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Old March 6 2011, 07:54 AM   #1
Gaith
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Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

I think even most fans of Batman Begins will admit that the climax is kind of (if not very) silly. A microwave powerful enough to boil infected water throughout the city? Uh, okay... And Katie Holmes didn't win too many plaudits, either.

But, as Cracked shows, the entire set-up to the movie is, well... kinda cracked:

Alfred isn't just Bruce Wayne's butler -- he was the young Bruce's legal guardian after his parents were shot and killed in an alley.


Luckily for Bruce, Alfred appears to be an extremely caring and compassionate man, and while his parents' death was quite tragic, children have recovered from much worse. Also, he is rich and thankfully can be given the best psychological care money can buy. It's pretty much the best-case scenario for such an ordeal; no doubt with Alfred's help, Mr. Wayne can grow up to become an accomplished business man and a productive member of society ...

... or, you know, a giant vengeful bat.


Let's be honest here. It's fun to watch Batman, but it's not fun to be Batman. And if the kid you raised grows up to dress like a bat and wander the night fighting the mentally insane, you failed that child.


Let's go back for a moment to his childhood, After his parents' funeral, young Bruce Wayne blames himself for their deaths, and Alfred reassures him by saying, "It was nothing you did; it was him, and him alone." Which clearly plants a pretty big seed, because we then see that about 10 years later, Bruce is still carrying his grudge. He is so hateful that he actually attempts to assassinate the guy when he is released from jail.

Again, cool to watch in a movie, but not a healthy way to deal with grief. Couldn't Alfred have had at least a sit-down with Bruce about this during those 10 years? Or gotten him help, if he didn't think he was capable of getting through to him himself?

Then, after this attempt, Bruce Wayne runs away for seven years. During that time he is declared dead, and Alfred inherits everything. EVERYTHING. Then, after his adventures, Bruce finally decides to return home and is picked up by Alfred in a jet while covered in bruises and mud. Upon seeing him, Alfred says, "Master Wayne, you've been gone a long time. You look very fashionable. ..."


Seriously, Alfred? Not a single fuck you give?

Alfred doesn't care about this man's well-being -- the man he raised as his own son. When Bruce shares his plans to dress up like a bat and risk his life every night to fight crime, clearly as a result of his lingering grief over his parents, Alfred just rolls with it. He's totally cool with it.
Here's a modest suggestion from moi: move the parents' murder to Bruce's early 20s. Have him be a spoiled rich brat throughout his teens, developing his reputation for licentiousness which will prove convenient cover for later (instead of having Bruce suddenly become a wild party-boy who somehow failed to have attracted any notice during his seven years away). That way, when Bruce becomes Batman, his efforts would be fueled by the fact that his wounds are still fresh, making him a bit less totally insane than the movie protagonist whose nonsensical personal history plays out as described above. Also, his history as a carefree wild partier would lend an interesting layer to his playing at being being the same, in that he actually would enjoy being a cad, and have maybe risk jeopardizing the Batman project by indulging in too many cheap pleasures.

Anyway, this is but one reason why I find TDK to be so far superior to BB: for whatever reason, Bruce starts out fully formed as Batman, so we can just watch him do his thing without puzzling over why a billionaire would choose to get beat up in some remote prison because he tragically lost his parents over a decade before and apparently hasn't found anything other hobbies or friends since.
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Old March 6 2011, 07:56 AM   #2
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Some people take this stuff way too seriously. Just enjoy the darn movie, folks.
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Old March 6 2011, 07:57 AM   #3
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Gaith wrote: View Post
Here's a modest suggestion from moi: move the parents' murder to Bruce's early 20s. Have him be a spoiled rich brat throughout his teens, developing his reputation for licentiousness ....
They did that in that craptastic Green Hornet.

