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OK, The Batman, Enough With the Idea That Batman Is a Dark Character

Bruce Wayne looking at his Batman suit.

I’m at the point where I want to shove a picture of Jim Carrey’s Riddler into the face of every executive in charge of the Batman movies and remind them that what makes Bruce Wayne a fun superhero is the absurdity involved. Before you tell me that Bruce Wayne had a hard life, I’m going to point out that Bruce Wayne had tons of money and went to “Yale University of Gotham,” so he’s had it better than most. On top of that, he’s not the only superhero ever to lose someone. Tony Stark and Peter Parker aren’t dark and broody all the time because of their parents.

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So, that brings me back to the idea of the “darkness” that is Bruce Wayne. According to the original cinematographer of the forthcoming The Batman, Robert Richardson, the film was going to Arkham Asylum. Why, you ask? Because they wanted to focus on the darkness of Batman’s world—as if we haven’t been getting that darkness in the real world.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the ’90s and remember the Joel Schumacher and Tim Burton movies, but I remember watching Danny DeVito play the Penguin against Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle. It was weird, quirky, and fun, and didn’t take itself too seriously.

His parents died, yes, and so do most every superheroes’ loved ones. It’s part of the game. So, the idea that Bruce Wayne is any darker than say his Marvel counterpart, Tony Stark, is flawed. He’s not. He’s just a grump who wants to cry about his life and has to fight off villains who love playing weird games or are literal cartoon clowns (looking at you, Nicholson’s Joker).

The “darkness” that is in Bruce Wayne can be explored; I’m not saying it shouldn’t be. Bruce is an interesting character because he grew from his fear, from his turmoil, into a hero. He took care of Dick Grayson, trained these kids to be part of his Bat-family. He has lighter moments, but it seems that whoever has written him recently has forgotten that it isn’t just doom and gloom over in Bruce Wayne’s world.

Look at a villain like Poison Ivy—fun, weird, and just wants to save the environment. Why not bring her to life in these new movies and explore her, but still stick to what makes her a fan-favorite? Not everything has to be Bruce putting on a voice and being sad.

So, enough already. He fought off a man who dressed like a penguin, and then a psychiatrist who pretended to be a scarecrow, so like, maybe take a look at all his villains and realize they’re completely absurd.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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