The Will to Act - Anticitizen-One Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Will to Act

If someone had told me almost 1 year ago when I started my blogging career that it would have taken me this long to finally start the blog about one of my favorite icons of pretty much ever, then I would have appropriately complained. But it’s finally here. And believe me; oh I have waited so much for this one particularly.


My memory fails me. 18 years of life is a large period covered in memories that can get hard to remember all of it. Even more things that happened during everyone’s infancy steps where there’s no way to logically connect and realize everything that happens around us. It’s all like incomprehensible chaos. So of course it gets tougher when it’s about remembering things that had happened almost more than 15 years ago. But in that period, more exactly before that period, somewhere, sometime I recall I forever fell in love with the Batman character. It would be this figure that I would admire and respect with each passing year. And Batman and I have a long history, it’s just such a shame I can’t even remember when it was that I first met him. It doesn’t matter though, efficient memory or not, epic must be the word to use the first moment anyone sees him.


The Batman character is yet another one shaped by tragedy. The most basic, common, and compassionate tragedy that could exist in the world of anything regarding a story. But, one shouldn’t forget that, if we consider and analyze deeply his early life; young Bruce Wayne (at least economically) didn’t really suffer from life’s ruthless whips that would come if one was born with absolutely no food on the table or without home where one could rest his head.


Bruce Wayne’s character later on becomes a really admirable figure that, if properly analyzed, is one of the most complex and special in its own way.


The death of his parents drove him to an even more special state. Was he born with it? Or was he, instead, created? That’s entirely and absolutely debatable. Because, as almost a quarter of the world knows, he would later on become as the popular Batman form.  The Batman can be a one of a kind figure. He is, as it has been previously mentioned in a certain movie, the outcast in a world ruled by laws and standards but with an admirable sense of morality.


His one life code: To not kill.


Ever.


Seriously.


He goes on his crime fighting job with this rule always at the tip of his mind. Break it? Then you don’t have the Batman persona we all know. Or, at least, how he considers himself.


But why does he stand so firmly by that one moral code? Well the obvious response would be how affected he ended up by the death of his parents. He does not kill, he does not use any kind of weapons, and he does not support the idea of punishing a criminal beyond his physical resistance that would, of course, lead to his death.


Then again, that sense of morality, of what’s fair and of bringing pure unprecedented justice and harmony is another big part of the Batman persona. Of course, people around him do not agree with him. Everyone have their ways and their preferred methods regarding crime-fighting. Everything is subjective. Whereas you get one person who thinks it’s preferable to have a pile of criminal bodies on his conscience, you get Batman’s almost opposite of preferring to just lock them up. And when you compare it or contrast it like this, then you find out Batman’s definitely doing and thinking something the right way.


But that’s not the thing I most admire about the Batman figure. You know, that tenacity and just not having fear of anything that life puts in front of you. That’s what I most like about him. How he’s capable of performing these feats you could only even dream of doing, but the main reason of all of this is the way how he has accomplished everything he has done so far; and that’s how he basically doesn’t show fear or fear anything. Or, more correctly put, how he resists that fear. Everyone has fears, at least everyone that I know that is human, but Batman has the unique ability and resistance to avoid it. That will power.


But everyone has their limits and of course even Batman. Just when you find out that there’s someone else with the same intelligence, tenacity, and will power just as you; then that’s the moment you realize it doesn’t matter how big, unique, or special you are. No one is untouchable.


Batman is one of those few fictional characters that you could just admire and respect in the way you would do to a real figure or icon in the world. But it’s not only him, not only how he acts, decides, and behaves. It’s the ideas surrounding him. How he views the world in a completely different and unique way. You know, as that last beacon of hope in a world where most people have lost or diminished their ethic. He stands strong in what he believes and how he thinks he’s capable of changing the suffering world around him.


But Batman has always been missing something. He’s always been at the service of people and of Gotham too. But he has never stood as a public figure. He wants to become this icon but he has always been hiding in the dark. He needs to stand up, show his face (obviously not literally) and finally become something more. Something that lasts forever. Something incorruptible. Something that no one or nothing can change or transform, something that will stay there the way it is and the way it was originally planted.