Could work for Batman, but... it'll have to wait for the next series of Batman movies.
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Old March 6 2011, 08:05 AM   #4
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Gaith wrote: View Post
Here's a modest suggestion from moi: move the parents' murder to Bruce's early 20s. Have him be a spoiled rich brat throughout his teens, developing his reputation for licentiousness which will prove convenient cover for later (instead of having Bruce suddenly become a wild party-boy who somehow failed to have attracted any notice during his seven years away). That way, when Bruce becomes Batman, his efforts would be fueled by the fact that his wounds are still fresh, making him a bit less totally insane than the movie protagonist whose nonsensical personal history plays out as described above. Also, his history as a carefree wild partier would lend an interesting layer to his playing at being being the same, in that he actually would enjoy being a cad, and have maybe risk jeopardizing the Batman project by indulging in too many cheap pleasures.
Oh come on. It's Batman. His parents were murdered when he was a kid, like it or not, that's the core of the character, and it's not likely to change. Yes, maybe Sherlock Holmes would be a better character if he were a woman living in Shanghai in the 18th Century, but if that's what we need to enjoy Sherlock Holmes, then we don't enjoy Sherlock Holmes, know what I mean?
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Old March 6 2011, 08:22 AM   #5
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Skywalker wrote: View Post
Some people take this stuff way too seriously. Just enjoy the darn movie, folks.
And some of us are interested in the mechanics of telling a good story, and like to discuss whether or not a particular script tells one. Also, I didn't enjoy the movie, partly for the above reasons. Quoth The New Yorker's David Denby:

The screenplay sounds as if it were written after a course in self-realization taken on Santa Monica Boulevard, and the direction is both pompous and cheesy, with ridiculous plot developments and lots of whirling movement shot so close that we can’t really see anything. Gotham is no longer a malignant paradise of evil; it’s just dark.

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Old March 6 2011, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
Oh come on. It's Batman. His parents were murdered when he was a kid, like it or not, that's the core of the character, and it's not likely to change. Yes, maybe Sherlock Holmes would be a better character if he were a woman living in Shanghai in the 18th Century, but if that's what we need to enjoy Sherlock Holmes, then we don't enjoy Sherlock Holmes, know what I mean?
You're right. Suggesting adjusting a biographical detail which this whole particular script (as opposed to nearly all non-origin Batman stories) is based upon is just the same as suggesting that one change a character's gender, nationality and time period.
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Old March 6 2011, 08:40 AM   #7
The Mirrorball Man
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Gaith wrote: View Post
You're right. Suggesting adjusting a biographical detail which this whole particular script (as opposed to nearly all non-origin Batman stories) is based upon is just the same as suggesting that one change a character's gender, nationality and time period.
Alright, I'm not dogmatic. Then let's just pretend I used "Luke Skywalker, arrogant rich kid" as an example.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Gaith wrote: View Post
Skywalker wrote: View Post
Some people take this stuff way too seriously. Just enjoy the darn movie, folks.
And some of us are interested in the mechanics of telling a good story, and like to discuss whether or not a particular script tells one. Also, I didn't enjoy the movie, partly for the above reasons.
Yeah, but you don't seem to enjoy much of anything. (Just playing! Don't get all defensive. )
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Gaith wrote: View Post
You're right. Suggesting adjusting a biographical detail which this whole particular script (as opposed to nearly all non-origin Batman stories) is based upon is just the same as suggesting that one change a character's gender, nationality and time period.
Alright, I'm not dogmatic. Then let's just pretend I used "Luke Skywalker, arrogant rich kid" as an example.
For a second, there, I pictured Batman with Jedi powers.
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Old March 6 2011, 01:19 PM   #9
byron lomax
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

We don't really know if Alfred had more conversations with Bruce regarding his parents' deaths, though. Perhaps his attitude came from years of trying to turn Bruce in a "positive" direction and failing, and then just accepting that Bruce should go in the direction he wants.

The late 80s storyline Blind Justice (by Sam Hamm, writer of the first Burton movie) had a pretty interesting deconstruction of Wayne's character, and tacked, not completely directly, the question of why he became a self-styled dark avenger while others have lived though even worse situations and came out with normal, productive lives. It gives an anlaysis of Batman that's not entirely flattering, and suggests that he took up this insane lifestyle simply because he was rich and spoiled enough to entertain it, and to wallow in his obsession without moving on.

