Batman has always been one of the most popular superheroes, which is probably because of the Dark Knight’s unique combination of intelligence and stealth.
Batman’s popularity doesn’t just come from his vivid stories; the character has also been around for more than 70 years, which means he has recently surpassed Superman as the most popular superhero of all time.
When it comes to DC’s most famous superhero, his age is an important consideration. After all, with every passing year, Bruce Wayne becomes more of a relic, less able to fight crime and more vulnerable to it. This reality has been well documented within the pages of comics and on film. Most recently, director Zack Snyder shared his thoughts on the subject during a Facebook Live interview with Warner Bros‘ VP of Worldwide Marketing Tom Quinn.
“I always say that Batman is getting old. Every year, I feel like he’s getting a little bit older, and the technology gets a little bit better, and the costumes get a little bit more revealing,” Snyder stated. “So, I always say he’s getting older, and I feel like the audience is starting to realize it, too. So, I think that’s what keeps the character interesting.”
However, despite the fact that Batman is getting old, he still has plenty of life left in him. And, in fact, his age is exactly what makes him special. With each passing year, Bruce Wayne becomes a wiser and more experienced man, which means he has gradually increased his ability to fight crime. In other words, the Dark Knight keeps getting better, which is why his fans continue to adore him.
A Brief History of Batman’s Age Rating
Before delving into how Batman’s age rating came to be, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Back in 2013, DC Comics celebrated the 75th anniversary of Batman by publishing a special collection of the character’s best stories. Although most of the tales from that anthology were reprinted from earlier appearances, the creative teams behind them were given the opportunity to explore new aspects of Batman. Among the many storylines unveiled in ‘The Many Faces of Batman’, there was one in particular that deserves special mention: ‘The Return of the Masterpiece’. Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by David Finch, that particular storyline saw Batman travel back in time to stop the Joker from killing JFK.
That effort led to a brief moment of fame for the Dark Knight, when the newspapers of the future covered his exploits. As a result, Batman’s age rating increased by a few decades, becoming a century old in 2019. When Johns and Finch returned for a 25th anniversary special, they revealed that the character’s age had been mistakenly transcribed as 1100, leading to the iconic image of the Batcave from that point forward.
How Age Affects Batman
While it’s fun to speculate about what would happen if Superman met Batman, the fact of the matter is that the two characters exist in their own separate universes, with distinct and separate timelines. That being said, it’s important to remember that even within the same universe, there are countless differences between the two. For example, in the 2018 sequel movie, Aquaman, Bruce Wayne’s parents are dead and he was raised by Alfred, who is now an octogenarian.
However, even though the Dark Knight’s age is one of the things that make him special, it’s also the thing that makes him different. Specifically, the ever-growing seniority of Bruce Wayne means that his physical appearance changes, which has effects on how he fights crime and interacts with others. One of the most prominent changes is that, as he gets older, Batman tends to lose his temper more frequently. On multiple occasions, Bruce has lost his cool enough to yell at children. And, in the 2018 movie, Suicide Squad, the character’s age is even visible on the film’s poster, which includes the tag line, “They’re getting old.”
For a more contemporary take, look no further than Christian Bale’s Batman. In addition to being the most recent adaptation of the character, that movie also served as a coming-of-age story for the actor, who turned 50 years old during the film’s production.
Even then, despite his advanced age, Bale’s Batman still kept up with the physically demanding stunts that he performed in the movie. Specifically, the Dark Knight’s outfit in The Dark Knight Rises required Bale to wear a protective vest that prevented him from being exposed to bullets, as well as a mask that covered his entire face.
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In case you’re wondering, here’s a short list of the most popular superheroes of all time. It certainly isn’t a complete list, but it’s a good place to start.
- 1. Batman (currently)
- 2. Superman (currently)
- 3. Ironman
- 4. Spiderman
- 5. Captain America