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Rewatching the Batman movies

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
This last couple of weeks I’ve rewatched the Burtonverse Batman movies

It’s pretty much what I remember. Same pattern as most movie series — Alien, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon. Starts strong then descends into farce.

Batman (1989). Still a great film. The atmosphere, the way Gotham has character, the supporting characters, Jack. It has flaws, but it’s a great film.

Batman Returns. Very different in look and feel to Batman, but still good.

Batman Forever. Not as much of a departure as I remember. Mainly it’s set design and vehicles. Brooding is exchanged for camp. Val Kilmer is doing a decent Keaton impersonation. The villains are a pair of annoying cackling clowns trying to out-cackle each other. Not a good film, but not as awful as....

Batman & Robin. My goodness. There isn’t a single good thing to say about this film. Camp dialled up another notch. It’s utterly awful.

What did you guys think?
 

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cbwjm

Hero
I'm going off memory but I think I'd give the same general review. The Keaton movies were amazing and I've watched both multiple times. I can't quite remember Kilmer but do recall that his batman movie was still good but I missed Keaton. Clooney batman seemed to be channelling the old Adam West series. It was kind of fun in an over the top kind of way but I would still rank it the worst.
 
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Ryujin

Hero
At the time I enjoyed the first, but lost interest as they went on. And the last? It left me feeling that Schumacher was trying for the camp of the '60s TV series but rather than putting in actual effort, just phoned it in. Or didn't have the skill. Or was just incompetent. Nipples? REALLY?
 



Retreater

Legend
It's funny that I've never considered Batman Forever and Batman & Robin as part of the Burtonverse Batman series. Different actors, different writers, directors. I consider them as much the same franchise as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Jamie Foxx.
I guess I don't even think about BF and B&R.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Pretty much as you say. The only thing I didn't like about the Keaton/Burton Batman is the way he dropped bombs out of the Batmobile and BLEW UP all the criminals in the early part. Oh, and I don't really like Joker being the guy who killed Bruce's Parents (too convenient/forced) but these are nitpicks. I remember going in thinking that Keaton would never make a good Batman, and I was utterly wrong.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It's funny that I've never considered Batman Forever and Batman & Robin as part of the Burtonverse Batman series. Different actors, different writers, directors. I consider them as much the same franchise as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Jamie Foxx.
I guess I don't even think about BF and B&R.
Alfred and Commissioner Gordon provide the through-line. Plus some lines/references. They’re definitely the same series.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Batman was pretty good. Nicholson's hamming worked for the Joker and Keaton was surprisingly good. I think people hadn't quite cottoned on to how good an actor he really was at the time.

Batman Returns had some good parts - the chemistry between Batman and Catwoman was good. This marks the first of the movies with TOO MANY VILLAINS. Danny DeVito was put in a really terrible rendition of the Penguin.

Batman Forever would have been better with just one villain - Riddler. Tommy Lee Jones was wasted as Two-Face. I don't recall any positive thing his character added to the movie.

And Batman and Robin? I couldn't even sit through it, it was so bad.
 

I kind of like Batman and Robin. It is not merely a bad movie; it's a spectacularly bad movie. "So bad it's good" is obviously a highly subjective but I think the key is being something outlandishly awful that fails in myriad, baffling ways in rapid enough succession to be entertaining. I wouldn't say I recommend it per se, but so far as bad super hero movies go it's the only one where I can savor the badness rather than just getting bored.

The flaw with being able to enjoy it ironically is that it is attached to a series that I otherwise unironically enjoyed but a series that does, nevertheless, evolve fairly directly into this piece of crap. All the movies benefit if you don't think of Batman and Robin as being attached to the rest of the series and don't watch them in tandem with each other. End your series rewatch as a trilogy, and then some lazy afternoon several months or years later get some friends together to make fun of Batman and Robin.
 



Retreater

Legend
For god's sake don't watch it sober!
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Batman was pretty good. Nicholson's hamming worked for the Joker and Keaton was surprisingly good. I think people hadn't quite cottoned on to how good an actor he really was at the time.

Batman Returns had some good parts - the chemistry between Batman and Catwoman was good. This marks the first of the movies with TOO MANY VILLAINS. Danny DeVito was put in a really terrible rendition of the Penguin.
Man I couldn’t disagree more about Batman Returns. It’s Penguin is inspired. I’d go so far as to say it’s slightly better than Batman. Slightly.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Batman was pretty good. Nicholson's hamming worked for the Joker and Keaton was surprisingly good. I think people hadn't quite cottoned on to how good an actor he really was at the time.

Batman Returns had some good parts - the chemistry between Batman and Catwoman was good. This marks the first of the movies with TOO MANY VILLAINS. Danny DeVito was put in a really terrible rendition of the Penguin.

Batman Forever would have been better with just one villain - Riddler. Tommy Lee Jones was wasted as Two-Face. I don't recall any positive thing his character added to the movie.

And Batman and Robin? I couldn't even sit through it, it was so bad.
I thought Danny DeVito was amazing as the Penguin.
 




Tim Burton wanted Jack Nicholson for the Joker, but he wanted too much money or just wasnt interested. For what ever reason, he only took the part after WB was going to cast Robin Williams, who genuinely wanted the part. Fast forward 5 or so years same story with Batman Forever. They wanted Jim Carey for the Riddler but considered Robin Williams only until Jim Carrey took the part. Now honestly I dont know the particulars or the ins and outs of how Hollywood works but things Ive read about it over the years seems like Robin Williams got screwed, was used as a pawn and in my opinion would have filled both those roles way better than Nicholson or Carey. I watched the 1989 Batman a few years back, it didnt really hold up and Jack Nicholsons performance was too over the top and over rated IMO.
 


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