Marcelo has a B. S. in English Education and experience as a Spanish teacher. He enjoys science fiction and fantasy.
Piñata Filled with Batman News
I watched one or two trailers of The Batman on my Android, and now my phone is bursting news and notifications about The Batman like a piñata bursts candy. So, today I'm going to share my impressions about various versions of live Batman movies, and I'll tell you what I think The Batman will be like, what the movie should avoid, and what the movie should include.
I was introduced to the Batman character by the 1977 CBS animated show The New Adventures of Batman (in which Robin, Batgirl, and Bat-Mite composed Batman's team), the 1960's TV show with Adam West and Burt Ward, and the 1966 Batman film (which included most of the TV show's cast).
Despite the fighting and the kissing, the exaggerated acting, the comical situations, the middle school level dialogue, and the flamboyantly colorful outfits show that this film is family friendly and not to be taken seriously.
I was nine years old when Tim Burton's Batman came out.
Michael Keaton was the perfect Bruce Wayne, not only because he appeared intelligent, serious, mysterious, and troubled, but also because his eyebrows were shaped like bat wings.
Batman's outfit was realistic, black, intimidating, and bullet proof (unlike Adam West's blue and grey); and his tools and toys were to be taken seriously.
And who could forget gorgeous Kim Basinger screaming here and there every now and then at the top of her lungs?
Moreover, Jack Nicholson was a perfect Joker. Crazy looking, dangerous, very similar to Cesar Romero's Joker, but much more intimidating.
The movie was an instant classic, one which set a new standard for Batman and superhero movies all over.
However, this movie was not family friendly. There was a good amount of language, violence, and content that was meant for adults.
Batman Returns (1992)
In the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, Batman faced Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as the Cat Woman.
Unfortunately, the movie was too dark to be enjoyable.
The cat woman was a dead woman brought back to life by cats licking her blood. The penguin was a deformed child who was abandoned by his parents and who grew up to become a vengeful monster. Neither of these villains had the charm of the Joker in the previous movie, who provided a much needed comic relief.
In the end, I was genuinely concerned about the penguins in the movie: why were they bad? did they survive the explosions? did Batman even care about them?
One should also note that this movie, like the previous one, was not family friend either. Some of the objectionable content included the Penguin biting a man's nose until it bled profusely, and groping a woman's breast while putting a pin on her.
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman Forever—directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Val Kilmer as Batman and Chris O'Donnell as Robin—was a fun and entertaining film, a sort of sequel to the previous two movies, but probably taking place in a different universe because it was a very different film from Tim Burton's Batman.
Robin, who had not appeared in either Batman or Batman Returns, was finally included in this movie, but he was a different kind of Robin: he was not an obedient and nerdy looking Robin, but an independent and rebellious Robin, who needed to embrace a new family.
The villains Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) and Riddler (Jim Carrey) also made an appearance, and their acting was phenomenal—they just weren't as creepy as the Joker in Burton's movie.
Unlike Batman and Batman Returns, this was a family friendly show: it was dark enough to be girded to teenagers, but bright, colorful, and comical enough to be a family show. It was also 1990's hip—Robin had an earring, and the Batman suit included nipples.
This movie ignored the tone of the previous two movies and revamped the 1966 Batman for a more modern and sophisticated audience.
Batman and Robin (1997)
After Batman Forever, a sequel was made: Batman and Robin.
Unfortunately, where Batman Forever was hip and family friendly, Batman and Robin was filled with cheesy jokes, ridiculous action, and a boring script.
Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), and Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) made an appearance in this movie, and George Clooney replaced Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Like the previous movie, Batman and Robin was a family friendly show, despite some of the outfits and the seductiveness of Poison Ivy. The movie was also filled with lots of color, and it had a family oriented theme.
[In the two videos below, you can see movie star George Clooney and movie director Joel Schumacher apologizing for the film]
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman Begins told the story of how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) became Batman. The audience got to see how Bruce Wayne trained, how he put together his suit, how he built the Batcave, and how he acquired his weapons and Batmobile.
Bruce Wayne was a more complex character in this film: he had a thirst for revenge and justice, he had fears to overcome, he had a sense of humor, and he had a love interest.
In this movie, Batman faced Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), with whom Batman was engaged in challenging and dangerous confrontations.
Moreover, the technology appeared believable and within reach, making it easier for the audience to believe the action and become immersed in the movie.
Overall, the movie was balanced: it was dark enough to be taken seriously, and it was light enough to give people a sense of excitement and some little things to laugh about here and there.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, was a darker film that felt like a thriller.
Some of the action was very realistic (except for the clown that got knocked by the bus—I can never get over that), and the fighting was also stylish and believable.
