Batman Is A Bad Person

Alrighty, with DC Universe changing into Infinite soon, I thought I’d make one of my last posts on these forums a big one. One that’ll surely get me a lot of push back, but I’ve held my tongue on for too long now. So here it goes… Bruce Wayne as Batman is not a hero.

Now listen, before I go any further, if you are a fan of Batman, I mean no disrespect to you. You are more than welcome to disagree with me and love him. I understand as I used to be a huge fan of him myself, but in recent years I’ve really struggled with it. I think he has some MAJOR flaws that have been left unaddressed for far too long; and keep him from reaching the status of a hero.

So, to start, let’s define what a hero is. The best definition I’ve found online that I agree with is, “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for [their] brave deeds and noble qualities.” Now, it’s easy to say that Bruce Wayne is going out there and protecting the city from evil villains who want to hurt people, therefore he fits the definition. But I think that’s a very surface-level analysis of the character that doesn’t take the material seriously enough. So, let’s break down the character of Bruce Wayne and why his choice to be Batman is not heroic, but selfish and morally wrong.

Let’s start by analyzing why Bruce chose to become Batman. His parents were murdered in front of him at a young age and so as he grew older he decided to seek vengeance for them. I know this is incredibly well-worn territory, but it is extremely important! Bruce is not seeking to “protect” or “save” Gotham at first. Instead, he’s explicitly looking for vengeance for his parents. This is not nobility (a key aspect to being defined as a hero). It’s a rich kid playing dress-up as a form of self-therapy. Now, it could be argued that he grew out of this. And I would concede that just because something doesn’t start out as noble doesn’t mean it can’t become so. But I don’t think Bruce ever achieves nobility. Why? Because his choice to continue to be Batman reflects the fact that he doesn’t have Gotham’s best interest at heart.

We have to ask ourselves, is Batman actually solving any problems? And, if so, is this the best way to go about it? There are a lot of studies done on trying to understand why people commit crime. The results are nuanced and complex, but the general consensus revolve around things like, “poverty, parental neglect, low self-esteem, [and even] alcohol and drug abuse.” People who commit crimes are mostly not evil. They’re desperate individuals with almost no other options. When faced with the choice between letting your family starve or stealing a loaf of bread; 99% of people are always going to pick the latter. Which begs the question of if Batman’s use of highly aggressive force against most criminals is morally right. This is a man who will break limbs and physically fight most of his adversaries. Which I think is wrong. Now, to be clear, I’m not saying the criminals are in the moral right, but since Batman is the one being painted as a hero, I will always hold him to a moral high ground. He’s not doing anything to prevent the crimes from happening, he’s just beating up the people who commit them. Once again, these aren’t evil people, they’re desperate people. So, Bruce’s claim that he’s preventing crime through fear is absurd because these people are often choosing crime when there are no other options. Many of them will die if they don’t commit these crimes. Fear means nothing. Bruce’s choice to put on the cowl is REACTIONARY to crime, not proactive.

This is extremely relevant because Bruce Wayne is a BILLIONAIRE! With a “b.” It’s hard to comprehend how much money that is, but it’s a lot. Let’s put it in perspective. A million seconds is 11.5 days, while a BILLION seconds is 31.5 YEARS. That’s a LOT of money, and he didn’t have to work for a cent of it. All of it being handed to him. Bruce could solve all of Gotham’s problems if he wanted to. He COULD be proactive. Funding things like education, housing, infrastructure, etc. would all help reduce crime. In fact, these are often the most effective ways of doing so because it would get rid of many of the issues that force people to choose a life of crime. Allowing them to have other opportunities that are normally blocked off. But, instead, Bruce chooses to live in a huge mansion by himself and build an underground lair with high tech military gadgets and super computers. That is NOT noble. It is NOT heroic. It’s selfish. It focuses more on Bruce’s need to FEEL like a hero than to actually be one. Remember, he wants to avenge his parents, not save Gotham.

“Well, Omni, don’t you think you’re being too simplistic with criminals? Not all of them are good people. What about the Joker? He wants to blow up the city!!! Who’s gonna stop villians like him, huh?” I assume that’s going to be a response to my claims about crime. So, let’s talk about it. Most of Batman’s rogues gallery are often shown to be victims of mental health issues. The Riddler has schizophrenia, Two-Face has DID, Harley Quinn has Stockholm syndrome, etc. These are major motivations for their extreme crimes. But, it’s important to point out that mental illness in people does not outright make them dangerous. The key to preventing that is treatment. Having ways for people who suffer from mental illness to be treated and accommodated for. Once again, we must return to the point that Batman is a reaction to crime, not a prevention of it. If Bruce Wayne were to fund mental illness treatment, a lot of these crimes could be prevented. And I mean ACTUAL treatment, not the awful stuff happening at Arkham. It’s also worth noting that individuals like the Joker often cite Batman as the reason they commit the crimes they do. But, instead, Bruce chooses to violently beat up on them rather than actually help them and solve the problems that city faces.

