Re:tro Re:views – Batkid Begins!

Jondee here at Gotham City,

Five-years-old Miles Scott, from Tulelake, Calif., is dressed in a Batman costume in San Francisco, Friday, November 15, 2013. Miles, who wants to be a Batman, will embark on a series of crime-solving adventures when San Francisco is converted into “Gotham City” as part of a Make-A-Wish Foundation event. He is in a fight on his own in his battle against leukemia since he was a year old. He is now in remission. (Photo: Make-A-Wish Foundation/

This was like a sudden viral sensation in 2013, a young boy, Miles is a cancer survivor and super hero. Across the world, the story ran like wild fire, inspiring hope and not the dark Sturm und Drang of a recent DC film. The star of that film tweeted out, “Best Batman ever” describing Miles. Which is total agreement because he supercharged one city with a sense of fun. It also was underwhelming the response of DC Comics to promoting and bringing in artwork or comics for Miles. Still, it would be the same with their promo for the SnyderEmoVerse. The documentary directed and co -written by Dana Nachman follows the day in the life of Miles Scott and his wish made real by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the City of San Francisco. Sorry Chicago, Gotham is San Fran. They use cartoon panels showing his parents, Nick and Natalie, finding out that he had leukemia. They decided on having his wish “I want to be a real batman/superhero” after chemo. The documentary shows the family’s farm in Tulelake. Miles was shown the Adam West Batman show on Nickelodeon.


His father explained that he likes to dress up, his mother said he liked to call himself the “Changer Boy”, Iron Man, Robin Hood, and other heroes. The head of the Make-A-Wish, Bay Area, Patricia Wilson, worked out the storyline with an adult Batman and this shifts to Eric E.J. Johnston. He talked about one of the wishes he helped with a young boy, Ben, who wanted to develop a video game, “Ben’s Game”, and this became downloaded thousands of times. Paula nixed the Tule Lake idea and wanted to have it be a trip, so San Fran became Gotham City. contacted a local news anchor, Ama Daetz, who gave the news report that starts off Miles’ adventure. Then, the police chief, Greg Suhr, and also in the episode was a “damsel in distress” played by E.J.’s wife, Sue Graham Johnston. Next, was the key to the city presented by the Mayor Ed Lee, who is a fan of the Batman films, really a mayor proving he’s cool, liking a comic character qualifies. The initial idea was 200 people, 2 motorcycle cops, and 2 parking spots. The Joker was ruled out for being “too creepy” for kids by E.J. His wife had the idea about bringing in Mike Jutan as the Penguin, his colleague from ILM.


E.J. thought a phone showing the news report and police chief messages would just be an adult and came up with a projector. The plan is set, but of course there are complications. The next part is getting volunteers and this expanded with Mike’s Facebook. It spread from the Norway to Australia. Stefania Pomponi of Clever Girls headed up the social promotion of the event. It started to go to the thousands. The San Francisco Chronicle got involved with a special edition of the Gotham City Chronicle. Chris Taylor from Mashable wrote up the story. Miles’ parents noted that the crowds would make the normally shy Batkid scared. Mike De Jesus from Twitter noted that he would cover the day. Hans Zimmer contacted Make-A-Wish, who worked on the Nolan films, he said, “I was a fan as a kid.” Miles costume was hand made worn by young James Coyne and built by his dad, James gave his armor to Miles. The other group that stood up when a costume was needed for the adults was the San Francisco Opera! Christopher Verdosci, assistant costume director, who says he “owns every Batman Arkham game ever created.”


Back to Miles, in his hotel room in San Francisco. The reporter, Ama Dietz, interviewed him the day before. Next, the Circus Center provided the training for Batkid and had the performers dressed in costumes. E.J. worked with Miles through what would be the Penguin’s death traps and taught the “secret acrobat handshake.” The next morning, Miles’ parents showed the CD playing the news cast and police chief’s message. Bat E.J. walked in with Miles’ armor. He gave the “secret acrobat handshake” and Miles got the secret identity. They head out to the loading dock where there are two Lambroghinis with Bat symbols. Crowds filled every street and cheered on the heroes. All of the motorcycle cops showed up, even working overtime for free! The long wait had the damsel in distress sitting on an incline (before the cable car would run her over) and held herself up “using her quads for 45 minutes.” Batkid trampolines to cheers! He deactivates the Riddler’s bomb and is hugged by the damsel in distress before the cable car. Why are superheroes important? The answer is there. It is currently streaming on Netflix.  Five Batsignals out of Five!

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