It’s to finally accomplish his mission and end the purpose of the Batman. To transcend the barriers of the physical and become something everlasting. For that to happen,


He has to rise.



“What does that mean?”


“RISE.”

 


In just what sense does “rise” enter? Or how do I consider it? There’s many ways for the word to be taken and defined, but there’s just one way it can be put into Batman’s world. You can give that word many deep meanings and senses. But I think I might have found it. And this is just the way I see it, but also at the same time the way it most makes sense.


You have this character that has fought since the beginning to become something more. To plant justice where it’s most needed. First defeating his most deep and terrible fears by learning to control them. To master his body and mind the best and most possible way he can. And just having that will power to accomplish everything he has proposed to himself.


The whole purpose of the Batman has been to inspire peopleand society into believing there’s always a choice. To not take the obvious and most simple route that just comes to mind. To learn and realize that if you propose it to yourself, you’re capable of doing it too. The “if I managed to do it, then you surely can too”. But this phrase does not cover everything. I mean, not everyone can be a Dark Knight. But you get what I’m trying to say.


The Batman strongly believes that even in our darkest, lowest moment we must never lose hope. That there will always be a way for us to restore our lost faith.


 

“Because sometimes, sometimes truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”


 

Returning to the question; how exactly do you rise? And how does one do it in the sense of being the Batman?  You know, a while back I was trying to come up with something reasonable and with sense to describe this “rise” term in Batman’s universe. Does he have to die for people to finally understand what his message was after all? Does he have to reveal himself to the world and show how even a playboy billionaire graced by the fortune of his long dead parents and how at first glance he might seem like a life and job inexperienced person, still managed to become something almost as near spiritually perfect as the Batman? Or does he need to rise as an icon? And to finally stop hiding and show the world what he’s exactly capable of and just how much he’s willing to sacrifice and leave behind just for the sake of everyone else. I’m more into a consensus with the last one.


 But just how far will he need to go? How far can you push the Batman icon until finally reaching its boundary? Well, maybe the icon or symbol has no limits. But we all have to remember that Batman, Bruce, does have. After all, he’s still just a man. He’s made of flesh and blood. He can be disposed. Destroyed. This is something he himself said. That’s the moment he knew he had to become something else. Something bigger. Something greater than him, than the League of Shadows, than everything and everyone else. Something transcendental.


But just exactly how far can you push Batman? How far can he go and actually endure? His mortality has always been his biggest obstacle. And by having loved and esteemed ones around (albeit not that many now) this just makes it more difficult. He has relationships, something he has to take into account every time he goes into a life-threatening and almost suicidal situations.


The state and situation of the Batman and the thread he’s been depending on has never before seemed so thin.



“You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father.”


“I swore to them that I would protect you… and I haven’t.”


 

The line from Alfred resonated a lot with me. Because it’s true. How much time has it passed since the death of his parents and how much almost-suicidal risks has he taken, and while threatening the future and legacy of the Wayne family? I was actually quite shocked when I remembered how he is still just an afflicted boy. He still is, and in some ways fighting is how he still unconsciously feels responsible for the death of his mother and father. We have to remember that the grandiose Batman figure is based and has his roots on that event that night on crime alley. Even his whole suit reflects on his childhood. You know, how he gained that fear of bats when falling into that cave (that’d be Nolan’s universe I’m talking about on this blog) when he was a kid and once he meets with one of those bats again one night in his studio. Then he decides to build the image and bases the fear and  estrangement of Batman on exactly them.


The big, fearful Batman image that criminals see on that world and that we see today is still that already long-beaten fear of Bruce that he once had when he was young. Again, we must not forget how Batman is still a sad and melancholic character. He is solitary and so is Bruce. And sometimes I forget that. As tough and ruthless he may seem sometimes, he still has the interior personality and heart of that never-ending guilt of a kid that really never forgot and probably will never forget that night where his life changed forever. Or was condemned forever.



