Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Keep calm and call batman

“Superheroes were born in the minds of people desperate to be rescued.” – Jodi Picoult
Trapped on the top floor of a hotel in Gotham City, forced to walk the ledge alone because the ‘sweet’ guy from the club you were just in decided to... pick you up, bang your head and throw you into the back of his truck. You awoke here, to the sound of heavy drums. Wait,  that’s just the the blood in your body pushing its way through the swollen vessels in your brain.

It’s freezing in here, and there’s a gross smell coming from the corner of rotting cabbage (at least you tell yourself it's cabbage). You fumble about the room in a drowsy frenzy. Your eyes unable to focus and your hands rummage around the floor. You are looking, searching for a way out. But, as your thick clumsy fingers glide across the cheap dusty- carpeted floor of this hotel room they encounter something slimy. Still warm and wet, it sends shivers down your spine. There’s a noise from the corridor, a droning sound of a man’s deep voice and the whimpers of a higher pitched voice. Your heart is in your mouth, racing. But... Then you see it a yellow colour lights up the room showing you the way to the curtains, you pull them back and peer out the window to see the night sky lit up by an illuminated yellow sign.

Your heart drops down to your gut and the voice in your head repeats: ‘Don’t fear my dear- Batman is here’. You make the lunge from the window to the ledge that connects you to all the other windows on this level. Just in time too. As your left foot departs from the shadow of the smokey room the key of the door twists in its lock. The cold night air hits your lungs and sends shock waves through your system. High above you on the opposite building you can see the caped crusader, a black figure standing strong against the largeness of the city; you know you will be safe now. You stand on the ledge of the building – exhilarated – waiting to be saved by your favourite superhero.

Super heroes, begin in the mind of the creator and grow in our imagination. Batman is one of the most realistic superheroes. He in fact does not adorn super powers. Instead he uses human intelligence in the form of technology and physical prowess to safe the citizens of Gotham City.  He leads a double life, and the people of Gotham City are left in awe as they wonder who Batman really is. His true identity lies with us. Bruce Wayne, son of a billionaire. As a child he watched his parents die in a gun-down in Gotham City and since then has fought to save the lives of those who need him most.

But where was Batman last Saturday Night when faithful fans gathered in a cinema theatre in Denver Colarado to see The Dark Knight Rises?  The caped crusader was nowhere to be seen when one villain entered the screening and shot into the darkened terror of the red seats lined with people. 12 people were shot dead at the scene. All of those gathered had one thing in common, their interest, fascination and perhaps love of The Batman, "The Worlds Greatest Detective". Film fanatics who had booked their tickets weeks, months perhaps in advance, sat together in excitement under the big screen, and watched as the fear and violenceof Gotham CIty poured through the film screen and into their reality. This time there was something amiss.

From their childhood perhaps they watched the programme series on Saturday mornings, played with Batman figurines on Christmas day and read DC comics during their teens. However, in their moment of need there was no yellow illuminating light, no batmobile, no caped crusader or ringing in their ears that said: ‘Don’t fear my dear- Batman is here’.  Instead they lunged to the floor of the cinema and remembered Batman’s teaching, his words ‘No miracles. No Mercy. No Redemption. No heaven. No hell. No higher power. Just life” batman.

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