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The Science Of Batman

How plausible is he? Alan Boyle has done some research.

I agree that the getting-knocked-out-all-the-time thing is a problem. But no more so for Bruce Wayne than almost every teevee detective I watched when I was young. It seems like Mannix or Jim Rockford should have been sitting around drooling with all of the concussions they took almost every episode.


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Stephen Kohls wrote:

Equally poor is the ease with which bad guys are knocked out. One reasonably good punch and your antagonist is out cold for several minutes.

Mark wrote:

In TV-land, a sharp blow to the head -- for instance, with a bottle, vase, or flowerpot that shatters from the impact -- ALWAYS knocks the victim unconscious for a short time, but NEVER kills or permanently injures him. Similarly, doors can be burst open by banging your shoulder on them, and automobile collisions invariably result in flaming explosions. And men and women who like one another generally sleep together within 24 hours of first meeting. And young women with a typical degree of health and vigor have no particular difficulty defeating a husky male opponent in hand-to-hand combat.

But note that Hollywood continually strives to "push the envelope" in depicting bad language, nudity, graphic violence, and sex, since it obviously is crucial for art to depict real life accurately.

Aleta wrote:

Oh, what's not to love about Batman? He's the ultimate engineer/geek who dresses in black, wears a cape and fights the bad guys. Every engineer wants to make the world a better place, even if it's just a better door handle. Our enemy? Chaos. Inefficiency. Rampant ignorance. Batman getting knocked out? It's figurative, not literal: how many of us get knocked for a loop by evil bureaucrats or a physical law we didn't see coming? Just view The Batman as an engineering metaphor, sit back and enjoy the music.

Of course, it helps he's handsome and dangerous. :-)

Anonymous wrote:

Batman's cape makes sense as he uses it as a parachute, but why does superman have a cape? Didn't the Incredibles teach us anything?

Carl Pham wrote:

I've become more bugged by how incredibly robust the human body is on the silver screen. A 10-foot fall is shaken off with a laugh and a solid punch to the face just makes our hero angrier. The fact is that much of what happens in Hollywood movies would be disabling, permanently disfiguring, or lethal. Human beings are way more fragile than they are in the movies.

I don't know why this bothers me. It must have something to do with getting older. At my age merely running down a driveway and tripping and falling at full speed could easily land me in the hospital. So when I see some 47-year-old actor get flung by a bad guy over a table and crash upside down against the wall, I wince, imagining what that would really feel like, the damage it would do.

Or maybe it's being a parent? Too many years of taking care of childrens' accidents, and biting your lip when they take all those chances they do, blissfully unaware of what will happen if they lose their grip or balance?

Or maybe it's Hollywood. If you look further back, into the 30s and 40s, even 50s, there seemed a more realistic portrayal of the results of physical force on the human body. A blow from a fist was a significant event, and heroes didn't just shake it off. People didn't fall from an upper story and survive. Maybe it changed because the audience became less familiar with physical force, since we all work with computers and paper now, not machines and plows, or maybe just through an "arms race" in which each action-movie maker needs to out-do all previous action-movies in order to keep the same sense of astonishment going.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 17, 2008 6:24 AM.

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