Tag Archives: Batman

THE BATMAN – JOKER RELATIONSHIP

The Batman – Joker relationship…

 

This post is an attempt to breakdown the mindsets of two of the most exciting, most intense, most ridiculously dressed antagonists in the history of modern cinema: The Batman and the Joker. These two have been popular a long time, and ever since The Dark Knight their fame has skyrocketed to nuclear status, yet their relationship remains as complex as ever.

As I type this, filming is underway on the latest Batman inspired movie and it features Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. I’m really excited to see his rendition of the madman. He’s such a seasoned actor who has played crazy in many movies before (Gladiator anyone?) so he has the experience.

Now I understand that a lot of people are very invested in these characters, so I want to state early that this is a personal interpretation. Also, some of the events I describe may not be “canon” to you, as there are hundreds of reading material on the Batman, some contradicting each other. Let’s just have some fun with the fact that these are fictional characters. Basically, this entire paragraph is an attempt to ward off attacks from “DC fanboys” 😊 OK let’s do this.

 

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Just taking a selfie with my bestie

 

To many people, the Batman is your basic superhero story where the good guy faces the bad guys and comes out on top; albeit with a darker Instagram filter. But what makes Batman so unique is that behind this beloved tale is a very harrowing treatise on human psychology. Almost every character in the franchise is a victim of a very troubled past and it shows…

 

The Batman

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People love the Batman for many reasons. He fights injustice at great personal risk to himself and little to no reward. He is a relatable orphan boy who is trying to make the best of his life and situation. He is so good at what he does that his enemies revere him and actual superpowered beings fear him. He has so much personal discipline that he can stand toe to toe with superhumans, aliens, gods, demons, clowns and still come out on top. In some story arcs, even Wonderwoman falls in love with him, yet he refuses her advances, maybe because a simple hug from her could paralyse him? Nope, just personal discipline.

He is founder and leader of the Justice League. He is rich as fukkkkkk and gets to use a variety of cool gadgets. He appeals to people of all ages so he’s a marketer’s dream. So it can be funny to think that behind all of this is a scared little boy who believes that by fighting criminals, he is avenging the death of his parents.

Batman’s origin story has been treated to exhaustion, but it is very important to his character. As a young boy at age 10 Bruce Wayne and his parents were leaving a theatre when his parents were shot and killed before his very eyes by an unknown robber (I’ll tell you his name, just Chill). Little did that robber know that he had just given rise to the greatest menace that his kind would ever have to face: the Batman.

As a child, Bruce Wayne was very prone to fears and anxieties. It is known that he harboured a fear for bats which carried well into his adulthood, inspiring his Batman persona. As the Batman, he tries to impose his childhood fears on the criminals he faces in Gotham city. He seeks to inspire in them the very same fears he felt as a young boy as punishment for taking his parents from him. He does this by trying to be the biggest, scariest bat of them all.

Another widely known principle of the Batman is that he does not kill (in cold blood). As noble as this must seem for such a relentless vigilante, the reason is far more basic than moral. Killing would be a cruel reminder of the trauma he felt when watching his parents die, so he can’t bring himself to do it. I believe that by killing he would be doing unspeakable harm to his parents’ memories which would further his descent into madness.

Batman is just as crazy, if not crazier than the villains he faces. The major reason he is able to retain some semblance of sanity is due to the influence of his butler, Alfred. Alfred Pennyworth was entrusted with the care of Bruce from the moment his parents died and he took up the position wholeheartedly. As a result, Bruce retained a strong father figure in Alfred.

As you may have noticed, many of Batman’s mannerisms mirror those of Alfred himself: his cold dry wit is Batman’s preferred source of humour. His ability to slink from room to room unnoticed; his quiet nature, all mirrored by the caped crusader. For all of Alfred’s complaints that Bruce Wayne chooses to remain single, he never noticed that it may be as a result of his personal influence, being a single man himself and choosing to remain one since Bruce was placed in his care.

 

 

The Joker ;D

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Dangerous and philosophical in his crazy, the Joker is the undisputed bastion of evil in the Batman universe. Few would forget Heath Ledger’s award-winning rendition of the Joker prior to his untimely death. The Joker’s MO is to revel in destruction.

