WTFAW: Batman

Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s subject (as if the title wasn’t enough of an indication) is about Batman.

Obviously, with how popular Batman is, some people have come up with theories about him. And inevitably, I find myself not agreeing with some of those theories. As such, I’d like to address two theories in particular and explain why they do not add up.

The two theories in question concern Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012), respectively. If you haven’t seen these movies and don’t want spoilers, stop reading now.

Otherwise, let’s begin.

The first theory is that in Batman, The Joker wasn’t the one to kill Bruce Wayne’s parents. Instead, Batman projects all criminals he face into that role.

Dave: See, it makes sense, due to Batman’s motivation to fight crime. His desire to prevent any child’s life being destroyed by some thug with a gun.

Right you are, Dave. It delves into the psychology of Batman.


As with many fan theories, it requires you to completely ignore crucial details that would otherwise completely destroy the theory.

In this case, that detail takes the form of a phrase.

You ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?

It is the phrase used by the Joker in Vicki Vale’s apartment, before he shoots Bruce Wayne.

Dave: So? Why is that phrase important?

Because it is the same phrase he used when he killed Bruce’s parents, and it’s only AFTER Bruce hears this phrase that he starts thinking about the death of his parents.

Whereas in other versions, the killer is known to be Joe Chill, in this movie we’re shown that the murder was unsolved, and the killer never apprehended. That phrase, coupled with the fact that the killers accomplice called him “Jack”, made Bruce realize that this is the man who killed his parents.

Rather than delving into the psychology of Batman, this is more to establish their connection, in that they are both responsible for creating the other.

Also, in Batman Forever, as Dick Grayson is determined to kill Two-Face, the man responsible for murdering his family, Bruce tells him that killing Two-Face won’t make the pain go away. It’ll only make it worse.

He says that, because he knows from experience. Killing the Joker, the man who killed his parents, didn’t change anything.

Dave: Well, the “Batman is projecting” idea is compelling, because it doesn’t deviate from Batman’s lore.

True, but the problem is that Batman isn’t shown to do that to any other criminal he faces, BEFORE OR AFTER! There is nothing to suggest he is projecting, beyond wishful thinking!

The second theory I’d like to spotlight is the theory that at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Batman actually DID die. He never repaired the autopilot, and his appearance in the café in the end is just Alfred hallucinating, consumed by grief and guilt.

Now, this theory I’m very happy to be able to disprove, considering it is needlessly dark and unhappy.

My argument is fairly simple. See, the idea is that Alfred is just imagining Bruce Wayne being in the café, because he never actually fixed the autopilot. Which would mean the idea of the autopilot being fixed was also constructed by Alfred’s grief-wracked imagination.


Alfred wasn’t there when Lucius Fox was told the autopilot had been repaired! In fact, he wasn’t there when Fox told Batman the fucking thing didn’t work!

If the scene where Lucius was told the autopilot was repaired was just a figment of Alfred’s wishful imagination, that’d require him to know it was broken in the first fucking place!


Dave: But this theory makes sense! Batman would NEVER EVER EVER abandon his mission!

But he didn’t abandon it! He left his mission to Blake! Gotham needs a protector, but it doesn’t have to be Bruce Wayne, who we’re shown is broken down and worn out by this point.

The whole reason he did it to begin with was because nobody else was willing to. Blake was the solution to that problem!

And as for things Batman would “NEVER EVER EVER” do…. remember how, in the second movie, they go on and on about how Batman has one rule, and the Joker trying to force him to break that rule? Namely, how Batman never kills?

Dave: Yeah?

I suppose the COLD-BLOODED MURDER OF RA´S AL GHUL doesn’t count as killing?

Dave: That wasn’t murder! He didn’t kill him. He just didn’t save him.

Ah, so Batman is allowed to kill someone, provided he’s using a loophole?

He had the opportunity and capability to drag Ra’s out with him, and have him face justice for his crimes (and don’t try to give me any bullcrap about him being untouchable by the law), but instead he chose to knowingly abandon Ra’s to die in an accident HE WAS RESPONIBLE FOR!


By that same logic, he could’ve thrown the Joker from the building in The Dark Knight and have him plummet to his death, since “he doesn’t have to save him”!

There is no difference!

But sure, Batman breaking his One Rule by killing someone is fine, but him going:

you know, my legs and back are all but ruined at this point, I am pretty much unable to protect Gotham without an exoskeleton, and I have a chance to live happily ever after with a woman I love as well as leave an example to others, while also letting someone younger continue my legacy…

No! That’s just impossible! Clearly, the only rational explanation is that Alfred is going senile!

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll probably be able to find some more theories about Batman, and I might touch upon them somewhere down the line.

As for these two theories, I think I’ve proven my point. If you disagree, feel free to comment and offer additional arguments. But before you do, ask yourself this….

Are you prepared to dance with The Devil in the Details?

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4 thoughts on “WTFAW: Batman

  1. A case to add to your analysis of Batman(89), For the sake of amusement (I claim no “rightness” in this comment, obviously) You did SEE Batman Returns, yes? He wasn’t really interested in letting the murder of the joker (Despite how much I hate that idea for Numerous reasons, but that is beside the point.) He was kinda MURDERING PEOPLE in Huge numbers in Batman returns. He didn’t seem to have “Learned” from what happened to the joker. I admit it makes a bit Weight to his monolog to dick in “Batman forever” since he would then “know” what killing does to a person. I would not claim this is Accurate (considering how different these two movies are.) But it’s a bit of amusement, with (perhaps) some weight in it. (I personally don’t feel very strongly about defending Batman returns, since I have very little love for that movie. But its canonicity is still up in the air in “Batman Forever”

    • But that is part of the point. When he talk to Dick in Batman Forever, he talks about how, if Dick kills two face, he’ll “find another face, and another”. The fact that he becomes more ruthless in Batman Returns is BECAUSE he killed the joker. and then in the interrim, he had some clarity. Hence his speech to Dick.

      • apologies for not being able to state my tone properly, But I meant that comment more as an Amusing case of “you forgot to mention” (as it was once stated to me.) It was not meant seriously, But I will admit it probably did not look that way. But I still say that it is quite a bit of a poor display for batman to just go around killing people, and never face any punishment for it. (but then again. If you drag it far enough you could argue this was “character development” for BVS. But I will not go that, because that joke is to far, Even for me.)

      • It’s ok. I’m awful at telling tone in comments 🙂
        But you are right that it is odd how Batman repeatedly kills people in these movies… Look into my article on Man of Steel for more examples.

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