The Batman is proving to be another popular and financially viable installment in the film franchise, but it still ran into one criticism – of many – with the fandom. Robert Pattinson was thought to be too thin to be a believable and imposing Dark Knight.
This belief was fueled by the perception and reports the actor wasn’t exercising as he was happy looking like James Dean as Bruce Wayne. He didn’t help matters when he confessed to “barely doing anything” other than jogging during lockdowns.
As a result, the debate and contemplation over what kind of a physical specimen Batman should be started up again. Everyone weighing in is now telling us he has to be in tip-top shape and why that should be so.
YouTube channel and producers of the series Superpower Beatdown, Bat in the Sun, posted an essay on their Facebook page answering the question: “WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT BATMAN IS IN PRIME ATHLETIC SHAPE!?”
To begin with, the BITS essay reminds us Batman values prep time and “perfects everything.” Says the post, “Ever since his parents were murdered he made a vow to protect the innocent, and being human, that means he has to use everything in his quest to protect Gotham.”
It continues, “His body is such a huge part of this equation. Bruce sees the extreme value in perfecting his body, it sits [at] the core of what his mission is all about. [Therefore], his body MUST be in [Olympic] level athletic shape.”
His training starts at age 10, BITS argues and he should have a “cut, lean, trained, and perfected” body by 20. This would make him ready when he becomes a vigilante at 28 or 30.
Some counter that Frank Miller’s Year One disproves the above but the post addresses this argument. “For those saying, well in Batman Year One or Year Two, he is just starting so he should be with little muscle,” it says.
“Let’s break down just how incorrect that is,” it adds. “Firstly, stated above, he has been training at this point for 15 years if not more, his body would be a beast by then, toned, cut and perfected. Bruce at this point is between 25-30 years old, he is a full grown man, he isn’t 14 trying to put on muscle.”
It explains, “Most NFL players are retired by this age, he would already [be] a beast of a man.”
BITS further points out intimidation and fear are an integral part of his playbook. Size matters here, as they illustrate with an example. “When you walk down the street and see a man 5’10 170lbs and a man 6’2 225lbs, it’s clear which one would strike fear in the hearts of criminals.”
The essay continues, “It says [that] in the comics Bruce Wayne is listed between 6’2-6’3 210lbs to 225lbs. Even more so, he is drawn that way. His tall, intimidating structure is just as important as his utility belt and cape.”
If a writer or artist feels like taking those elements away “you begin to strip away the very elements that make the character what he is,” and was from the beginning. “It literally states on page two in Batman issue 1 his first appearance origin ‘he trains to become physical perfection,’” it notes.
Bat in the Sun’s creators understand “fans love Batman for various reasons” but they wish as well to “honor those traits…of his psychical power and discipline.” Their post adds, “To not showcase or live up to that is a disservice to the fans.”
They also debunk the notion if Batman is big then he’d be slow in real life. “That is factually 100% inaccurate,” they contend. “Just simply look at NFL players, these men are among the fastest in the world, not just simply running, but being able to maneuver, block, catch, catch, and so [on].”
They continue on this by pointing to boxer Mike Tyson. “Furthermore, look at the fighting world and the reflexes of [let’s] say Mike Tyson and how incredibly fast his jab is, despite being well over 200lbs.”
Then there is Bruce Lee who was smaller than Tyson and most linebackers. The Hong Kong film star “trained 5 hours a day” to become “super cut, toned and muscular” and maintain “Olympic level shape.”
“Bruce would have the same dedication,” as Batman. “So if you are ok with a Batman who doesn’t have a perfect Olympic athletic level body, then you are simply willing to forgive key character traits of the character that are the very core foundation of the Dark Knight,” the post concludes.
Though going to great lengths to make their argument, Bat in the Sun’s writer makes it clear they loved The Batman, the 5-foot-9 Michael Keaton’s iconic portrayal in 1989, and that his words are “targeted at ALL Batman actors, not anyone specifically, I had these same gripes about Keaton, Kilmer and Clooney.”
He leaves Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and Robert Pattinson off that list, which may be a good sign for them. Bale’s turn in Christopher Nolan’s films is often considered the best whilst Affleck won people over with his faithfulness to Frank Miller’s work and the tone of the same.
As for Pattinson, it’s too early to judge him fairly; and if Keaton or Adam West teaches us anything, history could be kinder to him than anyone expects.
You can read their full post below:
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