The Philosophy of Batman

(There Will Be Spoilers)

Christopher Nolan didn’t major in philosophy in college (or “read philosophy at University,” as the case may be), but he evidently has some familiarity with the subject.  How do I know?  Well, both of his two Batman films thus far have featured famous philosophical thought experiments.Just kill the ugliest one.

In Batman Begins, we have the well-known trolley experiment, in which a person must imagine that s/he is on a trolley that is barreling down the tracks towards five people (or babies, depending on if your ethics professor is more or less of a sadist) who are tied onto the tracks.  The imaginer can then either imagine that s/he pulls a lever, switching the trolley onto another track that only has one person (or baby) tied to it, or that s/he does nothing, allowing the trolley to kill the aforementioned five.  The utilitarian will say, “I switch the trolley to the new track, because it’s better to kill one person than to kill five.”  The non-utilitarian will say, “I leave the trolley to kill the five, because at least then I am not morally at fault.”  The main ethical question is: “Is there a difference between killing a person and letting a person die?”

In the first movie, Nolan gave Batman basically the same challenge, except he wasn’t on a trolley–he was on an elevated subway–and there was only one person to kill: Mr. Ra’s al Ghul.  Batman’s answer to the ethical dilemma is (and I quote): “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.”  In other words, killing is wrong, but allowing someone to die is A-OK.

Of course, there’s an added element here that the original thought experiment doesn’t include: Ra’s al Ghul is clearly a Bad Guy.  Even a Super Villain.  If Batman was in the original experiment, and the five people tied to the tracks were Rachel Dawes, Luscious–erm, Lucius Fox, Alfred, and both of his alive parents, while the one person on the second track was Ra’s, I’m not sure he would have the same answer.  Then again, Batman’s one rule is not to kill his enemies…  Hmm…

Anyway, Batman fans on the Internet fought over whether the Real Batman from the comics would actually allow an enemy to die, and we all thought that the thought experiments were over.

Oh, were we wrong.

In The Dark Knight, we got probably the most famous thought experiment of them all: The Prisoner’s Dilemma.  Here’s the original version (from Wikipedia):

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies (“defects”) for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent, the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

Or, in visual form, via Encyclopaedia Britannica:

This game doesn\'t apply in the Batman Universe, where prisons are, apparently, exceedingly easy to escape from.

Don’t remember that in The Dark Knight?  Okay, let’s pretend that we don’t have two prisoners but hundreds, and let’s pretend they aren’t imprisoned in jail but on ferries in the middle of a river.  And let’s say they each have a detonator, and let’s say the consequence of not defecting isn’t a 10-year sentence but a fiery death.  It’s the same story, just with a little more… style.

Of course, in the film, idealism wins out–which is why I don’t understand why so many reviews call the film bleak and despairing.  Honestly, if I wrote the movie, the scene would go like this:

JOKER (over the PA): Tonight we’re going to try a social experiment.  You each have detonators to the other ferry.  If, by midnight, you don’t blow up the other ferry, I will explode you both.

(Both ferries explode immediately.)

JOKER (to Batman): Hahahahaha!  You see, everyone is as evil as me!  No, no, actually, that’s not true at all.  Because you know something, Batman?  I was bluffing.  I didn’t even have a detonator at all!

BATMAN: I am not amused.

Now that Mr. Nolan has used the two most popular thought experiments, what’s left, we must wonder, for his third installation?  Luckily for you, I was able to get my hands on some rough sketches of shots from Batman 3: The Riddler’s Paradox:

how do you get an arrow out of your nutsack?

PS: This isn’t my last post on Batman.  Not by a long shot.

This is the first post in the Philosophy of Batman series. When you’re done, check out Part II, Part III, and Part IV .

58 Comments on “The Philosophy of Batman”

  1. fenzel #

    Great article!

    SPOILERS

    But what if somebody switches the way the lever works, and you throw it to save the four people and kill the one person, but really it kills the five people and saves the one person?