[Wayne Manor burning down]


“What have I done, Alfred? Everything my family… my father built…”


“The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.”


“I wanted to save Gotham, I failed.”



Being and building Batman has sure been a tough road. You can see.


The Wayne manor fire on Batman Begins is one of my favorite and an important pivotal moment in the movie. We see a disappointed and confused Bruce Wayne wondering if trying to become Batman and helping the citizens of Gotham was worth it. Because he knew it was going to be a painful road full of tragedy and sacrifice, but Bruce had not yet locked unto that idea. This wouldn’t be the first time he would want to leave the Batman suit and title. Because Bruce, not Batman, still wants to live a normal life. He still wants. He just became Batman to inspire some sense into the people of Gotham. To teach them there’s always more to that obvious, seemingly desolate and obvious choice when we are faced with desperate measures.


This is when an interesting dichotomy occurs. The separation between two entities and forms. Between two people and ideas. Between a man and an icon. Bruce chose to be the Batman and arise upon the breaking hell in Gotham at the beginning of his journey. He knew it would be hard and painful, but maybe he hadn’t fully realized the idea just yet. With great power comes great responsibility, it was once said. And the moment Bruce transformed into Batman and made the world became aware of his actions,


There was no going back.



 

“Hundreds will be killed. I need your help to stop the attack.”


“He’ll kill Talia.”


“You need to think this through. Batman can’t let all these people die.”


“I realize it’s difficult, sir, but you need to decide if one life is worth sacrificing to save a thousand?”


“Don’t do this, Alfred.”


Batman must save Gotham.”


-Taken from Batman: Arkham City’s finale



 

 

This part here is one of my favorite dialogue and conversations found in Batman: Arkham City. What Alfred was trying to show to Bruce and make sense is that, once in the Batman suit, his priorities and his entire being changes completely. He becomes a different man. He’s not Bruce anymore. He has become something else, and he needs to be conscious of that. And this particular dialogue, for some moment, he lets the Batman character be taken over his real personality, by his own self. And he shouldn’t. He forgot Batman’s responsibility and focused on himself and only on his personal priorities. In this case, his romance with Talia.


But he knows that every time he puts on the Batman suit he needs and has to become something else. His whole priorities and ways of thinking and act change. He does not act for himself only, but he starts to act in the name of everyone, collectively for the greater good and the ultimate well-being. But to this point, it’s understandable he broke from the Batman entity and returned to be… himself. You can only abandon your true self, necessities and human condition so many times. In this case Batman was holding unto the last and the only love interest he had. And, as corny at it’ll sound, his last ray of light into that darkness-filled tunnel he knows as his life. Because, again, as heroic and brave Batman is, he’s still missing and has been abandoning his human condition with every second and minute he spends with the Bat-suit on.


In the end, that was his ultimate sacrifice by becoming Batman.


Having to leave Bruce behind.


 

“People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?”


“Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They'll hate you for it, but that's the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.”



 

It’s obvious that being Batman is not an easy thing to do. Not only in the physical, full of tormenting pain it might involve; but of the seemingly insane ethical and moral choices one would have to make. Some that would just go against everything you believe or stood for, against absolutely everything that makes up your being and your mind, choices that would break any other man. But, because of Batman’s special and enforced condition, he has the courage to take them and make good out of them in the end. It’s not easy, it must be a hell. Having to know that everything you work so hard and tear up yourself in the process might not have the expected moral reward you were waiting for. Because of how Batman operates within and above society and anything regarding the most basic of politics and society. As Alfred said, he can be the outlaw, by his unique and special interference and condition he can be the one to take the hard but the correct choice. The choice that now not many people might see. That’s where the sense and reason behind the Batman figures begins to take form. Being able to see through all the smoke, always find a way past it and always finishing the journey by reaching an ethical outcome. But for all of that, it all comes with a huge price to pay.


