It’s that time of the year again. That time when journalists and bloggers sit down to write the “Year’s Top Tens” lists. Inevitably, one of these lists will have something to do with Batman. And it won’t be long before we’re all drowning in a sea of garbage, trying to figure out what is and what is not a good idea when it comes to Batman.

When it comes to reviewing films and television shows, there is one rule that is applied to all journalists and bloggers alike: No matter what, never, ever, under any circumstances, put yourself in the place of the character you’re writing about. We all know how annoying it can be when a journalist tries to act like a celebrity or superhero. While some journalists are actually pretty good at doing their job while impersonating famous fictional characters, for the most part, it just doesn’t work that way.

Now, you might be thinking that putting oneself in the place of a superhero is a good idea. It would be, if the goal is to write an objective review of the movie or show. But, if your goal is to just write something that will get a reaction from the general public, then it’s a bad idea.

Here’s the thing: When a famous fictional character such as Batman appears in a film or television show, that character’s story and experiences will inevitably influence your opinion of the film or show. Even if you try to put yourself in the place of a “card-carrying member” of the Batman family, it’s a lost cause. You will never, ever, feel like you truly understand what it’s like to be Batman, or any other fictional character for that matter, because you are not them. You will forever be comparing yourself to what you think is the character’s ideal state, and what you’re actually experiencing is going to be a disappointment.

You see, fictional characters are always written as though they’re perfect. They have no flaws. No matter how many times you try to think of something that they could improve on, or ways in which they could be more realistic, or even humane, the best you can ever hope for is an inkling of the experience. Otherwise, you’ll just end up writing garbage that will do little to further the dialogue about mental health, or assist in any meaningful way.

More Than Meets The Eye

Even before you try to put yourself in the place of a fictional character, it’s a bad idea to review a movie or show that deals with mental illness or issues. For some reason, people in the media seem to think it’s a good idea to write about mentally-ill fictional characters, and even better when those characters are superheroes. As if having a super-powered character in your show or movie makes it OK to discuss mental illness. Nonsense. It doesn’t.

If you truly want to understand mental illness, then why not make it your focus? Why not write about real people who live with mental illness? Or better yet, why not try to find a way to volunteer at a mental health clinic? By doing so, you will open yourself up to a whole different perspective on these issues, one that will surely enlighten you.

Not My Cup Of Tea

Even if you decide, for whatever reason, that writing about Batman is a good idea, or that of any other fictional character, beware of those that fit the “villain” archetype. To reiterate: Never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to write about or portray a character as being evil or bad. That is a very good way to ensure that you sound like a complete idiot and will likely earn the ire of the very character you’re supposed to be writing about. Or at least give yourself away as a complete amateur.

Keep Your Identity

Even if you succeed in not putting yourself in the place of a fictional character, or worse, a sympathetic character who just happens to be mentally ill, you’re still going to be at risk of revealing too much about yourself. As a journalist, or any other kind of writer for that matter, it is your job to objectively write about a character, not to become that character.

If you want to write something that is going to make complete sense to your readers, then do your research about the topic at hand. Familiarize yourself with the lingo, and above all, be yourself. Only then will you be able to write something that will make sense, and something that your readers will feel is authentic. Authentic is a key word here. If you feel that you have to change who you are to make the story work, then it probably isn’t.

Lessons Learned

The key thing to take away from all of this is that it’s never a good idea to review a movie or show that has anything to do with Batman. It’s a waste of your and the reader’s time. Save that particular combination for when you actually need an excuse to watch the movie or show. Better yet, stay away from anything that could be considered a classic, or even good. If you’re going to write about it, then make sure that it’s a complete trashy chick-flick that will make little to no sense to anyone with a modicum of intelligence.