    What are you at fault for then? What is the ethical extent of consequentialism?

    Are you going to go into other philosophical schools, or will your other Batman posts be on other subjects?

     
  2. Gab #

    I don’t think it’s possible to discuss the philosophical aspects of either Nolan Batman movies without bringing up moral relativism. Would you ever kill another person? Would you be willing to kill a person about to kill a baby? Would you be willing to kill a person about to kill a murderer– or would you stop them? Does the type of person have any bearing on whether you’d go through with it or not? Etc.

    The “sadistic choice” situation has popped up in the other Batman movies, and in pretty much every superhero movie in some way, too. But differently– it usually worked out happily in the end of most cases: both Robin AND Chase were safe in “Batman Forever” because Batman was just that quick with his hooks and stuff, and MJ AND the people on the trolley-car-thing lived in “Spiderman” because Spidey was fast and shoots webs oh so well. A key difference, though, is location: they were in close enough proximity that the hero(es) involved could get to both in time. It’s different in TDK. When given the choice between the future of all of Gotham (through Harvey) and the life of the woman he loves, Batman goes non-utilitarian and picks the latter with the hope that Gordan will get to the White Knight in time to save Gotham, since he himself can’t be in both places at once. (I have to muse on whether the Joker was banking on Batman picking Rachel, but I can’t come up with a solid answer. I lean toward yes, but meh…) Since they were in totally different buildings, the convenience of a tidy ending because of the hero’s mad skillz was taken away. I’m rather glad it played out like that, personally.

    (If you want to talk about Utilitarianism, I’m totally your gal- I wrote a 40+ page thesis in May comparing it to Stoicism. Greatest Happiness Principle and John Stuart Mill ftw, folks.)

     
  3. fenzel #

    I always admired Batman’s uncanny ability to cut the Gordian Knot and find creative solutions to intractable problems. He is, after all, a detective — he figures things out.

    Bale’s interpretation plays down the detective aspect somewhat and makes Batman more like special forces — Bale’s Batman spent a lot of time beating people down and providing the gear to get the job done and a lot less time figuring out his opponents’ next moves.

    The two people at two addresses problem would have been rudimentary for Adam West. He would never have been tricked to rescue the person he didn’t want to rescue. Of course, Caesar Romero would have actually placed traps in each location and kept both people in a building at an address that was an anagram of the two addresses with the letters J-O-K-E-R removed. So it would have been a different game.

    And, of course, sometimes there are time when an adolescent ward trained in motorcycling, advanced acrobatics and batteranguery is exactly what you need.

    The two-warehouses scene in TDK was one of those times.

    My favorite Batman alternative solution was from the animated series, when he had to rescue someone from a trapped house and fight badguys while being subject to “the vertigo effect” — which disoriented and nauseated anybody who saw its raybeams or whatever.

    Batman’s solution? Negotiate all the traps and win all the fights without opening his eyes.

    Quite a bit more whimsical than Bale’s interpretation, but still badass.

     
  4. Gab #

    Or BATass?

    ::is going to hell for that::

    ::and for laughing at the “magic trick”::

     
  5. Stokes #

    What do you all think the odds are that each boat’s detonator was in fact hooked up to the explosives on their own boat? That seems to be pretty much how this version of the Joker operates…

     
  6. Gab #

    I think the odds are pretty damn high. More likely than not.

     
  7. Mark #

    Another moral dilemma that I still cant’ figure out from Batman Begins: After Wayne completes the ninja training with the League of Shadows, his final task is to kill this guy who’s accused of murder. He refuses to do so, but in the process of escaping, he burns the whole damn place down, presumably killing a bunch of LoS warriors and that poor guy in the process. BUT he makes sure to save Ra’s al Ghul????

    I thoroughly enjoyed both films, but this one scene has always bothered me when it comes to trying to find a moral consistency to Wayne/Batman.