Many would not even stand thinking about it. Basically becoming the pariah of a whole society. You know you will be hated, but you will have to endure no matter what. You know you’re making the right move, but the most correct and right things in life do not always come along with the best satisfaction one could have hoped for. It’s like we would be blind to it. Because all of the means that have to be used along the ride are expendable, they aren’t of utter importance. The real payoff and reward comes once it is all over, once you have reached that end. It is all subjective, but as subjective and different it might seem for any person, you will always need that will. The will to act. Without the will, there’s nothing.



“Your parents' death was not your fault. It was your father's.”
[Bruce furiously attacks Ducard, but Bruce is easily defeated]
Anger does not change the fact that your father failed to act.”
“The man had a gun!”
Would that stop you?”
I've had training!”
The training is nothing! The will is everything!”
[Ducard bests Bruce once again]
The will to act.”


Everything Batman has ever done to this point, everything he has accomplished has been greatly in thanks to what he was taught. Of having that will to act and change, and of course, of having that special gift of being able to master and resist the fear. Fear, ultimately, is what stops us from doing many thing that we wish or would like to do. Fear is like that invisible object blocking us from our goal. Fear is natural and inherent. But Batman made it more than that. He was able to turn it around and use it on other ones, to other people. It’s like he was able to show his interior and fractured psyche, project it unto himself, and inflict fear on others. That’s why he chose the suit of a Bat. The theatricality, having that ability to control your enemies’ fears and emotions. By projecting his traumatized childhood unto his vigilante suit, he was able to construct something else, something more deep. He, in the end, made the inflicting fear onto others personal. By making it personal he ended up producing something more powerful.


 

“But a criminal is not complicated. What you really fear is inside yourself. You fear your own power. You fear your anger, the drive to do great or terrible things.”


 

And having that ability to control fear and inflict it unto others is absolutely huge. The things you would be able to accomplish now would only be limited by your physique. And, of course, if you have that will. All of the three, which Batman have already mastered. But… can he be able to have and control them forever? It would seem not even Batman is able to carry all that for the rest of his life. In the end, not even Batman can hold unto that perfection.

 


“Why don’t you just… kill me?”


“Your punishment must be more severe.”



 


It's evident and already known how Bane was able to finally break the seemingly un-breakable Bat. By literally breaking him, corrupting and affecting everything else he had worked so hard for to achieve that mental stability, Bane would finally demonstrate that no one is untouchable and even Batman is vulnerable and capable of falling from his own grace.


He would have to pick up his cape and cowl once again to stop the terror that Bane has been inflicting over Gotham. After all the time he had been resting and vanished into the night for 8 long years, during that time he had turned from a hero to a fugitive. And with Bane just entering Gotham, Bruce will have to drive himself out of his self-imposed exile. But even after all those years, of resting and of having abandoned the infamous Bat-suit, it would seem Batman may not be able to topple the superiority that Bane is demonstrating. And he may just not be a match for him.

 

 

“You don’t owe these people anymore… you’ve given them everything.”


“Not everything.”


“Not yet.”


These last 2 sentences. These are the sentences that have most stick with me from the TDKR marketing campaign. Apart from “rise”, these 2 quotes from Batman are something that have got me and lit my brain with so many thoughts because I haven’t found a proper meaning to give to them. In Batman’s world and vision, and in Nolan’s too, these words could go as deep as you could only imagine. Or maybe I already know the meaning behind them but I’m just not in a position to accept them just yet.


Maybe I don’t want to, because I already know what he’s meaning and how far he will be able to go. It’s like… if these words just marked just how far he will have to push himself and how extreme he’ll have to be to finally embrace and create the everlasting Batman icon.


To finally rise.


It’s all too delicate. Still too delicate. I’m gonna have to accustom my mind to all the hurting possibilities of what outcomes these 2 sentences might be reflecting.


In the end one thing’s sure: All stops will be pulled by Batman and Bruce to finally reach that incorruptible icon they’re both seeking. But will they make it? This is Batman to the edge, pulled to his limits, and just as everything has its limits, so does Batman. And he has even more delicate limits.



“Why do we fall sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”



Even Batman is prone to fail sometimes. Just like everyone else in the world. Depression, sadness; Batman and Bruce can be full of these. There are even points where both of them just gave up.


