Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight

Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight

2008, Psychology  -   58 Comments
Ratings: 8.12/10 from 67 users.

Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark KnightBatman Begins and The Dark Knight are both excellent sources of entertainment, but they also offer a complex and interesting dissection of a man who learned to use his own fear against criminals.

Delve into the world of Batman and the vigilante justice that he brought to the city of Gotham. Batman is a man who, after experiencing great tragedy, devotes his life to an ideal - but what happens when one man takes on the evil underworld alone?

Examine why Batman is who he is - and explore how a boy scarred by tragedy becomes a symbol of hope to everyone else.

Not only does this documentary investigate the mental attitude of the mysterious caped crusader along with selective interviews from various expert, but also put some brilliant resemblances between the Batman and Theodore Roosevelt.

Additionally, the filmmakers shows how spiritual iconography greatly influenced the development of the Batman character.

Aside from that, it includes a short insight inside the motivating force that drives other infamous figures such as the Catwoman and the Joker. Explore why the history of the Cape Crusader and discover how a kid scarred by traumatic event turns into a symbol of hope for City of Gotham.

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58 Comments / User Reviews

  1. drew

    Oh so everyones a psychiatrist here? Hes a great character built on classical literary themes. Best superhero in my humble opinion. Whoever is posting negative comments on a FICTIONAL character doesnt get the whole point to start with. Bob kane is deceased so he cant read your jealousy laced pitiful qualms anyway.

  2. 31jetjet

    You know Batman is a cartoon, right?

  3. Cawreith

    I'm a huge batman fan, and am often intrigued by the psychological background woven into the story. In the last few years I have read the entire series, watched the shows and movies. The intro of this documentary no were near correct, but the professionals hit some key points although the doc as a whole stays very superficial. If you are interested I suggest picking up some books instead of watching this

  4. Nancy Corner

    I don't like superheroes, but I can't say so about the film.
    Interesting documentary, though it reveals nothing new.

  5. Hanif Ballard

    Kaito kid is a narcissist?

  6. Mixalis G

    Due to lack of history and tradition Americans have invented imaginary cartoon heroes... Its not bad as long as they're not taken seriously.

    1. Sean Michael Parsons

      What a moronic thing to say.


    supress your inner self, become like batman, dont get angry, hide it all, dont stand up against injustice unless you are in disguise...

    1. Sean Michael Parsons

      Yeah and your anti hero persona isn't a construct of the power structure.

    2. Tarquin Mahoney

      i was being sarcastic sorry it dont come over in text too well, i thought my other post covered it.


    The more i watch of this the more i dislike it the schizophrenic nature of batman is not treated as disturbing but as though we are all conflicted millionaires at heart and split personality is some kind of norm...


    from the "documentary" (and i use the term very loosely here)
    "What drives a billionaire to become a crime fighting vigilante?"
    erm ..nothing?
    there arent any real batmen are there?
    So the entire supposed "psychology" of such an individual is pure hypothetical rubbish, the term is "characterisation", the "psychology" of which is merely created by his writers.
    Therefore he is an imaginary character without a real world analogue and hence he has nothing to teach us except that billionaires need really good, and very expensive PR to convince folks they arent all totally f&&king evil.
    Next week: An in depth look at the psychology of sponge bob squarepants.
    Why does a talking sponge persist in his kindness to his evil neighbour squidwort in the face of such animosity. Is it because of his imagined sexual orientation and a darker subtext?
    Is his love for sandy squirrel girl just a show?

  10. I AM POP SLAG.

    What a load of nonsensical psychobabble, the psychology of a fictional character -(one that used to be only children would read! or watch!) and has been recently wheeled out to adults (again) because it features a millionaire businessman who is actually a hero.
    To make as much money as the fictional bruce wayne in the first place you have to be a total c++t, just like tony stark.
    Are you seeing a pattern here?
    Lets idolise this fictional hero with his "special ability" of a vault full of gold why dont we?
    In a real world climate where men with vaults full of money are in reality shady fraudsters with their hands in your pockets nicking your change who build new ways of killing people in factories with the output set to death.
    Lets paint the wealthy as mysterious, conflicted and full of good intent shall we?
    Lets give the impression that if only you were rich- you too could be like batman!
    A monied, violent, psychotic, vengeance fuelled bloke in an s and m gimpsuit, fighting preposterous enemies to maintain his role in an oligarchy and protect a city at the head of a great and terrifying empire of avarice.
    The one real, worthy, philosophical point batman could actually make to his audience is one made by Nietzsche
    "Do not go seeking monsters lest you become one"
    but no, batmans "good side" always prevails doesnt it?
    Whats far more interesting is the psychology of batmans "fans", devoted to a character they were trained as children to love and admire, carrying this adulation through to adulthood and how this is achieved through perpetual, lifelong incremental periodic marketing and propaganda and the sale of the toys and merchandise to grown men. Usually made in factories by the economic slaves of the owners of warner brothers and sold at a vast profit to promote a figure who serves "justice" in an imaginary world whilst conveniently leaving the real world well alone to get on with its bombmaking.
    You couldnt make this **** up
    ...oh you could...and they bad...

