By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
In the 1989 film, Micheal Keaton’s raspy, growling utterance, “I’m Batman!” was a defining moment in the story.
Since then, unlike most other superhero franchises, Batman has been portrayed by nearly half a dozen other actors, each bringing a different vision of Batman to the silver screen and making it uniquely his own, so that in the end, each could have stood up and said, with equal conviction, “I’m Batman!”
Other superheroes are usually identified with the actor portraying them in a series of movies (Spiderman with Toby Maguire, Superman with the late Christopher Reeve, etc.), but the Batman character is more like a prism, presenting many visions – many possibilities for telling the story behind the hero.
What sets Batman apart from other superheros in the popular imagination?
Brett Culp, director of the documentary film Legends of the Knight, describes the appeal of the Batman story in an interview on Elliott Serrano’s blog, “Geek to Me” posted on the Redeye Chicago Website:
“The story in people like Superman and Spider-Man and superheroes like that, is they’re given this power, now what do they do with it? What do they do with this greatness that has been bestowed upon them?
“Batman is the complete opposite. Batman is a situation where here is this guy, he wasn’t given a superhuman power, he was given a tragedy; he was given this horrible, awful circumstance. That’s the exact opposite of Superman. And so, I think although that there certainly have been people inspired by Superman, I think that Batman appeals to the part of us that hurts; that is broken; that is sad; that wonders if there is any good in the world; and if we have any good in us…even though there are certainly darker versions of Batman — I think ultimately at the core of it is a statement that you can rise up from evil; from tragedy; from heartbreak; and still be a great hero in the world. And I think that’s the reason why so many people resonate with that.” (Read more at http://www.redeyechicago.com/entertainment/geektome/redeye-legends-of-the-knight-batman-documentary-chicago-screening-20140217,0,2534488.story?page=2#b2d75Woz4IR8pRSo.99).
Culp set out to expand on that explanation in his documentary, exploring the power of stories, especially heroic stories, and the inspirational impact that the Batman story has had on people; with no special superpowers, Batman is Everyman. He is us, as we would like to be, and can be: strong and unabashedly heroic.
Traveling to 15 cities to make his film, Culp interviewed 62 people, capturing stories of people whose love of Batman inspired them to overcome devastating obstacles and go on to help others beat the odds as well. Among those appearing in the film are Michael Uslan, executive producer of several Batman movies, Denny O’Neil, comic book storyteller who has written Batman stories for 20 years, Jill Pantozzi, an internet journalist and editor with muscular dystrophy, and Lenny B. Robinson, who visits children’s hospitals around the country dressed as Batman.
Culp is now touring the country with Legends of the Knight, holding a series of benefit screenings for local charities in different cities, and in a few days, the film is coming to the AMC Theater in Tallahassee for another benefit screening, this time for Madison. Proceeds from the ticket sales will come back to the Madison Junior Auxiliary for the J.A. Gems program that recognizes exceptional elementary school students in Madison County.
The film is suitable for the entire family; as Culp explains in his Film Overview, Legends of the Knight weaves together the uplifting stories of individuals who have overcome devastating obstacles, unselfishly given to the community and embraced their inner superhero because of their love of Batman. Through the deeply personal tales of Batman fans, writers and filmmakers, this feature-length documentary explores the power of heroic stories and encourages viewers to find their own unique path to heroism…Legends of the Knight is a return to our childhood dreams of being a hero. Put on your cape, and be inspired!”
The AMC Theater will show one screening of Legends of the Knight at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, March 25, if the theater can sell at 72 tickets for the showing by March 18. The tickets must be purchased online; they will not be sold at the theater.
To reserve tickets, go to the website www.wearebatman.com and click on the reserve tickets button. For questions or more information, contact Michael and Leslie Vullo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 973-8288.
Get your tickets by March 18, and mark your calendar for March 25.
Don’t forget your cape.
We are Batman!