The Righteous Violence of Batman

By  · Published on July 5th, 2016

Superheroes that kill when killin’ is needed are the superheroes I want.

Generation Y-ers like me know that we unequivocally had the greatest lineup of cartoons growing up. Ploppin’ my chubby ass on the couch during Fox Kids block right after school each weekday was the epitome of living, and even it was outclassed by the Saturday morning suite of animation. What little spankings I did get as a boy (I was the youngest and most precious, so my butt was spared from the belt most of the time) were from putting aside chores because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was on, and dammit, I ain’t missin’ any of that. Watching Donatello bludgeon henchmen with his bō (baller), Michelangelo bash faces with his nunchaku (even more baller), and Raphael twirl master the hell out of his dual sai attack (ballerest) is an event no child should be without. But Leonardo always had me confused. This dude had the most badass weapon set – twin katanas – and used them to slice and dice through exactly zero people. If it was a robot, an inanimate object, or a pepperoni link for a muy perfecto pizza pie, then, yeah, Leonardo was the turtle you called upon.

It’s the same reason Wolverine from the superb X-Men: The Animated Series never got to live up to his potential. He fought with his fists nearly the entire run of the show and easily got punked most of the time. That’s just some straight bullshit, because a Wolverine not bound by the rules of neutered storytelling would be real fun to watch. I get it, though: you can’t have a cartoon meant for children show these super beings straight murder some fools. If it’s for adults, though, let them be as awesome as possible. That’s why I don’t understand the “no killing rule” for Batman, a debate sparked to life once again after Mr. Sunday Movies YouTube supercut of Batman and his murderous vigilantism made the rounds across various movie blogging sites.

I remember reading about how so many people had a problem with Superman snapping Zod’s neck like it was a pickle jar lid. Similar to the Batman issue, they think it goes against some holy, entrenched character archetype that, regardless of situation or setting, should be honored to the nth degree. You don’t think Captain America kills relentlessly? I seem to recall that he can ground a helicopter with just his bicep; you think all those bad guys he haymakers in the temple and dropkicks in the sternum lives to see the full might of the judicial system in action?

Nearly all of season 2 of Daredevil on Netflix was a conversation about this very subject matter between the Punisher and the man-in-red himself. To summarize, Daredevil was more or less like, “Well, gee golly, Mr. Punisher, I really do think we should just punch and kick them some more. That’ll stop crime forever.” The Punisher more or less responded, “Fuck that noise.” And, spoiler, the Punisher then proceeded to murder every bad guy possible, much to my delight.

I guess you could have a solid argument against Batman straight steamrolling those poor, nameless bodyguards protecting the delivery of some Lexcorp kryptonite. I mean, technically, they were only protecting themselves and their property from a criminal. But I assume Batman did his homework – he is super studious and could detective his way out of a Penrose staircase – and found all of those guys to be evil enough to dispatch without hesitation. Regardless, our modern day Batman didn’t build all of these armored vehicles and military grade weaponry for just some nighttime patrol duty of Gotham streets looking for purse snatchers.

Batman operates outside of the law, meaning if he wants these criminals to face some kind of legal justice as opposed to just a moral one, that sure does make him the world’s biggest hypocrite. Let us adults have the righteous killing we love from our heroes. (Indiana Jones didn’t stop to see if that guy was just a swords salesman, after all.) I prefer the Batman from Batman Begins, the one who threw up deuces, blew a kiss, and said, “I ain’t gonna kill ya, but I ain’t got to save yo’ ass neither, bitch” and let Ra’s al Ghul plummet to his death. Or something like that. I don’t want the Batman from The Dark Knight, the one who went out of his way to save the Joker from plummeting to his death. Yeah, let’s save the guy personally responsible for the death of your one true love and innumerable others. Boring, and kind of naive, if you think about it. Leave the cartoon storytelling tropes behind.

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