I’ve been thinking about superheroes and secret identities. I mean, I think about supeheroes a lot. Clearly. But lately, secret identities have been hitting me kind of hard, and how they don’t really matter that much. The Avengers came out on DVD yesterday, and none of those guys really use ’em, and things seem to be just swell for them. Captain Steven Rogers is a war hero, and basically took down the Nazis single handed, Thor is a thunder god and doesn’t live here, and Tony Stark is Tony Stark. Bruce Banner is really the only one who needs to hide and that’s because The Hulk is a completely different kind of thing.
A few months back, Chrissy and I had a conversation, where she wondered why women who date superheroes don’t also have secret identities. I think we were talking about Batman and Catwoman, but then we got in to Mary Jane. Basically, Chrissy was wondering why, upon realizing that she was in love with Spider-Man, though not yet realizing that Spider-Man was Peter Parker, did Mary Jane Watson not don her own secret identity and then pursue him that way. This way the two could have a relationship, without all of the “I need to hide who I am to protect the people I love,” nonsense. We decided that it’s because Mary Jane sucks and moved on with our lives.
Though Chrissy still maintains that this is a viable option for ladies that love superheroes. I agree with her.
Which leads me to John Blake, Christopher Nolan’s big broken promise. Nolan stated that we would never see Robin in his films. I’m glad he broke that promise, because Blake is awesome, but still, promise was broken. Anyway, John Blake is important because he’s one of the first characters in mainstream superhero-dom, to break the functionally retarded haze and just flat out figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
This is not a difficult jump to make. Bruce Wayne disappeared for years in Batman Begins. Then, he came back, and shortly after, a guy of roughly his height and build begins beating up thugs. He does this with the aid of technology that only the city’s billionaire industrialist could possibly have access too. At least Jim Gordon is willfully forcing himself to ignore these things, so that he doesn’t have to arrest Bruce Wayne. But really, I mean, it’s so obvious that he’s Bruce Wayne!
At least Gotham City’s citizenry is slightly less mentally deficient that the good people of Metropolis, who are fooled by a pair of glasses. I mean, Batman wears a mask, and only operates at night, he isn’t a public figure so much as a name whispered in the shadows, etc so they can be excused. But Superman is the opposite of all of those things, and he and Clark Kent, who is a fairly high profile journalist, have the same face.
Lois Lane claims to be in love with Superman, and has the investigative journalism chops to expose Lex Luthor’s many shady operations, but can’t for whatever reason figure out that the guy she shares a desk a with is that same guy. And Luthor himself is supposed to be a genius and can’t seem to put together the fact that the nosy and annoying reporter (who is oddly jacked) is also the guy who foils his every plan, just wearing glasses. There’s an old SNL sketch from when Terry Hatcher hosted, back in her Lois And Clark days, where the entire cast parades past her wearing glasses and she can’t recognize them.
That’s why I understand secret identities in theory, but in practice secret identities are pretty stupid.