Sure, Christopher Nolan’s movies were arguably the most grounded take yet on the Dark Knight — but what would really happen if a real Caped Crusader started prowling the streets of a major city, cracking skulls with paramilitary gear? Probably this. Sorry, Batman.
Leave it to the folks at Reddit to answer a question we’d never really thought to ask, and the results are extremely entertaining. A thread asking: “If Batman were to operate in real life, how fast would it take for his identity to be revealed” generated a fantastic response from Redditor periphery72271.
In today’s society of hyper-focused surveillance tech, it’s hard to argue. Give his (admittedly lengthy) take on the question a read and let us know what you think:
Exactly one month after being coming to the attention of the Federal authorities.
A crazed vigilante is riding around an American city using military grade weaponry and committing crimes against civilians on a record scale? It would not take long at all to deploy the necessary resources to the scene.
Several Blackhawks and Little Birds from the BATF and FBI be orbiting on shifts doing surveillance, waiting for a signal that the unsub has begun activity.
He would leave to patrol in the Batmobile, and as soon as his distinctive black vehicle's turbine-driven heat signature was located, a Predator drone would be retasked to orbit and follow. That tango in question is very versatile, active, and potentially lethal when engaged so nothing would be done that night, however every illegal activity he performed would be caught on IR-enhnaced video, incliuding the multitude of assaults, breakings and enterings, trespasses, abuse of public property, use of prohibited weapons, substances and hazardous materials, perhaps even failure to register a motor vehicle and violating speed restrictions, and several counts of obstruction of justice.
His citizen's arrests would be logged and the suspects duly charged in any and all assaults against him, as well, however a few suspects will likely be audited for their willingness to testify both against their compatriots and the vigilante.
At some point his most recent crime spree will end and he will head for home. The Predator will follow, a barely visible line in the inky black Gotham sky, camera eye recording the Batmobile's every move.
Of course the Batmobile will disappear into some rocky outcropping or waterfall or some other land feature and it's destination will be unknown.
The very next day special operations elements of the DoJ will be at the location, planting temblor sensors and concealed cameras. This is Batman so it will be a few days before he uses the same entrance again, but he will, and when he does, the triggering of the sensors will activate the cameras, and FBI analysts will see the long stretch of tunnel inside the entrance and start doing calculations.
The length of the entrance tunnel until loss of focus or a turn will be calculated, and the direction and distance of that stretch of the tunnel will be known. Immediate records will be pulled for every building in the area, and every microsecond of the next day will be spent sifting through the possible combinations of owners, buildings, knowledge wealth and access to technology.
This will continue with each of the Batman's movements, and piece by piece a picture of his activities will become known. Information, bits and pieces will be gleaned from his victims, the various residues from his smoke bombs, gases and shark repellents will be analyzed, the Batarangs and grappling hooks researched down to the atomic scale.
Once there is a database of products and substances, the FBI will start rifling through purchase orders and BATF registrations for shipments of the necessary fuel for his Batmobile, and the explosive charges for his bat-grapples, and the avionics for his missile's warheads, amongst the other detritus he leaves after his battles.
Eventually the source of gear will be deciphered: Wayne Industries, and at that point, the cat is out of the bag. Wayne's home is within the perimeters of the Batmobile disappearances, and a thermal flyby will reveal he's using the same electricity as an small industrial plant does when only two or three people ever live in that mansion. Analysis of company records will reveal the massive levels of graft and embezzlement required to hijack all these prohibited and classified materials to the mansion, and the deliveries of the materials will tagged and traced.
The is enough evidence to present Bruce Wayne with a warrant for his arrest based on the very least on corporate malfeasance, embezzlement, falsification of tax records, Illegal trafficking of prohibited agents, weapons and substances falsified BATF filings, and aiding and abetting multiple criminal acts.
Since he is an important personage in the city, they'll do him the favor of sending one very polite agent armed with a single piece of paper, to wait in his office. What happens after that is up to him.
Conversely a team of agents and a ground-scanning radar van will arrive on the grounds of Wayne Manor and present Alfred with a warrant for his arrest and a search of the premises.
This will occur at the exact same time as Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson are brought into custody, and James Gordon upon getting notification of a pending warrant against his daughter, will take the day off to go try and convince Barbara to turn State's witness.
All identified suspects that were encountered during the surveillance will be swept up as well on that day.
Wayne's excellent lawyer will have him booked and released on bail, at which point mysteriously enough a limo from the Themiscyran embassy will pick him up and he will not be seen again until he submits his US passport and a letter revoking his citizenship, and announces himself a citizen of the city-state of Atlantis.
When asked, they will plainly refuse extradition.
What do you think? Pretty plausible real-life take on the situation (well, mostly)?