I love Batman. You love Batman. We all love Batman. But when people say he's realistic and try to make him relatable. No. And I found a few points as to why.
People’s parents get killed in real life in more dramatic circumstances than Batman’s, Heck, entire family's have been killed in front of kids. Through a lot of things, not just shootings. And yet none have generated this response and no one's behavior comes close to this. We can’t identify with his motivations and we can’t relate to any decisions he makes. Even the basic logic regarding his career choice is ludicrous. The thing about the suspension of disbelief is that we can accept one or two extraordinary things at a time, but if you pack them all together, or if they become too numerous, the illusion is shattered. Batman is very guilty of this.
- King of Martial Arts - Batman is described as the greatest martial artist in the world, mastering virtually all styles. Mastering a single martial art takes a lifetime, but Batman mastered all of them in the span of a few years. This isn’t the biggest deal, but combined with all the other amazing things he’s accomplished in that small time and it becomes absurd. If he was just “Karate Man” and his main skill was martial arts, this would be more acceptable.
- World’s Greatest Detective - Batman is often compared to Sherlock Holmes, but while Holmes was a somewhat quirky character with many unusual affectations (the side-effect of his attention to detail), Batman is simply smarter than everyone else and can get out of any jam. Writing “master detectives” is tricky stuff, because you’re writing a character who is more intelligent than you are, and more intelligent than the reader. It’s hard to relate to an immense intelligence. One way to balance this is to give them believable affectations. Characters like Poirot become more interesting because they’re a little off. They are extraordinary in a certain way, but like someone who is OCD or autistic, that unique strength comes at a price. Batman exhibits no such downside to his infallible detective skills. Also, when did he have time to go to detective school when he was mastering all the martial arts?
- He Created His Own Villains - Virtually all of Batman’s more extraordinary enemies are people he instigates. The Joker, Riddler, etc. behave the way they do because they are psychotically obsessed with Batman’s own crazy behavior. This is actually a common plot point in Batman, but they always seem to dance around the most obvious conclusion: find a less theatrical way to stop crimes and the Joker will stop gassing the city. I’m not saying Batman is responsible for these people’s actions, but rather he is incapable of realizing very obvious and easy solutions to uncomplicated problems.
- Employs Minors to Draw Gunfire - Arguably the craziest behavior of Batman is his need to employ children. Even if we accept that a billionaire becomes a master of karate and detecting to fight crime, how can he possibly believe a little kid is qualified to dodge bullets and punch adults in the head? I don’t care how great the kid is, if he needs a helping hand that bad, surely with his infinite resources he could find a grown man or woman for the job. The costume’s just icing on the crazy cake. Batman has to rely on a lot of tricks not to die, like dressing in all black, relying on fear and (as mentioned) being the best at hand-to-hand combat after years of training. What possessed him to dress up a child in bright clothing and send him out to go be shot at by mobsters after less than a year of Bat-training?
- Unlimited, Untraceable Resources - Very few people know who Batman is, and yet he spends billions of dollars on the construction of things like supersonic jets and space stations (the former of which he keeps under his house) without anyone noticing. I realize there have been plot points in both the comics and films about this problem, but they’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. One man couldn’t possibly handle all the financial judo necessary to essentially mask billions upon billions of dollars to fight muggers, which brings me to my biggest complaint:
- Billions Spent to Fight Robbers- Despite his apparent genius, Batman invests billions of dollars into a campaign to fight the lowest level crimes in the least efficient way. On a good night, he may stop one, maybe two crimes, but the cost of operation per night is easily thousands of dollars, if not more. Flying around in an experimental jet or car, looking for muggers stealing $20 from a purse is a laughable application of resources. Crime is a symptom of socioeconomic factors like poverty; if he actually cared about the net reduction of crime, he would spend all that space station money on public works programs and education. Heck, if he still wanted to directly fight crime, he could spend those millions on quintupling the police force so he wouldn’t have to run around looking for muggers. If he’s worried about corruption and organized crime, he could simply buy out the entire system. If he has the resources to single-handedly build Superman a space station, he could easily financially overpower crooked lobbyists and mobsters.
So we like Batman, and that’s fine, but he’s absurd, more absurd than any other character in modern fiction.
I mean seriously, he could spend all that money he uses on partying to help get education for kids and fixing the town up so the street doesn't always smell like cigars.