Particularly again citing the scene with the fire on Wayne Manor.


During their escape from the fires, in the elevator Bruce is manifesting he’s ready to give up. That he regrets everything he had to give and lose so far only for the Batman icon to just merely start, for his journey to begin. But he feels desolate. The line is first said by Bruce’s father, Thomas, but Alfred just gives it a more personal and human touch to it.


Because after all, he’s the last, true family Bruce has. He serves as his moral compass and as a shoulder whenever Bruce might be feeling to finally give up on everything. And particularly this phrase reflects the relationship between the charming old butler and the afflicted son still missing his parents and lamenting his life situation.


 But just how much will he be able to endure and stand? That’s left to see. But another thing’s for sure; if he loses his physique, if he loses the control of his own fears and lets others take control over his mind and if he loses the will, things might not get very pretty. I don’t think if I’ll be able to just even stand seeing it. It’d break me and would just be plain soul crushing. To finally know and meet the limit that Batman has. As much as I and everyone else wished he didn’t have one. As much as I love to think he is the only one capable of being untouchable. But perfection is just another face to impossibility. And yet another stick into the ground keeping check we’re still in reality.


And because, well, I’m a Batman fanboy.


 

“But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely.”


“Which is?”


“A legend, Mr. Wayne. A legend.”



In the end the Batman tale is a story of confronting your own fears. Of finding out what you’re really capable of. You’re just afraid of yourself. What you’re most afraid of is what’s inside of you as it was said in the first movie. Unlocking it? Discovering it? Unleashing it? Whichever it may be, that’s the heart of the whole Batman character and universe. Power, will, justice. What more could Batman’s universe clearly show and teach? The harmony that justice can bring, if it’s not used to get one’s way. To not use it as pure corrupted vengeance. That’s nothing, that’s heartless, cynical; as Ra’s would say. It’s also a testament to how the mind can control the body, its power over it. And whoever uses or abuses from it, it's all up to them and their choices.


This whole blog is a living testament to how much I like Batman and how deep in thoughts and reflections I could go with him and just because of how much I like his world. When I say Batman is the most unique superhero and has the most delicate, intimate, and emotional story of all of them out there I mean it. Because for me, that is 100% true. If anyone else disagrees, it’s okay. We’re all different, we all have distinct ways of thinking and seeing things. And, then again; everything’s subjective. But reality there’s only one.


And, hey, want to see something cool about my Batman obsession and my decent drawing skills? I painted Batman. I did it a few months ago and shared it to another fellow and close Batman fan on this site. (cough cough, a real Bat-bro)



Will I ever stop liking Batman? I don’t think so. And even if I did, I wouldn't believe myself. I'd be in denial. He’s one of those things that I would gladly take to the grave proudly saying I was a big fan of. And to remember how many times I have had to respond to my group of friends or in classroom to the question: "Who is your favorite superhero?" And you know what? I have never ever in my life felt ashamed of immediately responding like a “first!” post to a new YouTube video or news article; and, in this case, raising my hand and my voice to instantaneously yell: “(I’M)BATMAN!”


Am I glad I met Batman? Of course I am. Hell yes. Him and his universe are one of the things I most like, one of my favorite things to nerd out over. And all in all, one of the pieces of entertainment I most appreciate and most importantly: that I enjoy.


For 18 years of my short life I’ve been trying to find a meaning and at least give one sentence of description behind the Batman figure.


It took me some time, but it was so obvious and easy all this time.


I just had to grow a little in the education department to finally pick the correct and more profound words to describe his shadowy, pointy figure.


A permanent definition, something everlasting.


Like Bats himself.


And guess what? I have finally found the answer to that lingering 18 years long question. Who’s Batman? Why does he do all of this, and how? What is exactly behind him, and in what way?


He’s not a silent guardian. Neither a watchful protector.


To finally define him I realized I shouldn’t take him as who.


But as a what.


As a thought, as an idea.


Simply put:


Batman is the epitome of the human spirit.

 

-Anticitizen-One



 

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