As one of the most recognizable of all comic book superheroes, Batman's illustrious career as the Caped Crusader has spanned countless decades. Emerging as just another Superman clone in the late '30s from the minds of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, his affable charm would be replaced fifty years later with glowering menace when Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns debuted. Since then, he's seen many incarnations in video games, several film franchises, and no less than a dozen animated series.
In every version, Batman is billionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne by day, orphaned at a young age when his parents were killed. By night, he's Gotham City's protector and vigilante against its criminal underworld. With each new iteration, more and more issues surrounding his origins, his motivations, and his morals arise. Does he have a strict anti-gun rule, or only in certain films? Does it make sense to dress his sidekick in bright colors if his main advantage is stealth? Here are ten memes to celebrate the flawed logic of the World's Greatest Detective.
9 TO KILL A KILLER
Batman has always maintained a strict no killing policy in order to separate himself from the malevolent criminals and supervillains he brings to justice. There have been a few exceptions - notably in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns series that showcased a jaded, cynical Batman no longer concerned with preserving the lives of the criminal underworld.
In Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, Batman seemed to disregard his own policy. Once he saw himself no better than the killers he fought if he stooped to their level, then he thought he'd even the odds of their proliferation through aggressive homicidal rages.
8 UPSTAGED BY A SIDEKICK
Batman is known for utilizing stealth and subterfuge to track his enemies. His adhering to the shadows of Gotham City is as much for his advantage as it is for the purposes of intimidation. For some reason when he took on a protege, he decided to outfit Robin in brightly colored vestments of yellow, red, and green.
Outfitting his sidekick in such snazzy colors did nothing to conceal Robin's movements to criminals, arguably putting him in more danger than necessary. Initially, it was a nod to the character being orphaned from a circus family, but as years passed, it became illogical. This was proven when Robin became his own superhero as an adult, and chose the muted colors of black and blue for Nightwing.
7 EVEN GENIUSES MAKE MISTAKES
They don't call him the World's Greatest Detective for nothing. Batman is considered to have a near-genius intellect, the DC answer to Tony Stark. Some comics and films focus more on his ability to make his own gadgets, while others seem to indicate that other sharp minds are responsible for outfitting him with his vast technological arsenal (such as Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy).
It's odd to think that the first time we see Batman admit on screen to using a voice modifier is in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the Nolan trilogy, Christopher Bale's Batman simply lowers his voice and growls to differentiate it from the more lyrical sound it has as Bruce Wayne.
6 BATMAN'S NO GUN POLICY
Batman has had an anti-gun rule going all the way back to when he witnessed his parents being murdered by one in one of Gotham City's back alleys. He views the weapons as a vulgar symbol of the injustice and degradation found in Gotham, a coward's weapon that absolves the user of any real conflict from killing, and requires little skill to operate.
Despite those lofty ideals, Batman has semi-automatic weapons attached to his batcycle in Christopher Nolan's Batman films which he has no problems using, and Affleck's Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has plenty of firepower on his bat-jet (he even fired guns in the warehouse scene). Somehow he's able to rationalize and justify the use of guns, depending on the storyline.
5 FOILED AGAIN
In the Arkham Asylum games, Batman finds himself utilizing both his martial abilities and his detective abilities to fight crime in Arkham Asylum and throughout Gotham City. Often he comes up against various barriers and puzzles that require a particular toolset from items collected elsewhere in the games. Sometimes they just require being Bruce Wayne.
Take the case of being locked out of his own security gate control system. Sure, Lucius Fox may have designed it, but due to the fact that it's tech made by Wayne Enterprise, you'd think the founder could hack into it. Fox would have no doubt clued Bruce Wayne in on its functions, allowing Batman to circumnavigate the controls.
4 BANE OF HIS EXISTENCE
There was a curious situation in Arkham Origins where Batman is fighting one of his long-time nemesis, Bane, and their fight results in Batman getting absolutely walloped, possibly with his back broken. Since it's Batman, he seems to be able to take this sort of beating and be fine. He shrugs it off and can eventually prove victorious depending on how you play him.
This makes little sense, considering in the storyline involving Batman: Knightfall, Batman's back-breaking fight with Bane leaves him not only bed-ridden but forced to recruit Azrael to take up the Batman mantle in his stead. Azrael would go on to cause such destruction under the Batman name that he had to come out of retirement to stop him.
3 THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS
While it's true that Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy took the origins of the Dark Knight in a slightly different direction than other iterations, it was still based on situations and events that made the Caped Crusader the crimefighter he was meant to be. Much of his training in Batman Begins came from R'as Al Ghul (Liam Neeson), leader of the mysterious and lethal League of Shadows.
When Al Ghul turns out to be the villain of the film, Batman must turn on his former mentor. Batman vows to rid Gotham City of every last trace of the League of Shadows, whatever the cost. It's amazing he could pull himself out of the abyss of that sort of homicidal insanity.
Batman has long regarded Superman with suspicion. Mistrustful of the Man of Steel's superpowers, he believes that there's only one person stopping him from becoming Earth's alien overlord; himself. But Superman can't be his own fail-safe; there has to be another contingency plan, which Batman gets around to putting in place in Batman v Superman.
This results in him taking Superman on in an epic battle for the protection of Earth at the film's conclusion. Batman's made a suit of armor infused with Kryptonite, as well as various weapons invented to specifically stop Superman's abilities. What he didn't count on is Superman and his mother sharing the same first name, which is ultimately enough for him to stop his murderous assault.
2 SOME FRIEND
Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has been lauded as not only one of the best representations of the Batman mythos, but also hailed as one of the best superhero series ever. It features the Dark Knight growing into the protector of Gotham City, with assistance from Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) growing into his role as Police Commissioner of the Gotham PD.
Despite how close the two become as allies, it takes three movies for Gordon to learn Batman's true identity, even when other individuals learn of it ahead of him. In some ways, it was odd he was ever told, considering in most of the other iterations of Batman's origins Gordon never knows.
1 BUT FIRST, LEMME MAKE A GEL EXPLOSIVE
While it's very handy that Batman has explosive gel capable of blasting obstacles (or people) that he would ordinarily have difficulty taking down himself, the way he uses it in Arkham Asylum is like something straight out of the '60s Adam West television show or even the Joel Schumacher Batman films. Flaming flamingos, Batman, does every single thing have to be Bat-themed?
When there are numerous bad guys prowling around with boomsticks, is it really the time to apply some explosive gel on a surface and make sure that it looks like your namesake? If you're Eric Draven in The Crow, maybe that makes for a dramatic piece of cinema, but in a life or death situation, save the wall art for the Batcave.