IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS, Man of Steel will hit theaters. How will the film compare to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy? It’s tough to say, but as far as Superman films go the bar is set pretty low.
Superman Returns was so bad that Superman is hitchhiking now.
However, Superman already has one hell of an edge against the Dark Knight when it comes to crime-fighting, and not simply Superman can fly, see through walls, or rewind time when he has to. The truth is Batman sort of heroically and hilariously sucked at his job throughout the Dark Knight trilogy, and it was not because fighting crime in Gotham City was a job only Superman could pull off. It was because Batman was better at being Batman in those films than he was at actually keeping Gotham City safe.
Being able to talk like Clint Eastwood is not a superpower.
Please considering the following ways Batman could have done a better job at combating crime throughout the Dark Knight trilogy.
5. USE A MORAL COMPASS THAT WORKS
The first half-hour of Batman Begins firmly establishes that Batman will be nothing like his Tim Burton’s counterpart who in Batman and Batman Returns kills so many people that he could be legally classified as a mass murderer.
Not only did Batman blow this guy up with dynamite, but he stuck it down his pants for good measure.
Now, we’re not going to take the obvious route and say Batman would have had an easier time fighting crime if he simply killed people in the Nolanverse. However, we will say that whatever “rule” Batman claimed to follow throughout the trilogy is not only bupkis, but Batman is a complete idiot for not realizing that he killed quite a few people at the League of Shadows headquarters immediately after vowing to never become an executioner.
In fact, you know who probably got killed in that exploding building full of people Bruce Wayne blew up in another country?
Just to be clear, we at The Smoking Jacket have absolutely no problem with Batman choosing to fight crime like this. Even if Batman killed the occasional bad guy accidentally, it still beats Bane breaking them out of Blackgate prison later on. However, we will say that Batman’s performance as a crime-fighter throughout the Dark Knight trilogy is fatal crippled due to the fact that the only, in the end, he eventually does kill some bad guys. He just does it at the most inopportune time. I.e., after they’ve already driven half of Gotham insane with a nerve gas.
Just imagine if Batman tried explaining that he didn’t really kill Ra’s. He just chose not to save him from a situation of certain death.
Besides, when you consider that the only good to come out of Batman’s moral code was Catwoman dissing him about it later, we can’t help but feel more than a little bit gypped.
Spoilers: You will be incredibly disappointed by how this guy dies.
4. COME UP WITH A BETTER ITERROGATION TECHNIQUE
We know what you’re thinking: Batman sucks at interrogations? Blasphemy…
However, the truth is that Batman’s acumen for interrogation seems to apply only to off-duty cops in the Dark Knight series. The rest of the time, Batman’s preferred method of aggressive interrogation—i.e., torture—is no ineffective that the case could be made that it actually makes things worse for the people of Gotham City.
For example, in Batman Begins our hero tries to force information out of Scarecrow by giving him a dose of his own gas. How does that turn out? It drives Scarecrow completely insane by the time the Gotham Police are finally able to question him and millions of lives are on the line.
Way to go, Batman. This guy can now serve as his own expert witness following his insanity plea.
In The Dark Knight, Batman pounds the piss out of the Joker for information that comes at the expense of precious seconds that may or may not have resulted in Harvey Dent losing half his face, his mind, and eventually his life. Oh, and after the Batman smashes the Joker’s face into a mirror, the Joker uses a shard of this glass to hold a policeman hostage, kill several officers with a bomb, and then escape with the single most important criminal witness in Gotham City… whom he burns alive atop a pile of money.
“I kept telling him not to hit me in the head… He wouldn’t listen.”
3. START SHARING HIS WONDERFUL TOYS WITH THE GCPD
If you’re thinking we have any complains about the Batsuit in the Dark Knight series, think again. Morgan Freeman’s narration was all we needed to feel safe if we were strapped into that beast.
“Nomex survival suit for advanced infantry.”
“Trust me. You don’t want to know what it means.”
Mr. Fox explained that the Batsuit was deemed unrealistic for sale due to its $300,000 cost, which is one hell of a statement considering what spending was like during the Bush era. However, suppose Batman actually put his brain to good use as Bruce Wayne for once? There’s nothing stopping Bruce from using his fabulous wealth to supply any number of these survival suits to the Gotham Police. He could donate 3,000 of them and still have $100 million dollars left out of his numerous billions to stay rich. Hell, he could have even been a dick about it and said he was donating them for tax deductions or national exposure since there’s no doubt the whole country would eventually hear about this generous act. For all we know, such a donation would result in countless voters asking their congressmen why the U.S. military isn’t equipped with the same survival suits as the GCPD. Not only would less cops be dying in Gotham, but the investment could have eventually paid off to the advantage of Wayne Enterprises. It’s win-win!
However, in all fairness, the GCPD seemed to be immune to bullets during this battle.
It seems the only danger posed by this would be what would happen if someone drew a connection between the Batsuit and Wayne Enterprises. However, since this ended up happening anyway and the League of Shadows already knew Batman’s identity, it seems like the smarter option would have been for Batman to just fess up and Tony Stark his way out of the problem. Admit he is the Batman.
Also, that no one can stop him from being so awesome.
2. BEAT GOTHAM’S GANGS AT THEIR OWN GAME
How would you like to be a millionaire? Yes? Fantastic! All you have to do is show up at Wayne Enterprises from 9-5 to work security. It comes with a $100,000 retainer, has better hours than working the docks for the mob, comes complete with health and dental insurance, paid vacation, retirement plans, stock options, and even on-site daycare.
Oh, and the best part? By signing up for this job, you won’t have to worry about getting beaten to a pulp by the Batman while you’re taking a leak. Not now, not ever again.
Ditto for killer clowns interrupting your day with magic tricks.
Sound like a sweet gig? Well, it should, because this is supposed to be the job description that puts gangster in Gotham City out of business. For real, Bruce Wayne can afford it. The man is probably worth more money than most of Gotham’s gangsters combined. It Batman put the squeeze on them not just by busting their banks but also by depriving them of their muscle, Batman would not only have ever goon in the city on his payroll but also his own private army to boot.
Speaking of which…
1. TAKE THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS UP ON THEIR OFFER
As we have mentioned previously on this website, it is nothing short of staggering that Batman turned down his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the most successful ninja organization in history without at least negotiating with them first. Or without hearing out what their plan was for Gotham. Or challenging Ra’s al Ghul to a swordfight for control of the origination.
The point is that something, anything, would have been better than the route Bruce eventually chose.
Which, again, probably blew up the same guy he didn’t want to kill in the first place.
For real, what was he thinking? As if starting a war with the same army that crushed the Roman Empire and spread the Black Death wasn’t stupid enough, couldn’t he have at least asked them for a few specifics about their operation? For example, what role did the League want Bruce Wayne to play in their plan for Gotham? Was he supposed to run for mayor, or something? If so, what the hell does that have to do with terror toxins or microwave emitters? Were those always part of the plan, or did they become some sort of Plan B after Bruce bailed on them. For all we know, the League could have wanted nothing more than for Gotham to be “destroyed” by legally zoning it into several smaller cities.
Also, we’re pretty sure the League would have insisted that Talia be Bruce’s wife at some point.
We’ll never know, and that is yet another reason why Batman spectacularly sucks at his job in these movies. Instead of Batman leading an entire army of Batmen into Gotham, we eventually got this:
Way to go, Batman. Way to go.
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