2013 saw the immense and sudden popularity of The Make a Wish Foundation and the wish they granted, which promised young Miles Scott, a Leukemia patient, he could be Batman for the day. What started out as a silly premise for a public interest news item transformed in to the feel good story of the year, and thankfully it’s still a cute take about the lengths humans can go to give one another happiness and fulfillment. I’m still not sure if it warranted a full length documentary, but “Batkid Begins” is a fine ode to Batman and the human condition.
“Batkid Begins” chronicles the fate of five year old Miles Scott who was diagnosed with Leukemia after his loving and stern parents discovered a lump on his neck. What began as a mild concern transformed in to a life changing event with the working class couple having to change their entire financial and personal welfare to ensure Miles could see Leukemia through to the very end. After being contacted by the Make a Wish foundation, Miles wished to be Batman for the day, and his wish was granted, come hell or high water. “Batkid Begins” explores the events that led to Miles wishing to be Batman, and why his wish became a nationwide event that literally everyone took part in, in some form. The event granted attention from the president, right down to composer Hans Zimmer, who invented a custom Batman score for Miles.
Nachman even cuts off the naysayers at the pass, by explaining that the one hundred thousand dollar debt San Francisco garnered from the event was covered by a wealthy couple that happily footed the bill. “Batkid Begins” benefits from a fast pace and brisk energy, and that tackles every aspect of the Herculean feat of transforming San Francisco in to Gotham for young Miles. Director Dana Nachman explores how the Foundation created their own Batmobile, cast a popular circus performer to take on the mantle of Batman, and how there was literally a pilgrimage to the city by supporters to help and support Miles in his day long adventure.
“Batkid Begins” could definitely have stood to cut ten minutes from its run time, as right in the home stretch, the film feels padded. Thankfully though, that caveat doesn’t mar what is meant to act as a statement of the power of human kindness. As well, “Batkid Begins” emphasized how powerful superheroes can be to a child, and how they can influence us to become heroes in our own ways. Though “Batkid Begins” is centered on Miles dealing with Leukemia, Nachman keeps his documentary a light and pleasant affair, with a climax that will leave viewers grinning from ear to ear. Every now and then we need movies like “Batkid Begins” to remind us that we have potential for greatness, if we just reach down deep.