On Friday the last chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, was finally being released, I couldn’t delay it so I went to the cinema on my own to watch it. I enjoyed it a lot, leaving aside this questioning of Nolan’s qualities as a director.
You know I’m not very into comics, but Spiderman has been the exception, and the alter ego of Peter Parker has always been my favorite hero. I somehow relate to him because the real character is, at the end of the day, a loser, an average guy who doesn’t enjoy any sort of privilege nor advantage, and whose life is pretty much alike the others’. Unfortunately I got pretty disappointed with the films related. Sam Reimi didn’t fulfill my expectations at all, and I don’t think The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb will earn my heart either.
I reckon Batman adaptations into big screen have been more successful for many reasons, starting from aesthetics, Bat devices, very impressive especially when you are a kid, the directors managing the projects, Burton and Nolan (sorry Schumacher, I don’t even know why I’m mentioning you here, your parts were crap), Gotham City as another important personified character, and over all, the villains.
I adore the villains Batman has to defeat to keep Gotham safe: The Joker no doubt is the best, pure charm and attitude, but others such as Cat Woman, Ra’s Al Ghoul and his daughter Talia, The Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Riddler, Two-Face, Bane…aren’t to be ignored nor despised. Basically, these villains rock.
The passing of years and the deeper knowledge of the dark knight, have eventually made me fall in love with Batman.
The ultimate reason for reaffirming my crush on Batman and Bruce Wayne was the reading of a book that fell onto my hands more than 10 years ago. Batman Visto por un Psiquiatra, whose translation would be Batman Analyzed by a Psychiatrist, was a work written by a Spanish psychiatrist, Dr. J.A Ramos Brieva. The initial idea, was to write a comment on a famous fiction character, classic and universal, to submit to a contest, whose prize would be economic, and the distribution of the paper among people related to this medical field. The result wasn’t suitable for the contest purposes, and luckily he managed to have his work fully developed, published by an editorial company. Unfortunately I haven’t found any edition of this study in English, thus I’m summing up the most relevant details in this post.
According to the doctor, on one hand, the hero and the human being could be compared to Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and should be clearly separated, although it’s true at some point the dark knight finally devours the millionaire.
Batman is a creature of the night that represents all the dark features of the human beings. He is related to the dark, the evil and the perverse. His mask, an essential element, implies the trespassing of the rules and the law without being identified, which also means acting with complete impunity detached from the establishment.
There’s an instinctive part of the hero which represents what is forbidden: aggressiveness and sex, both feared and fascinating. Batman is so popular and adored because at the end of the day he behaves in the way the rest of us, subjected to rules, cannot do. He’s useful and necessary for many of us. Dr Ramos comes to the conclusion, after some research, that regardless the complexity of Batman, most of women agree we’d love to have a Batman in our lives. No need to say I agree, especially if personified by Christian Bale. Ha!
Bruce Wayne is introduced as a wonder boy, with an outstanding intelligence, who manages to cope with society in a balanced way, although the creation of the Batman, shows issues in terms of adapting to society. Moral and justice are his main concerns, however these cause him anxiety, as he’s unable to develop emotionally. Let’s say he suffered from a post traumatic stress disorder not in average terms, perhaps due to his social condition and education among other reasons.
Wayne does not suffer a personality disorder, but, according to this study, has a pre depressive personality, this is, he’s a melancholic. Among other characteristics, a the melancholic personality features responsibility, a strong sense of obligation, and accuracy in acts, implying the anticipation element, in order to avoid any possible surprises, reduce the uncertainty and eradicate the unexpected. Thus, Batman MUSTN’T make mistakes.
When saying that his is a pre-depressive personality is because there are two aspects which could push Wayne into depression: the remaining and the including. This last one has to do with the impossibility of performing beyond certain limit. The extreme effort cannot be increased when new demands are brought out. Thus, the melancholic type falls into depression due to this non accomplishment. The remaining aspect which might lead to the pathology makes reference to the constant feeling of the subject being in permanent debt with society.
All this been said, doubt, guilt and anxiety define Bruce Wayne. Not too cool, huh? The poor rich boy is self tormented unable to overcome his parents’ loss in a normal way, and despite his fortune and comfortable life, is not able to be in peace after all.
The study also goes on with the evolution of Wayne’s traumas with the passing of years, and Dr Ramos, as the specialist, dares to analyze what would be the most suitable treatment for our hero. At this point, dreaming of being Batman’s shrink is quite an ego trip, which makes sense though. We all wish Wayne the best, but the question is, at any cost?
In the times of Prozac, psychotherapy, psychology and the tendency to label any state of mind under a recognized and recorded pathology, we don’t want The Vigilante disappearing due to any successful and affordable treatment.
It’s great to be acquainted with what’s going on under the bat mask, so we can understand the character better, but the way he manages his traumas is useful for Gotham City, is the source of our amusement, and his trespassing symbol is what many of us praise.
Now if you excuse me, I have some business with Dr Ramos Brieva, in case you need to contact him, I suggest you call Arkham Asylum. He’s dangerous.