     
  8. Gab #

    Well, this has to do with practicality. Everyone else was either already dead or not even visible by the time he had any chance of saving anyone else. In the mad chaos that ensued after the building started to collapse, he had easier access to good old Ra’s, since everyone else was busy running around like chickens with their heads cut off and getting crushed by falling debris and such. He’s Batman, not Forrest Gump: he can’t speed back and forth over and over again to save every single panicked person in there. So since he presumed Ra’s was dead at his feet, he did the most logical thing he could that would still keep his integrity intact: save the mentor he had grown to admire and care for.

     
  9. Thomas #

    hilarious post!!

     
  10. josh #

    I’m quite glad that IMDB linked to this site. I hadn’t known about it before, and a lot of this philosophical musing stuff about Batman really is what I’ve been looking for. Honest. It’s hard to come across something other than fanboys talking about their great ideas for a third film and who would look the hottest in a Catwoman outfit.

    I saw The Dark Knight twice. I thought the same thing while watching it, that he probably gave the detonators to each ferry for their own ship. You never find out, but it would have been interesting to know.

    I have to admit (and this is about Batman Begins) whenever someone talks about the “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you” line, then brazenly exclaims “It’s the same thing!!!” I want to slap my head. Maybe this is a little too literal or semantical, but it really doesn’t mean the *exact* same thing. It’s very gray, and up for debate.

     
  11. CF #

    Having been forced to take a class in which the “train
    question” was asked, I’ll tell you my answer: “Use the
    switching lever to derail the *&^%$#@! train.”

    Granted, that class wasn’t half as Utter Rubbish as
    _The Dark Knight_ is. Alchemy, eugenics, heavier-than-
    air flight, and now this movie: Proof that Just Because
    The Majority Believes It, Doesn’t Mean They’re Right.

     
  12. nunya #

    ok.. that was just stupid..

     
  13. James #

    A bit late to the party on this one, but question as to weather the comic book Batman would leave someone to die is yes, he has. Batman issues 417-420 – “Ten Nights of the Beast”. He barricades the bad guy into a room in the sewers and goes home.

     
  14. Damian #

    Why so serious?

     
  15. Jeff #

    The train question is academic in the case of Batman Begins, as R’as al Ghul did not want to crash the train. Indeed, the train would have to have stopped at the station and been parked there for at least a little time in order for the ridiculous water vaporizer to do its nefarious job. It was Batman’s design (executed by Gordon) that resulted in the tracks being destroyed and the train crashing to its fiery demise. Thus, Batman was directly responsible for the destruction of the train and the death of R’as al Ghul. His little “I won’t kill you…” rationalization might let him sleep better at night, but it was indeed Batman that killed R’as. He didn’t simply let him die.

     
  16. lambman #

    Was there any conclusive evidence in the movie to prove that the people on the ferries actually had detonators to the other boat? I just assumed with it being Joker they had detonators to their own boats. I actually was afraid they would try and be ironic/lame and have the citizens push the button and blow-up their own boat and the prisoners take the high road and not do it an survive, I am glad it ended the way it did though!

     
  17. mlawski #

    Damian wins the comments.

     
  18. RvB #

    Just to add to this important discussion, I’d have to highlight one point where Batman did kill someone, in Frank Miller’s graphic novel from the 1980s: henchmen of Two-Face as I recall, shot by Batman because they were holding a baby hostage.
    One opinion on this new movie goes like so: “Batman is a masked superhero, therefore a fascist, and the movie must be fascist because it’s about a masked superhero.” But as we see, Batman is not a killer, even when provoked to the extreme by that bad clown. In fact, we can spot the imposter right away in an early scene because he’s carrying a gun, which Batman doesn’t use. I never thought I’d have such respect for the comic code, which Batman is still clearly following here.

