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Jeffery Jedi Ludwig

James Wilson
RHET 1312
March 20, 2014
Project 2 final draft
Picture in your minds eye a city on the east coast of America. A city not unlike New York or
Chicago in size and scale that finds uniqueness in the characters that populate it. Among these
characters one stands out further than the others for the sheer amalgamation of traits he possesses. He
boasts billions of dollars to his name, unparalleled skill in combat, eternally enduring willpower, a
presence that causes many to quake with terror, and is titled by many as the worlds greatest detective.
I am of course describing Gothams Dark knight, the Batman. A comic book icon, the caped crusader is a
fan favorite among the comic book community and is the top comic book property produced by DC
comics. While he has had comic book success, not all representations of him in other media are able to
fully represent him and the skillset that he brings to the table. Batmans ventures into film, videogames,
and television each have had different challenges to overcome when attempting to portray the
character and his abilities in the project. In his many adventures across different expressions of
entertainment three different production teams in particular are heralded by fans because they have
created works of Batman across different entertainment platforms to show the abilities of Bruce Wayne
to people who do not read comic books and in the process have created community acclaimed works.
But who best showed the abilities of Batman? For this comparison we will be analyzing on a scale of one
to ten the usage of martial arts, technology, detective skills, theatrics, and unrelenting willpower of
Batman demonstrated by the DC animated universe production team, the Batman: Arkham Asylum
production team, and the Dark Knight Trilogy production team. For this comparison I have spent dozens
of hours analyzing and studying the media in an effort to understand how the material presented
compares to original sources. It is due to these thorough evaluations and in an effort to remove any bias
that I may hold in favor of an adaptation that I will use a simple method of ranking. Each Batman will be
ranked in the category according to the greatest extent of prowess the Batman showed in their
productions for each given aspect where ten is showcasing the nigh impossible accolades that Batman
has used to show his prowess when featured in the comic books, a five is equal to the what a common
expert of the field is able to attain and where one is what the everyday man could be capable of. Each
score will then be justified and averaged until we find the adaptation with the greatest score out of 10,
which will showcase the non-comic production that best shows Batman in accordance to his comic book
skill set.
To begin, we will explore the live action dark knight trilogy as the first production. The martial
arts expertise of this Batman shows evident skill, but due to having to work with real actors, stunt men,
and live action fight sequences, Batman rarely showcases the feats of acrobatic proficiency that Batman
wields in the comics. In this adaptation, his fighting style consisting of skillful mixed martial arts
expertise earns him a 7 out of 10. In Batman Begins, his ability to strike fear into criminals is explored
heavily where he receives training from the ninja-like League of Shadows in how deception and theatrics
can give him power to be more than just a man in the eyes of his enemies, and it is due to this that he
creates the mantle of the Batman. To create this persona he runs around in a costume and cape, utilizes
a more intimidating voice, creates a bat themed arsenal of weapons, and swoops down from the sky to
prey upon criminals from the darkness. But moreover, He dedicates himself to become a symbol of
justice to the righteous and an object of fear to wrong-doers in an effort that causes his mentor, Ras Al
Ghul, to note that [Bruce] took [his] advice about theatricality a bit... literally. His intimidation
techniques and persona earn him a 9 in the field of theatrics. The usage of technology in the films is
where theyre particularly lacking due to Nolans pursuit of a grounded and realistic tone. In the films,
the most powerful pieces of technology he possesses are his batwing, the sonar device, and the nuclear
core. The frequent usage of the grapnel device and the rigid cape wings for gliding heavily outweigh the
usage of his batarangs and other convenient and ingenious gadgets that Batman is known for.