A hero is, “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for [their] brave deeds and noble qualities.” What Bruce does as Batman is not noble nor brave. It’s reactionary, dangerous, and wrong. It doesn’t solve the problems it reacts to and perpetuates them. Which is a shame considering the insane amount of economic and political power Bruce holds in Gotham that could actually do good.

To those of you who think I’m overreacting and taking a fun comic book too seriously, that’s fine. You can totally view the character that way, but I firmly disagree. Batman is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture. He is a staple of the DC Trinity of heroes. He is a role model for many people (including children). Which is why I think framing him as a hero is wrong. Because he isn’t one. People shouldn’t aspire to be like him for the reasons I’ve listed above. I wish he was a hero, but he isn’t.

With all that said, I welcome those who disagree with me. Challenge my viewpoints and claims. Why do you disagree? I love having respectful, mature discussions with those of different perspectives with me. If you agree, feel free to voice your thoughts along with me! When did you come to that realization? Why do you feel that way? Participate too! So long as everyone is respectful, kind, and mature, I think that this could be a very productive and important conversation!

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I’m gonna have to respectfully disagree. Batman is a hero, but not a typical hero. He’s a vigilante. Superman and the Flash are not vigilantes. The city loves them. (mostly) As for Batman wasting his money on being Batman instead of funding charities and such to help people, keep in mind he does all of that stuff as Bruce Wayne. If you don’t think he can afford both, you said it yourself, a billion is A LOT. As for his treatment toward supervillains, I think you’d be onto something if Batman didn’t have a no-killing rule. Batman only punches the Joker because he won’t surrender and walk down to Arkham with Batman peacefully. The criminals force Batman to do it. Also, with a few exceptions like Batman Telltale, Thomas and Martha Wayne had always tried to support the community and the poor, and yet they were still shot by the thing they tried to prevent. That’s why Bruce Wayne isn’t enough.

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I don’t believe Batman is a “throw punches first ask questions later” kind of guy. If he hits you, he’s done his homework and you had it coming.

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There have been more than a few examples of Bruce doing all that he can to persuade villains away from a life of crime. The ones like Joker who insist it’s his fault are using him as a scapegoat. It’s easier to blame him than it is to admit fault and change your ways.

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@Rip_Rubbler Sure, Bruce won’t kill but he has no problem putting people into comas and giving them other serious long term injuries. Keep in mind that he does not restrict these tactics to extreme examples like the joker. All criminals deal with his violence. And while there are a few instances of Bruce being charitable, this is hardly the focus or case. We also don’t ever see these things come to fruition. Arkham is still an awful place for the mentally ill and there are still insane wealth disparities in Gotham. If he is donating, he’s not donating enough. Now, I get that just watching a dude go around being charitable isn’t a very interesting story. I’m just saying he shouldn’t be labeled a hero is all. What he does is not noble.

@TheTerrificToyman I can point to countless instances of Batman throwing out excessive violence on low-level criminals and thugs across comics, shows, and movies. This is a very common occurrence. And while he does try and talk some off the ledge, that is very rarely the case. Once again, Batman’s actions are REACTIONARY not proactive. He’s not preventing crime. I’ll say this again, I understand that doesn’t make for an interersting to read about that. I get it. I’m not saying to change the way Batman acts. I’m just saying don’t label him a hero and have other characters challenge his ways more.

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Alright, name a few.

You can only do so much to prevent a crime before it’s been committed. He been shown to give $$$ to countless charities and programs in Gotham to make their lives better.

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Omni,your words ring true in my opinion as well.
YouTube has a channel called infinite axis where the host explained this especially well. He has another study of the joker on how why he can’t be diagnosed in arkham. Because, he is supersane (4 wall like Deadpool in marvel comic’s). Please give it a watch . you’ll be surprised.
Harley holidays everyone :harley_thinkhqtas:

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ok it depends on which version of Batman sometimes he is not a good person other timeshe is a wonderful person with so many interpretations all can be true. also its not like Bruce does not due an immense amount of charity. also he often says he is not a good person so his actions may be a self destroying prophecy, he thinks he is not good enough or unworthy of love so he destroys his relationships. yeah this rambles a lot sorry

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Some examples of him beating up lower-level criminals:

  • Batman Vs. Superman is full of instances of Bruce shooting thugs/gang members at places like the docs. I’m not talking about Lex Luthor or other people, I’m talking about those dudes he mows down in the batmobile.
  • The recent trailer for The Batman shows him brutally beating down on a gang member as others watch (some on the verge of tears) before exclaiming “I am vengeance.”
  • Play any of the Batman games and you’ll find yourself using the same style of attacks on thugs as major villians.
  • Think about the way batman beats up people and breaks them down physically in interrogations (a highly unethical tactic that is considered a war crime in real life.

