The Batman franchise has been, if not the most lucrative superhero movie on the cinema since the comics hit the screen to date. Over the years, and after many iterations of the caped crusader, there has never been a loss in appeal for fandom.
While many of us miss to recognize this, there is something about the life of Bruce and Batman, that connects the story to us, something in a very subtle way resonates with all of us profoundly.
Not entirely sure about everyone, but the fact that Batman has been the most filmed superhero in history, must account for that.
In this article, we will be referencing to the Batman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. For me, each segment was just a masterful way to teach the deep philosophical queries we encounter every day.Some of which, we have either learned to ignore, left others to answer or are still figuring out.
And so, I am listing two things that I have learned from its first installment—Batman Begins.
Lesson 1, We All Need and Can Be an Alfred
In the Batman Begins, we see that as a child, teenager and even during his crime fighting years, Alfred had not just been integral, but crucial in the success of Bruce Wayne.
From caring for Bruce as kid, to welcoming him from Princeton even to picking him up when Scarecrow got the best of him—it will be fair to say, that there will have been no Batman without Alfred.
But it is not just in these moments, that we find how essential Alfred was to Bruce and Batman if we could treat those two differently.
Alfred took care of Bruce as a boy, basically raised him up.
He watched over the family business, which must have been daunting, imagining the sharks that attend those board meetings.
Most importantly, as Bruce comes to his crusade, he had been his voice of reason, devil’s advocate, first fan, partner in crime, only friend and father.
Arguably, I will go as far as saying that maybe Alfred had been a better parent to Bruce than Thomas would have been. This by no way, discounts Thomas Wayne being a respectable man, but how many fathers, especially billionaire fathers support their boys’ decision to put on a mask, fight crime come home with broken angles or even worse (as wee in the course of the trilogy). I doubt there will be many.
Again this is subject for debate or another article. The point is, for all intents and purposes, perhaps without Alfred, there would be no Batman. The ultimate scene the encapsulates Alfred’s role in the mythos of Batman, for me, would be that scene where he takes the drugged Rachel Dawes home, comes back to rescue Bruce from getting killed as Wayne Manor burnt and reminding of why we fall—so we can get back up.
We all need an Alfred.
We need that parent, that we wish we had, that friend that knows how to throw witty sarcastic jokes (we had puns before memes), that person that allows us to experiment on who can be so our potential can come out, but wait patiently on the sides to catch us when we fall and redirect us when we go astray.
We can all be an Alfred.
We can be that friend that supports our friends in their wild imaginations, that friend who never gives on our friends, that friend that is always there to tell the hard truths, but at the same time give all out support.
Lesson 2, We Have to Be Who We Are Not, And Not Be Who We Are
In many scenes of the movie, particularly in the Batman Begins, we see Bruce having to show a personality quite contrary to his true self.
He unduly imposes himself by buying a hotel to let his escorts bathe in a decorative pool, acts like incapable to handle the family business and pushes people out of Wayne Manor on his birthday at his celebration. Rude, seemed an understatement.
Though, many of us think that these scenes were about showing how hard it is to maintain a normal life and truly those may well be specifically to detail that, I found a different context.
One scene that is less for the trailer, but quite captivating was that chance meet Bruce had with Rachel, after he exits the hotel he just purchased, because he can.
That scene, where Bruce was trying so hard to be explain himself to be contrary to the actions Rachel sees is quite familiar, to me, if not for many of us.
You know, when we so badly want to tell people, that we are really something more, deep inside, and they tell us that our actions define who we are?
Well, I have been told that many times growing up. That for some reason, you cannot be artistic if you do not do art or be a god-fearing person if you skip church and have a tattoo or something. That you cannot be a good person, if you do bad.
While I disagree to that an all levels, I caution at the more popular interpretation of the just-be-yourself-digital-age wisdom.
For example, we cannot attend a funeral and act like we are having fun, be in a church service and sleep, be in class drunk or tardy at work for no reason. No, that is not the point here.
What I really mean, is that we are all forced to wear a mask, for reasons far less than Bruce. Some of them worth doing so, perhaps several that are not. While the mask maybe our real self, or the one we chose to show—like Rachel telling Bruce, that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is the true persona, is subject for many debates, I just settle on the questions of—is it still worth it?
Even Bruce had to hang the cape.
Are you part of the LGBT community, but come home wearing a mask to be the person your family expects you to be? The corporate leader who has to keep the strong façade to secure authority, respect and leadership? Or the
preacher’s kid who wants to study science over the Bible? Or maybe, that friend who had fallen for your best friend, but cannot tell them because he is not into same-gender relationships?
Whoever you may be, we have all worn masks.
The only thing that may be different from what Bruce does, to ours, it that at least at the end of the day, he takes the mas of knowing it has helped achieve something.
Is your mask helping you do so?