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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

Adventurer
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.
 

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
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.
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
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.
 


Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
Batman (1989) re-introduced people to the DC film universe (after Superman IV killed it).
Loved the score by Danny Elfman, and the visuals.
But, the Joker's true origins were something that was never meant to be known, and as others have said, it was too much of a co-incident how it was introduced.
And the hokey lines "You created me... no, you created me first" or something like that was dumb.
And Batman's code of not killing, when in the film Batman's body count was high, including The Joker at the end of the film.
But still a great film, even if the secret identity was revealed to Vicky Vale.

After this film, every A-lister in Hollywood wanted to be in a Batman Film.
Sadly, the quality of future films steadily went down from here.

Batman Returns (1992) if one villain was good, two would be better? Sadly no. Loved Danny DeVito's Penguin, but the Catwoman was "eye-candy" and her origins were not comicbook canon. The opening sequence I really liked (reminds me of the famous Bond opening sequences). Score by Danny Elfman was once again top notch. But, another Bat-film, another secret identity reveal, another body count. Does not Gotham have Arkham Asylum?

Batman Forever (1995) was starting to look more like Adam West villains than the darker tone of the Burton Films. For the material they had, Carry and Jones did their best with what they were asked to do, and where as over the top as the director wanted. While I liked how they wanted to tie Nigma to WayneTech, the brainwave machine was not believable, the glowing Bat-mobile (that can climb buildings), etc. was stupid. The music was not up to previous standards. The marketing excitement with the "?" around the bat-signal over shadowed the film itself. I did like how Chris O'Donnell portraited Dick Grayson/Robin. Yet again, body count. And surprisingly, The Riddler is the first super-villain Batman caught that we see in Arkham!

Batman & Robin (1997) They once again had an all-star cast, but failed in using them. The understanding that to live in that sub-zero suit someone had to be big enough for the weight of the suit made sense, but the bad dialogue cooled my heart to this film. But where one villain made a great film, two was better, heck three would be a knockout. While excited for Uma Thurman, I did not get the impression she was a brilliant botanist. And then, they had to make a soy-boy out of BANE. That KILLED the franchise, IMO. The sub-plots were moronic, and the making of Barbara into Alfred's niece instead of the daughter of Commissioner Gordon was a terrible mistake. I wanted to see Silverstone as a proper Batgirl (later Oracle).

But it took until 2005 for Christopher Nolan to bring new life back into this Super-Hero Franchise.

And by the time Iron Man (2008) introduced us to the MCU, the big name A-listers all want to be in Marvel films, not a DC film.
 


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.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
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....

One reason might be that Jack decide to take ALOT less in base base, but take a percentage of the box office instead. WB quickly accepted, not knowing how big Batman did become, and how big a paycheque they had to give Nicholson in the end.
 

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