Batman & Jesus is a feature film released in 2017 by Jozef K. Richards and King's Tower Productions. It premiered on Saturday, September 30 at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a part of Mythinformation Conference IV, held by Mythicist Milwaukee, and earlier in the day in Athens, Greece at a premiere held by The Greek Mythicists. Its first trailer debuted in Washington, DC before a Wu-Tang Clan performance at Reason Rally 2016. In 2018, King's Tower Productions released the film to Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Video.
A council of self-proclaimed Batman experts is assembled in an attempt to canonize the Batman series while religious experts explain the canonization of the Bible in Christianity. Comedy skits primarily set in a Gothic, Batman-centric future are intercut to mirror discussion and the question of whether or not Jesus was a real person in history is explored.
Divisions of the film
The film is divided into several concurrent threads that interweave throughout the movie. They differ greatly in style and presentation, but carry a continuous flow of thought.
- "Bat future" thread – The most abstract, humor-based, and allegorical section of the film. A Gothic, Batman-centric future is presented where a dominant religion has formed around Batman, paralleling and parodying parts of modern Christianity.
- "Timeline" thread – The most informative, fact-based and data heavy section of the film. The history of the Batman series and the Christian religion are explored and compared and similar hero stories are discussed and paralleled as well.
- "Council of the Bat" thread – A mostly informal group exercise where a group of self-proclaimed Batman experts attempt to canonize the Batman series, demonstrating the difficulty in doing so against such a large volume of conflicting material. The Council is assembled and led by Jozef K. Richards and Matt Henry in disguise as Introspective Man and Giggly Boy respectively, representative of the thoughtful/self-reflective and comedic dynamic of the approach the documentary as a whole takes.
- "Real people" thread – The most straight documentary section of the film sits in the center, where a group of ex-theists discusses and relives their experiences within their former religions.
People on screen
- Paul Provenza as "Paul Provenza" (Narrator, Joker) – The main voice throughout the film that narrates the "timeline" section of the film, later crossing into the Introspective Man and Giggly Boy story.
- Jozef K. Richards as "Jozef K. Richards" (Introspective Man) – Introspective Man recruits the Council of the Bat with Giggly Boy at Comic Con, then introduces the premise of the canonization exercise to the group. He is bothered by green question marks being sent to him from an unknown source.
- Matt Henry as "Matt Henry" (Giggly Boy, Riddler) – Giggly Boy assists Introspective Man in assembling the Council of the Bat and oversees the Council throughout the exercise, despite finding it pointless. He develops a background plan to get his own point across in the film.
Scholars, activists, and entertainers in the secular world were interviewed for the film and are cut into the "timeline" sections of the movie to further explain and emphasize points.
- Dr. Robert M. Price – Theologian and former Baptist minister who presents arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus of Nazareth in history and who is also well-versed in comic books.
- Dr. Richard Carrier – Author, historian, and public speaker with a PhD in Ancient History who presents arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus of Nazareth in history.
- David Fitzgerald – Author and public speaker who presents arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus of Nazareth in history.
- Aron Ra – Atheist activist and podcast host who expounds on the ludicrous nature of many religious ways of thinking and recounts competing gospels to those in the official canon.
- Faisal Saeed Al Mutar – Iraqi-born human rights activist and refugee who details the similarities and differences in the views on Jesus in Islam to Christianity.
- Alex Trapp – Producer and actor with King's Tower Productions who describes himself as Christian.
- Bhante Sila – Practicing Sri Lankan Buddhist monk.
- Walter Reed (Killah Priest) – Rapper and Wu-Tang Clan affiliate with spiritual and religious lyrics.
- Allie Jackson – CEO of Atheist Republic and human rights activist.
Council of the Bat
A panel of 9 self-described Batman fans were brought together with instructions to attempt to create a Batman series canon as a group. While some of the panel members are actors, in this instance, they have not been given any lines or further direction than what is seen in the film.
- Robert Bobinsky – "The Elder"
- Collin Colsher – "The Expert"
- Jon Elliott – "The Silent One"
- Ryan H. Nelson – "The Fun One"
- Eric Pichardo – "The Expert"
- Jade Scaffidi – "The Younger"
- Audwin Short – "The Hopeful"
- Kenny Somerville – "The Passionate One"
- Michael Viers – "The Great Unifier"
|Bat Bishop||Glen Popple||High official in the Batman religion who tolls the cathedral bell and receives confessions.|
|Bat Priest||Jacob Woelfel||A minister in the Batman religion who delivers a mass, reading from the Book of the Nolans, and later helps Margaret put Batman in perspective.|
|Spider-Man Sinner||Reuben Glaser||A remorseful sinner who confesses reading a Spider-Man comic to the Bat Bishop and later attends the Debate on Batman.|
|Batmaniac||Aaron Fronk||A practicing member of the Batman religion who believes the historical Batman could have prevented the destruction of Australia in World War V.|
|Supermaniac||Jason Hillman||A practicing member of the Superman religion who debates with his friend over whether or not Superman would have been more useful than Batman in preventing World War V.|
|Dr. Margaret Blume||Andrea Ivy||She debates Carrier Bot 9000 over the historicity of Bruce Wayne/Batman, taking the side of the affirmative, but is ultimately unable to win the audience over, questioning her faith.|
|Carrier Bot 9000||Jozef K. Richards (voice)||The surviving brain of Dr. Richard Carrier stored in a tank inside of a trash can-sized robot who debates Dr. Margaret Blume on the historicity of Batman.|
|Debate Moderator||Matt Kemple||Announcer and mediator to Dr. Margaret Blume and Carrier Bot 9000's debate on the historicity of Batman.|
|Carrier Bot 9000 fans||Sean Fracek, Fritz Blandón||Former practicing members of the Batman religion who become swayed away from their belief after witnessing Carrier Bot 9000 debate Dr. Margaret Blume.|