There has been a call to diversify Hollywood and inject new actors of different races and genders into the parts and franchises that are traditionally headed by straight white males. A black James Bond, more women and people of color in Star Wars, and more minority friendly televisions shows. These are all things I support and I really hope one day we see a Miles Morales Spider-Man movie, in fact I was hoping for that when they announced they would be rebooting Spider-Man for a third time, but alas Marvel must take the safe path. I have not yet seen anyone asking for a black Batman, which is good because we already have one and he has no gadgets.
Idris Elba has been nominated for an Emmy I don’t know how many times for his role on Luther. He plays a police detective on the Serious and Serial crime task force for the British police. His comparisons to Batman are undeniable. If we ever need someone to play a black Batman look no further than Idris Elba. If they don’t let him be James Bond at least let him do a Batman movie. Luther plays the same tortured detective as a white Batman archetype has for years. The similarities are seemingly endless. Both characters are gruff detectives who often go outside the bounds of laws to get the results needed to see someone face the inevitable justice coming for them. Luther even has the equivalent of a batsuit, that shitty grey coat he wears incessantly throughout all four seasons of the show. At one point he takes it off and throws it into the river signalling the end of Luther as a detective only to discover he has about ten more of the same shitty grey coat in the first episode of the next season. I can’t even think of how many times Batman has taken off the cowl only to put it on again in two weeks.
Batman has been advertised as the ultimate detective ever since his first appearance in Detective Comics. I have very little experience with those older Batman comics and movies but in the newer Batman lore he is actually pretty bad at his job if he is supposed to be a detective. One major role Luther plays in his department is interviewing suspects and accomplices. He finds a way to meet them head-on with his wit and intelligent assessment of their psychological issues, always finding a way to dig deep down into the core of who they are and what they experiencing to tease out what drives them to create such violence throughout London. The last time I saw Batman doing any sort of interrogation he wound up punching the Joker in the head and dropping a guy ten feet to break his legs. Causing physical pain to someone to get the answers you need out of them is not only bad detective work (they’re going to tell you anything to get you to stop hurting them) and inadmissible in court. Batman is simply coercing what he wants to hear from his victims. Luther is meeting them face to face and discovering their motives; Batman just wants to hurt them for what they have done. I guess Luther did throw that guy down in the factory and break his legs, but that was because he had a girl locked up in a briefcase somewhere, if I recall correctly.
Both characters feel the need to inform others of who they are and why they are doing what they are doing. Batman flies around in a cape and answers to the bat-signal because he is a superhero and needs to have proper branding. Luther often knocks on peoples doors or screams at violent killers that he is, in fact, a fucking policeman. I think Luther is the best Batman in years and he is not even wearing a suit with nipples on it. The Nolan Batman movies created an atmosphere and memorable villains like no Batman flick had before it but almost left Batman out in the cold at the same time. He was not innovative or ground breaking in any way. He received a gruff voice and weird batmobile in the process. Luther’s villains are interesting and more violent than Batman’s but not as developed as Batman’s, which is okay. The audience does not need to have a full break down of why Bane is a scary guy with a mask on, which we do not get anyway. Character is something that draws the audience in to something and keeps them around to see what will happen. We want to see how Luther is going to beat the hell out of shitty hitmen. I do not really care what happens to Nolan’s Batman after he carries that nuclear missile out to sea.
The suit makes the man. Batman’s suit represents him as a superhero. He is over the top and feels insecure about his ability to protect himself with just his intellect and training from Ra’s al Ghul. Every movie we see him fetishizing the new improvements to the combat suit he is going to wear to beat up a giant lizard or Soloman Grundy. They even added nipples to the batsuit to create another layer of weird sexuality to his need to run around in a black suit and punch dudes. He is more a street viliglante than an actual detective. He mostly gets off on it, that and being some sort of symbol for the city of Gotham. Luther only fights crime because it is his job and he also gets off on outwitting violent rapists and murderers. Batman, on the other hand, only fights the same people over and over. I mean, how many times do we need to see him assault the same clown. Luther locks these people up and throws away the key.
The Riddler is continuously outwitting Batman at every turn and he is not even the main villain in most of the Batman media he appears in. He hides these Riddler clues for Batman all over Arkham Asylum and Batman can’t figure out how to cut through a chain-link fence to get them. Come on Batman, what if there were children dying out there and you are too busy trying to solve the puzzle when you can just break a window and get the clue. Luther breaks the rules when it suits him best, I can guarantee you he would not be waiting around to solve some damn riddle when a serial killer has a young woman locked up in a briefcase. In the most recent season he bends the rules by claiming he hears a woman screaming for help inside of the home of the serial killer they are hunting down. Now, Batman would still be outside finding a place to park his giant bat tank but Luther broke the chain of command and went up in there. The Batmobile is another useless piece of technology Batman hauls around to chase after villains. Luther solves more crime and brings more bad guys to justice with his shitty Volvo from the 90’s.
Tragedy has befallen both of these characters time and time again. Luther has stayed true to his morality throughout and Batman, at least the Nolan one, has betrayed the rules he laid down for himself. Luther cannot get away with wanton murder and self-satisfying beat-downs of local criminals. Luther may skirt the lay from time to time but in the end everything he does is for the greater good. Batman has very little respect for low level human life underneath his own and his own search to be the martyr he yearns to become. Luther is the own thing that protects London from the most dangerous and disgusting criminals while Batman goes around setting himself up as the great fallen hero for the city of Gotham even though he did not really do anything and the Joker still blew up that hospital. Luther’s wife is murdered and every single lover after that falls victim to that same fate. He does put on a weird bat suit and go across the city maiming every two bit criminal he sees, Batman. Bruce Wayne falls down a well and his parents die when he is very young and that, apparently, gives him leave to incite an enormous amount of mayhem on the city of Gotham and its millions of residents.
Ultimately it comes back around to which of these lauded detectives does a better job at protecting their city from the deranged. Bruce Wayne and his sexual fetish persona, Batman, incite terror on villain and civilian alike with his freakish bat motifs and nipple suits. Every bit of evidence he gathers is inadmissible in court, which leaves Gotham’s police department with a lot of angry, bruised criminals with no evidence to put them away with since Batman does not have the common decency to murder them. Luther, on the other hand, has foiled multiple serial killers and other wicked beings while staying mostly on the right side of the law. He can actually interrogate someone while not building up such a rage to struck the other person. When finishing the discussion on ultimate and awful Luther emerges from the pile of unsavory, sexually insecure (I’m looking at you Batman), and overly violent men and women of law enforcement as the premiere guardian of justice.