Furthermore in the films there is an apparent lack of the majority of Batmans personal technical
prowess, due to him deferring most research and development to Lucius Fox. His lack of any
extraordinary tech that Batman nigh always possesses earns him a 5 out of ten in this category. The
Dark Knights plot, revolving around trying to outmatch the witty machinations of the Joker, showcases
Batmans detective skills the most out of the trilogy. His skills peak in the scene where Batman goes to
recreate the shatter pattern of a bullet upon hitting a brick wall in order to find the fingerprint
developed where the shell was pushed into a casing. Due to how Bruce was always using grounded
observations that were slightly above the information gathering abilities of an expert detective, but was
seen often below par from his comic book counterpart in that he was often missing the connections and
research regarding his subjects that Batman is routinely able to pull up, the caped crusader earns a 6 out
of 10 in this category The films realistic tone does take away from many of the extraordinary aspects of
Batman, but, because all three film pulls on whether Bruce will continue to face these challenges and
tribulations that come with being Batman, the usage of willpower is showcased as the feature of
dramatic tension. Throughout the trilogy Batman must hold to his ideals against his former master, face
Gotham blaming the deaths of many innocents on his refusal to submit to the joker, continue to fight
after the tragic death of his love, falsely accept the blame for the murders committed by Harvey Dent in
an effort to keep criminals off the street, face physically stronger threats after his years as Batman have
completely broken his body, and return to Gotham city after being broken and humiliated to save the
citizens from a nuclear bomb. For being on par with the comics in showing Batmans willpower to
overcome all he faces the Nolan trilogy earns a 10 out of 10 for a total of 7.4 out of 10 as the final
average.
The animated series Batman faced its own challenges with the animation process being
expensive and the episodes needing to be able to be put out on a weekly basis. But through these
challenges, Batman the animated series and the justice league cartoons emerged as critically-acclaimed
stories and fan favorites, so lets see how it holds up in its portrayal of the dark knight detective. In the
fields of martial arts not much is seen through Batmans actions due to the animation process being
lengthy and expensive. While it is evident that he has expertise and stated that he has knowledge in the
art of jujitsu, he seems to show strikes, kicks, tackles, and grabs that would be on level with a jujitsu
expert, but never showcases his expertise in other martial arts. I do understand that to showcase a
variety in his martial skills it would require time and expenses that the project simply didnt have, but
what I am taking into account is strictly was what shown on screen and not what could have occurred of
cam, and it is because of this he earns a 5 out of 10 for martial arts usage. For usage of theatrics, Batman
finds strong marks due to how his presence is able to be handled through the animation style allowing
him to literally sink into the shadows and emphasize his silhouetted figures horns and fearsome
features. By handling his disappearances, persona, and fearsome costume choices from the perspective
of a fearful criminal, the production team was able to emphasize how Batman was able to become much
more than just a costume vigilante from the views of those he opposed. By making impossible
disappearances from scene to scene and becoming a nigh-literal demon of the vengeance to criminals,
Batman earns a 9 out of 10 in theatrics. In technology the animation field had an advantage by being
able to simply draw a shape and state what it does without any need to explain the actual mechanics
and logistics of how it actually accomplishes the tasks stated to be possible. It is through these means
that Batman has amassed a technical arsenal including a batplane, a batboat, the batmobile, batrocket
ship, organic-compound analytic computer, among many other oddly specific computers and vehicles,
but his usage of individual gadgets beyond the batarang or grapnel was noticeably lacking in most
episodes. Thus in this category he earns an 8.5 out of 10. In usage of detective skills the series has a
keen advantage due to the frame of the show typically being Batmans attempts to solve the crime of
the week and take down the villain. He often used real detective techniques and skills in his pursuits
and the ability to analyze things to a molecular level through his technological research in order to find
out the true purpose and usage of what he found. His usage of diligent research, which was consistently
able to deduce the true connections between his enemies and what their plots contained, cement this
attribute of Batman to an 8 out of 10. In the category of willpower the production team found major
strengths in being a long running series, because it allowed the series to have episodes dedicated to
Batman dealing with the struggles of the life he lives without making it become an overly prevalent
theme or seem like a weakness in Batmans conviction. Batman has to cope with the loss of his parents,
friends, and possible romances to live the life that he does and for that he receives a 9 out of 10 for a
total scored average of 7.9 out of 10.
