The third installment of the Bale Batman movies is coming out next year, called Dark Knight Rises. And, while you know we're looking forward to the movie -- we've done as much as anyone to promote the important issue of Batman awareness among the public -- the film promises to address what is for us a very awkward and sensitive subject.
There was no Batcave in Dark Knight -- Bruce was operating out of temporary accommodations while Wayne Manor was being rebuilt -- but they mention at the end of Batman Begins their plan to renovate the cave underneath into the crime fighting headquarters we're familiar with from every other incarnation of the character. And that's a problem.
See, the entire appeal of Batman is that he's the ultimate geek superhero. He's an antisocial loner whose strength is nothing compared to supernatural peers like Superman. Yet, he gets by on his intelligence. And he does it alone, with no help from anyone other than two employees. No family, no friends. That's who he is.
And the Batcave ruins it. Why?
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne created everything he needed to become Batman in the damp, empty cave under his house. He had some help from Lucius in getting materials and the Batmobile, and of course Alfred was there. But that's it. He had to do everything himself because the world can't know he's Batman. And each item he owns -- from his weapons to his suit -- is filtered through his company as being for some other purpose, the modifications made with his own hands.
But we're going to go out on a limb and say that Bruce and two elderly men with shovels are not going to be able to build this:
We're estimating at least three broken hips and one pulled Bat-groin to make this happen.
That's the most small-scale version of the Batcave ever portrayed, from the old TV show (they didn't have Joel Schumacher's budgets back then). Someone will surely pipe up in the comments to point out this is the new, gritty, realistic Batman, so they'll surely have a scaled-down, gritty, rebooted Batcave. But that also would make no sense. If the new Batcave turns out to just be a workshop and a couple of laptops hooked together, why even have a Batcave at all?
The whole point having a cave headquarters is that his crime fighting equipment is too big to fit in his enormous mansion, so he needs an entire sub-structure -- itself the size of his whole mansion -- to keep his Batman stuff. Hell, look at the size of his temporary digs:
The man needs room to work and test out gadgets and such. Otherwise, Bale Batman would just put his bat computer in a locked room inside the house. It is his house and he does live there alone. Don't forget that the man's house is going to be completely rebuilt from scratch. He could have whatever room he wanted in there and he could just play it off like he's some rich, eccentric collector of crime computer servers. He could do whatever he wants. He could have a zero gravity room if he wanted. He's the fucking Batman.
"I don't want any furniture. I want levels, like the pyramids. Why?
Because you're fired that's why. And build me a FBI crime lab on the second floor too."
No, there is no such thing as a small-scale, more realistic Batcave. Which means ...
Yes, hundreds. First of all, you can't keep the fact that you're building something huge in the basement secret from the workers building the new Wayne Manor itself. The construction is happening on top of it so you either have to get the basic structure of the Batcave done first, or do them at the same time.
"Anyone else think this guy's 'wine cellar' is unusually well-armed?"
So, for instance, this huge mansion in Palm Beach with three bomb shelters required 600 workers, working for three years -- and that's just for a fancy house. If you're talking about tricking out a massive mansion-sized subterranean cavern with top-of-the-line computer equipment, miles of cable and security measures covering every inch, you're looking at something more like the restoration of the section of the Pentagon that was damaged on 9/11 -- that took 1,000 construction workers and 3,000,000 man hours.
You see the problem right away. Remember this douche?
We saw in The Dark Knight how the whole operation almost came tumbling down because this guy noticed that the Batmobile was actually based off the design of a Wayne Enterprises military vehicle. He tried to extort money from Batman and then went on TV to expose Batman's identity. Multiply him by several hundred and you have the dilemma Wayne faces with the Batcave.
And keep in mind, it's not like he can gather a team of loyalists or Wayne employees to do all the work; this work will require contractors from a dozen different specialties. You've got the basic construction and framing, then the electricians, the plumbers, the concrete guys, the plaster guys, the roofers, the IT crew who'll be running all the network cable, the heating/air conditioning installers, etc.
Billionaires don't generally know how to snake their own poopy drains.
All of them have to be hired separately. If you try to do it on the down-low and hire a secret bunker-building team like the Yugoslavian contractors Saddam Hussein brought in to build his secret palace bunkers, that attracts even more attention. A whole lot of local Gotham contractors are going to complain very loudly when some shady operation in black vans gets the job instead.
And then you have the city officials who have to inspect new structures for building code violations. And so on.
"I don't care how rich this guy is. There's no permit for hollowing out a goddamn mountain."
Now, you may be saying that, sure, the people swarming over the Wayne Manor construction site may all notice that Bruce has demanded a huge, elaborate basement/cave. But that's all they'd know. They'd have no reason to realize that 1) he's going to use that space to fight crime, and 2) this indicates he is, in fact, Batman.
But the basic floors and walls and lighting of the cave are just the tip of the iceberg. What is he going to put in there once he gets the foundation built? Obviously not everything that comic-book Batman had in there.
Comic-book Batman had a two-story Lincoln penny, a life-sized T-Rex doll, a jet, a helicopter, a gym, a computer, a mechanic shop, an interrogation room and other trophies and wonders. But that's comic-book Batman. We're talking about Bale Batman here. So, say he has the minimum. So, like a Batcomputer and that's it? We already know what his computer set up is. We've seen it:
"Man he's going to ask me to reassemble these in that stupid cave. I better come up with a reason to quit."
But he also needs a place to fix his car -- he goes on police chases and crashes through walls every time he takes it out, so he's got to change the tires somewhere secret, right? So he's got to have one of those workshops like on Pimp My Ride down there. At least. Then, assuming he doesn't have just the bare minimum, he's probably also got the forensics lab and a workshop where he builds his gadgets -- you know, the stuff he had in his temporary setup in the last film.
All of that must be custom made, then delivered and installed. And it gets to be kind of hard to keep up any kind of a cover story when you notice Batman's love of branding.
"Hey Mr. Wayne, where do you want us to put this giant Batman symbol illuminated floor panel? Does it go by the crime supercomputer or by the floating island with retractable bridges where you keep your black tank?"
But even the guys who don't actually handle bat-shaped furniture deliveries aren't going to have to be Sherlock Holmes to put the pieces together. This guy is demanding a huge cave facility, wired up like NORAD, with all of the entrances hidden, and is (presumably) demanding non-disclosure of this fact by everyone who works on it. Either he's Batman, or he's a terrorist.
But, OK, maybe if he plans really carefully he can compartmentalize the project so that no one guy sees everything. Maybe he uses a separate crew on the Batcave, and make them use an off-site entrance, like the hidden entrance away from the house that every Batman uses for the Batmobile. Then, only once they're finished, does he cover up the entrances and hire the crew to build the manor itself on top of it. And all of the people involved in the Batman parts have to sign an agreement not to tell anyone.
Because construction workers are known for their absolute discretion.
OK. Unfortunately, even then ...