     
  19. tom #

    R’as al Ghul is not dead he could easly escaped before the train crashed and Batman knows that. R’as was not just some two-bit crimminal.
    For the trolley experiment Batman would probably switch the track to the single person track and rescue them at the last second like always.
    Come on guys its a comic book crazy impossible things happen ever other page.

     
  20. Agula #

    Can it be said that since Bale’s Batman is just in his early stages, he has yet developed the “detective skills” that would later be Batman’s greatest skill against organized crime (or Super Villainous crimes)?

     
  21. Gab #

    I think we’ve already seen hints that Batman/Bruce is a detective, and I do hope they get played up more. Recall the scene between he and Fox towards the beginning, right after the big, important business meeting that the young businessman slept through. Fox realizes just by the way Bruce acts when they’re alone that Bruce “already knew” about the shady business practices of Lau’s company, and he’s surprised by this fact. And while scientifically impossible because it would be on the SHELL, not the BULLET, Bruce’s way of getting the fingerprint was pretty modern-day-Sherlock.

    And in general, the question of whether the “comic book” Batman would act differently than the movie one needs to be altered to which writer’s Batman would do what. Each person’s version of Batman is its own Batman, and thus will have unique personality and philosophical characteristics. Some comic versions are crazier than others. Even comparing movie Batmans makes it different: Tim Burton’s Batman DOES kill, and quite frequently and with no hint of remorse (for example, he drops one of Penguin’s goons into a box or something with a bomb that we see go off behind him as he walks away without flinching), while Nolan’s Batman seems to do everything he can to avoid taking life himself (he knocks people out like there’s no tomorrow, sure, but I honestly can’t think of a time where he actually kills anyone… prove me wrong?).

     
  22. Mick #

    What about the other half of the Trolley experiment, where a train is going through a tunnel and about to hit 5 people on the track, and you are above the exit to the tunnel standing next to a fat guy, and if you push him off, it will kill him but save the five people. How does that figure into Batman?

     
  23. Scott #

    I think the third film will deal with the oldest philosophical question concerning crime and punishment; Is it a greater sin to punish the innocent or to allow the guilty to go free? Offically, our court system contends that avoiding wrongful convictions is more important. Unoffically, it’s easier to lock someone away and let them try for an appeal while they’re off the streets. The second act of TDK already set that up when Harvey Dent indicted most of Gotham’s underworld on R.I.C.O. charges. What if Batman or Gordon discovered that a good share of those listed were just patsies (low-level drivers or delivery men) set up by their bosses? Would they present their findings and destroy the case, freeing the legitimate mobsters? Or would they suppress it and let the mostly-innocent men stay in prison? Batman took the wrap for Harvey Two-Face’s murders so that the charges wouldn’t be overturned, it would be especially tragic for it to turn out that his sacrifice was for nothing.

     
  24. mlawski #

    Mick: Yeah, I was thinking about the “fat guy” part of the experiment, but I left it out because Batman (in Nolan’s series,anyway) hasn’t really done anything like throw an innocent in front of a train yet. Then again, I certainly won’t be surprised when he does.

     
  25. wrather #

    Mick and Shana: Don’t get Pete started about the fat guy. There’s easily a 2500 word post in it.

    (Hint: The fat guy is Jared.)

    Actually, I would like to read that post. I would like to read it very much.

     
  26. stokes #

    Arguably, Batman “pushes the fat guy in front of the train” when he extraordinarily renders Lau out of Hong Kong. Considering the kind of people they were trying to get Lau to inform on, and how corrupt Gotham’s police are (and how corrupt their prison guards can be assumed to be), Lau’s chances of surviving were poor. Maybe not fat-guy-in-front-of-a-train poor, but poor nevertheless.

