Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who Is Batman?

This blog was written by special guest blogger Alex 'The Kid' Valencia. He grows his beard in an effort to be mistaken for Alfonso Cuaron.

As a young child, my obsessions and interest always changed. From watching Reading Rainbow to obsessing over space travel, only one thing stayed the same. My love for Batman. Unlike most of my friends I wasn’t able to watch the first Batman on the big screen nor was I able to watch the second film on the big screen. Lucky enough for me, my parents had a VCR and a VHS copy of Batman Returns which played on repeat over the next couple of years along side Beauty and the Beast (No shame in that). To this day I am one of the few people who considers the second film a superior film then the first Batman. Maybe it was the darkness, my attraction to Catwoman or the simple fact that I couldn’t believe I was watching this film without my parents covering my eyes but because of this film, my views on the Batman universe are a bit different then my fellow Batman loving friends.

Who is Batman? Surely its man extraordinaire Bruce Wayne, who holds the hard job of being a millionaire playboy and big boss at Wayne Enterprises. But who is Bruce Wayne? Bruce Wayne comes in as the most tragic figure in all comic books. Wayne joins the ranks of Hamlet (Hamlet), Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid), and Jack Bauer (24). No matter the amount of good he does, his story will not end with a happy note.

Why do we love Batman? He is a human being (sorry Superman) with no super powers like Spider Man or the X-Men. He has gadgets that would make James Bond cream in his pants. Like Tony Stark, he has power, money, and women… or is that Tony Montana? But the reason why I love Batman is not because of his wardrobe or his taste in women but his inner beast. Bruce Wayne set out to rid Gotham City of the cancer that holds the city captive, but along the way Bruce Wayne is killed and out came a demon trying to find a replacement soul.

I know what you’re saying…”Alex, wait up, but Batman is nothing but good, he doesn’t even kill the bad guys.” True my dear friends, but there are several reasons why that might be so. You could go the popular route and say he doesn’t kill because he isn’t a monster like the Joker or Bane. I, on the other hand, think he doesn’t kill because if he rids Gotham City of its plague then Batman wouldn’t exist. Batman needs Two Face, the Joker and the other villains in order to fight them and imprison them. How many times in the animated series, the comic books, and the films have the villains escaped from the Asylum. Countless times. Batman knows that they can’t be held, yet he does that same routine over and over again. Batman is addicted to fighting crime.

In the case of Batman and his villains, Batman isn’t only fighting the evils of Gotham City but fighting himself. Everyone of the villains resembles Batman in a different way. Two Face (battling with two personalities), Poison Ivy (longing to become what they pretend to be), Mr. Freeze (on a personal vendetta because of the loss of a loved one), Scarecrow (use of fear as a weapon) and Ra’s Al Ghul (fighting for the greater good); Then there is Joker, who is the complete opposite of Batman. They are like peanut butter and jelly, eggs and ham, Neo and Agent Smith; everything from their morality to their shoe size is the polar opposite. Except for one big similarity. They both need each other more then Bruce would like his parents back.

Joker has been around since the first comic came out, so the Joker and Batman were born on the same day. I see the Joker as the scariest incarnation of evil ever put on any type of media. The Joker would make Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen soil their pants. What I also love about the Joker is how much of us is in him. He is self destructive, ignores the rules/laws, and hardly does he ever think twice about his actions. To sum it up, he loves to have fun. If that doesn’t sound too complex then chew this for a while, Joker is in love with Batman…How that does that taste? The Joker would never kill Batman for the same reason why Batman won’t kill the Joker; They complete each other. Joker killed the second Robin, paralyzed Batgirl, and killed one of the wives of Commissioner Gordon in NO MAN’S LAND (to strain Batman's and Gordon's relationship) because he is jealous and doesn’t want to share the fun he’s having with Batman.

Every time I see any of the films or read the books, I see Batman as someone who doesn’t find pleasure in anything sometimes even fighting crime. But he is good at it and he knows it. Just like John McClane he knows that if he won’t do it, then no one will. That’s what makes Batman, THE BATMAN.

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