    1. Stefan Verstappen


  11. Prof. Bumhole Pirate

    Great documentary. I watched this last week because I really like batman. I like how he became a hero by exposing himself to his fears. I kind of lost respect for Catwoman after learning that. Why would you be scared of cats all they do is sleep and chase birds.

  12. jj

    the only person who official had that title was rusputin,waych doc.

  13. Andräas Hajnakowski

    copy paste the title of this doc on youtube and you'll find it ;) IMHO it's a nice docu :)

  14. Andräas Hajnakowski

    copy paste the title of this doc on youtube and you'll find it ;) IMHO it's a nice docu :)

  15. Martin Hoevenaar

    It's removed.

  16. Winston Smith

    Its one big advert for the film. Its a little creepy how they mix fantasy and reality; going on about these characters like they're real.

    1. Anna Esteban

      You're viewing this documentary wrong. In America, a huge chunk of the history of our culture came from the comic industry. Hollywood just so happened to invest their time with comics. It may not be like propaganda during WWII with superheroes like Superman, but it can also it can produce psychological effects to the viewers. In the 60's, comics focused more on the more personal, introspective side with youth culture. Nowadays, it's so mainstream because it HAS affected millions of people psychologicaly (whether they know it or not). So no, you are right. They aren't real. However, the messages they carry to viewers are most certainly real.

  17. Blake Johnson

    good doc comics are not just fictional stories someone made up but a lot of them touch on very real issues humans deal with from deep within the psyche of a person

    1. I AM POP SLAG.

      If you are seven years old and havent discovered proper books yet.
      Or are in a perpetual state of child like fascination with a particular niche of entertainment -your development carefully managed and arrested in order to sell you shitand keep you distracted from the real world, where the joker rules and bain signs your paycheque.

    2. I AM POP SLAG.

      the real psychological insight about batman/the matrix/spiderman/superman is the transference of real world issues to a realm where your hero dispatches justice to all and sundry.
      Thus pushing the idea that the real world should be considered an evil and scary place and maintaining this in self fulfilling perpetuity as all the energy focused on injustice is against imaginary villains who can be dealt with and despatched with thestroke of a pen then obviously the real ones dont get dealt with as a coping mechanism the average psyche escapes into fantasy.
      Making both their imaginary avenger seem more real and making villains and criminals seem both cartoonish and more powerul and insurmountable than they ever could be in the real world when the villagers with the pitchforks come knocking.

      Just ask the real world jokers psychologist about this blur between fiction and meat space.
      Its Interesting how he identified with the arch nemesis of batman though not batman himself and most diehard batman fans ive ever met are dark little f--kers always rooting for the joker in any case...

      to pretend batman is even a complex personality is a an illusion, he is base, rather simple in motivaion and protects the "innocent" (whoever they may be- i havent met one yet!)
      from the moral evils of a city he himself is a lord of the manor of.
      The very idea you can accumulate such wealth and status without being entirely morally bankrupt is total horseshit.
      Nothing will bankrupt a man faster than morals.

      Thinking batman has anything cultural to offer us is like demanding better conditions for workers in a land mine factory.

  18. Aidan Smith

    Really more of an advertisement for the newer movies.

  19. The_Violet_Tiaras

    Interesting Doc. Watch it or the Joker will come after you!

  20. dave.eggermont

    I'm guilty of liking this.

  21. Maciej

    Please comapre Christian Bale to David de Rothschild.

    You can say that David de Rothschild looks like Batman dressed up like Jesus. (He is also the current 'front man' for the family.)

    Batman character is recently used to sell Rothschilds as good people, heroes and saviours. This is blatant propaganda in popular culture.

    That is also why you get a film about Batman on television ;]

  22. Lucy Saw

    Christian Bale is definitely my favorite Batman! Love the Roosevelt-batman comparison

  23. Guest

    The bat man dissected on a film strip.
    I agree with Sertsis, a good ad. I, on the other hand will not rent it.

  24. Serhend Sirkecioglu

    one of the history channels better docs.

    1. AUWR

      i agree.

    2. His Forever

      Me too!

