Bruce Wayne's Parents ALWAYS Die...

In honor of "Gotham" an editor cut together all the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne from "Super-Friends" to "Gotham," and all in-between. The editor has chosen a split-screen with each version of the sequence synched around the first gunshot, which makes watching this full-screen on a monitor oe TV--several times--a must. 

It's quite interesting to see side-by-side nine different film maker's takes of the same scene.


  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited September 2014

    It's actually weirdly traumatic to see a chid experience such a nasty event in split-screen-o-vision, especially without all the actual Batman/hero/avenging stuff to follow it. ALL of the sequences feel far less cartoony taken out of their normal context.

  • edited September 2014

    I really liked the way Gotham handled it. Apart from being hyper-stylized and television-y in many respects (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, either), it takes a much more grim and crime-drama take on the scene, as opposed to the 'this explains why Bruce becomes Batman' origin-story-ish tone that others have. Though I love the take in Batman Begins, even that one makes use of the scene to hammer in the thesis 'don't be afraid'. Gotham, instead, makes it about the actual murder. Not the tropes and themes that follow.

    Bruce doesn't sit there stunned and unsure of what to do. The gunman doesn't rush off immediatley after shooting the Waynes in a panic himself. Instead, he aims the gun at Bruce, thinks for a moment, and instead of turning around and rushing away- chillingly walks through Bruce and the dead bodies at his feet and just re-enters the abyss of the city. And what does Bruce do? He doesn't sit there frozen. He yanks on both his parents and you see them bleeding out. He doesn't wait in the wake of the tragedy stoically for an iconic shot to take place (though one certainly does in the clip from 'Gotham'). Instead, we hear the horrific, high-pitched screams of a boy who actually just saw both of his parents murdered.

    Though it's got some moves it'll have to make to get things right, the mixture of that sort of take on things, and the excellent casting of Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue as Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, respectively, really make the origin story something worth watching. It looks and feels like a higher-budgeted police procedural that can afford to take its concepts further than others can, and does. That makes it promising, to me.

  • Not seen Gotham yet but that does sound interesting. Like I talked about with the supercut above, removing the "he becomes Batman" context changes the scenes into something far more sinister. Rather than being the justification for the existence of an awesome superhero vigilante, it's just a kid witnessing the murder of his much loved parents.

    Aaah, context. What would we do without it?

    (also, Donal Logue as Bullock sounds perfect)

  •  Interesting post there, Simon, about context. To me regardless of what happens next the scene is still of a boy witnessing the murder of his much loved parents.

    It is interesting that the scene isn't that sinister when it is happening to “Batman” because Batman is just so strong and scary that he cannot be a compelling victim even though he is an innocent boy in the scene all the same. It is just a fascinating point about how people feel sympathy. And I get what you and Andrew said about the screenwriters/directors intentionally going for it, so it isn't just a reaction from the audience, but like that by design.


    All the same we have a tendency to see men, and particularly strong men, as less human, even though I am sure losing a loved one hurts Batman (even when he is the adult superhero) just as much as it does anyone else as he is not written to be a psychopath. 

  • The key is that Batman is usually written in such a way that his parents murder is what empowers him. Their murder specifically creates Batman and gives him his strength. It lessens the tragedy and emphasises the heroic achievement.

    It's similar to Superman - his entire planet is destroyed, but it never feels particularly tragic, because the focus is on how it turned him into Superman. Man of Steel almost re-examined that one, but didn't quite get it right.

    It's why Watchmen is so interesting. Those characters don't really have origin stories. Most of them just decided to be superheroes because it'd be cool/rewarding/powerful/etc. It makes their existence as superheroes tragic, even without the tragic origin. Of course, Rorsach gets something of an oblique origin story, but he's still the most tragic adult of the lot of them.

  • Yeah, love Watchmen. Both the novel and the film.

    It is still interesting to me that the heroism lessens the tragedy. In my mind being helpless and pathetic doesn't automatically make your pain more valid than the pain of someone strong and heroic.

    To me with Superman it is not that tragic because he grew up in a loving family and turned into a wonderful person. The destruction of Krypton didn't really negatively affect him at all until he found out he had superpowers and would be alone in the world with them. However with the Kents, his colleagues, Lois and indeed the whole world loving him both as a person and a superhero it is hard to feel sorry for the guy.

    James Bond, particularly the Craig version, is ice cold, but we see how they tried to show why in Casino Royale and Skyfall. It is all because of pain and trauma. He is of course also not supposed to a be a psychopath. And I find it just as sad when someone like Bond has to live his entire life isolated, sad and guilty as if some weaker more pathetic person would have to do the same.

    Of course I do agree that how much the audience feels it all depends on the screenwriter, director and actor.  

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