Batman Outfit Exploring the Batman Research Paper

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Another theme which is symbolized by this dual, contradictory character in Batman films is fear, especially Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. The darkness of Batman's outfit instills fear. Bruce Wayne is initially scared of a bat he sees out the window and bat is also a dark color. What Bruce is in Batman Begins is an individual with fear who not only tries to overcome it but also becomes part of it. Batman's main antagonist in the film is also a character both instilling and absorbing fear: Scarecrow. His name symbolizes fear and also refers to a crow which is also of dark color and sometimes a metaphor for bad luck. Batman Begins depicts how fear can overwhelm any creature, any human regardless of their power and their morals. Batman is the most powerful character in the film but he also has to overcome fear, while at the same time he instills fear upon his adversaries. Scarecrow goes through a similar process although he represents in the film the main antagonist. The struggle between Batman and Scarecrow has an interestingly contradictory implication for citizens of Gotham. They fear scarecrow but are also dependent on the power of Batman who everywhere represents darkness. The line delineating between darkness and light, the former traditionally symbolizing evil and the latter representing goodness, is totally blurred in the film.

The themes of fear and darkness incorporated into Batman's outfit in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight make several references to the post-9/11 era. The character of Ras al Gul in Batman Begins is a terrorist in disguise from a mysterious Eastern country -- which may be a reference to Arabs who sometimes appear to be friendly to America but keep their loyalty with Al Qaeda. The character of Batman sees the lawlessness of Gotham, inability of the police and law enforcement agencies to bring the chaotic city into order, and is forced to take matters into his own hands. This may be a reference to the United States, which sees the existing international regulations as corrupt and incompetent, and thus decides to act unilaterally to fight against terrorism. In this sense, the actions of Batman in the film, and of the United States in real life, may be objectionable on moral grounds but are ultimately justified in the context of ultimate struggle between good and evil. Like in the film, both the United States and its enemies abroad instill fear, upon each other and upon American citizens, but the former overcomes its fear, becomes fear for its enemies, and brings the chaotic situation into an orderly fashion. The seemingly objectionable means employed by Batman in the film, and the United States in real life, justify the ends.

The reference to post-9/11 era is further pursued in the Dark Knight. But in this film, Batman's objectionable actions are carried a bit too far. This is represented in the interrogation scene involving Batman and the Joker. The scene, Christopher Nolan said in an interview he gave to Los Angeles Times, is "the fulcrum on which the whole movie turns."

Batman in this scene is given to a rage and almost loses control. He is ready to break all the rules and employ any possible way of torturing the Joker if he can get the information he needs. But the Joker represents the unmitigated evil whose purpose is simply to wreak havoc and cause chaos, without regard to any morals and negotiation with him is virtually impossible. In that context, Batman's expression of rage and breaking his own rules becomes justified. This may be a metaphorical reference, even if not directly intended by Christopher Nolan, to the torture debates in the United States in the post-9/11 era. However, there is also the character of James Gordon, played by Gary Oldman, who starts to represent evil in his crusade against evil, which may be a warning against the way America's crusade against terrorism is carried out. The film suggests that in fighting a monster we should not become monsters ourselves.

While the themes in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight may be interpreted in different ways, Christopher Nolan pointed out in several interviews that it was his purpose to present a space where the difference between myth and reality would be blurred as to make it impossible to distinguish. Thus, unlike former Batman franchises, in Batman Begins Bruce Wayne is taken out of Gotham for a significant part of the film, suggesting that this is a story which goes beyond the mythical world of Gotham. "Nolan's intention with 'Batman Begins," a commentator for Los Angeles Times wrote, "is to go beyond . . . And create a myth grounded, as much as myth can be, in plain reality. He wants his story to be as plausible as possible, a human drama set in a believable world that looks like one we could live in but prefer not to."

Batman is a myth but he also represents and symbolizes characters which exist in reality.

David Halbfinger, writing a review of the Dark Knight for New York Times, made similar comments. Jim Gordon's warnings against escalation of the conflict with criminals and Batman's resort to extreme measures might invite a likely response, Halbfinger argues, and the chaos wrought by the Joker may be an indirect reference to Baghdad. This interpretation actually goes in line with Nolan's comments as well. "As we looked through the comics, there was this fascinating idea that Batman's presence in Gotham actually attracts criminals to Gotham," Nolan said. "When you're dealing with questionable notions like people taking the law into their own hands, you have to really ask, where does that lead? That's what makes the character so dark, because he expresses a vengeful desire."

And the interesting feature of these themes explored both in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight is that Christopher Nolan was able to incorporate these themes into the character of Batman and his outfit as well as its dark color.

The character of Batman has been a complex, multi-dimensional figure of its own in the last several decades, but producer Christopher Nolan took it to a whole new level. In Nolan's depiction, Batman is both human and superhuman, possesses forces of good and evil (both of which may be characterized through darkness), a man of morals and can abuse power at the same time, fears a bat and instills fear through the character of a batman -- all of these contradictory and complex characters represented through the person, eloquently played by actor Christian Bale, as well as his outfit. Because of its unique features, Christopher Nolan's Batman has inspired other producers and actors in developing their own characters. Among the movies inspired by Batman Begins and the Dark Knight are the following: Iron Man (2008), the Incredible Hulk (2008), Terminator Salvation (2009), Star Trek (2009), Sherlock Holmes (2009), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). All the more reason to explore the character of Batman in Christopher Nolan's franchise.

Bibliography

"America's Batman Creator Dies at 83," BBC Online, 6 November 1998, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

"Batman Begins Production Notes -- the Batsuit & Gadgetry," Warner Bros., undated, available at http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/productionnotes/# (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Brian, Marshall. "How the Batmobile Works," HowStuffWorks, undated, available at . (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

"Christopher Nolan Revisits and Analyzes His Favorite Scene in 'Dark Knight,'" Los Angeles Times, 28 October 2008, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

"Dark Knight: Christian Bale: Batman/Bruce Wayne," Keysi Fighting Method, undated and archived at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Fisher, Mark. "Gothic Oedipus: Subjectivity and Capitalism in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins," Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Halbfinger, David. "Batman's Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death," New York Times, 9 March 2008, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Kerstein, Benjamin. "Batman's War on Terror," Azure Online, Autumn 2008, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Jensen, Jeff. "Batman's New Suit," Entertainment Weekly, 18 June 2007, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Turan, Kenneth. "Batman Begins," Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2005, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Vales, Robert. "How the Batsuit Works," HowStuffWorks, undated, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

"America's Batman Creator Dies at 83," BBC Online, 6 November 1998, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Robert Vales, "How the Batsuit Works," HowStuffWorks, undated, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Jeff Jensen, "Batman's New Suit," Entertainment Weekly, 18 June 2007, available at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

"Batman Begins Production Notes -- the Batsuit & Gadgetry," Warner Bros., undated, available at http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/productionnotes/# (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Ibid.

"Dark Knight: Christian Bale: Batman/Bruce Wayne," Keysi Fighting Method, undated and archived at (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Marshall Brian, "How the Batmobile Works," HowStuffWorks, undated, available at . (Accessed: 12 December 2010).

Mark Fisher,…[continue]

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