'Hunters' constantly draws parallels with Al Pacino's Meyer and Batman among other 70s pop culture references
'Hunters' the new Amazon Original is a 10-episode series about a group of Nazi hunters finding and killing Nazis who were brought to the US to be used for their engineering, medical and technical knowledge by the CIA. The show uses Jonah Heidelbaum, a teenager, whose Safta (grandma) Ruth gets killed in the summer of 1977 to set the things in motion. He watches the 'Star Wars' movies with his friends Cheeks and Arthur. He has a crush on a girl from his neighborhood and he sells drugs to put food on the table for himself and his grandmother.
One of the first times we meet Jonah; he is talking to his friend Cheeks and Arthur about how Darth Vader cannot be called completely bad for doing what he thought was best. Jonah believes that Vader did not intend on murdering people and says that according to Vader, everything that he did was for the greater good of people. He also tries to make his point by explaining that superheroes say Batman was also doing the same thing. They kill, maim and torture people, all in the shroud of keeping people safe, making this world a better place. While the "greater good" is subjective; the moral code of what is right and wrong is decided by us. For some reason, readers and viewers put Vader on the wrong side and Batman on the right side and this comparison is really foreshadowing of Meyer Offerman's character.
He believes that his group is the only one that can stop the Nazis, who have been sneaked in by the CIA into the US, from bringing about a Fourth Reich as they had planned. His strong belief leads him to take the law into his own hands. He kills, tortures and maims individuals he believes are Nazis and in the name of justice, even kills them too.
After Jonah gets bailed out by Meyer in one of the episodes and is taken to a manor in New York, and Jonah responds tells Meyer that he didn't reveal he was Bruce Wayne (Batman) rich. Then we have comments about Meyer being addressed as Professor X from 'X-Men'.
The show, majorly, however, uses Batman and in one such scene, Jonah is smoking weed in Coney Island with his friends. The conversation veers again to superheroes, especially Robin, as it usually does among teenage men who love superheroes. Jonah and Arthur believe that without Robin, Batman would have given in to the darkness.
Arthur wonders what would have happened, had Robin not been with Batman and balanced out the darkness that was within him. The conversation in a way also draws on the relationship between Jonah and Meyer. It is about Jonah and Meyer being there for each other; especially Meyer for Jonah when he struggles with doing what is right versus doing what is difficult. It was about navigating a conflict between letting the cause become an excuse to give an outlet to the darkness brewing within you or letting the cause be a guide that would always help you do the right thing.
With the way the relationship between Meyer and Jonah progressed through the season, this particular conversation takes on a deeper meaning. All the comments that seemed as if they were delivered to be throwaways, take on a different meaning as the story proceeds forth.
Even when Millie meets Jonah for the first time, he asks her why good people have to always do the right thing even though they lose a lot. Take Batman for example he says, or even Peter Parker; despite always doing what was right, they lost people close to them. Millie responds that it is not that good people will always have to do the right thing, but that people who always do the right thing are good people. This is again a metric on which we all judge others as good or bad.
The show's premise in itself has been argued about and dissected for how it mines on the trauma of survivors; or how it portrays traumatic experiences with a careless treatment. Especially, a white man pointing a gun at a Jewish woman/camera to say that he is going to kill every one of "them", can dig up buried experiences for many. However, there is still cinematic flair that will definitely interest viewers.