I dreamed of Batman as a child


Is there anything more tedious than hearing somebody else’s dreams? Good. Now that this is established, let me tell you one of mine.

It’s a super-hero movie, but in the way that Muppet Babies is a Muppet movie. Except, instead of babies the super-heroes are elementary school children. The entire Justice League is there. The camera focuses on Batman. Batboy. Batchild. Whatever. (Please, no origin disputes about the impossibility of this. Let’s say it’s a special D.C. issue of ‘What If?’ and leave it at that).

A super-villian — also a student of this school — is escaping the playground by jumping in his open-top flying saucer. Batman swings his grappling hook to stop his escape, and is propelled thousands of feet into the air, dragged behind this Jetsons-like appliance. The film is dark and grainy. It’s moody and hard to make out the detail. They zip across the inky night.

Then, Batman looses his grip. He’s falling over Gotham. Or Seattle, as it happens. He’s plummeting, and we, the audience are frightened. But surely, Batman will save himself. He slings the sub-machine gun he’s wearing over his shoulder, and grabs the edges of his cape to provide glide. But we, as the audience, know that this won’t break his fall, it will just suspend him long enough to bring suspense into the film.

The wind rips across the edges of his cape with a frapping report. His face screws in concentration. What’s that? It’s one of his teachers — the lovable goof, the professor, the one who schools the kids but they get away with everything behind his distracted back — he’s skydiving! Suddenly we realize that this convenient movie trope is going to be the salvation of young Batman. The fat professor, dangling from his canopy, will snatch the caped boy and say a wise and witty word on the rest of the descent.

Batman comes into frame, and then WHAM — he’s gone! Why, the professor was a non-sequitor. A joke the director inserted to make us think he’d do the easy thing. He was only in the film long enough for us to notice him. Surely there will be freeze frames of this on the internet once the DVD is released.

But now the hard thing, how will he land? Batman veers his body towards Queen Anne hill, where he lives. He pushes a button on his utility belt. This connects to the thousands of zombie computers he’s infected with the bat virus in the neighborhood. Together, they start working in parallel to create negatively or magnetically charged particles that provide him lift. Don’t question too closely — it’s a movie. The point is, Batman lands after drifting on his own ingenuity. Batman is safe. He’s home from school. Alfred will surely have cocoa waiting. End of scene.


Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: November 5, 2007 06:39 PM
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