An online campaign is urging the Oscar winner to visit injured children in his full Caped Crusader regalia. What a bone-headed idea, say wincing critics
As victims of The Dark Knight Rises massacre in Aurora, Colo., struggle with trauma, a well-intentioned sympathizer has started an online campaign urging Christian Bale, who plays Batman in the film, to visit injured kids in full costume. "Dear Christian Bale, please visit the injured children from the movie massacre as Batman," says a Facebook post that has since gone viral on Twitter (with the hashtag #BaleOutAurora) and launched a Change.org petition. The post, betraying its writer's poor grasp of reality, continues: "They need to know heroes can be real, too, not just the bad guys." Bale, currently on location in Europe, "is no doubt feeling the pressure" to provide moral support to the town and its victims, says Shawna Cohen at Mommyish. But, excuse me, isn't this a terrible idea?
Yes. Batman is one scary character: The proposal contains "a sweet sentiment, of course," says Jessica Wakeman at BlackBook. "But it's somewhat presumptuous to assume that children injured by Friday's shooting would even want a visit from Batman." Given that Bale's Batman, decked out in black, is a fairly nightmarish character, he might traumatize them further. Bale will surely find a more "appropriate way to mourn the victims and support their families and friends."
"Facebook campaign urges Christian Bale to visit Aurora victims dressed as Batman"
Bale's Batman could have inspired the shooter: "I'm not sure I can think of a worse idea than this," says Maryann Johanson at FlickFilosopher. Bale's Batman "is at best a problematic protagonist, one that it would be hard to call heroic." At worst, he is a masked "vigilante who could have inspired [alleged] shooter James Holmes as easily as" the movie's villains. And if Bale were to show up at the hospital in costume, he would only echo that disturbing blend of reality and fantasy that may have motivated the shooter.
"Would it be a good idea for Christian Bale to visit young Aurora shooting victims dressed as Batman?"
There are enough real-life heroes to celebrate: Aurora doesn't need Bale to show that heroes are real, says Karin Klein at The Los Angeles Times. "There was a real villain" in that theater, "a gunman who shattered multiple lives. But there also were real heroes that night, and they weren't Batman." They're the people who shielded their loved ones with their bodies, and the police who entered the theater knowing they could be facing a heavily armed shooter. "As horrible as the shootings were, and as troubled as the victims and their families will be for a long time to come, there is comfort in our humanity."
"A Batman visit to Colorado? Let's talk about real heroes instead"
Other stories from this topic:
- Burning Question: Will we ever feel safe in movie theaters again?
- Fact Sheet: The Colorado massacre: Who is James Holmes?
- Opinion Brief: Colorado shooting: Should Warner Bros. have cancelled The Dark Knight Rises screenings?