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    Does Batman Have a Death Wish? The Real (Bad) Science Behind the Batcape

    Batman DC Comics/Warner Bros.

    The Dark Knight Rises all right, but the fall's a killer.

    Thanks to four diligent master's degree students at the University of Leicester in the U.K. who studied Batman's cape gliding around Gotham and published a paper about it, we now know what really happens in the gravity-defying bat stunt: Our hero would hit the earth upon landing at a speed similar to being hit by a car moving at 50 miles per hour!

    Forget "pow." How about "splat"?!

    MORE: The Dark Knight Rises Primer: Where Are We Now?

    These calculations also factor in the "memory cloth" Batman acquired in 2008's The Dark Knight. Audiences will recall it as the material Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox gave his boss that—thanks to an electrical current Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne activates via his right glove—turns his flexible cape into a rigid glider allowing him to fly through the air along skyscrapers, similar to the kind of gliding done by base jumpers.

    "We found he could fly quite well and he can actually fly pretty far," David Marshall, one of the students participating in the project, told the BBC. "He can get about twice as far as he does fall, but once he gets there he is travelling about 50 mph and that's a bit too fast to land safely. He would likely end up getting a bit splattered."

    The paper, dubbed aptly enough Trajectory of a Falling Batman, concluded that despite Batman's 15.4-foot wingspan, this particular Bat parachute has its limitations.

    "Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel," stated the report.

    MORE: The Dark Knight Rises: Five Things You Probably Didn't Know Until Now

    For their efforts, the would-be physicists were awarded top marks, by the way.

    News of Batman's lack of scientific acumen probably won't affect fans' eager anticipation of The Dark Knight Rises, which after a four-year wait finally hits theaters on July 20.

    And on that score, Empire magazine is streaming longtime Batman composer Hans Zimmer's score of Christopher Nolan's epic in its entirely for the first time online.  The soundtrack from Sony Classical drops on July 16 and will be available from Amazon and iTunes, but you can get a taste of it here.

    Flick Pics: The Dark Knight Rises

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