The release of Christopher Nolan’s third Batman masterpiece—The Dark Knight Rises—is a good few months away, but the superhero is already on everyone’s mind. Pictures of Catwoman (as portrayed by Anne Hathaway) that keep surfacing on the Internet along with a brand new Batman video game (Batman: Arkham City) in the market have got everybody buzzing with talk of the Bat.
It seems to me that everyone loves Batman. More, in fact, than any other superhero ever created. In fact, even the chicks dig him. Batman didn’t exactly win the superhero lottery, so to speak. He can’t shoot lightening out of his eyes or fly around like a bird—what makes him stand out are his impressive skills as a detective. All he knows is that he has to defeat the crooks, thugs, and villains of Gotham city, no matter the cost.
Dark is the Knight.
So, what is it about him that makes him the most desirable of all superheroes for most women (and even some men)? I have been thinking about it and here’s what I came up with:
Batman has the best supervillains.
I asked my friends to try and name three Superman villains other than Lex Luthor and this is what they came up with—
c) Red Kryptonite
d) Gold Kryptonite
(By now I could see where this was going, so I asked them to stop.)
Brainiac is a villain, although he is kind of lame, and kryptonite is not exactly a villain. So, there you go. Seriously, think about it. When you think of the best villains out there, you always think of the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, and Mr. Freeze, and they are all Batman villains. It’s also probably because their names are rather descriptive and memorable, and they are all explicitly psychologically motivated. Two-Face is schizophrenic, the Riddler is obsessive-compulsive, and Killer Croc is, well, a Croc that kills. It goes without saying that a superhero who manages to fight such vicious villains without any real superpowers would easily be the most desirable. This brings me to point number two.
Girls like ’em strong.
Batman has no real superpowers.
In other words, he is a self-constructed superhero, unlike others who were bitten by radioactive spiders or born with various advantageous mutations, or as aliens on distant planets. Being just a man, he still manages to be an expert in various sciences, dominate every known martial art, and push the limits of physical endurance. Women like their men to be strong, intelligent, and very real. Batman fits the bill perfectly.
Batman is real and practical.
The best action stories often have lower stakes. No one can relate to the idea of a galaxy-eating creature, threatening to consume the world. However, you can put yourself in the position of being kidnapped by a madman. Batman is a detective. He needs real world, practical solutions. He can’t just punch all his problems into the sun.
The city makes the man.
Batman is the caped crusader, a vigilante, and the protector of Gotham City. Gotham is the best city because it’s the worst city. It’s the den of inequity, veniality, and urban decay, which helps it seem consistently modern and interesting as opposed to Marvel’s candy-coated version of New York. With other superheroes, there is usually this feeling that they are protecting their city from external threats but with Batman, the threat is very much internal. Again, this makes him a winner with the ladies.
The man is a gizmo geek.
Honestly, women may not say it often but gadgets do make them go weak in the knees. Not surprisingly, then, a man’s hotness/coolness quotient rises exponentially if he owns every kind of gadget under the sun and maybe even some beyond it. Batman is one such man who possibly owns all kinds of gadgets. He even has a utility belt full of gizmos for every occasion like Batarangs, detonators, and a signal device for the Batmobile, a re-breather, lock picks, forensic kits, and a first-aid kit. He even keeps some kryptonite with him just in case Superman ever goes over to the dark side. Of course, there is also the Batmobile.
I’ve already mentioned gadgets, but the Batmobile is in a different league altogether. The most impressive superhero vehicle, de facto, is also the most impressive fictional car. It was originally a red convertible that looked similar to a Lincoln. However, the later Batmobiles became a bit more stylish and looked more like something that Batman would drive. It didn’t just look nifty, though, over the years the Batmobile gained many different kinds of gadgets that include but are not limited to a dashboard radar, a traveling crime lab, a Geiger counter, a sound-distinguishing Bat-tector, grappling equipment, and a fire extinguisher. It doesn’t stop here. Batmobiles have also been able to climb walls, fly, jump from buildings, fly in space and, of course, run at high speeds thanks to its rocket engine. Needless to say, every woman would want one of these in the garage.
Modern creators tend to favour the grittier, more psychologically-disturbed version of Batman. However, even the sillier Batman storylines are better than they have any right to be. For example, Batman and Robin was probably the worst Batman film ever, but I would still prefer to watch it over something as ridiculous as Superman Returns.
Batman is mysterious.
Batman’s secret identity works as a good cover in itself. Not many would consider that the playboy and philanthropist, Bruce Wayne, would dress up like a bat and run around Gotham City fighting crime. Truth be told, there is something about the dark, brooding manner of Batman that intrigues most people.
Girls like ‘em strong.
Batman is always using his brain noodle and usually isn’t as reckless as heroes like Superman. He has to be careful, since he isn’t invulnerable to things like bullets, knives, and fists. However, he is capable of taking a beating. He is trained to fight in quite a few different martial arts styles and he has gone through intense training. In fact, he is even strong enough to bend steel bars. It’s been said that he is even stronger than some beings with superhuman strength. Not to mention that he has great speed, agility, endurance, and he is an incredibly skilled acrobat.
Because the Hollywood actors make him desirable.
Christian Bale, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Michael Keaton, among many others, have portrayed Batman in various films. A little bit of Batman lies in all of them. Christian Bale’s gravelly growl, Adam West’s non sequitur one-liners, and George Clooney’s nipples have all defined the character in their own way. And, well, they are all über hot.
Batman is and always will be the best superhero for me. He is (arguably) the most influential culturally, and the most adaptable character; one that will always emerge a winner, especially for the ladies.