We know what you’re thinking. We can hear it already: But it’s a movie, you have to suspend disbelief! No, no we don’t. Not in this case. That’s the whole freaking point of Batman—he’s a superhero with no supernatural qualities. He’s dark. He’s gritty. He’s REAL. He relies on his wits, and his gadgets. He could exist in real life. We suspend disbelief for Spiderman, or Green Lantern, or the X-Men, but not him. So we don’t think we’re being unreasonable in expecting all his badass gadgetry to theoretically work in real life, either.
Besides just looking cool, Batman’s cape is able to do all sorts of rad stuff. By our recollection, Val Kilmer Batman saved himself from being incinerated by hiding under his cape and secreting a fireproof liquid through it while an explosion was happening. But more to the point, Batman’s cape allows him to fly. Or glide, or whatever. Otherwise why have the cape, right?
Well, according to a few nerds at the University of Leicester, Batman’s cape isn’t really big enough for him to catch the proper amount of wind resistance to glide at a safe speed. His wingspan measures out from tip to tip at 4.7 meters—about half the span of a real hang glider.
So Batman can still slice through the air to his heart’s content, but he better make damn sure before he takes off that he either has a parachute installed somewhere on his suit or there’s a giant hole in the ground filled with cubed foam somewhere in the vicinity for when he has to crash-land at 50 mph.
Bat Grappling Gun
Strange as it may sound, it’s not the bat grappler, per se, that we have a problem with. We’re sure the tool itself would do what it’s supposed to do—shoot towards something and grapple on to it. It’s the whole ‘guaranteed to save plummeting human from certain death’ concept that we’re not sure about, as seen near the end of the first Batman film where Batman (Michael Keaton) does this little trick to save himself and Vickie Vale (Kim Basinger).
In the case of the bat grappler, almost every variation of Batman sidesteps the laws of physics and the basic limitations of the human body. See, the terminal velocity of a human body in freefall is 120 mph, which—even if Batman doesn’t quite reach after he falls off a ledge and before he grapples on to something—still could have him falling at an easy 100 ft per second in a matter of moments.
Falling that fast guarantees a messy death should you hit any kind of surface. Messy because—say Batman is an average-sized American male (6’1, 180lbs) and he’s only fallen 60 feet after he grapples on to something—he’s bringing over 225,000 lbs of force with him. So when Batman saves himself from a freefall by using his grappler, you might notice that is arm is somehow still attached to his body, or if the grappler’s attached to his utility belt, his whole body somehow hasn’t snapped in half.
Though never seen in any live-action Batman movie, Batman Beyond version of Batman sometimes broke out jet-powered boots when he needed to step up his game and go all Iron Man on some dude. The jet boots looked like a plain ol’ pair of boots, and that’s where we take umbrage.
First of all, what’s powering those boots? It can’t be jet fuel, we know that much. It takes a considerable amount of stored chemical energy to lift a person into the air for longer than 30 seconds and have them fly around—more energy than what can be strapped onto your back. The amount of energy you’d need is too much for a single person to carry…which is pretty much why these things don’t exist in real life. Second of all, what’s stopping Batman’s feet from being charbroiled from the heat?
Rocket boots aren’t something that’s totally out of the realm of possibility, as you might see here. And as we mentioned, Iron Man uses rocket boots. But Iron Man’s suit is based on technology that doesn’t exist, and the guy in the video isn’t going anywhere above water, or any higher than the tubing he’s connected to allows.
You might remember that there’s a scene near the beginning of Batman & Robin where Mr. Freeze freezes Robin with his giant ray gun that shoots and forms ice, thereby forcing Batman to unthaw him before he dies. Batman does so by dipping Robin’s popsicle-body into a nearby tank of water that—since it’s snowing in the scene—we assume has to be pretty chilled.
Batman then pulls out a handheld laser, shoots a continuous ray into the tank, brings the tank to a near boil in a matter of seconds, and unthaws Robin…all from a laser the size of a cell-phone-circa-1994.
Now, there’s a TON to dislike about this movie to begin with, but how on Earth does that work? His laser isn’t attached to anything, so how is it generating the necessary energy to heat all those gallons of cold water? A stovetop burner needs at least five minutes to bring, like, two quarts of water to a boil. And if it is, why isn’t the hand that Batman’s holding it with bursting into flames from the heat? Why doesn’t the laser just go on and melt right through everything it touches if it’s so hot? WHY ISN’T THERE A DIME-SIZE HOLE CUTTING THROUGH THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH COURTESY OF BATMAN?!?!
You think Batman has problems? Check out The Amazing Spider-Man’s Most Ridiculous Reboots! –>
<– Or vote for the best Batman in our comprehensive list of The 9 Men Who Played Batman (Plus One We Forgot).