5 Reasons There Must Be Corpses Buried Under the Batcave
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?
The Batcave is a Huge Construction Project
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 ...
Hundreds of Construction Workers Will See the Batcave
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."
The People Building and Delivering the Bat-Gear Would Know, Too
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 ...
Bruce Wayne's Full Time IT and Janitorial Staff Will Know
The primary purpose of the Batcave in every single incarnation of the character is that it's the command center for Bruce's crime fighting operation. There are many monitors and computers and scanners and communications equipment, and behind each you have servers and routers and high-speed internet connections. According to the character's mythology, the Batcomputer is on par with the FBI computers. And, it'd have to be -- he's doing the same job. He needs access to the same criminal record databases, etc.
The difference is the FBI has entire rooms full of people who do nothing but maintain their systems. Somebody who knows where each network cable goes.
So who's going to handle Wayne's Internet security, and program all of his proprietary software? He doesn't just have Windows 7 Professional on his Batcomputer. Otherwise, what use is it?
"Ok, Mr. Wayne, so you need our best system, only with bat logos everywhere. And we can't tell anyone what we are working on. No problem!"
And this equipment will break. Even if Wayne wasn't the target of every criminal hacker in the world, the Batcave itself will do the damage for him. It's a cave. There is standing water everywhere, and more dripping from the ceiling.
You can never completely keep the moisture out of the systems, and that means corrosion. Also, there are insects, rats and other rodents, the kind that like to chew on electrical wires and data cables. Not only do you need IT staff (constantly, every time something malfunctions) but you need exterminators working around the clock. You're asking for an infection or disease otherwise.
And that's not even talking about the everyday maintenance that would come with a facility located in a huge cave. For one, you have the bats. Thousands of bats shitting on all of your stuff all the time.
Yeah, that's guano in an attic from a couple of bats. The cleaning work would never end. Who's going to do it?
Then you have all the other moisture-related problems, like mold, and mosquitos breeding in the stagnant water. If you use pumps to keep the standing water out, then someone has to maintain the pumps. If you run massive dehumidifiers, someone has to maintain those. If you run air filters, somebody has to change the filters. And that's just the special, cave-related stuff -- you still have the routine issues with plumbing and wiring and climate control that you would get in any building, each problem requiring a contractor to go inside the Batcave without a blindfold.
So each guy, what, signs the same non-disclosure agreement as the construction workers? That's fine as long as you can threaten them with firing if they disclose anything. But what about after they leave? What's to stop them from blabbing to everyone who'll listen about their job working in Bruce Wayne's Batcave?
"You bet your ass I'm posting the blueprints on Facebook."
It's at this point you realize ...
There is No Incentive For Anyone to Keep Quiet
So you have all of these people, somewhere between a few hundred and a thousand, who have signed non-disclosure agreements to not tell the world they installed the bidet in Batman's bathroom.
But why would a signed form keep somebody from blowing the lid off the operation? Sure, agencies like the CIA make contractors sign a secrecy agreement before they can walk in the door (along with a complete background check, etc) but the CIA is part of the government; they can arrest you if you leak secrets to the bad guys. Bruce Wayne has no such power. All he can do is dress up like a bat and beat the shit out of you. And by that point it's too late.
Karate is powerless against the might of Twitter.
Maybe you're thinking that since Bruce is rich, he could just buy off everybody, in exchange for their silence. But how could he outbid the competitors for that information? In The Dark Knight, they were going to pay half of all of the mob money in Gotham to the Joker to come up with a plan to expose Batman's identity. That was a pile of money as tall as a house. Two of them.
OK, maybe sheer moral obligation would keep anybody from selling out Batman to the Joker (tough to swallow, even if they are all OK with the morality behind vigilantism), but not even that matters. As of the last few minutes of The Dark Knight, most of Gotham thinks that Batman is a bad guy. So not only would they feel no need to protect him, they'd feel obligated to turn him in. The fact that there are people who would pay millions for the information is just the cherry on top. The money wouldn't have to come from the Riddler or Scarecrow -- they could just cash in on a book deal. Hell, the FBI is probably offering a reward for him by this point. And somebody among Bruce Wayne's contractors has gambling debts, or a sick mother who needs money for her medical bills.
And don't forget drug addiction!
So, there is no amount of money that Batman could pay a contractor to keep his mouth shut because someone else would always pay more. Say the mob would pay $15 million for the identity of Batman. Is Batman going to pay everyone $15,000,001 to keep quiet? $15 billion collectively? OK, how does he keep all of those transactions secret? And then what's to stop one of the laborers from taking the hush money and then ratting him out? It's not like Bruce can demand the money back from jail.
So Bale Batman is in a hell of a conundrum. What does he do with the contractors who built the Batcave? Does he just keep them down there by force, cutting off access to the outside world?Does he kill them?
"Lucius, you can quit after I just get this cave built. It's for the greater good."
We're thinking there's literally no way to handle this problem other than to have a montage in Dark Knight Rises where Batman sneaks into the apartments of his day laborers, one at a time, and stabs them with a Batarang. Nothing else makes sense.
Conclusion: Batman Simply Won't Share Credit
At this point this probably all sounds like ridiculous fanboy nitpicking, but this is actually kind of important. Remember what we said at the beginning -- the whole appeal of Batman is that he's alone, unable to share his burden with anyone truly close to him. And he manages just fine -- he's a friendless genius with no real social skills. He succeeds all by himself. That's the message of Batman. You don't need anyone if you're capable enough.
"Batman says its OK that mommy doesn't come home anymore."
But the Batcave shines a light on that ridiculous lie. Batman doesn't fight crime alone, it's physically impossible. Behind him has to be hundreds of probably poorly paid staff, many of whom go home smelling like bat shit every night, all of them bearing the same burden of secrecy that Bruce Wayne bears (if the Joker finds out you work for Batman, you and your family are dead). Only these guys don't sleep on a billionaire's mattress every night.
And they don't get the thrill of catching The Penguin or seeing their work make a difference. They just grind away, day after day, running the cables and installing the anti-virus software and rooting out the Bat-toilets.
And, of course, the Bat-Gutters.
We never see these people. They never get their moment on camera, they never get an action figure, they never win medals or get so much as a "thank you" from the people of Gotham. Even though without these nameless workers, Batman would just be some rich dipshit running blindly around town with a grappling hook, looking for crime.
Maybe that's part of the problem with the world, that all of the kids want to grow up to be Batman, but nobody wants to be the guy who takes out Batman's trash. But those people have to exist.
No one ever talks about the Bat-Proctologist.
Well, assuming Batman hasn't killed them.
You can find us point out more glaring flaws in classic movie plots in our brand new book. Or check out 6 Baffling Flaws in Famous Sci-Fi Technology.