Batman is a character that is famous across the world and is one of the most well-known superheroes of all-time. He’s certainly a film character that is a household name in all seven continents as a result of his appearances originally in the DC comic franchise but then mostly because of his world famous, blockbuster films.
The first Batman film released was way back in 1966, when Adam West starred in the main role as Batman. 23 years later, Batman made a return to the big screen before Batman Returns featured only three years later. Fast forward three more years and another Batman film, this time it was Batman Forever, hit the screen. It only took another two years for the next film to come, Batman & Robin where Robin made his first main performance, a character that was a mainstay for the rest of the Batman films.
The new generation began after this, where special effects started to make their mark in Hollywood and this was where Batman properly established itself as a film franchise. In 2005, Batman started out with Batman Begins. This inspired another film, The Dark Knight, the best film, technically, of all the Batman flicks after it made over $1 billion at the Box Office. Four years later, Batman came back with The Dark Knight Rises and eclipsed everything before it with a massive $1.1 billion at Box Office.
Although Batman is a huge favorite among millions of people across the world, he’s not your typical superhero (or should I say ‘action hero’?). Most other superheroes have the ability to activate their superpowers whenever they need to, but not Batman, as he doesn’t actually possess any superpowers (hence, action hero). In this article, you’ll see Batman’s 15 best talents, some of which you hadn’t known about, well, except for you avid Batman fans out there!
15. He’s A Master Of Martial Arts
A power that all superheroes would love to have: to be an expert in every single known form of martial arts. Superhero films wouldn’t be superhero films without multiple fight scenes, and often with these superhero fight scenes, we’ll see exhilarating superpowers used in combat.
Batman has a more authentic feel to his fight scenes like the scene in The Dark Knight Rises where he and arch enemy, Bane, have an old-fashioned fist fight on the steps. Although it doesn’t have the modern-day special effects like many others, it still gets the pulse going with the punches being thrown like a heavyweight boxing bout, a very fair bout at that!
The use of martial arts in the earlier Batman films from the 20th century gives it a much more realistic feel as the character never develops any extraordinary superpowers. Although there are some aspects of Batman that are slightly ‘overpowered’, as far as superhero films go, it’s as real as they get!
14. The First Appearance Of The Bat Signal
One of Batman’s most famous features of all time: The Bat-shaped signal that glows in the dark Gotham City sky. The Bat signal made its first appearance in #60 of the DC comics in February 1942, back when Batman was such a small figure in this world. Little did the writers know that he would eventually be the lead protagonist of one of the most successful film franchises of all time.
This is the sign sent out by the Gotham City Police Department when they need the services of their local superhero. It’s also used to warn the residents of Gotham City because they know that once Batman is out, there’s no hiding!
Unlike some of the famous Batman features, this is one that has been a mainstay across the DC comics and throughout all of the films. It was even something that made an appearance in the most recent film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as Batman activates the signal in order to draw his nemesis, Superman, into Gotham for a confrontation.
13. Batman’s Historical Name
The origin of Batman’s alter-ego name, Bruce Wayne, is actually derived from two historical figures from two very different countries. A very interesting way to choose the name of your superhero but a great idea all the same.
The first name was inspired by King Bruce I of Scotland, a huge figure in the Scottish Independence Wars and one of the famous warriors of the 14th century. His surname was taken from a country that speaks the same language but is half the way across the world! Brigadier General Anthony Wayne is where the surname comes from, a man known for his participation in the American Revolutionary War. His importance in the history of the United States probably does warrant the choice to name a superhero after him!
12. His Truly Amazing Utility Belt
Batman’s utility belt is vital in the films and the comics as it’s where all the equipment he uses is kept. There’s been a huge variety of items in the belt, ranging from fighting equipment to investigative tools. The belt itself has changed over the course of the franchise, it has had several compartments on it as well as solid cylinders attached that were used to store certain pieces of equipment.
One of the items that has always been kept in this belt is his grappling hook which retracts from the belt and unleashes a hook that anchors itself around the obstacles that Batman wants to connect to. As this establishes a solid connection, Batman then scales his way across this line to get to his target location.
