MBTI: The Dark Knight’s ISTJ Versus the Comics’ INTJ
Fresh off the heel’s of last summer’s hottest blockbuster release comes a little known character named Batman and he’s really rockin’ the comic book boat thanks to this indie publisher known as DC!
While the most recent film version of Superman took to the skies and turned their good ol’ boy into the rarest of introverts, Nolan took a different route with the Mastermind detective and turned him into the everyman that couldn’t let him or his fellow man be abused anymore. How did they do this, you spake? Click on the link and I’ll stop typing like Jar Jar.
So how is the comics’ Batman an INTJ?
Well, after going over it in Batman’s actual post, it’s pretty clear that Batman doesn’t do anything unless he has a contingency plan…and then a contingency plan for his contingency. His Introverted Intuition has him making the finest details his biggest strength and his enemies’ biggest weakness that everyone else overlooks.
Batman’s independence is also a hallmark INTJ trait, and even though he’s had his share of sidekicks and partners over the years, he’s a loner through and through, depending on Alfred more than anyone else, next to himself of course. He’s taught himself everything he’s needed to know, decided on his own life path and dealt with criminals the way he’s seen fit.
While ideas and motives are bound to be found anywhere, Wayne looked no further than his own mind to unearth the hero underneath and change Gotham forever. All of this is the most extreme example of what the INTJ is capable of; long range ideals that are rarely explained to anyone but executed in a quiet, efficient manner.
And why is he by himself through it all? Aside from being secretive naturally, he’s also a huge jerk. Frank Miller especially preferred this trait in him but there isn’t really an incarnation of Batman that goes into him being a nice guy save for his Bruce Wayne persona which, as we all know, is simply an act.
And though his Ni is to thank for planning in the long range, it’s his secondary Extraverted Thinking that makes him the confrontational prick that he is. His way of cutting others off and not caring about the feelings of anyone is something you’ll notice immediately in a Te user. Don’t waste their time with what you think is important, tell them what they want to know in the shortest way possible and be done with it.
So put simply, he’s as cold, brutal and proficient in his chosen fields as the INTJ is in theirs. Life is so thought out that it becomes simple and it’s why on a day to day basis they could be mistaken for an ISTJ though they’re far from it. And Batman’s world is as cold as he is.
While Superman’s ESFJ existence is happy, sunny, and nothing ever seems to get him down, Batman is the complete opposite in every way which is one reason their team ups are so interesting to fans. While Superman stops to wish everyone a good day, Batman almost comes off like he’s going to give the victims he just saved a good punch in the face just so they don’t get the idea he’s a nice guy.
So how is the Dark Knight Batman different?
Nolan’s Batman is very similar on the surface by the time he gets into his groove: He’s original, cold and isolated, brutal in his methods, and seems to plan everything out to the tee.
Only he doesn’t.
From Batman Begins, we see how torn apart Wayne is by his parents’ murder. His estrangement from his upper class lifestyle and the depression he sinks into doesn’t really say much about his character because hey, his parents were murdered; crying is okay. But Bruce never moves on in anyway and even plans to shoot the man who did it on the criminal’s release date.
Much like Dexter’s “Code of Harry,” Bruce had a way of life that completely crumbled in every way once his father figure disappeared. Although he had Alfred, Thomas Wayne was who Bruce looked to for guidance and as far as Bruce saw it, without his dad he had no direction. This is very similar to the ISTJ’s use of Introverted Sensing; everything they experience is compared to what they’ve already taken in previously.
But if the picture of the puzzle is torn to shreds, the subject will have an extremely difficult time getting the rest of the puzzle together no matter how far along they are. A more mentally or spiritually sound person may be able to find their own way but a Guardian without a mentor a house built on sand.
So what does the lost and broken Bruce do? Just runs off; no direction and no real plan. While many take his disappearance as his immediate decision to learn Karate and kick terrorist balls, he first becomes a criminal until he’s caught and found by the ultimate INFJ baddie, Ra’s al Ghul. In Ra’s, Bruce finds the mentor he’s been looking for.
From the gauntlets, the skills and even the ideals, Bruce takes everything minus murder back with him to Gotham. “Becoming something more than a man” isn’t his own deep-rooted spirit baby he meditated on for weeks before waking in his own sweat after finalizing it all with a dream in which his dead father whispers it into his ear- Ra’s al Ghul just tells him when they meet.
“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.”
This isn’t to say ISTJs don’t believe in anything, they just do what they’re told (though they make great soldiers and cops)- on the contrary; they’ll believe it to their dying breath if they’ve chosen to take it up as their personal mantra. They are often considered the most disciplined type, after all.
Oh and what’s that symbol he chose? The one that affected him so much during his childhood? From falling in the old well (or whatever the big hole was) and having bats “attack” him to the play he watched with his parents on the night of their murder, every reason Bruce chose bats as a symbol isn’t so much of a spiritual decision as much as it was him facing his fears.
Guardians look to the past more so than any other type so it’s not wonder bats were chosen to be Bruce’s symbol of fear. While the comics have been around for so long we don’t think about why Batman chose bats, this film places heavy emphasis on the “whys and hows” of the character.
And though the comic book version is Mr. Independent, Wayne in the movies uses every resource he has rather than rely on his own intellect. Alfred, Lucius, Gordon; all play a major part to the dark knight’s rise in Gotham.
It’s also interesting the dynamics between Batman and his villains in the films. Scarecrow was using some of the same tactics Batman was albeit in much more malicious fashion. When the Joker appeared, it threw him off due to the randomness of the crimes. When Bane and Talia came around, he wasn’t ready simply because he hadn’t trained. Why is this interesting?
Scarecrow- Once the first encounter had taken place, Crane was dealt with quickly and efficiently. An ISTJ encountering something new will throw them off but if they can understand it, they can add it to their index and overcome.
Joker- This was especially difficult to deal with as it was the complete opposite of everything the ISTJ Batman had experienced; chaos to Batman’s extreme discipline. Eventually, it was understood to just deal with him rather than understand him.
Bane- ISTJ Batman (as opposed to INTJ) thought it would be easy to overcome some thug mercenary, thinking he’d seen men like Bane before. This is what has him heading into the subway without any real plan and get his back broken like a sucka.
All in all, the Nolan Batman is intelligent, resourceful, and headstrong. It’s these things that get him through his battles and while ISTJs are often written off as simple minded and plain, that’s really just a stereotype. But they really are products of their environment. And Bruce Wayne has got one crazy environment.