Study Shows Batman Movies Not Entirely Realistic, at Least in Terms of Cape Flight

July 10, 2012


In 2005's Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan introduced us to a crime-fighting billionaire dressed like a bat but put the guy in sort of a body armor-looking suit, so it looked a little less silly than when we usually get introduced to this crime-fighting bat guy. But still, as GRITTY and REALISTIC as that made things, it seems not everything in Nolan's world holds up to thorough scientific analysis: Remember how Batman sort of flew around on his cape sometimes? Well, turns out that would've shattered Batman's realistically-armored body to pieces.

Four University of Leicester students who bought into everything Batman Begins threw at them except the gliding bits have reportedly determined (via) that while Batman could hypothetically float for a distance on the wings of his cape, the speed of his landing would almost certainly kill him, or at least leave him so critically injured that he would be easy pickings for a nefarious villain wearing a burlap sack (scientifically speaking). In a paper titled "Trajectory of a falling Batman" (come on, guys, "The Dark Knight Falls," duh), the study reached the conclusion:

..if [the man in the bat costume] jumped from a 150-metre (492-foot) high building, the 4.7 meter (15-foot) wingspan of Batman's cape would allow him to glide 350 meters (1148 feet).

However, he would reach a speed of 68 miles per hour (109 km per hour) before hitting the ground at a life-threatening speed of 50 mph.

With no roommates on the couch to tell them to shut up and watch the fucking movie, the students offered up some solutions to how Batman/Nolan could fix things and thereby make everything in the film make complete sense, saying:

"If Batman wanted to survive the flight, he would definitely need a bigger cape," said David Marshall, 22, one of the students in the final year of their four-year Master of Physics degree.

"Or if he preferred to keep his style intact he could opt for using active propulsion, such as jets to keep himself aloft."

That part in The Dark Knight, with the sonar and mobile phones and whatever, that definitely works, though. Don't even bother looking into it, okay, Science?

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