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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

Batman

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Superhero Movies Are Getting Real

Recently, we stumbled on a clip from the 1966 film Batman known mostly for its use of shark repellant. Yes, shark repellant, as well as barracuda repellant, whale repellant, and manta ray repellant – all part of Batman’s Oceanic Repellant Bat Sprays, conveniently located in his helicopter. Did we mention during this clip that Batman is hanging off a rope ladder from said helicopter as a shark chews on his leg? Yes, that’s happening, too. With Robin’s help, he manages to get the shark to drop off his leg (with the use of the shark repellant, of course) and somehow escapes without even a rip in his costume. It is silly and unbelievable – a startling contrast to realism and plausibility in a growing number of recent superhero films.

Villain Science: Bane

In the DC Comics universe, he is known as the “The Man Who Broke the Bat,” and in the recently released teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, Bane appears to be up to his old, violent tricks. The popular villain’s exact role in the film is a highly guarded secret but the first official image of the character (plus the teaser trailer) show Bane with his trademark Venom-injecting mask, meaning the fictional drug will likely be in the film as well. 

Holy Concussive Incident, Batman!

Batman takes a lot of blows to his head. These come from his fighting activities and from being routinely thrown—or leaping—onto or into hard objects like walls, floors, and moving vehicles. The issue of concussion in Batman’s career is something I addressed in Becoming Batman. In examining the scientific possibility of a human training to achieve the pinnacle of physical skill of comic book icon Batman, I reckoned him having a pretty short career. The main thing to shorten Batman’s career would be his accumulation of injuries, with concussion figuring prominently. In our own day and age concussion in sports—and particularly in hockey and football—has received considerable attention but little resolution.