Filmmakers ranging from Joel Schumacher to Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan have not shied away from depicting Batman’s concerns in a slew of feature films, animated flicks, and live-action serials. Batman’s fears may be classified as anything from phobias to traumas, but they are all cyclical in nature, with one thing triggering the other and vice versa.
Batman’s scares are heavily influenced by his background. From his boyhood episode of falling into a well with Bats hovering above (Batman Begins) through the murder of Young Wayne’s parents, which resulted in his dread of Bats and the loss of loved ones. As a result, referring to Batman as a symbol of peace as an out-and-out daredevil is a misnomer, since, believe it or not, he has his fair share of fright.
1. The Fear of Bats
Wayne’s aversion to bats is the most obvious. It derives from a childhood episode in which he fell down a well while bats flew over him. Because the trauma occurs at such a vulnerable age, it instills intense dread that is difficult to overcome.
So much so that, as a vigilante superhero, Bruce picks the bat as his emblem, revealing to Alfred that they fear him and that it’s time the rest of the world felt the same way.
2. The Fear of Losing a Loved One
Batman’s apprehension over losing a loved one stems from his childhood. This dread is related to his fear of bats. Young Wayne’s father chooses to escort his family out after experiencing his boys’ dread while seeing opera artists clothed in darkness. Young Wayne observes his parents’ confrontation with a mugger on their way out, which eventually leads to their death.
Worst of all, he’s left alone in the alleyway and thereafter to grieve their loss. Wayne’s parents would still be alive if he hadn’t been scared at the opera house. On his deathbed, Bruce’s father notices the terror in his son’s eyes and tells him not to be scared. This would possibly explain why Batman chooses to face life-threatening situations alone, without the assistance of Robin, Batwoman, or other Bat-Family members.
3. The Fear of Killing
Batman never, ever goes for the kill, literally. His power is based exclusively on exploiting his opponents’ flaws and anxieties, at best tormenting them into redemption.
With the exception of The Killing Joke and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman has rarely gone blazing guns. Batman’s “no-kill” rule is a moral code he developed that serves as his saving grace. As a result, he’s afraid to breach this rule for fear of losing his mind.
4. Flashbacks from the Past
Dreams in the Darkness Batman is an Arkham Asylum inmate who has been subjected to Scarecrow’s fear gas. He is seeing hallucinations that his parents would be murdered again if he does not do all in his power.
There are several occasions in which Batman is haunted by flashbacks from the night his parents were murdered. His childhood is little more than a gruesome memory that destroys him every time he hallucinates or is reminded of it. The death of his parents is the single most defining event in his life.
5. The Fear of Becoming the Joker Himself
In Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman’s mind is distorted by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, mutating him beyond anything on record and gradually transforming him into The Joker. Batman, well aware of his powers, talents, and resources, paired with the attributes and mentality of the Joker, would be disastrous for Gotham.
The Joker Infection would turn Batman into a mad force to be reckoned with, exactly like the villains he has fought. It is the solitary inheritance of personality qualities that causes more terror in Batman’s thoughts, not the physical expression.