The Arkham game series is critically acclaimed work and are quite a different approach on how
to show a player what Batman is capable of. In these games Batmans martial arts skills are evident
through the flow-motion combat in which the player is able to direct Batman in different directions to
take on the foes around him through enemy specific methods while featuring stunning martial arts
techniques as he flows from assailant to assailant. These combat segments of gameplay show Batman
performing elbow strikes, flying flips, kicks, slams, and counters upon his opponents in a flurry of
masterfully mixed martial arts techniques, and for these acrobatic displays he earns a 10 out of 10. In
usage of theatrics Batman showcases how he can make his enemies fear him in the predator mission
segments where Batman is able to sweep down from gargoyles, attack silently from grates, set up
ambushes and use silent takedowns in order to prey on the fear of well-armed opponents that are
beyond his ability to take on in a fight. His theatrics through misdirection, scare tactics and gadgetry in
this category earn him a 10 out of 10. His usage of technology is quite varied in this installment where
he is able to weave gadgets into combat and uses resources from the batcave in order to overcome
obstacles in his path, but due to these games each taking place over a single evening, we are never able
to see what he can accomplish through rigorous research and development, so Batman here earns an 9
out of 10. His usage of detective skills in the games is unparalleled. Towards the beginning of the game
of the very first game you are guided to your objective by Batman utilizing details about a guards
personal lives in tandem with his computer systems to track the alcohol particles flung into the air on
exhalations to track him down. One main strength of the game in showcasing Batmans detective skills
is the aptly named detective mode segments where he analyzes crime scenes in order to utilize
computer simulations, gunshot patterns, blood stains, and explosive residue to find where his next
objectives lay. These feats in conjunction with all information he has assembled on the batcaves
massive computer network earns him a 10 out of 10. The biggest aspect that Batman appears to be
lacking in on this title is the willpower that it takes to be Batman. Because it is a videogame and all it
takes to drive Batman forward is to press up on the controller, so it doesnt dedicate as much time to
what it takes and what hes really giving up to take on these villains and save Gotham time and time
again. Scenes that explore this struggle tend to take away from the players being able to drive forward
through the story via gameplay, though when these scenes are present it is evident that the production
team has put a lot of effort into them. Unfortunately the weaknesses in this category came from how
the scenes are few are far between. Over the course of the three games, roughly 90-120 hours of
gameplay, the concept is not explored save three or four cutscenes. Batman earns a 4 out of 10 for this
category because hes never really forced to confront what these impossible tasks should mean for him
and what kind of life he could have if he wasnt always needed to save Gotham. The Arkham series
Batman is has the highest score of the productions with a total average of 8.6.
From these scores it becomes evident that the videogame media source was able to most
completely showcase the abilities and capabilities of Batman, but now we are left with wondering why
that was. The medium itself boasted comic book like representations of his skills and traits in most
categories, but came up lacking in showing his willpower due to most of his decision and resolve to
press forward being done through the players decision to continue playing. In addition the ability to
design different missions requiring different gameplay types to proceed allowed for the developers to
give Batman the freedom to use gadgets accordingly. Whereas in a film or tv show episode the addition
of new tools slows down the narrative, the videogame medium welcomes it since it can be used as a
reward for completing challenges. Furthermore they are able to add a new device to for a player to use
to gradually present them with more difficult challenges that require more strategic choices to
overcome. By utilizing the medium as a tool to showcase the character the production team is able to
give players choices on how to take on scenarios, but not force them to utilize these new solutions, and
casually hide objective markers through showing Batmans detective skills pointing him where to
proceed with his investigations. In addition to the benefits gained by utilizing the mediums strength the
project also benefited from being given a large budget to utilize unlike the relatively low budgeted
animated series. It also benefits in that it exists within the realms of animation unlike the Nolan films
and was therefore able to avoid real life problems that can arise during the creative process, such as
how to accomplish a task despite constraints like physics, gravity, possible injury, the logistical problems
of getting a camera in a position to film any particular stunt, and having a man in a rigid costume having
to do acrobatics in fight scenes. Because the videogames were released after being given a long amount
of production time like the films they were able to enjoy the benefits of being able to have a large
amount of work go into all aspects of it and show everything that they had planned to showcase. In
conclusion, while the stories and events of the dark knight trilogy and the television program may be
entertaining and very good stories in their universes, the Batman: Arkham series of games manages to
utilize the medium to the fullest in order to best recreate the Batman who was featured in the comics.