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One of the most identifiable gadgets of Batman is the grappling gun ("Bat-Rope"): a launcher that shoots a grappling hook and enables Batman to pull himself up to the rooftops.

However, in almost all adaptations it seems that Batman has an unlimited supply of ropes. Moreover, in most adaptations, he even does not need to reload, and whenever he draws his grappling gun, it is loaded with a rope and ready for action. It is possible that he reuses most of his ropes when he pulls himself to the hook, but still - it doesn't explain how his grappling gun is always loaded and never runs out of ropes.

How is Batman's grappling gun always loaded and ready to use, and never runs out of ropes?

Examples

Batman vs. Superman

("The Flash", 1:26 to 2:32 )

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  • 1
    There's not just one of them. He's Batman; he always carries at least four. :D
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 20:19
  • 4
    Is it not usually the case that the rope is always attached to the gun? Presumably there is a "quick retract" button that rewinds the rope once he's climbed up.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 20:46
  • 2
    This is why.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:50
  • 6
    This is similar to the cowboy hero's six shooter phenom.
    – releseabe
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:55
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    @Triceratops I only watched the second video, but you can see (and hear) it being retracted each time.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 12:03

2 Answers 2

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As another answer mentioned, Batman's grappling/batline is designed to retract, which not only allows him to re-use it, but also to climb up to higher areas when needed.

Take these two examples from the movie Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003):

Batman uses his grappling to save himself from a fall in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. Notice how he doesn't retrieve the grappling and it keeps going up.

Batman evades Bane's attack by using his grappling to climb up.

Sometimes, he's also carrying spare grappling too. Notice the first image above. After he releases the grappling, it keeps going up. Because of the way it wrapped around a metallic bar, there was no way he could retrieve it, so he merely dumped it. Even so, he still had a grappling to use in the second image (which happened after the first image).

Another example that shows he has spare grappling guns in episode Day of the Samurai from the same universe:

He shoots a first grappling gun to save himself and the girl he grabbed, then presses a button mid-fall to release/cut off the wire in order to fall down, which means that grappling gun is now out of a grappling. But the next instant, he still pulls out a new loaded grappling gun to jump away.

However, unlike your assumption that he always has a grappling gun ready for use, there are situations during which things don't go exactly as planned. Take for example this scene from Justice League Unlimited animated series, episode Panic in the Sky:

Batman uses a grappling to save himself from falling off a building. But the grappling bounces off the building, and he keeps falling down.

Batman tried using his grappling to save himself, but it bounced against the wall of the building he shot it against. Since he didn't have any spare grappling available, he kept falling down to a potential death.

The same also happened to Robin during episode Stranded of the Teen Titans (2003) animated series. After he shot a monster with his grappling, he was left with an unloaded grappling, because of which he couldn't run away:

Robin attempts to wrap a monster's arm with his grappling gun.

Since Robin used up his grappling gun, he could no longer use it to run away.

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  • The colours of the gifs look funny, because I had to heavily reduce their sizes since I extracted them straight from the videos (they weighed up to 90Mb).
    – Clockwork
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 22:06
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    "Converting GIFs to fit SE Imgur requirements" aficionado here. I'm interested in what you did to lessen the sizes of the GIFs. Did you use Gifsicle? How many colors and frames per second were those GIFs? And what other compression did you use? Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 7:19
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    @galacticninja I went on a bunch of "GIF optimizer" websites which didn't work out, then I used EZGif. At first, I tried using the "optimize" option, but it was taking so long it never finished. I ended up using the "resize" option, setting it to 20% of the width size while keeping aspect ratio. After doing that, they mostly landed between 1.3 and 1.89Mb. I think the FPS is untouched, which is why it looks too smooth.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 7:54
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    Did you use any color reduction? Or did you just use the "resize" option? Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 8:50
  • @galacticninja Only the resize option, as far as I know.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 8:53
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The grapple gun automatically retracts and reloads, and you can actually see/hear it doing so in the videos that you posted. If you consider the Arkham video games to be valid sources here, then as an extreme example of this auto-reload feature in action, Batman can repeatedly fire and retract/reload the grapple gun in mid-air to glide long distances without touching the ground, and in many of the games he actually has control over the speed at which the rope retracts and can accelerate the rope retraction to boost himself higher into the air. Because of this, there is no need to wait any significant amount of time for the grapple gun to reload and/or to use multiple ropes as you mention in your question.

Here is a video of someone playing Arkham Knight and using the grapple gun with accelerator multiple times in mid-air:

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  • Can you add a video?
    – TheAsh
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 14:25

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