The danger in the movie was more palpable. Consequently, Bruce Wayne no longer appears over-confident and eager to take on new challenges. Instead, he appears concerned and frustrated by the challenge.
The acting was great, especially that of Heath Ledger as the Joker, a mysterious villain and a dangerous assassin who—although much, much darker and sinister—sometimes reminds us of Cesar Romero's Joker and Jack Nicholson's Joker.
A chic humor was also present in the movie, providing much needed relief to a tense plot.
Overall, the movie felt a lot more realistic than Batman Begins, although some of the special effects and technology available to Batman were definitely not realistic—like Batman surviving falling from a building by landing on a car.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman (Christian Bale) faced Vayne (Tom Hardy), Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), and the child of Ra's al Ghul.
Bruce Wayne appeared aged and worn out by the aftermath of the events in the Dark Night. He was not aware that he was in danger, facing an enemy that was much more powerful than he.
The film reflects the ongoing problem with terrorism in that Bane isn't only a mindless mass of muscle (as in Batman and Robin), but a smart, powerful fighter/assassin/terrorist who represents the League of Shadows.
My favorite scenes include Bane in the airplane, Catwoman betraying Batman, Batman's hand to hand combats with Bane, and the police chasing Batman.
However, it has been pointed out that the plot of the film had several loopholes—more loopholes than a ribbon on a Christmas gift. The ambiguous ending is also unsatisfactory.
This film wasn't too dark, but it was serious and didn't really have any comic relief. The film drags, and Batman appeared only a few times in the movie.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Finally, Batman appears on the screen as a very powerful character, powerful enough to duel the Man of Steel. He is full of wrath and vengeance, and he has mastered all his skills—including how to use guns and kill criminals.
The technology that Batman uses in this film is futuristic, yet it feels real and logical.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Batman appears in the awful, boring, and nonsensical film that is Suicide Squad—my mind has erased most of what happened in this movie to prevent injury to my brain.
However, Batman was obviously a powerful background presence in the film, a presence the starring villains avoided at all possible cost.
Nevertheless, Batfleck's appearances are brief.
Justice League (2017)
Ben Affleck appeared once again as Batman in the Justice League. In the film, Batman is the master mind that brought the league together—and, to provide comic relief, he was Superman's ragdoll from time to time.
The Batman (202?)
From the looks of the trailer, it appears that Matt Reeves is bringing us a serious film that is dark and comparable to Batman Dark Knight—the film begins with a criminal taping a dead man's face, which reminds me of how the Joker taped someone's mouth in the Dark Knight.
Batman appears to be a seasoned fighter working together with the police, just as in the dark knight. The fighting scenes are realistic, and his movements and fighting style are similar to how Batman fights in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Batman's suit seems comparable to the suit in Christopher Nolan's trilogy, but not as polished.
Some of the gangsters have their faces painted, which is similar to a scene in Batman Forever.
The Batmobile is definitely different—more retro. Lighter, maybe more of a race car. It is reminiscent of the 1960's Batmobile.
Robert Pattinson, as Bruce Wayne, appears comparable to Christian Bale, but without the smart-aleck attitude and humor. In this sense, his personality appears closer to the personality of Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne.
Cat Woman appears to be very similar to the Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises—as a skillful thief.
Thus, apart from the plot, The Batman may feel a lot like The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in its style.
Things to Avoid
There are several things I hope this film (and possible new trilogy) avoids.
- Just about everything in Batman 1966, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin, although some color in the characters is acceptable.
- The inconsistency in style between Batman Begins and the Dark Knight—both movies feel completely different and do not complement each other.
- Big scenes like the have-to-stop the train scene in Batman Begins... the whole thing should have been a more meaningful duel between Ras Alghoul and Batman, as it was between Batman and the Joker in the Dark Knight, and Batman and Bane in the Dark Knight Rises.
- The loopholes in the Dark Knight Rises, and the ambiguous ending.
- The overly complicated concepts in the Dark Knight: how Batman is the hero Gotham needs but not the one it deserves, and how the Joker convinced Harvey to become a criminal—that just seemed very unlikely.
- The terrible CGI in Harvey Dent's face in the Dark Knight.
- The long, boring, slow scenes in the Dark Knight Rises—where nothing is happening.
- The lack of unity from one movie to another... If they're going to make a trilogy, the movies should stick together, feel like one unified movie (just as every season of Gotham built upon the previous season and maintained the style) build on each other, and lead to a satisfying conclusion.
What It Should Do
Hopefully, at the end of the trilogy, we will feel as if Batman still exists in that universe, and as if he is still fighting crime. Bringing such character to s complete stop may not be the best because, after all, we can imagine that other movies of Batman may continue to come out.
© 2020 Marcelo Carcach