I’ve often thought about what it would be like to actually BE Batman. As in, living the actual life of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Of course, we’ve all seen the movies, which show the intense/glamorous/badass side of both alter egos. But then my mind does what it often does and started thinking about 1) what would need to actually happen for the events in the movie to be real and 2) where necessary, admitting that certain aspects of the movie just could never be real, logistically speaking, and the specific reasons why. One may think that it’s easy enough to watch a superhero movie and enjoy the experience while at the same time admitting that there’s no way it could ever happen in reality; that’s part of the magic that attracts us to movies in the first place. But if you humor yourself and actually think about the logistical details a superhero (such as Batman) would need to take into account in order to conduct his life (as seen on screen) in our our real world, you’ll often discover a number of amusing facts which otherwise go undetected under the average moviegoer’s radar.
1. The eye make-up
Falconi’s men are looting a bank. The streets are empty. Commissioner Gordon fires up the trusty old Bat-signal, lighting the motherfrackin’ sky up with it. Mr. Wayne excuses himself from a dinner engagement at a five-star restaurant, heads to wherever he has his Bat-suit hidden. And starts applying copious amounts of eye make-up to his face.
Hardly something you’d associate with the Bat. Far too feminine and ‘real’ for Batman to have to worry about.
Yet sadly he does. And Bruce can’t rush through it either. Gotta make sure he covers every spot – can’t have any skin showing through. And can’t get any in his eye either, or Batman’s not gonna have a good time. I think – wouldn’t it take him a while to apply his eye make-up? And then put the suit on? In that much time, most crimes would be over for the most part.
What if he puts on his cowl while forgetting his eye make-up? And remembers while en route to the bank being robbed? It’s either save the bank while looking ridiculous, or back to the Bat-cave to throw on the make-up and most likely arrive far too late to catch anyone on-site. Not to mention the amount of time it probably takes to remove that leather cowl. Not as easy as taking off a pair of glasses.
And towards the end of TDK. After Rachel’s death, when Bruce is sitting in his apartment (suit on, but mask off) mourning – he has no eye make-up on. In reality, he most likely wouldn’t have taken time to remove his eye make-up before sitting down in grief, still clad in suit, holding the cowl and all. Far more likely that he would have slumped into the chair, taken the mask off, and just sat there, tears and eye make-up running together into a gooey mess. Alas, that wouldn’t look too good for the cameras though.
2. Collateral Damage
What about all the walls/cars/structures the Batmobile smashes through? What if there’s someone walking on a sidewalk just on the opposite side of a barrier and the 30-ton Batmobile plows through him/her like nothing more than a bulldozer crushing through a box of packing peanuts? Does Batman ever need to compensate the city for the amount of damage his tank has done to the city’s buildings? Judging from the number of objects the Batmobile strikes, this certainly becomes an issue of concern. Not too good for Batman’s reputation, but perhaps an effective measure of population control for Gotham.
How does Batman get to the tops of buildings in shots where we see him ‘watching over the city’ looking menacing and like a sentinel at the same time? Certainly not the elevator. With his grapple-gun? But if so, did he start from the ground? And if so, did he just stash the Bat-bike in an alley, walk down a sidewalk amongst all the pedestrians, pick a spot at random and just shoot that frackin’ grapple-gun skyward? It’s ‘normal’ to see Batman standing at the top of a building, but it seems too ‘real’ and strange to see him on the ground level getting ready to ascend it. All very awkward sounding, if you ask me. Surely there must be a sleeker and more suave method of standing atop buildings. Or perhaps that’s the price Batman would have to pay to live in a real world with real logistics to worry about. Sad (about the real world price, not Batman).
4. Carrying the suit around
Seems like a tight squeeze to carry around in a small back-pack. And I can’t envision the suit like a Tony-Stark style briefcase which practically puts itself on with the touch of a button. And changing? Changing in a car? Far too cumbersome. I’ve changed normal clothes in the backseat of a car, and even that can be a pain in the ass – changing into a Bat-suit would in the car would be a nightmare. Maybe there are mini Bat-caves hidden around the city where Mr. Wayne vanishes to each time the Bat-signal goes up, re-appearing a few minutes later as Batman. A possibility? Perhaps. Likely? No.
It seems likely that a curious public and oversight/regulation hungry city government would be eager to use the city’s cameras to track Batman down and learn his identity, especially with facial recognition. Several portions of all 3 movies show us the public is not always a fan of Batman. What if Gotham police scrutinized footage from city surveillance cameras (traffic cameras, security cameras, etc.) over months to find out where Batman goes after he’s done fighting a band of goons? Sure, this may not work every time, but with several crimes occurring in Gotham’s city center, surely by the law of averages, Gotham police would get lucky at least once and be able to follow him back to Wayne manor/current Bat-cave.
6. The basics
At the end of The Dark Knight, while mourning for Rachel, we see Batman (cowl removed) sitting in a chair in his glass apartment while Alfred serves him breakfast. The ENTIRE wall is made of glass and the apartment overlooks Gotham with several skyscrapers surrounding it. With the number of cameras, cell phones, individuals, security/surveillance devices, etc. present today, it seems almost impossible that someone would have seen him sitting there in the unmistakeable Bat-suit.
And. The pilot of the aircraft that extracted Batman and Lau from Hong Kong (1950’s CIA style, Lucius Fox mentions earlier in the film). He would have undoubtedly seen Bruce Wayne swimming up to the aircraft from the boat of Russian ballet dancers and seen that his ‘skyhook’ was scooping up none other than Batman (and a goon). It seems not difficult to put 2 and 2 together to deduce the caped crusader’s identity. Paying him off to keep quiet seems too messy and unreliable for Bruce Wayne. What gives?
7. Declaration of war
Abducting a citizen of Hong Kong (China, jurisdictionaly speaking) and bringing that citizen (Lau) back to the United States could easily be an open act of war in the real world. Of course, this complication isn’t addressed in The Dark Knight, as it would cause entirely too many wrinkles in the storyline and draw focus from the streets of Gotham and the Joker.
That’s all I got for now. Batman’s badass and I’m one of his biggest fans, but at the same time it’s interesting to think about the difficulties Batman would encounter if he existed in our real world.
By the way. This is the first time in a long while that I’ve actually written something half-way creative, and is un-edited/un-reviewed. Go easy on me :)