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Developmental Differences in Younger and Older Adolescents’ Understanding of Heroism
Unformatted Document Text:  9 Stimulus Program The story of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is essential to the myth of Batman. In most accounts, Batman is born from the vow of Bruce Wayne to “avenge” the senseless killing of his parents. In Batman Forever, a careful account is given for each of the main heroes and villains: the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents; the murder (we witness) of Dick Grayson’s family; the disfigurement of Harvey Dent by a mobster. In the case of nearly every main hero or villain, an alter-ego is born of the trauma, driven by revenge and hate, to a life of either good or evil. Few cultural texts so blatantly confound good and evil polarities as Batman Forever. In Batman Forever, violence is the modus operandi for traumatized heroes and villains, and the line between good and evil is drawn on razor-thin distinctions of degree and implied intention (e.g., for what reasons is the character employing violence?). Batman is just as violent as many of the villains, but his means are not seen as evil because he only uses aggression when called upon to stop the violence of another. However, Robin struggles with his desire to avenge his family’s murder by Two Face. The complexity of the plot lends itself to many questions: What degree of “justice” is acceptable for a victim to pursue against the villain? When is violence justified? Is it possible to be totally good or totally evil? The 47.48 minute stimulus program had been edited from a 122 minute film to include only those scenes and characters considered central to three main plots: 1) Bruce Wayne falls in love with Chase Meridian and through her love and acceptance of both sides of his identity, he is able to accept and integrate the duality of his nature; 2) Robin transcends his desire for revenge by saving the life of Two Face, and thus begins a

Authors: Zehnder, Sean. and Calvert, Sandra.
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9
Stimulus Program
The story of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is essential to the myth of
Batman. In most accounts, Batman is born from the vow of Bruce Wayne to “avenge”
the senseless killing of his parents. In Batman Forever, a careful account is given for
each of the main heroes and villains: the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents; the murder
(we witness) of Dick Grayson’s family; the disfigurement of Harvey Dent by a mobster.
In the case of nearly every main hero or villain, an alter-ego is born of the trauma, driven
by revenge and hate, to a life of either good or evil.
Few cultural texts so blatantly confound good and evil polarities as Batman
Forever. In Batman Forever, violence is the modus operandi for traumatized heroes and
villains, and the line between good and evil is drawn on razor-thin distinctions of degree
and implied intention (e.g., for what reasons is the character employing violence?).
Batman is just as violent as many of the villains, but his means are not seen as evil
because he only uses aggression when called upon to stop the violence of another.
However, Robin struggles with his desire to avenge his family’s murder by Two Face.
The complexity of the plot lends itself to many questions: What degree of
“justice” is acceptable for a victim to pursue against the villain? When is violence
justified? Is it possible to be totally good or totally evil?
The 47.48 minute stimulus program had been edited from a 122 minute film to
include only those scenes and characters considered central to three main plots: 1) Bruce
Wayne falls in love with Chase Meridian and through her love and acceptance of both
sides of his identity, he is able to accept and integrate the duality of his nature; 2) Robin
transcends his desire for revenge by saving the life of Two Face, and thus begins a


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