Batman’s cape enables him to glide through the air at an electric speed at over 100 kilometres per hour. If Batman had the ability to fly, researchers have found that the end result would be fatal and he would in fact die! This is because the speed at which he hit the ground would be 80 kilometres per hour, causing definite death.
Batman’s gliding is seen on several occasions during the 2005 film, Batman Begins as he descends from huge buildings in super-fast time without having to waste his time jogging down flights of stairs! Although there aren’t many instances of Batman gliding in his more recent films, it’s still a great skill to possess, especially when you need to get out of a sticky situation fast, which seems to be most of the time for Batman!
10. The Fans Didn’t Want Robin
Batman’s trusty sidekick, known best as Robin, had his fate decided by the fans of the famous TV show and his fate was to be killed off. In 1988, during an episode of Batman, the viewers were allowed to have their say on the outcome of Batman’s famous companion; 10,000 votes were cast and around 5,300 of these votes were in favor of Robin to never feature again.
The opinion-splitting character was originally only supposed to make one appearance alongside Batman, as the editor at the time felt the main man was doing perfectly alright on his own after Bob Kane put the idea forward that he should have a partner. This original feature was then followed by many more as the sales of comics went up massively after Robin’s introduction. Who knew that a young sidekick could be such a big hit?
9. He Has A Photographic Memory
A very underrated talent of Batman’s comes in the form of a photographic memory. The ability to remember everything he’s told or shown in photographic form is a brilliant attribute for a superhero. You never know when it might come in handy, whether it’s in combat or his day-to-day life. We’ve all had that moment where we can’t remember for the life of us a piece of information that is really important, one person that’s never had that problem is Batman!
It’s not an issue that has been addressed in any of the Batman films, however, it’s a theme that has regularly occurred in the Batman comics. Bane and Superman are also known for their photographic or eidetic memory, but it’s clear that throughout the comics and even in the films, both characters are in awe of Batman’s sheer intellectual qualities. A photographic memory is certainly something we’d all love to have!
8. Frank Sinatra As The Joker?
When the story of Batman made its way from the pages of the comic books to the television screens of people across the world, it started its journey to becoming the massively famous brand that it is now. As soon as a TV show was made, the main characters saw themselves rise to instant fame. One of these main characters was the Joker, Batman’s arch enemy. Cesar Romero took the role with open arms and went on to become a brilliant Joker, but it could’ve been very different.
This is because Frank Sinatra, a world-famous singer at the time, was desperate to get the role as Batman’s nemesis. While this only began as a rumour, it was eventually confirmed by Burt Ward, the actor playing Robin. He said “Frank Sinatra was very upset because he couldn’t play the Joker.”, maybe he would’ve seduced Batman with his beautifully soothing voice!
7. Batman Hasn’t Always Been A Good Guy
In the earliest versions of Batman, he wasn’t the life saver that we now know him to be, he was actually the opposite. Although we don’t see him using overly-excessive force nowadays, it was once a regular occurrence. In the first two decades of Bruce Wayne’s existence, he was known for brutally disposing of the villains and while this is still helping the people of Gotham City, it goes against everything Batman has said.
Batman was eventually stopped from using a gun, as it didn’t “feel right” for Bob Kane to be writing about a character killing people with such a weapon. Batman has used a wealth of weapons since then to injure or dispose of his villains but those weapons haven’t included a gun. The reason used to the public is that he doesn’t use one due to the fact that his parents were murdered using a gun.
6. Not Just The Name Of A Superhero!
While the name ‘Batman’ is automatically linked with the crime-fighting, deep-voiced superhero, for the people of a certain area of Turkey, it’s the name of the town that they call their home. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the sorts of jokes that would have gone their way over the years after making people aware of their hometown!
While you might think that the townsfolk love sharing a name with one of the greatest film characters of all time, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Batman’s mayor, Huseyin Kalkan actually attempted to sue Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan for the use of the town’s name without permission. Unsurprisingly, the attempt failed miserably much to Kalkan’s anger, as he proclaimed “There is only one Batman!”, even though the popularity of his town is certainly less than that of the superhero’s! How cool would it be if you could say you lived in Batman? I certainly wouldn’t be complaining!
