Bruce Wayne was one of my all-time heroes growing up. I remember as a kid, I absolutely worshiped the Batman. To the 11-year-old me, there was something magnetic about Batman, an attractiveness that none of the other characters or superheroes possessed. What set Batman a step above, in my preadolescent brain at the time, was the simple fact that he was a superhero despite having no superpowers. He wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider or from an alien super planet that gave him super-strength and super-speed. Instead, he was just a regular guy. And that’s what made Bruce Wayne fascinating to young-me: Despite being so insanely rich, Bruce Wayne still chose a life of fighting crime under the guise of a secret identity. For whatever reason, this nobility and dedication just absolutely blew me away. Here was a guy so obscenely wealthy that he could buy his own island nation state to live on for the rest of his years. But instead, Bruce Wayne chose to run around in a cowl and cape, catching bad guys at night as the masked, vigilante caped crusader. As a child, I’d just found this on an indescribable level of awesome.
It wasn’t until I was well into my adult years did I come to realize how demented and deranged that Bruce Wayne must be to exist as a character. Traumatized by his parents’ gruesome murder, the man’s only friend is his manservant, Alfred. He lives alone with no wife or family. Instead, he just pours all of his free time into tinkering with his gizmos and gadgets in the bat cave, in his underground lair.
As I grow older, I find the fixtures of my youth quite strange and bewildering. Why did I admire what and whom I’d admired? Those values and lifestyles, at one point in my life did seem desirable and cool. But now, as an adult, just seem sad, juvenile, and wholly out of touch with reality. Actually, it’s even worse than that– in Batman’s case, I now see his specific lifestyle for what it truly is: Enormously unhealthy and downright awful.
Though, in the case of the Zack Snyder movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I can firmly say that movie is still one of my all-time favorites. The cinematography is all-out gorgeous. But even more than that, I really appreciate Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne training like crazy (like pushing that resistance sled and doing all of those pullups) in preparation of fighting Superman, a supreme being so mighty that he’s essentially an alien god. There is something about the complete and utter futility of that matchup: Middle-aged, rich white guy vs all-powerful supreme deity who shoots laser beams from his eyeballs which captures the essence of the human struggle and what it means to be alive and exist in the world as a Homo sapien. Snyder really knocked it out of the park with this one.