HISTORY CHANNEL - BATMAN UNMASKED: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE DARK KNIGHT

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Batman Unmasked Cover
Did you know that the character of Batman was modelled after three people? Now the first person was the gay author, Truman Capote. The second person was the legendary British comic, Charlie Chaplin. And the third person was the well known star of Monkey Porn, Larry Bigcock. Now if you do not believe me, just watch this 44-minute documentary made in 2008.


The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition)


THE STORY:
Do you know who the Batman really is? Or do you just think you just know? Because that is the question which this feature length presentation -- developed by the History Channel -- tries to answer for us.

Though, to help them illustrate this topic in a more dynamic way, they utilize the visuals of the two recent Batman films -- ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ -- as well as stock photography and artwork from numerous DC comic book related publicized sources. Moreover, there is also: (1) Specialist incites: from the likes of Benjamin R. Karney, Jeffrey Lieberman, Danny Fingeroth, and Robert Clotworthy. (2) Comic book incites: from known personages such as Paul Levitz, Denny O'Neil, and Dan Didio. (3) Filmic incites: made by Christian Bale, Emma Thomas, and Christopher Nolan. And (4) Many, many more.

Here is a rough break down of what this documentary entails:

  • Who is the Batman: When a lone gunman shot down his parents in front of his very impressionable eyes, a young Bruce Wayne trained himself to fight back against crime, by training both his body and mind, before garnishing himself as a Bat.
  • Why a Bat: As a kid, Bruce became scared of Bat’s when he fell down a well within the grounds of his parents country Mansion. Then, after his parents died, he remembered this emotion, and utilised it to let ‘evildoers know fear’.  
  • Comic Book History: Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939. Since then, he has gone through numerous changes within his published career, developed and innovated by various artists and writers, until he has become the urban warrior we all know and love today. Granted, some of Batman’s interpretations have been somewhat ‘safe’ by in large. Still, at his centre, Batman has relatively stayed true to form come what may.    
  • The Villains: Over the years, Batman has amassed a very vast rogue’s gallery, with each of his nemesis’ possessing a slightly perverted ‘origin tale’ that is similar to his own. However, unlike Batman, the Scarecrow uses fear by spreading it upon others – the Penguin uses his cunning for his own self worth – Two-Face uses his duality via a whim of fate – Catwoman uses her prowess to further her own pocket – plus the Joker is a nut.  
  • Unanswered questions: Now there are a lot of unanswered question that this presentation does not resolve, which are – What is the real mask, Bruce Wayne or Batman? Is Batman a vigilantly, a hero, or a man on a crusade? Why doesn’t Bruce go into therapy to resolve his loss? Why can’t Bruce find true love? And why does the actor who plays Batman on film, Christian Bale, speak with an American accent when he is Welsh?

The quest continues....




THE REVIEW:
OK, I have to admit, ‘Batman Unmasked’ is one of those documentaries that a Batman aficionado – such as myself – does not really need to see. However, if you are someone who knows nothing about this man – like say, Tim Burton – this is a program that you have to watch, because it gives you the general sales pitch to old pointy-ears.

Batman Smiles
Oh! Did you think that what I just said sounded a tad too negative? Yes – I think that it did too. Well, you see, this is a difficult program for someone like me to review. I know about Batman –  I know about his origins – his innovations – his villains – his tragedies – those he inspired – those that inspired Bob and Bill to create him – the comparisons – the allies – the vehicles – the technologies – heck, even what type of toothpaste he uses. So how can I say anything negative about this documentary, when in essence, I would have wanted to create it myself?

Wait a minute! I know what I will do! I will get Batman to review this documentary instead of me!

Hellllooooooo – Batttyyyy – I have something to ask youuuu.


Batman shocked


[Four minutes later]

Batman without a mask
So these people think that know who I am, huh? As if they could analyse me and then put me on show in this 44 minute show? Grrrr! Nobody can do that – not even the likes of great minds who have chartered my wares. OK, I did like what writers, Paul Levitz and Denny O'Neil, plus head-shrink, Benjamin R. Karney, said about me – that was very insightful. Moreover, I did enjoy the comparisons made, between both my life and that of Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the other comparisons between my enemies and other noted criminals – very astute indeed. Also, I thought that the overall presentation was very slick – though maybe a bit too slick if you suffer from epilepsy (if you get what I mean).

As for the rest of ‘Batman Unmasked’ – it wasn’t that bad – because it tried its best to psychoanalyse me, by presenting so many opinions, that no definable answer could ever be reached. Hmm – as if they ever could. Grr! But then again, that is the problem with documentaries such as these – too much can sometimes dilute the focus, and make it appear too superficial as a serious piece of work. Which reminds me, I have to go now, so it is over to you reviewer, for your final summation.


Batman Begins Wallpaper


Boing!

Batman Family
Errr – thanks for that Batty – nice one. Anyway, overall, I thought that this documentary was OK within the scheme of things – as it charted a brief course for a character that has had a vast and varied career. Also, on the plus side, it was well presented, had some good incites, and was easy to follow.

However, on the negative side, there was nothing about Batman’s allies, his innovations, or about the money that he owes me for fixing his bloody computer.

All in all, a good comic book related documentary – and worth the watch for any Bat or comic book fans.

THE RATING: B+