retaliation. By their standards, Batman's methods are the saner way to go.

I guess the problem is that most people are more familiar with screen versions of Batman and other superheroes than the comics version, and in most screen versions, the featured superhero is the only one around. Given that, it would seem more eccentric and bizarre. But even so, a lot of those versions of Batman occupy worlds that are crazier than ours -- particularly the Batman of the '66 sitcom and the Batman of the Burton and Schumacher movies. Those were two (three?) very stylized, exaggerated, campy alternative realities full of extreme, flamboyant criminals, so a flamboyant and eccentric approach to fighting crime wasn't such a bad fit. And when Nolan gave us a nominally more naturalistic world (though still one where the physical laws that govern microwaves, nuclear fusion, spinal injury recovery, and the like are quite fanciful), he went to great lengths to explain why adopting the Batman persona was not a delusional act, but a consciously created performance enacted by a rational man in order to achieve a specific purpose.
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