     
  27. Kill the batman #

    I’ll be finishing my review on the movie after watching it for the third time on the 28th of July 2008. I find it a masterpiece among many great films before it. I have to say that asking the question of whether Batman will break his rule of killing to save is up for debate and in the case of R’as this is not the only villain that still holds a mystery around whether he was killed or not. Two Face a.k.a Harvey Dent’s apparent fall from the building after Batman knocks him off to avoid the killing of Gordon’s son also plays a role for the rule. When he talks about going non-utilitarian and bringing the sins of Harvey’s downfall among himself to keep the reputation of the white knight alive; one has to wonder if the ideal of the man was more worth saving that the man himself? Is Two Face really dead or does he just become a catalyst that sets up the structure of the third film?

     
  28. koreo #

    I’m sure someone has already said what I’m about to say, but I do want to put in my two cents worth. My nihilistic side says, I’m not sure if Ra’s Al Ghul is really that bad of a guy. First point, after Constantinople and Rome’s pinnacle, they turned into free for all orgy’s. Not quite literally orgy, but they were pits of death and suffering. In Rome’s case, it’s filth had extended beyond the walls. People were enslaved, stolen from their homes and forced to fight or die for entertainment. Is it really that bad that it fell? Not everyone can be “rehabilitated”, take a look at addicts, they are proof that not everyone can be “fixed”. Second point, the has a shelf life, like everything else. That’s fine, but everyday, the human race chops off centuries from that expiration date. Our greatest threat is population control. People are living longer, surviving things that at one time would have killed them, and everybody, everybody, is having babies. It’s like having too many fish in a pond, eventually, available resources will be depleted and the pond life dies, well everything except the algae. Ra’s Al Ghul was conducting cullings on a large scale. Just a perspective.

     
  29. Cilia #

    First of all: These blogs of yours are amazing. I love overthinking things.

    I don’t have a lot to add.. but the trolley experiment kinda reminded me of something else I usually catch on to (and am annoyed by) in a lot of movies. Whenever the protagonist bends backwards, sideways (etc.) to make sure he doesn’t kill the antagonist (usually somehow managing to lose said antagonist in the process and then having to go catch him again), but simultaneously he kills off every single thug he comes across without thinking twice. Sure, the evil mastermind deserves a fair trial, but the low-time guys who are just in it for the money – they all need to die because they’re standing in the way of Evil Mastermind’s trial! Why, God, why?

    Oh, and yes, I had really hoped the ferry-scene would go exactly the way you wrote it. But then again… I also cheered for Harvey to shoot the kid because dark stuff like that doesn’t happen often enough in movies (and I’m just sadistic like that).

     
  30. bffm #

    Where have you been all my life? I’m so pleased that IMDB linked here… I saw TDK for the first time last week. I was mesmerized the entire 2.5 hours. For a life long Batfan this is THE movie. I almost feel I can’t speak intelligently about it until I see it at least two more times. It’s a multilayered story and I find the philosophy fascinating.

    Here’s my take: Nolon’s Batman is still trying to find himself. I agree with a previous post that he set up the tracks and knew the train would crash. Therefore he is responsible for Ra’s Al Ghul’s death. SPOILERS AHEAD. I really thought he was going to kill the Joker in TDK. You could see that he wanted to, but ultimately did he let him live because of their similaries? I also think Joker knew that Batman would save Rachel which is why he gave him Harvey’s address as her location. That was something I did not see coming. Why was she killed? (Other than to turn Harvey nuts that is.) I thought she was Batman’s true love. Or is that Catwoman? *meow*

     
  31. Dixon #

    The joker does not set up the prisoner’s dilemma. In the joker’s scenario everyone dies if one boat does not kill the other boat. Also, the prisoner’s dilemma is a staple of game theory not philosophy. One could use game theory to deconstruct the joker’s scenario, but the outcome — do nothing and let the batman save everyone — is a Nasian equilibrium (i.e. a situation in which everyone wins) which does not exist in the prisoners dilemma.

     
  32. Mike #

    TDK would have been a much better movie if the detonators for the boats were rigged to blow their own boat.

    So the criminals would have lived, but the citizens would have blown themselves up thinking they were killing the criminals.

