What can you get the man who seemingly has it all? That can be a tough billet for anyone especially when the person in question has no need for material items like; cars, watches, homes, friends, etc. But what if the one thing that he most desperately wanted was the validation from a parent who was no longer with him in life? Bruce Wayne is a quintessential example of the classic troubled past hero who has filled the pages of comics, stories, imaginations and ultimately motion pictures of our contemporary times. He is a man trapped within the confines of the very comfort and safety that comprises his wealthy lifestyle. His self loathsome nature is deeply rooted in his childhood and the one experience that has fostered an aura of fear and shame and allowed it to set like mortar, limiting the ability for anyone to reach him personally. His worsening condition takes him far from home and to increasingly desperate situations until he is given a chance from a mysterious foil that can repair the broken man but may have contrary plans for his new pupil. The peace of mind Bruce always wanted is his to realize but he must first battle his fears and prove that he has beaten the stigma that has plagued his mind and regain vindication in the eyes of his father.
On the outside, you are allowed to see a carefree, youthful and oft times indiscriminate billionaire who merely haphazardly exists on the wealth of his family name. He has no ties to the family business or plans to carry on any of the same work that his mother or father had done before their murder. By all accounts it would be easy to see him as a static character, but within his mind boils a tempestuous rage of, anger, longing, and revenge. He is fully consumed in the events of his past and has allowed them to shape the limits of his existence. To right the wrongs of the past the hero tries to understand the mechanism of the criminal element by living in secret among them and indulging in their ways (albeit in a calculated manner so not to really break the law or any moral barriers. This trait is symptomatic of the struggle he undergoes to find himself throughout the story and defines his susceptibility to good or evil).
His travels do not resolve any internal struggle for him and the character seems to wane at this point until he is met by a mysterious stranger who offers the chance to rebuild his life without any mention of the implications of his service. The disheveled hero takes the offer and is then reborn through The League of Shadows by retooling Wayne’s view of himself and his circumstances. He is made to face his fears and in turn taught to use his enemies’ fears against them. It is here I think Bruce Wayne undergoes all the changes that define him as a dynamic character. He is taught to control his emotional mind and function above the level of the common person. He is shown how to employ the rage he internalizes as a tool to accomplish his means. The only caveat comes when the ceremonious completion of his training arises and he refuses to be compliant when an order is given that violates his moral code (once again another symptom of the troubled hero by way of not completely losing the virtues that set him apart from the criminals he is sworn to fight). From here he breaks ties with the organization that has given him the knowledge to be more effective.
Bruce Wayne returns to his home city and begins to be re seeded into the life which he shirked for so long. He uses this return to establish the groundwork for his double personality and also to gain access to the means to fight the criminal element. The character slowly begins to become more compassionate with those around him and reveal the hidden side of his personality that was though lost by all who knew him. And as this revelation is unfolding, the plot turns to place stress on this new ideal. Characters from his past reappear and bring ruin to all the protagonist has come to know and stand for. In this light Batman must than prove to both himself and the indelible image of his symbolic nature that he can withstand the stress and finally face the very things that undermine his success. By the end of the story the hero does not waver from his tenets and brings a sense of personal completion to the memory of his parents and redeems himself from his distraught ways. Bruce Wayne then finds the peace he so desperately sought all along although he had to lose “everything” to get to that place. He still has found it and makes for a very varied and constantly reinventing character in this story.
I chose this character because of his symbolic value to everyone who may be able to identify with some of the issues faced within. I think the progression of his mindset was very human and organic to our own nature. His metamorphosis throughout the story was fresh and constantly being tested causing the protagonist to update what he values in real time (which can be viewed as a trait of depth by itself) leaving the viewer with a more tangible sense of struggle and tension. Also the mixing of both good and evil methodology brings a more round sense of being to Batman. It makes the story progress in a less fairytale or superhero fashion due to the realistic nature of choices we all face.