Ever since last week Batman fans, and seemingly most superhero fans, are all reeling from disbelief from the latest casting announcement for the Batman role in the sequel to Man of Steel.
And believe you me as a Batman fan I will cover all about that, but later in this write up. But for those who perhaps may not understand all the backlash, I want to begin with why Batman fans even care, shortly followed by why he is the best of the best.
To start with in short, Batman fans care about how he is presented. Gone are all the horrors of Batman Forever (also a blond haired Bruce Wayne) and Batman and Robin (after seeing preview I stayed away). The first two Tim Burton Batman's were fair at best, but it is undisputable that Director Christopher Nolan turned the franchise around, keeping it from hitting an iceberg like the Titanic. How? He did it with one word, to borrow from singer Aretha Franklin's legendary hit song title, "Respect." By jettisoning the silliness of camp of the first four Batman films, Nolan injected respect into the character and story of his Batman trilogy. Batman is never meant to be silly in character and story. And the results show, as in extraordinary.
Want proof? The last three of the seven Batman films, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises all directed by Christopher Nolan, all attained stellar ratings from both critics and audiences according to Rotten Tomatoes.com, than the previous four. Furthermore as they say you can't argue with success, the last in the trilogy according to Box Office Mojo current list of "All Time Worldwide Box Office Grosses," The Dark Knight Rises holds at number nine in the top 10, earning over $1 billion. Many people do like the Nolan Batman trilogy, period.
Why is it that fans believe Batman is the best among all other superheroes? He perennially ranks at number one in most comics magazines, as in the latest Comic Heroes July 2013 issue, "Your 50 Greatest Heroes (as voted by you) by Editor Will Salmon. The reasons are many, but I'll include some from fans before my own.
To let a lady go first I start with Ms. Bonnie Ferrar's, "Why We Love Batman," July 17, 2008 from Yahoo! Voices at voices.yahoo.com. For she states, "Maybe it is because we realize that Batman alone chose to become our hero. While other superheroes were thrust into the spotlight, Batman chose to dedicate his life saving ours." There's also Nick Durham's April 3, 2012 blog Nick's Nonsense! titled "5 Reasons Why We Love Batman," he states at number three, "He's the ultimate anti-hero. Batman doesn't take s--t from anyone, hero or villain."
That I also agree. In the reboot Justice League comic series in issue #1, Green Lantern asks Batman if he can fly and has super strength. Batman answers no to both, which perplexes Green Lantern. To quickly after, by sleight of hand Batman takes Green Lantern's power ring. In issue number three the last page, Aquaman is introduced and votes himself in charge the moment he's on shore. The next issue Batman affirms he's in charge of the team. In issue #12 Aquaman again raises the issue, and again Batman reaffirms himself leader. But in that issue is a sub-plot. DC Comics says there's no gimmick. That's because there's been enough occasional prancey-dance-dilly-dallying hint of romance over the years, between Superman and Wonder Woman. Yes both Lois Lane and Steve Trevor are around. But in the reboot Superman and Wonder Woman are dating, even in their off duty civilian lives as Clark Kent and Diana Prince, and growing in love. And the cover of issue #12 graphically introduces that sub-plot in the Justice League comic book reboot series.
Then there's the impressive, "50 Reasons Why BATMAN Is The Greatest Superhero Ever," November 8, 2011 at WC WHATCULTURE! by Stuart Bedford at whatculture.com. For he states at #49, "He's the Only DC Superhero that even Marvelites struggle to criticize." Now I'll give my own two reasons, although I have more, of why I like Batman.
First, he can always walk away. Yet he doesn't. In Batman: The World of the Dark Knight by Daniel Wallace on page 37 Bruce Wayne says, "I chose this life. I know what I'm doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn't that day." Like Ms. Ferrar did say, he chose his life, unlike any other superhero such as Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider to become Spiderman, because there is also the impressive magnitude of Bruce Wayne's wealth.
In the SFX August 2012 issue #224, "From Dark Knight Vs. Real World," it states, "Through Wayne Enterprises, comprised of dozens of subsidiaries involved in all sectors of the economy in Gotham City and 190 other countries, he apparently has an unlimited source of wealth." Later, Will Brooker says, "If the corporation really existed it would most likely be the largest, most powerful company on the planet, bigger than General Electric, Boeing and Chevron combined. Wayne even owns the Daily Planet, where Superman works." And I also add to be specific, the Daily planet is owned by Wayne Entertainment, one of seven divisions owned by Bruce Wayne.
Then secondly, he is the epitome of the warrior ethos. Being very smart, an expert detective and crime scientist, and expert in all forms of fighting arts even the most arcane of martial arts, there is also in fact a nobility and compassion in Batman. And it's intact despite his wealth.
In the graphic novel Batman: Heart of Hush, Batman fights Hush, a villain who's not only a proven fighter, but also a gifted surgeon. Hush overpowers Selina Kyle known as Catwoman. He then surgically removes her heart, but keeps it alive in a machine, while her body is kept alive at a Gotham hospital, all to get at Batman. Batman races to battle Hush and retrieves Selina Kyle's heart. Later as Bruce Wayne, he visits her hospital ward thinking she's asleep. Relieved that she's recovering, he then unloads how much she means to him in a brief speech, to finish by saying, "I will love you. Always," and kisses her on her forehead. As he's about to leave, she says, "I'm awake," and tells him she heard every word beginning after the moment he entered. Then they lip locked. The two even have rough sex in the beginning of Catwoman issue #2.
And now I will address all this craziness about the latest casting choice of Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. In the article, "The Ben Affleck Batman Backlash: 7 Reasons Why It's Wrong," August 23, 2013 at website Movie Talk by entertainment journalist Ms. Joal Ryan at movies.yahoo.com, I do agree with the esteemed Ms. Ryan more so at reason #1. There she says, "Nolan seems to know what he's doing." I also liked Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. From the beginning I thought they should have cast an unknown for the role. But Ms. Hathaway came through. Yet with all due respect to Ms. Ryan, I still believe casting an unknown for the future Batman role would be better. In other words, give some struggling actor out there in L.A. or New York at least a decent chance please.
Now I will conclude with one of my favorite scenes from The Dark Knight. Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises is confronted by lawyer Coleman Reese, who knows Batman's identity as he says, "I want $10 million a year for the rest of my life." Lucius Fox then softly replies, "Let me get this straight. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan, is to blackmail this person? Good luck." Colman Reese, acted by Joshua Harto, withdraws as Lucius Fox who oversees all of Wayne Enterprises, acted Morgan Freeman, smiles.