Arkham Asylum: The Thread for Debating the Insane Topic of Batman Realism

Discussion in 'The Batman' started by DKDetective, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. ArmsHeldOut Registered

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    One could actually make a good argument for Batman being superhuman—particularly as he's depicted in comics, animation and video games—even though the character isn't traditionally presented that way and hence perceived as such. Sound strange? Consider this then. Long before the Internet dubbed him Batgod, Batman has been known to perform all manner of improbable, physics-defying feats. And I'm sorry, but no amount of training or natural athleticism will ever permit the human body to swing on a grappling hook between skyscrapers—on a nightly basis, no less! lol What's more, the guy doesn't sleep! lol He taxes his body to its uppermost limits; but rarely ever sleeps! His durability in general is ridiculously heightened. I could go on, but you see what I'm getting at. Even comic book writers have subtly addressed this by classifying him as a peak-human, an obvious attempt to play down/explain away the aforementioned. That the very same term is applied to Marvel's Captain America frankly says it all.

    When you take all of this into account with much of what Darth Skywalker already shared, specifically as relates to the character's name, costume, allies, rogues gallery, et al., it's pretty hard to dismiss the obvious superhero component in the DNA of the character.

    Don't get me wrong. Of course, we can still suspend our disbelief and accept the verisimilitude that allows for Bruce/Batman to be seen as a man without powers however extraordinary he's portrayed—albeit within reason. Likewise, our capacity to do so is certainly made easier by those works leavened w/ grounded or practical sensibilities (e.g., the TDK trilogy). And yes, for better or worse, he certainly lends himself to psychoanalysis and deconstruction in a way that's different from many other superheroes. That's great. It's, in fact, one of the main reasons he continues to hold appeal for me well past my adolescence and early adulthood. But come on. He's a super...
     
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  2. Eddie Dean Jokerfied

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    If Batman used a grappling hook like he does in the movies, his shoulder would be torn out of his socket. For that alone he is superhuman.
     
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  3. SquirrelBallZ Registered

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    Who doesn’t like to jump across rooftops late at night? I like to dance on rooftops personally and cast a large shadow next to me for onlookers below. I also like extended my hands to look like talons, wincing and laughing verily at nothing, so much so I am literally heaving from laughter.

    It’s like that joke at the end of The killing joke about flashlights and rooftops, how does it go? Well yeah...
     
  4. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Quoted for emphasis. This can never be repeated too many times.
     
  5. MadVillainy C'mon Son

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    Should be painted in the DC Comics offices and handed to everyone trying to adapt DC works
     
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  6. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Some people have the idea that the presence of any "family friendly" content is anathema. In order for something to be "for adults", it must actively have content that makes it unsuitable "for children". Which is absurd and non-sensical, naturally, but some people lack confidence about their own adulthood and desperately fear that the presence of something kid-friendly will "taint" them.

    Insert CS Lewis quote here.
     
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  7. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    This, exactly. The idea that you need superpowers to be a superhero has. . . never actually been part of the genre. Or rather, the idea *was* introduced into the genre. . . in iron age comics, some 50 or so years after the genre was founded. The entire time prior to that, non-powered crime fighters and adventurers relying on skill, gadgets, and courage have been part of the genre since literally the beginning, and continuously since.
     
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  8. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Honestly, I think its less "fanboys changing on a dime" and more that a large chunk of the fanbase, possibly the majority, doesn't actually have a clear and coherent understanding of what they, individually, actually *do* want or think. Either because they lack the necessary critical skills to formulate their desires and reactions into something cohesive, or because they never even tried to apply said analysis in the first place. Thus, if the same person says too contrary things, its not that they changed their mind, its that they don't realize these statements are contrary ( or don't believe that such is important ).
     
  9. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    My theory: its a "natural" response and state of affairs, at least in the sense that its a very easy, low-energy "failure state" for a creative to fall into. Everyone wants respect, everyone wants to like the stuff they liked, and there is a general ambient sense in the culture that "dark" is more "artistic" than "light". Thus, you get lots of writers and such falling into the habit of going grimdark with their work, especially work traditionally viewed as kid-friendly like comics. And this is true in both Marvel and DC.

