Monday, January 31, 2011

Jack Bauer: Basically Batman

Have you ever watched a television show, or an action movie and thought that there's no way any of this can really happen? That the hero, or protagonist does things that are just completely out of the realm of reality?

I've recently had this issue when watching Fox's 24 and the main character, in particular, Jack Bauer. At first, I was under the impression that this character was along the lines of action heroes of my childhood, like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo, or even the legendary James Bond. But honestly, what I found in the character of Jack Bauer was something more.

Jack Bauer is pretty much Batman.

Now, I don't mean to say that these to characters are exactly the same, because they aren't, at all. Jack Bauer kills people, and uses guns. And given the circumstances, Bauer tends to have to think on the spot constantly, so it appears that he doesn't plan, but instead flies by the seat of his pants. Batman is, if nothing else, a thinker. He's the character that plans for everything. A high moral detective that doesn't kill and has taken an oath to not use guns, we all know that.

But in a multiverse, where every decision and action creates a separate Earth, what would have happened if all other circumstances had stayed the same, but Bruce Wayne's parents weren't murdered?

It's my argument that Bruce Wayne, had the gun not been used to take everything away from him, would have ended up exactly like, or very close to federal agent, Jack Bauer. Some would say that he would end up following in the steps of his father as a doctor and philanthropist, but the hero gene is strong with Bruce, and his destiny lays at solving mysteries and fighting crime, as evidence in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which was a story of Bruce Wayne, stripped of all evidence of his memories and of the character of Batman. In The Return of Bruce Wayne, we saw Bruce Wayne stand up for what was right, and still fight crime. The core essence of the character, which is always within that character no matter the circumstance, is explored, and that core is a bad ass. There is no way Bruce Wayne would live a simple, happy life who follows in the footsteps of his parents.

Sure, he might use some connections that his parents have, but who would Thomas Wayne know? High ranking government officials? I think so. We see that in real life. Fathers and daughters of wealthy tend to go into prestigious fields. Of course they do. Now, what if these children were exceptional students, and what if one of these children had the potential mind of The World's Greatest Detective? Well, most likely they'd be in the FBI, CIA, or an equivalent government organization, y'know kind of like 24's CTU. All things considered, under these circumstances, Bruce Wayne and Jack Bauer line up almost identically. Think about it, if Bruce Wayne never had his experiences with guns, he would not hold the moral objection against it. Also, Jack Bauer had his own Alfred!

Beyond the hypothetical "infinite earths" argument, although I still stand by my decision to watch and enjoy 24 mainly as an alternate earth story of Batman, the two characters in question still possess an incredibly long list of similarities. Both characters are extremely determined. Insanely so. And in regards to any situation. I will be making my argument based on James Patrick's Batman: Confidential #49, David Finch's Batman: The Dark Knight #1, and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Of course, this argument can be made from several different comics and movies, but in the interest of brevity and simplicity, I will solely be referencing these three issues.

Thinking on their toes (Batman Confidential #49): We all know that Batman is The World's Greatest Detective, but Jack Bauer is no slouch. In every season of 24, Jack Bauer has to assess and detective situations on the fly, and he does a damn good job noticing every small detail, and so does Batman.

In this instance from Batman Confidential #49, which is quite possibly the best single issue Batman story of the past 10 years, Batman stumbles across a crime, and reacts to everything, much in the same way that Jack Bauer has to react when a bomb can't be diffused, or he catches someone in a lie while interrogating them.

Doesn't every hostage situation in 24 play out the exact same way?
In the instance of a hostage situation, neither Batman, nor Jack Bauer, will give in. As evidenced above, the protagonist will find a creative way to take out their villain. In this instance, Batman calls the criminal's phone to distract him, and then throws a batarang at his neck to take him out and saves the girl.

This could seriously be a scene straight from any episode on #24, so there's that.

Also, as evidenced in 24, CTU and America, in general, let's Jack Bauer to pretty much whatever he wants, as long as he's successful, and according to Batman Confidential #49, so do Commissioner Gordon, and the Gotham City Police Department.
Gordon knows.
Interrogation Tactics (Batman: The Dark Knight #1): We've seen Batman interrogate several different villains over the years, I mean who can forget the ultimate "SWEAR TO ME!!" line from Batman Begins!? So, this is not something that's unfamiliar, but with recently watching 24, there is one specific scene from season 2 when Jack is interrogating Marie Warner after she has been shot in the arm. During this interrogation, Jack Bauer uses a painkiller to entice her. She's in deathly pain as a result of the gunshot, and she refuses to talk. Jack gives her a painkiller after she passes out, and when she comes to, the drug starts to wear off, and Jack Bauer uses the thought of being painless against her.

In Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman picks a fight with Killer Croc, knowing that he is using a street version of the popular Gotham City drug Venom. Batman pulls out a Venom anti-toxin and does this..

Batman: The Dark Hard Ass
I mean, I really don't have to go any further than this, do I? It's practically the exact same concept.

Age & Determination (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns): 

Seriously guys, The Dark Knight Returns is pretty much every season of 24. Batman comes out of retirement, and kicks a whole city's ass. Is that, or is that not every season? I mean, you could seriously substitute "Batman" with Jack Bauer, and "mutants"/"The Joker" with "terrorists" and "specific terrorist," respectfully, and it would be THE EXACT SAME THING. And, in my opinion, that awesome.

Also, if there was any doubt, I think the picture below actually happened in 24.

If there were ever a Dark Knight Returns movie, I would seriously suggest they cast Keifer Sutherland as The Dark Knight.

One last thing to think about, from the Jack Bauer's Facts sites, there's no mention of Batman.

Coincidence? I think not.

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