Batman is without doubt one of the most recognizable figures from the DC Universe. Fans of the comics obviously love him, but he’s also reached a broader audience thanks to the countless movies starring his character– and it’s easy to see why the studios would select him. First of all, he has a compelling backstory behind his move into a life of fighting crime. When he was just a child, Batman (or Bruce Wayne, as he is also known) witnessed the murder of his parents. The incident was without question traumatic, and it also made him swear that he’d dedicate his life to battling the types of criminals who had taken his parents from him. So, with his trusty butler, Alfred, by his side, he began harnessing his intellect and physical ability to be the best crime fighter he could.
Unlike other superheroes, who have superpowers that they were either born with or given at some point in their life, Batman doesn’t actually have powers. Everything that he’s able to do is basically a result of his own hard work– he studies and trains exhaustively until he’s mastered whatever he wants to master. Of course, it doesn’t help that he has plenty of cash in the bank to get the biggest experts in whatever field he’s interested in to train him.
Batman moves between his real identity as Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy at the helm of Wayne Enterprises, and his crime-fighting persona, Batman. While there are some pretty cool tools in his famous utility belt, let’s face it, most of Batman’s most impressive skills are things that he’s taught himself over the years.
Here are 15 talents you didn’t realize Batman had under his belt.
15. He Has Degrees For Days
Many superheroes have very little formal education, mostly because they just don’t need it. They’re either average Joes who get their skills developed in a lab, or non-human beings that are from an entirely different universe where having a B.A. just isn’t really that important. Batman is a whole different story. Obviously, money was no object for Bruce Wayne, so it was easy to pay tuition for whatever degree he wanted– and boy, did he ever. By the time he was 21 years old, he had gotten degrees in criminal science, forensics, computer science, chemistry, and engineering. Then, he didn’t exactly relax– by 25, in the amount of time it would take a normal person to get one degree, he snagged degrees in biology, physics, and technology. So, he’s certainly not all brawn– the fact that the comic universe has him as such a hyper educated individual indicates that his intelligence is obviously a big part of who he is as a character.
14. He’s An Expert Inquisitor
Sometimes, all you have to do to nab a bad guy is twist his arm a little bit, throw a few punches, in order to successfully convince him or her to do the right thing, or stop doing whatever is wreaking havoc. However, sometimes, you need to be a bit more strategic when it comes to getting what you want– as Batman knows. In addition to making sure he was able to stand up to any villain both mentally and physically, he learned the art of interrogation for those particularly stubborn villains. He’s an expert at interrogation, from the physical (such as torture) to the mental, such as blackmailing or using intimidation. So many superheroes really just go in with their fists raised– sure, sometimes they have someone on their team that will plan the attack, but when push comes to shove, their superhuman power is what really seals the deal. In Batman’s case, since he’s a mere mortal (although also crazy strong), he needs to use every tool he possibly can.
13. He’s Insanely Agile
If you’re thinking that Batman’s strength is just sheer muscular force, that he can really only attack villains head-on like a barreling truck, you are so, so wrong. Sure, he’s worked on building up his power to an insane degree, but he also values agility– something he may have been inspired to develop based on his namesake, those flying, agile creatures. Apparently, Batman trained in parkour, and can basically hurl himself around the city with ease and grace– he could theoretically hold his own against even the most skilled acrobats and gymnasts, and that’s saying something. He can even do crazy feats like a triple somersault. While the ability to move through space with grace may not seem that important to combat, agility is actually really important to him– it means he can hop from rooftop to rooftop in pursuit of a villain with ease, not requiring a helicopter to deliver him straight to where the fight should be.
12. He’s Incredibly Stealthy
This might seem like a given, but just take a moment to think of how many superheroes essentially crash through the wall of their villain’s lair like the Kool-Aid man, guns blazing. There are some more cerebral heroes who have a different fighting style, but many of the truly strong ones are also a little bit lacking in the stealth game. Not Batman, though. Thanks to his training in ninjutsu, he’s mastered the art of being incredibly stealthy. That means he can potentially sneak into villains’ lairs undetected, or make his way through layer after layer of security to bust into secret facilities, without anyone ever knowing he was there. When you’re working at night, trying to combat villains who are notoriously secretive, that’s a huge asset to have in your arsenal. Plus, his various other skills mean that once he breaks into wherever he needs to be, or gathers whatever information he needs, he can quite easily move on to the next step, whatever that might be.