    Why the difference in movies? Essentially, its not anything special about DC, aside from perhaps Batman being the most popular "dark" characters. Its more than Marvel lucked out with Kevin Feige as creative lead, with him being a rare individual to *not* suffer from CS Lewis Syndrome within the industry. Compare with Sony and the TASM movies, or Fox and the X-Men, Marvel movies can and could *absolutely* fall into the exact same trap.
     
  10. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Lots of interesting stuff here. I would specifically like to call out that the original definition says "Double Identity" and not "Secret Identity". I approve, because IMO the specifically *secret* ID is less a key requirement and more a bit of a cargo cult add-on. Its less about hiding who you "really" are, and more about taking on a specifically larger than life persona, either in addition to, or replacing, your older 'ordinary' persona.
     
  11. SquirrelBallZ Registered

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    Batman is almost like an archetype in the superhero genre though, at this point. It’s pretty given he has been the inspiration behind many characters and villains. I do not think he is grim dark exactly, I think his creation was pretty hard to tackle and come close to duplication, there are not as many characters who have close. In the comic industry it is like Batman wonder man, superman and Spider-Man I believe who are the most original, and creative and we’re inspired by near strokes of genius (though at the right time as well) I believe
     
  12. SquirrelBallZ Registered

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    To be fair the whole obsession and particular fascination with having to always make Batman more “realistic” is a little grating and irritating at times. He is essentially a fictional character thus I done dunnit comprehend the ceaseless fascination.
     
  13. Dr. From parts unknown

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    I’m no DC comics scholar. But it seems to me that for most of his 80-year existence, Batman has occupied the fantasy sub-genre. E.g., at least some of his foes are supernatural in aspect. And, of course, any time he teams up with Superman, Wonder Woman or the rest of the Justice League, he segues into fantasy by definition. Thus, the publication record and “dominant representation” argue against a more “realistic” approach.

    On the other hand… there’s “originalism” (to borrow a legal term). Before Robin, before partnering with Superman, before the more fantastical villains (all basically business strategies to increase sales) and before the Comics Code Authority, there was a version of Batman as he was first conceived. I.e., Batman inhabits a more-or-less normal, non-supernatural milieu. So this argument for “realism” is simply reclaiming and respecting the original source.

    Now, “dominant representation” is (perhaps?) the stronger case. That said, “originalism” isn’t some kind of blasphemy. (And it would be odd, definitionally, to decry returning to the “original” as postmodern or revisionist. :ebr:) By my reckoning, both iterations of Batman — though distinct — are entirely legitimate.
     
    #288 Dr., Jan 21, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  14. C Prometheus Registered

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    I couldn't agree more!

    Batman is a superhero, but there's a multitude of different directions and interpretations available to the character out there, be it in a realist or fantastical form. Be it something aimed for the youngest of kids, to teens, to young adults or all ages across the board. That doesn't make him superior to other superhero characters by any means, but I would argue that broader scope of imagination allotted did play a part in Batman's sheer level of popularity across numerous demographics and is something that I'd love to see happen for other superheroes onscreen.

    Hell, just look at the success that Marvel had recently with the Immortal Hulk run in the comics that opted to revert back to the horror influences that informed the original comics. I quite enjoy the MCU and can appreciate how Kevin Feige's formula has resulted in the overwhelming majority of its entries to generally be consistently good, entertaining blockbusters that emulate the feeling of a mainline comic universe with its intricate connections within itself. But does everything need to be a comedy? Why not give Hulk fans a horror-inspired take on the character onscreen?

    Or how about the last two runs of Silver Surfer from Dan Slott and Donny Cates that couldn't be more stylistically further from each other if they tried? One a marriage of romcom with Doctor Who-style adventure fueled by 1960's pop art, the other a melancholic, surrealist sci-fi character study. Both comics are quite enjoyable reads, but I do think you could argue that Cates' Silver Surfer: Black run is tonally closer to the original Stan Lee comics. Yet I can't help but suspect that whenever we see the Surfer in the MCU, Feige and Co. will most likely opt to lift more influence from the Slott run than the Cates or Lee runs.

    Like I've said in previous posts, I think that Batman's versatility in various interpretations is going to be given a lot of focus in the coming years. Obviously we have Reeves and Pattinson doing their thing with Batman in the new isolated universe, while Keaton is coming back in the more fantastical and interwoven DCEU and the animated side will see Batman: Caped Crusader as an all-ages spiritual successor to BTAS and more seasons of the Harley Quinn show as the raunchy, parodic adult comedy.