    [insert joker laugh here]

     
  33. Cat #

    The railroad scenario in The Dark Knight.. can be the part where the Joker says that only Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes can be saved.

    And I personally felt that The Dark Knight would have saved Rachel. Instead Batman saved Harvey Dent.

    I think Batman saved Harvey because he would be able to save more people. He was the white knight.

    Though, in Batman Begins Rachel Dawes is Assistant DA. Why didn’t she become the DA instead of Harvey Dent?

     
  34. fenzel #

    Hey Cat,

    I missed this too the first time I saw it — the Joker switched the addresses. Batman thought he was saving Rachel, but he ended up saving Harvey.

    So he didn’t even do it on purpose. Your gut reaction was right.

     
  35. ryan #

    Dixon,

    I agree with you that the scenario does not represent a proper prisoner’s dilemma…the act of both parties consenting results in the same outcome as both defecting. However, why is it that the prisoner’s dilemma is not a staple of philosophy as well as game theory? From my understanding, the prisoner’s dilemma is an example of how an egoist would (and should) respond in situations regarding maximizing outcomes. This causes problem for egoism, considering the ramifications of one always defecting in prisoner dilemma cases.

    Or maybe I am mistaken with what you have said.

     
  36. rewg #

    Really tho, love this sight, glad I found it. Maybe we’ll see the Milgram experiment in a future movie. The whole “electrocute this person because I said so,” “um… ok, if you say so, sir, don’t mind if I do,” sequence.

     
  37. rewg #

    Oh, I’ve got it! Let the train run over the 5, throw the fat man to crush to other one. Now that’s fair to everybody! And we’ll all be doing our part to solve that little population problem.
    What this city needs is a better class of ethical decision-maker…

     
  38. Oka #

    At first, I thought for sure that the detonators would be to their own bomb. I was practically screaming in my head “DON’T FALL FOR IT!” But now I’m not so sure.

    The Joker’s purpose is nothing more or less than to make people worse. He wants to turn them against each other, to make them savages and killers, dogs that eat other dogs.

    It’s there at the very beginning of the movie, when he turns the bank robbers against one another. They kill each other.

    Later, right after killing Gambol (however the man’s name is spelled), he turns to Gambol’s goons and does the same. He breaks a pool stick in half, throws one half on the floor between them, and says they’ll be having tryouts for who can live to join his gang. We never see their choice, but one can make certain assumptions.

    The Joker’s next move, as I recall, was to turn the city against Batman himself. He promised to kill people every day the Batman didn’t turn himself in and take off his mask. In keeping his word, he murdered quite a number of people. The lady cop, Ramirez, told Batman in one scene that these people were dead because of him. The continued murders and chaos caused most of the city to demand Batman’s surrender, even though Harvey Dent tried to persuade them not to give in to their fear.

    The Joker next struck at Batman and Harvey Dent at the same time.

    In the interrogation scene, he told Batman that the cops would discard him and turn on him in the end. Why? Because at the first sign of trouble these fine, upstanding people would eat each other alive. And then, when he succeeded in driving even Batman to the point of desperation, he switched the locations of Harvey Dent and Rachel. Result: Rachel died and Dent was burned “half to Hell.”

    This left Dent vulnerable to be infected by the Joker’s insanity, turned into a murderer. It was also meant to push Batman into becoming one as well.

    At the same time, the Joker turned Gotham against the attorney who was going to reveal Batman’s true identity. Ordinary citizens and even a cop tried to kill him.

    And this was preceded very shortly by the Joker turning the one Russian mobster’s gang against him with the declaration, “We’ll see how loyal a hungry dog really is.”

    And at the climax of the film, the Joker tries to turn ordinary citizens into murderers, with the automatic rationalization that they’d only be murdering thieves and murderers. Or they could wait for the prisoners on the other boat to murder them. And all this while the cops were involved in a complete bloodbath.

