Readers’ Forum: Becoming like Batman

Ari Davis
There is a shortage of good examples in Hollywood and the media today. According to Dryden Robinson, Batman is not one of them. (Ari Davis)

Since the beginning of existence, mankind has taken extraordinary qualities and assigned them to diverse groups of men and women in writing and imagination. They serve as saviors, inspirational figures and relatable life lessons.

Today, we live in a world saturated by such figures. Many wonder why they should care anymore when comic book characters dominate the big screen in addition to their graphic novels. However, cinema has evolved to this point for a reason — society craves these stories. Who knows, maybe they even need them.

There is one narrative that we’ve returned to more than any other, that thrills us to our core and excites our imaginations with countless retellings: The Batman.

Batman is the most popular superhero in cinema history. He has made an appearance in over 50 televised iterations, 13 of which were feature-length films, and countless comic book strips. But what makes him such a beloved icon? Why do we identify with Batman’s journey as much as we do, and what are we meant to learn from it? It is my claim and answers to these questions that despite his dark origins and appearance, Batman is the modern hero that we should seek to emulate in our moral and ethical behavior.

Batman’s humanity has been a hallmark of his comic book career. Unlike Superman, Wonder Woman or the Flash, Batman possesses no superhuman characteristics. This sets him apart from his fellow champions and grounds him in a harsh reality: He can be hurt, broken, age and die. Batman’s origin story and mortal condition make him relatable to audiences of all ages, while other heroes merely represent ideas or virtues. We have all lost loved ones, experienced the never-ending grasp of aging and been subject to the pains that come with a body of flesh and bone.

Better than anyone else, Batman embodies the Lord’s instruction found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:124 when it says, “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” Due to his limitations, he also understands the importance of careful planning, perseverance and setting limits for himself. By taking careful care of his mind and body, Batman has lengthened his ability to complete his tasks well beyond the average human being.

There are many who’d say that Batman’s moral code restricts him from doing what is necessary to fight injustice, but the opposite is true. Batman stands against killing his enemies because he knows it is what separates him from them. From an agency perspective, he attempts to rehabilitate his enemies in an asylum rather than kill them. He knows that they are not completely sane, and therefore not completely in control of their actions. As the Lord has commanded in Matthew 5:39, “… whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Batman turns the other cheek, and so should we.

So why should you care? Because Batman represents all of us — a man who is broken, surrounded by gods but who never stops working to become better. Batman’s mission is to help those who cannot help themselves, including himself. The Lord has said in Matthew 5:44, “… love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” There is a shortage of good examples in Hollywood and the media today. Batman is not one of them. Be like Batman.

Dryden Robinson

Springville, Utah

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