    Now if we could only just get a modern live action reimagining of Batman '66 going... :D
     
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  15. TheGDBatman Registered

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    Just a quick aside, but I do feel like Marvel tends to make movies in service of the General Audience as opposed to being in service of the character. As a result, you get a more formulaic approach that is generally pleasing, but limits your ability to dive into different elements that make these characters so rich. Hoping that starts to change with Moon Knight onward.

    It's also one thing that I love about The Batman (from what we've seen). Reeves appears to have crafted a movie in service of the character and built it out from there. It feels like a drastically different approach from how we've seen movies done from both Marvel (and DC to an extent).

    And the fact that we have both a grounded approach (RPatz) and a fantastical approach (MK) at the same time.... *chef's kiss*. Two very different approaches that appeal to both sides of the spectrum.
     
  16. emielaen Registered

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    I feel like this sentence is uttered before every new MCU project and it doesn’t really change a ton. Lol they’re more worried about how things connect. That’s not to say that they just botch character work left and right (I haven’t seen any of the shows and the films have always been meh for me) but the world and what’s next seems to matter more than what’s going on in the moment w the MCU.
     
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  17. The Batman The Dark Knight

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    I know you said you weren't a DC scholar, but you don't have to be to know that this ain't accurate.

    That Pre Robin/Superman/Comics Code Batman existed for about 11 issues...and in over half of those issues, he's dealing with fantastical stuff:

    Detective Comics 29 & 30: Fights Dr. Death, often cited as the first supervillain Batman faces.

    Detective Comics 31 & 32: Fights actual vampires.

    Detective Comics 33: Fights a guy who flies around in a giant Dirigible that fires red beams.

    Detective Comics 34: Batman fights a guy who can remove people's facial features, leaving their face completely blank.

    Detective Comics 36: Hugo Strange's first appearance, where he uses a device that can fog the entire city.
     
  18. Spider-Aziz Dummy Dragon Holo

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    When I first came across that story I thought that was the first story for the Question.
     
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  19. MadVillainy C'mon Son

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    Marvel and DC should do a superhero trade. DC gives up Green Arrow and Black Canary and gets The Punisher back. Since so many DC fans want "dark" "adult" and "grounded".

    When it comes to major heroes from the big 2, I don't think you get any more dark and grounded than the concept of The Punisher
     
    #294 MadVillainy, Jan 21, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
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  20. BMW 224 Symbol of Vengeance becomes Symbol of Hope

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    Marvel has always been more dark grounded than DC.

    Some people find it more relatable but I've always found it more cynical personally.

    Regardless Marvel presents the world as it is and has heros that struggle to be heros in a world that's not that different than ours.

    DC presents the world as is but with heros that push it forward to be better with the villains representing the people who don't want it to change.
     
  21. MadVillainy C'mon Son

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    Not sure why I'm quoted but ok cool
     
    #296 MadVillainy, Jan 21, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  22. BMW 224 Symbol of Vengeance becomes Symbol of Hope

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    Sorry I thought you were pointing out that DC isn't all dark and grounded in the comics world like some people believe due to films.
     
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  23. MadVillainy C'mon Son

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    Nah that's what I meant. Sorry for the confusion.
    I was just making a bad joke. Because, I said this a few pages back, for some reason there's a section of DC fans that only want dark, gritty, more bloody, and grounded heroes. Seemingly under the assumption that makes it more mature and therefore better.
    And in my mind, when it comes to the big marquee characters of Marvel and DC, I don't think you get more bloody and dark then the concept of The Punisher. So I made the joke of DC trading heroes to get The Punisher from Marvel
     
  24. OnLeatherWings Registered

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    The word 'grounded' causes some sort of irate agitation in me, at this point.
     
  25. Spider-Aziz Dummy Dragon Holo

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    I remembered that animated movie that is supposed to be set between Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, one segment has Killer Croc, another has Batman running on a fast moving train avoiding Deadshot bullets to punch his jaw and keep holding him for a confession.

    Not what I think of when the word realism comes to mind.
    In the last 20 or something years they made some... interesting changes to Punisher status quo that make me want to see how people with the thought "Dark and realism is the way to go" react to them.

    Old time travelling cosmic Ghost Rider Punisher who befriends Galactus and tells him what's best for his diet.
     

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