    Considering the Joker’s goal, I wonder if each boatload of people actually did have the detonator for the other boat’s explosives.

    It’s academic, however, considering what happened in the end. The criminals refused to murder a boatload of innocent people, and the innocent people couldn’t get their hands dirty. They chose to die, to sacrifice themselves. Even if all they accomplished was dying together, both boats chose not to kill.

    Batman also refused to kill to Joker, even though he had killed Rachel. This was when the Joker revealed his final plan to break Gotham’s spirit and drive all its people to become dogs that ate each other alive: the city would simply follow in the wake of its fallen White Knight.

    Here came the final proof that Batman and the Joker were the antitheses of one another. The Joker’s goal was to make people worse. But Batman, to help others be better, did as the people on the ferries did and sacrificed himself. He took the blame for Dent’s final, ill deeds, and became a hunted man.

     
  39. nickcamero #

    Maybe batman started having bad dreams after he killed Ra’s, like post traumatic stress or something.

     
  40. Regel #

    Forrest Gump…lol. Does his moral ambiguity stem from a spoiled, lonely upbringing? Psych readers discuss….Go.

     
  41. Gab #

    Regel: No. I’m not a psych, but still. The answer is pretty obvious.

    1) Forrest Gump is actually one of the LEAST morally ambiguous characters in a starring/ title role. When he sees something, he immediately decides whether it’s right or wrong, and he is completely unwavering in that decision. Ex: By calling his company Bubba Gump Shrimp and giving his dead friend’s family a “proper share”, he was honoring the idea/promise he and Bubba came up with together in the most extreme way- pretty much anyone else would maybe, at most, have said, “This is in HONOR of my friend,” or something, but not given their family a stake in the company. 2)Forrest’s mother smothered him, if anything, from what we can tell, so I don’t think he was lonely at all.

     
  42. pmilleroly27 #

    You should bring up the contradiction about how Batman let’s Ra’s al Ghul die, but then saves the joker? Then again I think he pushed the Joker off the building that must be why he saved him. I see, but for experiment one I actually think Batman would switch it to the track with one person and then do everything he can to save the other person left. Because Batman typically tries to saves as many lives as he can.

     
  43. Matthew Belinkie #

    I think any DC writer would have made Batman drag Ghul to safety. No matter what horrific mass murders his enemies commit, Batman has an incorruptible Code. I give Chris Nolan a pass, though – it really doesn’t bother me too much. But in my mind, Batman will not let anyone die if he can possibly prevent it.

     
  44. Gab #

    Well, I just read _The Dark Knight Returns_ by Frank Miller last week, and I don’t know… I don’t want to spoil anything, but there *is* a moment in there where Batman has the opportunity to stop something big and doesn’t. But that’s a tough call and hard to debate/reason through without spoiling, so meh…

     
  45. ViperOne #

    Is it just me, or are there some holes in the Batman movies. Like, why does Batman try so hard to “not kill” the joker, but has no problem trashing lower peons. Example: who were the guys driving the dump truck that Batman plows his batmobile into and smashes into the ceiling in an admittedly very cool scene. And in Batman Begins, is it just me or does the microwave emitter still make it into the basement of wayne tower which would actually set all that gas into the air anyways. It just enters in a more fiery way than planned. The other plot holes aren’t actually philosophic, they’re just stupid.
    PS: what kind of stupidity led him to put his tumbler in front of an RPG instead of just shooting the back of the semi with a missile and getting it to stop or something. And why did those morons not just drive the swat trucks through that GIGANTIC gap between the flaming semi and the barricade, or even failing that, go around onto the other blocked off highway. I’m not even gonna dig into the other multiple plot holes or character stupidity but those are almost dealbreaker mistakes on the movie. How everyone can blindly ignore them is beyond me.

     
  46. Nym Lotay #

    awesome input – great stuff – the Dark knight is a real catch 22!!