  25. AnalogousGumdropDecoder

    This one's a little shallow and dull. Despite the fact that I love comics and that this doc has a very short duration, I was losing interest toward the end. It's not bad, but there are much better documentaries about psychology out there, and much better docs about comics (not just superheroes) as well.

  26. princeton

    batman is the ish

    the only super hero that actually worked for his powers..
    i always hate how superman never did shlt for his powers... batman gotta work out and excercise he cant dodge or eat bullets.. he a regular guy and he's in justice league with a buncha fre@k mutants whose power jus landed in their lap..

    props to batman.. the only self-made superhero.

    1. Jeff Peterson

      yea batman is just a regular guy. i inherited a billion dollar company too.

  27. knowledgeizpower

    From what i learned from the doc is the understanding of Ego. Just using the character Batman as a good example basically breaking down the personalities. pretty good documentary

  28. q_bit

    "Superman is the way America sees itself. Batman is the way the rest of the world sees America." - Michael Caine.

    1. adilrye

      There's definitely truth to that. But I'd also say right now, Batman is far more popular than Superman in the United States...he's basically the face of DC Comics. I'd say love for Batman has always existed, but he's truly a phenomenon now because we live in a very different world than we did when Superman was king.

    2. Hassan Abd El Fattah

      sorry ....but from this part of the world we see america more like " the jocker " ofense but this how we see things from here

    3. q_bit

      Well certainly with the crazy Christianist right (the American Taliban) and the Teabaggers throwing their totally irrational weight around, the US sure has been behaving much more like The Joker.

    4. Staind716

      No offense taken. Of course it is fair to judge an entire country of individual people with such sweeping generalizations. So I'm sure you wouldn't take offense if I said all Muslims are psychotic religious fanatic terrorists. Just as fair right? No offense of course.

    5. JTJT

      Jocker? Got it, well done.

    6. kiwjer132

      never more wrong than that. they seek for revenge therefore they're more like the joker.

  29. Guest

    Batman thinking: Nice rack.

  30. arightcharlie

    - if you're paying games with kids, let 'em win eh?

  31. adilrye

    HOLY SH*T. A documentary about Batman?! YES. I'm sorry, but I can't hide my inner fanboy. All hail the Bat
    And I actually do think it's an interesting documentary...touching on ideas comic book fans have discussed for years, but at least nicely putting them together.

    I've always loved the psychological nature of Batman...the complex conflict between Batman and the Joker summarizes why he's my favourite hero.
    Really, no other character comes close.

    1. His Forever

      I liked it! And I'm not even a Batman fan.

    2. I AM POP SLAG.

      grow up, read a real book, discover actual psychology. you might learn something about why you are fed batman stories.

    3. adilrye

      Capitalism is evil! Batman is evil! Comics are stupid! You're all stupid! I am a genius!!! - Pop Slag.

      I would do a long, detailed response to your patronizing internet rambling, but I frankly have a lot of stuff to do and don't want to waste my time arguing with you. Like a little kid who cries for attention, I won't get into a stupid internet spat to enable you. I'll just enjoy my Batman and you enjoy hating him. I'll just say, your comment about comics being for kids is ridiculous and immature, considering there is a wealth of great adult comics and graphic novels touching on very mature social, political and psychological issues. Very outdated of you.

      Good day sir.

    4. Tarquin Mahoney

      The overuse of the self reference in your text is very interesting...
      reads like you are a psychopath
      just like batman
      your hero
      i never said comics are stupid but the adults stuck in fantasy land sure are...batman is crap...i dont hate it...its just propagandist crap.
      super rich hero fair amount of them at the monent i wonder why...

    5. Tarquin Mahoney

      i am a capitalist its just "capitalism" has little to do with actual capital any more...its fantasy money that bruce wayne gambles on the exchange-- its not capital...or even future capital...they call it rehypothecation i think...or printing more money to put it in lay terms
      you utter effing dickhead.

  32. sahilkumar

    not a good one....all these ideas could have been said in 10 minutes...only for batman lovers

    1. David Foster

      It's just proof that they've run out of new material. I guess we can expect an entire series of Justice League autobiographies now.. :-p

    2. Maciej

      It is possible that they are happy to show old stuff to continue spinning the propaganda and associate Batman character more with Christian Bale that looks like David de Rothschild. Could that be it?

    3. Sertsis

      A good ad for the movie, I'm not a big Batman fan, and I haven't seen this one, but it looks interesting, maybe I'll rent it.

    4. His Forever

      I disagree; it was really good---surprisingly so!

    5. Yavanna

      You beat me to it. This is psychology 101 for the terminally stupid.