When Bruce Wayne invites the people of the community into his lavish mansion for a food drive on Thanksgiving, he probably views it as a part of his overall mission, a mission that culminates in his work as Batman. According to some of the citizens he’s helping, though, that might not be the case.
In a funny sketch on Saturday Night Live, featuring Chance the Rapper and Leslie Jones as Gotham citizens and Beck Bennett as Bruce Wayne, Mr. Wayne gets a lesson in public relations from some of Gotham’s inner-city residents. Batman’s outreach efforts have, uh, not been so good. Being “tough on crime” for Batman has, in this iteration of the hero at least, led to him being a little too tough on specific residents.
It’s a critique that’s in line with works like Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight, which positions Batman as a symptom of real-world police brutality problems. In reality, when someone says they’re tough on crime, that’s often code for more insidious, usually racist, biases. It’s a fair charge to land at the feet of our cultural depictions of Batman, too.
The one weak point here is Beck Bennet’s Bruce Wayne, which doesn’t quite hold together with the same humour or charisma as Jones or Chance. Still, it’s a clever take on the problems with Batman’s crusade against crime. And his weird love of gargoyles. [YouTube]