His origin stories are vague and left to interpretation. One widely accepted theory is that he was a failed comedian who opted for a life of crime and ended up losing his pregnant wife and getting horribly disfigured in the process. Some even posit that there are multiple Jokers. But whatever incarnation of the Joker you may choose to accept, it is clear that they have one thing in common – a terrible past.

Whenever the Joker tries to make mention of his past, whether real or imagined it is always negative, so even as much as he tries to forget, the traumatizing nature of it will always set in. He is a character that has chosen to mask his pain in laughter, be it physical or emotional pain. He laughs when he is in a dangerous situation that he can’t escape, he laughs when being physically beaten, he even seems to take joy in the suffering of others. He tries to rationalize the trauma of his past by believing that life is meaningless and he enforces this by causing mayhem. In this way, he is not your average criminal, as money and power are secondary to his goals.

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It is only after the examination of both characters, the Batman and the Joker, that you can appreciate the uniqueness of their relationship. They are two people operating on two opposite ends of a spectrum of ideology and they fascinate each other. Both men believe that their way of handling their past trauma is the “right” way and refuse to be convinced otherwise. They are each other’s most convincing arguments.

It is the major reason they refuse to kill each other because since they are so equally driven and equally matched, either one needs the other to see their viewpoint. If Batman can get the Joker to change his ways, it validates his life purpose, if the Joker can get the Batman to abandon his ideals, him lashing out at society is not in vain. They exist to prove each other wrong. Have you ever wondered why many of their iconic battles take place in rooms filled with mirrors?

The overarching theme of the Batman is a philosophical one. You can choose to be a victim of your past or you can choose to take action, but then, how much of the past is within your control to make amends and then, what actions are truly justified to take?

 

Also, I find it funny that the Joker (disfigured murderer in makeup) can keep a long-term relationship where the Batman (Handsome billionaire) can’t.

 

 

PS. My name is OB KeengI’m a Creative Writer and Musician. This is where I share my weird thoughts with the world.

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(SKIT) 7 THINGS YOU NEVER NOTICED ABOUT THE JUSTICE LEAGUE TITLE SEQUENCE

I was watching an episode of Justice League (2001 TV series) the  other day and something struck me. Usually I watch “Superhero” cartoons to be intrigued by the powers of the gifted characters (watch them blow stuff up), but this one time made me think to look at their personalities….. It was the opening sequence that struck me.

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The one time I chose not to skip it, I learned more about the characters of the Justice League than any episode conceived. I felt I knew Superman, Batman, Wonder woman, Hawkgirl, The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter on a more personal level. And I’ll explain why….

First off, Justice League is a series about a group of Superheroes who decide that it would be better for the Earth if they joined forces. So every episode a new threat presents itself, and it’s up to these guys to stop it..

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Justice League has a unique opening sequence. The superheroes get to showcase their talents in peculiar 3D, even when the cartoons are 2D drawings.. but much before then, silhouettes of Justice League characters walk towards the screen in a particular formation, a formation that never changes throughout the series:

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Judging from their figure forms, from the left its, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Wonder woman, Superman, Batman, Flash and Hawkgirl. On their slow advance, their forms dissolve in the rising sun and are transformed into the letters J.U.S.T.I.C.E respectively as seen here

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It could be overlooked by anybody, but this transformation holds more meaning than meets the eye. Not only do the symbols uncannily fit the body shapes of the characters, they provide more insight into their personalities as well. Taking each letter individually, I will propose why:

 

JMartian Manhunter

J is a letter that is widely associated with important biblical matyrs and god figures, like Jesus and Jehovah.. and the Martian Manhunter’s story is not so different from theirs. He even introduces himself as J‘onn J‘onzz.. an implied nod to the name John.

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Following the series, J‘onn joins the Justice League after a siege of predators attacks his home planet, Mars. He is the only survivor, becoming so by sealing the invaders in suspended animation (much like Jesus sealing demons in hell after his death). He is only on Earth to warn humans of the impending danger from the aliens’ escape.

