This is a thread meant for any kind of Batman stuff. But I'll kick it off with my original motivation for making this thread.
After Arkham Origins was announced I decided to watch all of the 90's Batman movies, that I never saw up until this point. So that is: Batman Returns, Forever and Robin. Which means I've now seen all of the modern Batman movies (still need to see the Adam West one!).
So this is how I'd rate the Batman films:
Batman Begins (close tie with the '89 one)
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight, Rises
Batman & Robin
remains low on my list, because despite maintaining a serious tone like the first film, the movie was very depressing to watch. And I disagree with both Penguin's and Catwoman's portrayals (Catwoman's "origin" really rubbed me the wrong way). It also felt more like a Tim Burton film at times, than Batman, I mean the character Max Shreck looked like he was straight out of Edward Scissorhands or Sweeney Todd. Overall, Returns is still better than the next two films, but if Burton just didn't make it so dark, we would've had a great trilogy on our hands, in my opinion.
I put Batman & Robin higher than Forever for a few reasons.
For one, Batman & Robin to me was a campy movie that made improvements on an already campy movie (the Batmobile's design was much better the 2nd time around and the fight scenes were better). Forever, was a follow up to the serious (and superior) Burton films and started the horrible trend that created B&B. Both horrible movies, just dissecting which one is the lesser of two evils.
One complaint with Forever is the acting. Now don't get me wrong, I feel that Jim Carey and Tommy Lee Jones are both great actors. Now on one hand, I was expecting the Riddler to be a rehash of the Joker (I gathered this from the trailers)...but actually, I sensed more Joker rehash from Two face
! It was just awkward. Also, neither of the characters had very clear motives (besides being doing crime for the sake of crime). Whereas, in B&R, aside from Bane, both Ivy and Freeze have really well established, clear cut persona's and motivations. In fact, for both characters, crime was more or less just a vehicle for them to achieve what they wanted, where it was the polar opposite for the two villains in Forever. Ivy and Freeze were also very true to how they should be potrayed. In fact, Freeze having the goal of saving his wife was a story arc introduced to Batman lore in the very well written Animated series, and the writers of B&R actually chose that portrayal as opposed to the commonly used portrayal from the Adam West show where Mr Freeze (called Mr. Zero in that show) is just another thief with a snow gun. Poison Ivy thinking plants are superior and having lips of death is also another portrayal of the character seen in the Animated series....whereas I have to give Forever credit for giving us a very unique
take on Two Face
Also, Val Kilmer is the stiffest Batman and Bruce Wayne of all of the movies. But, I will give him credit, he at least tried
to do a separate Batman voice from his Bruce voice. George Clooney on other hand...it felt more like Batman was playing George Clooney. But I felt Clooney was more watchable none the less. Kilmer tried harder, but wasn't very fun to watch.
I feel every good portrayal of Batman teaches me a little about the character (whether that be intentional or not). As each movie shows a different take on the character. Adam West's Batman taught me that Batman has to be an optimist...and this is even more evident in the darker films...why would a guy keep fighting a sess pool of crime? He has to have some faith in humanity. Batman '89 introduced me to Batman. Begins taught me what Batman means as a symbol. The Dark Knight taught me the philosophical relationship of Batman and Joker. Arkham Asylum taught me about the self determined nature of Batman. The Animated series taught me many things about the Bat. Dark Knight Rises...sadly only taught me that Batman can be anyone....which is a pretty lame message in my opinion and not true to the character at all.
In Batman Forever, I learned nothing about Batman. In Batman & Robin, I didn't learn much...but Alfred actually had an interesting quote about Batman I never thought of, when Clooney's Bruce asks him if he is stubborn, Alfred replies with this:
"Yes, actually. Death and chance, stole your parents. But rather than become a victim, you have done everything in your power to control the fates. For what is Batman? If not an effort to master the chaos that sweeps our world. An attempt to control death, itself. "
That's at least something. Forever tried dabbling with the duality nature of Batman, but it fell flat and didn't tread any new ground that was already better illustrated in Batman '89.
Overally, Batman & Robin was just more watchable. Forever felt very flat, like there was something missing to it. But I should point out, that many people's reaction to B&R might've been without knowing how campy it would be (hard to believe after what happened with Forever). I came into B&R knowing its reputation and having already seen a video of Mr. Freeze's ice puns
, so I do concede to possible bias as to why I prefer B&R over Forever.
So even though I consider Forever to be the worst Batman movie, I'm glad B&R is considered the worst by many and that it financially flopped...otherwise we wouldn't have Nolan's film without the wake up call that was Batman & Robin.
What's your take on the films? Feel free to sound off about them, or anything else about Batman.