Even if this wasn’t the case, he’s still not using his wealth appropriately. Your claim that funding charities can only do so much is ridiculous. Once again, I point you to the studies on why people commit crimes. People aren’t inherently evil. They are forced into desperation due to extraneous environmental factors. Sure, the Wayne Foundation helps here and there, but clearly it’s not doing enough considering the insane wealth disparity that still exists in Gotham. Also, clearly acting as Batman isn’t effective when they same villians and criminals continue to do the same stuff

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Yes, it’s true that Bruce does charitable things, but Gotham has remained pretty much unchanged since he came into power as Batman and CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Wealth disparity is still a huge issue and crime remains consistent. You’re right in that each version of Batman varies in this issue, but any version of Bruce that chooses to be Batman instead of using his wealth properly embodies this issue. Just to reiterate though, I understand that wouldn’t be an interesting comic to read. I’m just saying he shouldn’t be labeled a hero and that he should maybe see a bit more push back from his decisions from those near him.

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I find that Batman only ever causes permanent damage to people in the versions that don’t fully understand him. Sure he breaks bones, sure he puts people in comas, but once they’ve recovered, they’re quite likely to regret their previous decision. Of course their IS that one bit from Injustice 2 where Batman punches some random thug like 8 times in the face and Robin says “so you won’t kill, but you’re fine with traumatic brain injuries?” While that moment is funny, and the Injustice games have a pretty good track record, that moment is a horrific misunderstanding. Most versions of Batman don’t portray him as that brutal. So I wouldn’t consider that type of behavior as the character’s fault, rather the incarnation. If you look at the Nolan movies or any of the cartoons, Batman is much more controlled and understanding. As oppose to the Snyder movies or certain moments in the Burton movies where he’s exactly how you describe him.

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As for your other point about him not donating enough, keep in mind many of Gotham’s decision makers are corrupt, so it’s very likely Bruce Wayne’s money could fall into the wrong hands, even when donating to someone he KNOWS is clean.

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I’ll refer you to my other response on other instances where Batman uses extreme violence, but I firmly disagree that the criminals have “learned their lesson.” What he did didn’t address any of the issues that led to them committing those crimes. They’re not evil or regular people with a moment of lapsed judgement. People who commit crimes are often desperate individuals with not many other options. They aren’t afraid of Batman because they have nothing left to lose. If anything those instances of violence (even minor) has made their issues WORSE and made them more desperate because now they have medical bills to pay off. (Which is not cheap in America.) They are very likely to return to what they were doing.

And to your point about corrupt politicians, Bruce has political power too. If he were REALLY worried about the corruption of where his donations were going to. He could follow it personally or just run for office himself. He has the power to ensure they go to the right places. If he’s worried about public/government organizations, have him run private ones. There are very easy workarounds for him.

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So you’re saying these criminals are forced into crime from desperation and extraneous environmental factors, but programs designed to help people who are in desperate need of help are useless at stopping crime…?

No, I’ve been saying the exact opposite. I’m saying a dude in a Batsuit beating them into a coma isn’t.

I think you’re misunderstanding what I said, when I said:

I’m said they’re not doing ENOUGH. Not that they’re not doing anything. In real life charities such as that do make big differences, so why aren’t they working in the comics? Either something scummy is happening or they aren’t being funded enough. I’m saying that specifically the Wayne Foundation isn’t working. Not that charitable causes aren’t the solution. I think that’s where you’re misunderstanding me.

Batman V Superman, the Arkham games, the new Batman film- once you start wearing Joker face paint, or Two Face masks, and walking around in groups carrying guns, knives, etc- you’re reasons for turning to crime are pointless. Batman lost his parents to a desperate man with a gun. Make that choice, and you get a Batman fist to the face and a chance to make a different choice later.

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You are actively choosing to ignore WHY people commit crime. They aren’t evil. If the only dude that’ll higher you is a criminal, you have to do it to stay alive. I find it funny that you refer to Bruce as a man who made the right choice despite bad things happening to him because you completely ignore that he also inherited billions of dollars and became one of the most powerful people in the world. That is NOT common for most people, but if that’s how it is for you I would love it if you could loan me a million or two./s

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I do think Batman should exist, but he should still be doing just as much as Bruce Wayne. If he does his job as Bruce Wayne, he’ll provide a sustainable way for the less fortunate to get back on their feet (and or recover from beatdowns) then if they for whatever reason ignore his actions as Bruce Wayne, Batman will essentially force them to go the other route. If you don’t want to get help from Bruce Wayne for whatever reason, Batman will come and fight you, and you’ll lose. If you’re just stealing something like a loaf of bread, the police will take care of it.

As for your other point that Bruce Wayne should just run for mayor and give up being Batman, it’d be a little suspicious if Batman suddenly stopped existing and Bruce Wayne also became a lot more active. If you’re saying he should’ve never become Batman in the first place, it would’ve just been another case of Harvey Dent Likely.

So you’re saying these people who commit assault and/or murder for the different Arkham villains aren’t evil as long as…what… their hearts were in the right place…?

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He’s broke now- he’s been broke in the past. He’s still going to find a way to fight crime :man_shrugging:

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