Living Lutheran: Privilege and Participation in The Batman


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Protected by the night, a gang of street toughs bully a young initiate into attacking an innocent bystander. But as the boy hesitates and the bystander pleads for help, heavy footsteps echo from a nearby tunnel. With every step punctuated by composer Michael Giacchino’s thundering score, Batman emerges from the shadows, slowly, menacingly.

“Who [are] you supposed to be?” barks the gang’s leader, trying to be cool. He lunges, but Batman counters, throwing the thug to the ground and punching him not once, not twice, but too many times. Even the rescued bystander looks on in horror as Batman tosses the thug aside and answers the question.

“I’m vengeance.”

Directed by Matt Reeves (and cowritten by Reeves and Peter Craig), The Batman follows Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) in his second year as the titular superhero. Haunted by the murder of his aristocratic parents, Bruce puts his wealth and privilege to use as a creature of the night, determined to terrify evildoers.

Unlike most portrayals of Batman as a righteous defender, The Batman tells of an obsessed young man initially convinced that his is the only way to do good. As he investigates a series of murders by the Riddler (Paul Dano), Batman frequently butts heads with those who would be his allies.

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