That's just one take, of course.
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Old March 6 2011, 01:39 PM   #10
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

The analysis fails to consider the obvious from a (supposedly) realistic point of view, i.e. that Bruce Wayne is insane. And I mean, clinically insane. He's young, disturbed (we see this before the murder of his parents), filthy rich, lacking any kind of father and mother figures, prone to obsession and costume dressing. His loss makes him focus his insanity into a super-heroic direction, but it's insanity nonetheless.
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Old March 6 2011, 03:00 PM   #11
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

I got a sense from the movie that at some point while Bruce was gone, at some point he contacted Alfred and explained to him that he was not dead and so on. I think by the time he returned they had already talked some. As far as the rest, you don't have to be explained everything. I doubt its so simple as they making it out to be. I doubt Alfred only talked to Bruce about his parents' death. I think this is just an over analysis and when you watch a movie you should be able to assume certain things and infer certain things. I would assume that Alfred had counciled Bruce as much as possible and always had his best interest in mind. I lost my father when I was eight, I'm 31 and that shit still hurts sometimes. So, even with therapy and time, no matter how rich you are, you can still Cary a lot of pain and guilt. Look, do you really want to see Bruce get therapy and become a volunnteer at Arkum, so instead of beating the shit out of the Joker, he wants to talk about his childhood andfeed him soup? I wanna see Batman damit.
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Old March 6 2011, 03:57 PM   #12
Locutus of Bored
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Since Bruce Wayne's parents being murdered was the driving force behind him becoming Batman right from nearly the beginning in Detective Comics #33 in 1939, and Alfred being the butler that raised him from childhood after the murder of his parents has been a fixture of the post-Crisis comics since the mid-80s, it seems rather silly to single out 'Batman Begins' for criticism on this for simply following the long established lore.

I don't see how it "disembowels" the narrative at all, much less enough to warrant all-caps . If they had changed such a significant and essential part of Batman's origin story fans would have been royally pissed. It was meant to be a humorous article taken lightly that criticizes one specific aspect of the film. Believe me, there are plenty of flaws to point out about 'Batman Begins' (and 'The Dark Knight') but this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense to base part of your dislike of the movie on.

Who the hell wants a well-adjusted Bruce Wayne anyway, using his dark grumble voice to talk about how he'll file a restraining order against the enemies of Gotham if they don't back off?

Plus, the Enterprise-E didn't have children on it, so by the laws of fandom I declare this article completely invalidated.
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Old March 6 2011, 04:02 PM   #13
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Skywalker wrote: View Post
Some people take this stuff way too seriously. Just enjoy the darn movie, folks.
Quoted for Fucking Truth.

Anyway, it was an amusing cracked article. Not one of their best, but not bad. I like them best when they're finding obscure facts. Not so much when they're nitpicking random nerdy moments.
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Old March 6 2011, 04:09 PM   #14
the G-man
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Gaith wrote: View Post
The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
Oh come on. It's Batman. His parents were murdered when he was a kid, like it or not, that's the core of the character, and it's not likely to change. Yes, maybe Sherlock Holmes would be a better character if he were a woman living in Shanghai in the 18th Century, but if that's what we need to enjoy Sherlock Holmes, then we don't enjoy Sherlock Holmes, know what I mean?
You're right. Suggesting adjusting a biographical detail which this whole particular script (as opposed to nearly all non-origin Batman stories) is based upon is just the same as suggesting that one change a character's gender, nationality and time period.

The fact that his parents' murder occurried before his eyes as a child, scarring him, and causing him to spend his adolescence and early adult life, has been a major, major, part of the character's backstory and motivation since the beginning.

Changing that is a little like saying it would be no big deal to have Superman live on Krypton until he's thirty.

As someone else touched upon, sometimes you should probably just concede that Batman isn't your cup of tea and move on to, for example, the Seth Rogan "Green Hornet" (give you just ripped off that movie for your brilliant and original idea, and all).
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Old March 6 2011, 04:11 PM   #15
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Re: Cracked DISEMBOWELS the narrative foundation of Batman Begins

Skywalker wrote: View Post
The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
Gaith wrote: View Post
You're right. Suggesting adjusting a biographical detail which this whole particular script (as opposed to nearly all non-origin Batman stories) is based upon is just the same as suggesting that one change a character's gender, nationality and time period.
Alright, I'm not dogmatic. Then let's just pretend I used "Luke Skywalker, arrogant rich kid" as an example.
For a second, there, I pictured Batman with Jedi powers.
Give Morrison time. Give Morrison time.
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