11. He’s An Expert Marksman
When combat gets going, it can be easy to get distracted by all of the action happening and miss your target a few times. Sure, if you’re sniping someone when they’re not aware of your presence and they’re just stationary, it should be pretty easy for even an average marksman to make their target. However, when you’re in battle and someone is moving around? It takes true skill to hit the shot perfectly. Luckily, thanks to all the insane forms of martial arts he’s mastered, Batman has also acquired the skill of being an expert marksman. No matter what scenario he’s faced with, approximately 9 times out of 10, he’ll manage to hit his target without worry. Given that you might only have one or two chances to get a good shot throughout a showdown, it’s important to be able to hit your target without fail– you don’t want an average marksman who misses his shot 50% of the time!
10. He’s Mastered 127 Styles Of Martial Arts
It’s no secret that Batman is an insanely good fighter– after all, he manages to capture the bad guys without having any lab-designed superpowers humming through his body like many of the other heroes. Oh, and he’s not from some distant planet, and doesn’t have any legit gods as parents. However, Batman isn’t taking his responsibility to kick villains’ butts in combat lightly– and over the course of his life, he allegedly trained in (and mastered) 127 different styles of martial arts. You know, just to make sure he could take on literally anyone who he came across in a dark alley. His expertise includes some more common martial arts, like muay thai, krav maga, judo and kickboxing, as well as escrima, savate, bojutsu, ba gua, shaolin, aikido, kyudo, and many, many more. Perhaps it’s because of his past trauma and perhaps it’s because he knows he might be going up against villains with superpowers, but one thing is for certain– Batman has done just about everything he could to ensure he’s amazing in a fight.
9. He’s A Stellar Detective
Batman is great at physically sneaking around undetected with his crazy stealth skills, and he’s obviously incredibly intelligent, so it sort of makes sense that he would make an amazing detective. I mean, you need to be smart enough to know what to make of any potential clues you uncover, you need to be able to sneak around without garnering any attention, you need to be able to do things like analyze forensic evidence (good thing he has a degree in forensics) and you need to be able to read people. Batman has mastered all of the skills necessary for detective work, and he’s consequently made himself quite the detective. If the whole fighting crime thing didn’t work out, he could have always opened up his own private investigation firm– we bet there would be a ton of clients in Gotham City who would be willing to pay for his expertise.
8. He Speaks 9 Languages
You would imagine that someone who grew up in a privileged environment like Batman did had plenty of time to learn things, including languages– and you’d be right. Even though Batman isn’t exactly constantly travelling the world and needing to bust out his language skills, over the years, he’s amassed an insane amount of languages– allegedly, the hero can speak Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, and even the dead language of Latin. He’s truly a Renaissance man, that’s for sure. Again, if the life of crime fighting and helping to stop the bad guys ever hits a hitch, he could easily open an international translation service and rake in the big bucks. I mean, there’s no doubt that his linguistic abilities might help in dealing with a foreign villain from time to time, but they were probably more so just projects he undertook himself to see if he actually could learn all those languages.
7. He Can Fly (Planes, Not Like Superman)
Another one of Batman’s potential alternate careers if he decides to hang up his utility belt and cape and head back to the human world? Pilot, apparently. You see, Batman has been portrayed flying different version of the Batplanes himself– no chauffeur necessary– and has also been shown flying a helicopter. Now, there are things that can be picked up by most, like different martial arts skills or languages. However, flying an aircraft is an entirely different skill. Perhaps his life of luxury just meant that he went on private planes where the pilot gave him informal lessons, to the point where he can hold his own operating an aircraft? Perhaps, while he was getting his billions of degrees and learning every martial art known to man and studying his various languages, he managed to find time to take flying lessons? We’re not totally sure where he picked up this skill, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless.
6. He Can Escape From Just About Anywhere
Mister Miracle is probably the best known escape artist in the comic book universe, but Batman is a close second. That’s right– in addition to being able to stealthily navigate his way out of any situation, he can also literally physically escape from just about anywhere. Batman has been shown to be able to escape from a posey straitjacket in less than a minute– 52 seconds to be exact. As if that weren’t impressive enough, apparently that was an off day for him and much slower than his normal time, according to his comments. So, even if the villains manage to snag Batman momentarily and think that they’ve finally captured Gotham City’s hero, they might not be able to keep him tied up for long– he’ll just find some way to escape. While it’s definitely ideal to never be in that type of a situation, Batman definitely has an advantage over other heroes who can’t quite wiggle their way out of a straitjacket if the need were to ever arise.