Martian Manhunter is also easily the most emotionally available character in the series, and shows the most self sacrifice. His powers range from the miraculous to the ghostly: Invisibility, Levitation, telepathy, he’s able to pass through others and manipulate their internal organs. Martian Manhunter is depicted as a perpetually morose and wandering character. He lives in an emotional Jail he fashioned for himself. And even with the vastness of his intelligence and the extent of his powers, he will always put himself in harms way to protect others. He is, in the true sense of the word.. Just.

 

UGreen Lantern

U is for Understanding and no other character in JL embodies wisdom as much as Green Lantern. In the opening sequence, Green Lantern recharges his power ring and is immediately seen as a harrowing character with his eyes shining a grim white.

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Green Lantern’s ring exudes Ultimate power and its forces are so unnervingly complex that only a mind like his could control; as such, he is able to shoot Ultrarays of very many shapes and designs. Even with all the power attributed to him he is not corrupted by it in any way. In an early episode he willingly hands over his ring to a tribunal on the suggestion of its misuse, and delivers himself to be arrested. His demeanour is likened to that of an army general, who has seen many battles and wars, who knows when to attack and when to retreat, when to intimidate and when to apologise. He is like a father figure to the group.

 

SWonder woman

The Seeping S; Slender, Serene.. Sexy. Admit it or not, Wonder Woman is the Justice League member Superman aspires to be. He even submits to her prowess in battle.

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As an amazon dedicating herself to the human race, she is the one that most embodies purity of heart and clarity of action. She is also the team’s most Superstitious member, who dedicates her battles and attributes her triumphs to the greek goddess hera.

Wonder Woman’s refusal to be corrupted can be seen in the rings on her wrist, which she uses to deflect enemy attacks, and her lasso of truth that impales them to “Surrender to truth”. As many things in life, her beauty lies in her Simplicity.

 

T – Superman

It’s easy to see why Superman takes up the centre T in JUSTICE as he is the core and leader of the Justice League. Every other member looks to him for direction and respects him.. like a Temple. He is the Temple of the group.

He is Tough and Tenacious, but also Tame. In the opening sequence, he punches through a wall violently.. then slowly flies through it. His attraction to Wonder Woman lies in the fact that she refuses to be swayed by the evils of the world, which he occasionally finds himself succumbing to; and that she mirrors him in strength and devotion. It may also be because she is, well.. hot.

It could be important to note that in the opening sequence, all the characters to the right of Superman (ie. Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman) represent the “good” side of the Justice League, while the characters to the right of Supes (Batman, Hawkgirl, Flash) represent the “bad” side of the Justice League, but in character only. What I mean is, the characters to his right all have predominantly good traits in their personalities. However the characters to his left have one predominant bad (evil) trait. For example, Batman is driven mostly by vengeance and is almost Supes’ complete opposite. Hawkgirl is driven mostly by wrath, she will hit first and ask questions later. Flash is cocky and arrogant, and will brag about his speed any time he has the opportunity. Superman represents a point of balance between all these contrasting characters.

 

I Batman

Batman is not only cool, he’s Ice cold. The visibility of the bat ears on his silhouette shows he accentuates the group. He’s a straight arrow, who’s never deterred by ANYTHING even though he’s the only team member that’s pure human. In the opening sequence, he throws a bat shaped blade into the infinite distance. He represents the vision, the eye (i) of the group.

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In many ways, Batman also represents the future of the Justice League: a human that dedicates themself to defending the earth without assistance from Super beings. He is the team’s most Intelligent and Inspiring member. As Bruce Wayne, he creates the space station which the team use as their main base, and is always tasked with creating new Ideas that improve the league and gets them out of sticky situations. He is Superman’s closest unspoken rival.

 

C Flash

The Flash is Cunning, Crafty and Clever. Also Comical. As the fastest man alive he works against the Clock to protect the earth, but sometimes he can be a real Calamity to the group. He represents the spirit of friendliness of the league towards the human race, as he is the league member they can relate with the most (which is saying something, as Batman is actually all human). He is the team’s most light hearted.. he even sounds like a kid.

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EHawkgirl

Hawkgirl is the most Evasive member of the Justice League. She takes to the sky like a bird and bludgeons anything in her path. She may represent freedom and Escape from oppression the team tries so hard to maintain on Earth. In battle, she always comes off as the most Excited of all the group to fight off enemies.