Batman can’t fly like Superman. He doesn’t have super strength like the Hulk. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t have any superpowers whatsoever. Yet, if you were to ask almost any five-year-old which superhero they wanted to be, they’d likely say, “Batman,” in a heartbeat. There’s something about the Dark Knight’s lore that resonates with every generation. When we think of costumed crime fighters, he’s the icon that immediately comes to mind. Just as Batman has become a symbol that inspires people, the same can be said about young Miles Scott aka Batkid.
If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any social media site, chances are you read all about how Batkid saved the city from The Riddler and Penguin back in November of 2013. If not, a little backstory is probably required. At only 18 months old, Miles Scott was diagnosed with leukemia. When approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miles requested to become “Batkid.” Chances are Miles would have been satisfied getting to dress up in a cape and cowl at a party. Make-A-Wish went above and beyond to make the experience authentic, though, enlisting the help of acrobat/inventor Eric Johnston to play Batman and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to give him the key to the city.
In this wonderful documentary, Director Dana Nachman explores all the preparation that went into making Miles’ simple wish a reality. While it’s undeniably impressive how the foundation pulled this stunt off, what’s truly remarkable is how much attention Batkid’s story received. Initially, Batkid’s day of rescuing damsels and fighting evildoers was expected to attract a couple hundred volunteers. Instead, numerous organizations offered to lend a helping hand, thousands lined the streets to see Batkid in action, and millions across the globe followed the event online.
The irony of it all is that Miles often seems unaware that he’s starring in such a big and elaborate project. Some may argue that it’s exploitative to put a five-year-old at the center of such publicity, but it never feels like Miles is being asked to carry too much weight on his shoulders. He’s just an awesome kid who now has an awesome, one-of-a-kind memory to cherish. In exchange, Batkid not only gave hope to those with cancer, but all humanity. Through the desire to be a superhero, Miles created something that was even greater than himself. He unintentionally brought out the best in a community that wanted nothing more than to see a child have one unforgettable day.
Batkid Begins does an impeccable job at summing up the spirit of Miles’ incredible story. It’s corny, it’s lighthearted, and it’s impossible to walk away without being even a little bit inspired. It also demonstrates that the key component to making any dream come true, whether you wish to become a superhero for a day or get a movie off the ground, is effort. The film encourages us all to try our hardest in life and dream big. Then just maybe, miraculous things will happen.