5. Gotham Is A Real-Life Place!
This is definitely a more believable place name than Batman, but it’s still pretty awesome. Batman’s hometown shares its name with a small village in Nottingham, England. The setting of this name was originally identified as New York, before Gotham City was first mentioned not long after, only four comics after in fact. Bill Finger, the writer, saw the name, Gotham Jewellers, in a phonebook and it obviously switched on a lightbulb in his mind!
Nottingham has more than just this one link to the Batman franchise. The city is the official home of Wollaton Hall, which was used in filming for The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 and it was used as Wayne Manor. It’s seen in the background as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler, is looking at the three gravestones with one being for Bruce Wayne himself. The residents must love showing people that their county’s mansion is the iconic scene for such a great film!
4. Batman vs. Hitler
During the second World War, Batman met German dictator, Adolph Hitler. This came very early in the Batman comics, number 9 actually, and the confrontation between the two is shown on the comic’s cover. The roles of both are very different as Batman tended to help the people whereas Hitler wasn’t exactly known for his kind heart.
Batman also met plenty of Hitler’s followers in one edition as a large number of Nazis found their way into Gotham. In typical Batman fashion, he dealt with them without any real problems, also without the help of anyone else. It’s almost as if the storyline isn’t real! Then when Hitler came to town, Batman’s best way of dealing with him was to throw deadly weapons at him. If you can guess the weapons, then you should go into a Batman-based career. The deadly weapons were in fact: tennis balls! Unfortunately, as Batman served them up to Hitler, he clearly hadn’t read the script and failed to return the balls, now what a great tennis match that would’ve been!
3. How Much Does It Cost To Be Batman?
It definitely wouldn’t be cheap to replicate the life of Batman. In the book Batman Unauthorized, it was worked out that it would set you back at least $300 million to be like Bruce Wayne! The main costs including $3.5 million to turn a bomb shelter into an accurate Batcave, with a bomb shelter not being particularly cheap to purchase nowadays. It would also cost around $2 million to convert a Cadillac Sixteen into a working replica of the Batmobile, which isn’t too bad if you’ve got $2 million to splash on a car! This price doesn’t include all the added features, maybe not so cheap then.
A custom fitted Batsuit made from Kevlar would only cost $45,000, which genuinely isn’t too expensive in comparison to the Batmobile and Batcave! While it might be super cool to inform your friends that you’ve changed your name to Bruce Wayne, it’s very unrealistic that these funds will be readily available for such a makeover.
2. He Had A Red Costume
This is the main trademark of the franchise. Without the blacked-out costume, Batman is nothing, no comics, no films, nothing. However, Bob Kane’s original Batman design saw him wearing a bright red leotard! This idea was then rectified by Bill Finger. If it wasn’t for him, who knows whether Batman would even be as famous as he is today.
The bat emblem emblazoned across the chest of the costume is definitely something that hasn’t changed in the history of the franchise along with the bat ears on the helmet of the suit. While both elements have been adapted several times, they are both very important and very iconic features of Batman’s costume.
The Kevlar material of the suit aids the superhero when in combat as it adds extra strength to the already super-human strength possessed by Bruce Wayne. It’s also bulletproof and has provided protection against the weapons of many villains over the years.
1. And A Red Batmobile!
Although this isn’t strictly a talent of Batman, it’s still a bad ass way to travel! The matte black supercar has always been associated with the Bat but in its first appearance way back in the 1939 comic, it was actually bright red in color. It was in the 1940s that the Batmobile got a much darker paint job and started to become known for being as black as the suit worn by Batman himself.
The lightning quick transport method made its way onto our TV screens in 1968 as The Batman/Superman Hour became a regular show. Its first appearance in cinemas came with Batman’s first appearance in Batman in 1989, and a replica can now be seen at Six Flags Great America outside the official Batman ride. As the Batman films have developed, so has the Batmobile and its increasing speed as can be seen in The Dark Knight Rises.