Every New Batman Must Save A Random Kid
While everyone’s digestive systems are still busy grappling with the new Dark Knight-themed half-pizza, half-calzone abomination, a full scene from the upcoming The Batman just hit the internet. The clip finds Bruce Wayne attending a funeral (where his perma-brooding vibe actually fits in nicely) and silently bonding with the deceased’s young son. Suddenly, a car crashes through the front door, thanks to the Riddler, forcing Bruce to heroically save the child while improbably not messing up his hair in the slightest.
Releasing this particular scene ahead of the movie was likely a very purposeful decision. In every recent live-action Batman film series, the first entry almost always contains a scene in which the Caped Crusader rescues a little kid – specifically one who reminds him, and the audience, of little Bruce.
The 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie opens with a fake-out; a Wayne-like family who aren’t the Waynes gets mugged, seemingly by Tom Waits’ and Paul Reubens’ filthy stunt doubles. Batman (for some reason) doesn’t intervene, but after watching the whole thing go down, he eventually beats the crap out of the crooks.
Batman Begins finds Batman saving the life of a boy he had previously befriended – which would have been more touching if said boy hadn’t gone on to become TV’s greatest monster …
And Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice moved this story beat up in the rotation, actually opening with a scene featuring Bruce Wayne bravely saving the life of a newly-orphaned little girl while Superman was busy tussling with Zod.
Sure, a lot of superhero movies have moments where heroes rescue children (lest every Spider-Man movie be a huge bummer), but for Batman, it’s become kind of a necessity. And it makes sense from a storytelling perspective; the idea of a dude dressing up like a bat to fight crime is inherently ridiculous. Manufacturing a scenario in which we see concrete evidence that Bruce’s oath is working, that he is helping children not unlike his own traumatized past self is, on some level, what helps us as an audience buy into this nutty crusade.
It’s kind of like a Batman-specific version of that Save the Cat screenwriting book, but instead of rescuing a stray, for audiences to perfectly align with Batman’s perspective, we need to see that his wacky plan is fulfilling its core mission statement. Only then will we devour pizza-like monstrosities in his honor.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter!
Top Image: Warner Bros.