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Like it or not, the end of summer looms, and it's just about time to shake the sand out of your beach blanket, wean yourself off the Coors Light, and get back to reality. September's the time of year for facing your fears -- of irresponsible credit card balances, of stagnant careers, of whatever worrisome issues you've been so expertly avoiding for the last three months. What you need now is some inspiration. A shot of Schadenfreude! And as legions of comic book nerds can attest, for lessons on fear conquering, there are few characters better to turn to than Bruce Wayne.
You may feel overwhelmed by life, but if you'll recall, no one has it worse than Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins: He panics in the presence of bats, he gets his parents killed, he falls prey to a group of scheming ninjas, and just when things might be heating back up with his long-lost love, Rachel (Katie Holmes), the girl gets poisoned. Oh yeah, because of him. But still he stands strong! After some intense training on the tranquil blue ice of the East, Wayne opens a chest of bats and lets the buggers flap around him, realizing in the process that it's time to overcome his personal vendettas and fight the good fight.
Wayne, of course, overcomes his biggest fear by wholly embracing it: He literally becomes a man-bat. He goes back to Gotham, does his morning push-ups and chips away at saving
the world. We see the
youthful Batman learning to use his belt-mounted cord spool to lower
and lift himself out of any sticky situation, carrying all manner of
victims with him. We revel in the comforting low-crackle
noise of Batman's leather suit when he lifts his arm to wield a weapon.
We watch him experiment with an assortment of load-bearing materials
for his bat-mask. We witness the development of his
The reason all this is so endlessly compelling is that at heart, Wayne is just a regular guy. A remarkably chiseled, phenomenally wealthy regular guy, to be sure, but it's not like he can shoot webs out of his wrists or break boulders with his fists. No, Batman is a self-made superhero. There's something extra special about caped crusaders who look at what the lord gave them and decide to take things turbo.
Of course, no one's suggesting you emulate Batman exactly. But times are tough for everyone right now -- couldn't you use a little shot of get-up-and-go? Pick yourself up, pop some Alka Seltzer, and peek into your own chest of fears. Heck, you can even commit yourself to an ideal or two. At times like these, it's best to heed Batman's nemesis Henri Ducard's sage advice: "You've traveled the world... now it's time to journey inwards."Click here for a full schedule of Batman Begins showings on AMC.