5. He’s An Incredible Tracker
Okay, get ready to be amazed yet again. Batman has trained and learned from experts in cultures around the world, but he hasn’t just stopped over in Europe and Asia– he’s gone to Africa to get their insight and training as well. Apparently, Batman spent some time with the Ghost Tribes of the Ten-eyed Brotherhood and other African Bushmen and was trained in hunting techniques. So, he’s not just able to track down his villains using his detective skills– he can literally track them throughout the city based on the hunting skills he learned. While detective skills might be more handy in a city environment where you can look for clues and witnesses, there’s no doubt that if Batman ever had to find a villain in a dense, wooded area, or somewhere remote, those tracking and hunting skills would come in handy. I mean, honestly– is there anything the man can’t do?
4. He’s A Master Of Disguise
Like many other heroes (Superman/Clark Kent being perhaps the most well known), Batman spends most of his life concealing his separate identities. In some situations, he’s just the wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne. In others, he’s Batman– and never shall the two meet. His dual identities are definitely helped by the fact that he’s a master of disguise. By the time he was 26, Batman had learned many disguise techniques that allowed him to go undercover or to infiltrate the seedy underbelly of the city where all the villains were. He’s held various aliases, including Ragman, Thomas Quigley, Matches Malone, Frank Dixon, Gordon Selkirk, Mr. Fledermaus, Lester Krutz, Sir Hemingford Grey and more. It takes quite the imagination and dedication to assume so many disguises and keep all those aliases straight, so we’ve got to give him props. In fact, in comparison to assuming all those identities, keeping Bruce Wayne and Batman straight must be a walk in the park!
3. He Has An Eidetic Memory
There’s no question that Batman is insanely intelligent– after all, how else would he be able to learn so many skills? Sure, the fact that he can literally go to the experts in any field and ask to learn under their tutelage definitely helps, but the fact that his brain is operating on an entirely different level than the average human’s helps a lot as well. And, there’s another reason Batman is likely able to pick things up so quickly; he has an eidetic memory, also known as a “photographic” memory. That’s right, Batman is able to remember things in precise detail and call them up in his mind at will. In some cases, this can be an absolutely traumatic thing; just think of the terrors he’s witnessed and is likely unable to forget. In other cases, though, it’s probably very helpful, whether that be memorizing a crime scene or memorizing vocabulary words for the next language he’s trying to learn.
2. He’s Really, Really Strong
Okay, we know– the vast majority of superheroes are pretty darn strong. I mean, they have to go toe to toe with villains in combat, and villains often stack the deck in their own favour through whichever means possible. However, Batman doesn’t have to worry too much about holding his own when it comes to sheer strength. Thanks to his healthy lifestyle and dedication to an exercise regime, Batman is basically a flawless human specimen. He’s been shown to be able to lift nearly 1,000 pounds of weight, and has even shown that he’s strong enough to rip steel bars and snap handcuffs without even flinching. No matter how intelligent you are, physical strength is always an asset when it comes down to combat, and Batman definitely has that. I mean, if he ever gets captured, his first thought is likely not panic– it’s probably whether he should try to escape through the bars or just bend them and saunter out.
1. He Can Hold His Breath Underwater For Over 3 Minutes
As we just mentioned, Batman is in absolutely flawless physical condition. He knows that he has an important mission on his hands, and that responsibility is important to him, so he makes sure he takes phenomenal care of his body so it’s operating at its peak level. That includes his lung capacity. Whether he practices in a bath tub at his manor or has just built up his lung capacity with aerobic exercise, Batman has developed super strong lungs over the years and can allegedly hold his breath underwater for 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Just take a moment to think about that– that’s a very, very long time. If Batman ever wanted to retire from crime fighting and use his skill and athletic ability for a different cause, he should really help teach swimmers– holding their breath for a few strokes down the pool lane likely seems easy when you compare it to his 3+ minutes of restraint.