When asked why Batman was their favorite superhero, many people would say it’s because the character is so relatable. Bruce Wayne wasn’t a god. Nor, was he an alien or a king. He was just a man who experienced an unfathomable tragedy as a young boy. Instead of letting that event destroy him, he used it to fuel him and, in doing so, he became a hero. There are numerous stories about people who were inspired by the story of Batman. Many of those stories were told via documentaries. There have been tales of battling life-threatening illnesses, becoming police officers, fighting for your dreams and overcoming your circumstances. There is even a story about Batman’s true creator that documents the injustice Batman works so hard to overcome.
5) Behind the Mask: The Batman Dead End Story (2015)
Batman: Dead End was a fan film created by commercial director Sandy Collora and some of his friends. It was done, allegedly, to bolster Collora’s reel. What it turned into, however, was a harrowing story of a man with a mission, albeit one that would prove futile. Batman: Dead End was, for quite some time, the fan film that all others would be compared to. It was supposed to launch Corolla’s career into actual big-budget filmmaking, but that never happened. For a number of reasons, that never happened. Behind the Mask explores the making of Dead End and the aftermath and it’s a perfect documentary to exemplify the futile missions that many of us, Batman included, embark on.
4) Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of The Dark Knight (2005)
Taken individually, the segments of Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of The Dark Knight, might resemble simple “special features” one might find on any DVD. Taken as a whole, however, Shadows becomes an incredible documentary about the making of four Batman films that will forever live in infamy. Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher created two films each that explored many aspects of Batman. The making of their films are fascinating stories in and of themselves. From the outrage involving the casting of Michael Keaton in the original ’89 film, all the way to Bat Nipples, Shadows of the Bat covers it all.
3) Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World (2015)
Miles Scott, a little boy who was diagnosed with cancer, just had one wish: he wanted to be Batman for a day. That’s exactly what he got to do, thanks to the combined efforts of the Make-A-Wish-Foundation and the city of San Francisco. On November 13th, 2013 San Francisco was transformed into ‘Gotham City’ and thousands of volunteers showed up to help turn Miles’ wish into a reality. This documentary focuses on the entire event, from the original pitch to the final outcome. It’s a story about Miles, to be sure. But it’s also a story about the good of humanity. It’s about the will to survive and love that can come from the strangest of places. Miles Scott was Batman, but he’s not the only hero of this story.
2) Batman and Bill (2017)
Bob Kane is the name forever associated with Batman. He’s the one who signed the covers and everything. And, to be fair, Kane did come up with the concept of Batman. He did not, however, create his costume, his rogue’s gallery, the Batmobile, the Batcave, Robin, Alfred or a number of other things. All of those aspects came from the mind and heart of Bill Finger. Batman and Bill tells the true story of the “real” creator of Batman. It’s part documentary/part mystery film as it focuses on the battle that writer Marc Tyler Nobleman took on to make sure Bill Finger received his rightful place at the top of Batman mythos. Again, this is just another example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, just because it was the right thing to do. If that’s not the key component of Batman, we don’t know what is.
1) Legends of the Knight (2013)
Speaking of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, Legends of the Knight showcases numerous people who embody everything that Batman stands for. It is a documentary about normal people who find the hero within themselves. There is a story about a little boy battling cancer who keeps battling his disease with a smile of determination because Batman “never stops fighting.” Additionally, Legends also features a story of a young man from Petaluma, California who is a college student by day, watchful protector by night. He dons a homemade Batman costume, simply to entertain and to remind his city that they are safe. The tagline of Legends of the Knight is “we are Batman,” and that is the only message Bruce Wayne ever wanted to send. We are all Batman. This documentary proves that.
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