Batman- The Best and Greatest Superhero?
His real super power
If Hollywood has shown us anything the past few years, it is the fact that we love superheroes. The thought of imaginative awesomeness gives us a reason to cheer in the theaters as justice is served in ways beyond our imagination. Yet how beyond our imagination does a super hero need to be for us to still be able to relate? If the recent release of the two most successful movies of 2008, Iron Man and the Dark Knight, have shown us anything, we fall in love with the heroes we can reach up and graze with the fingertips of our psyche. That's why I argue that the recent incarnation of Batman in the Dark Knight proves him to be the greatest superhero to grace theater screens.
Batman Begins traces the origins of a young Bruce Wayne and delves into the mental past of the brooding young superhero. The tragedy struck by his parent's death haunts the child through his development as a rich troubled teen. Seeking vengeance on those who would continue to menace the world, he lets his rage run untamed in prisons he is purposefully incarcerated in. It is through the mentoring of one of the world's most evil men, Ra al Ghul that he becomes refined in his mental toughness and physical strength and is destined to join the infamous league of shadows. It is here he becomes the very thing he fears, a bat. Batman's desire to invoke justice thrives in the arms of the League of Shadows, but he ultimately he is repudiated by keeping his one rule, not to kill.
It is here, we see Batman's greatest strength and perhaps his greatest weakness. It a thought provoking juxtaposition, is it not better to kill an evil person to prevent him from doing more evil?
This theme continues in The Dark Knight, where the discipline of Batman meets the chaos of Joker. This strength of Batman refusing to become an executioner is what separates him from the other masquerading villains of Gotham. The Joker seeks to pry forth from Batman's moral grip his self discipline. To me, the beauty of the Dark Knight was the depth of the Joker's power beyond the physical. Here is a villain who exists for the pure intention of creating chaos--and nothing else. The only way to get to him is to kill him, which will ruin the very thing Batman has become. We see this in the story of Harvey Dent, and the Joker's greatest victory is the white knight's fall. If Batman were to do the same, the Joker's chaos reigns supreme as Batman has become another villain.
Beyond all other superheros, Batman gives psychological pause. After watching the Dark Knight this week my mind kept going over the layers of depth in the representation of the characters. Batman represents a hero who has no super natural powers, but I believe his true strength is his conviction not to kill. While this also serves as his weakness, it allows his other abilities to work towards good, rather than leaving him a villain no better than the joker. He is my favorite superhero because he has a power that I can respect and hopefully attain: refrain from impulse and achieve a greater good by giving the world hope in something beyond myself.