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Batman: The films, the tv-shows, the animation.
#1
Is there any property that has been so diversely depicted as Batman? We still argue the value of Batman Forever vs Batman and Robin. West' Batman from the 60's is still relevant in today's pop culture. We've seen a few videogames, and what, four animated tv-shows at this point?

After reading in the Forever vs Batman and Robin thread about what was the most sucktastic Batman and who is the definitive version on film...

What is your favorite depiction of Batman? Of Bruce Wayne? Who is your favorite among his Rogue Gallery?

I've recently revisited Batman: The Animated Series with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. The Dark Deco style is really beautiful and I find it a really good balance between the fantasy Gotham of Burton and the realistic Nolan 'verse.

Though I appreciate The Dark Knight, I would rate Batman Returns as my favorite of the films - Burton, for all his schtick, really plays fast and loose with the psychology of Batman, and the themes of duality I think work better in his film than in The Dark Knight. There's a coldness to Bale and Nolan's work...It's been said around here a few times, and especially highlighted in Devin's recent article, that the current version of Batman is more a monk than anything else, right down to his origins. It's one of the reasons why we may not see Catwoman in the next installment, because Nolan doesn't work in themes of desire and fetish often. If it doesn't happen, that's a shame because I would have liked to have seen him tackle that side; Bruce is a man afterall, no?

The issues I have with BB, and especially TDK, is that Gotham as its own separate character has been diminished to the point of nonexistent. I remember some of the post-release comments included criticism that Gotham was just Chicago with a name change, rather than its own unique identity.I find Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Twoface more compelling than either Ledger's Joker or Bale's Batman. It may not be the most showy of performances, but I feel his arc, however much shortened, is stronger than either of the other leads.

That being said, has Nolan ever dealt with/written any female leads? It's largely irrelevant to the conversation, but perhaps that might act as another deterrent for a female co-lead. Though this is probably the wrong property to talk about that.

So what makes Batman so enduring? While Superman is just as iconic, I believe Batman takes the edge in how he's permeated American culture through so many mediums.
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#2
Personally when it comes to depictions of one of my very favorite superheroes, I'm basically the Timmsverses' bitch. The Kevin Conroy voiced character of The Animated Series and both Justice Leagues iterations - both Batman and Bruce - is by far the closest we'll get to what works best in the character from his long history in DC Comics.

We get the charming but troubled (but not morosely so) Bruce, we get the Dark Knight that can invoke primal fear in the criminal world, while still believing he's smart enough to be an actual detective as well as an essentially modern day, gadget bound ninja.

The balance is there completely with the way the Timmsverse handles the character, never letting one element that works to overshadow the rest.

When it comes to my favourite member of the rogues gallery, I'm boring - Joker has always and will probably always be my favourite villain in anything, ever. Again, the Timmsverse iteration is a wonderful balancing act thanks to Mark Hamills voice work, tho I actually love both the Nicholson and Ledger variations for the different aspects they bring to the table with their performances.

As far as why does Batman resonate so much I think it's simply a matter of him being so much more relatable to an average audience. The guy has no powers to speak of, he simply has brains, strength and money - all relatively attainable things (well besides the millions of dollars part but thats still more attainable than limitless superpowers or a magic ring or lasso). Combine this with the fact that he is driven by deep trauma and rage - again pretty relatable concepts for most people - and I think he's endurance speaks for itself.
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#3
I know it's bound to get buried in this thread quick, but I'd love to hear the collective Chewer stance on Batman Beyond. It took a season and a half to really find its niche, but even by then, there's more than the lions share of high notes (a big fight in a factory with no sound, the stunning animation for Inque, Barbara Gordon, even before Return of the Joker filled in the rest of the blanks). It did wonders with what could have easily been an annoying concept.
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#4
Not that anyone gives a shit, but I rank em like this...

THE DARK KNIGHT
BATMAN BEGINS
BATMAN: THE MOVIE
BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM
BATMAN RETURNS
BATMAN
BATMAN FOREVER
BATMAN: SUBZERO
BATMAN AND ROBIN

That's right, I just placed Adam West above Michael Keaton. Fuck ya'll. I may even place it higher than BEGINS. I guess my point is that campy, goofy Batman has been discounted over the past 20 years. The Schumacher movies were viewed as missteps and most of Generation Y looks at the old TV show with distain. But fuck my generation, that shit is gold. I haven't watched Brave and the Bold, so maybe the goofy shit has had a welcome return.

But yeah, Batman's popularity over the past 20 years owes a lot to BATMAN 89. That movie was the very definition of "zeitgeist". I don't think it's a very good movie and I'm definitely not saying it's the only way to do Batman, but it got a lot of people to accept Batman as something other than camp.
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#5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scott
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I guess my point is that campy, goofy Batman has been discounted over the past 20 years. The Schumacher movies were viewed as missteps and most of Generation Y looks at the old TV show with distain. But fuck my generation, that shit is gold. I haven't watched Brave and the Bold, so maybe the goofy shit has had a welcome return.

Jesus wept Scott you are gonna love the ever living shit out of Brave And The Bold. Do yourself a favour and watch it as soon as possible.

I hate campy Batman and even I love it for gods sake.
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#6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin Clark
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I know it's bound to get buried in this thread quick, but I'd love to hear the collective Chewer stance on Batman Beyond. It took a season and a half to really find its niche, but even by then, there's more than the lions share of high notes (a big fight in a factory with no sound, the stunning animation for Inque, Barbara Gordon, even before Return of the Joker filled in the rest of the blanks). It did wonders with what could have easily been an annoying concept.

I really liked Batman Beyond. It was a nifty concept and though I wasn't really a fan of the endgame (clones? Really?)...I appreciated the evolution from The Animated Series. One of my favorite episodes dealt with Rhas Al Ghul and Batman's brief return to youth.

Besides, it gave us old Bruce Wayne.
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#7
I already went on record in the review of Batman: Under the Red Hood, but I'll proudly do it again:

I think the best Batman feature film is Mask of the Phantasm. I'm with Rain Dog, I'm a sucker for the Bruce Timm output. It simply best captures all the things I most love about Batman, while also standing on its own two legs - Mr. Freeze was always a lame-ish character until the Animated Series gave him pathos. The two-part "Feet of Clay" is another perfect example. So-so rogue given a fucking brilliant rendition.
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#8
Adding love to the Timmverse - the great thing about the Batman animated series was it managed to be plenty dark (and Batman is essentially darker in tone than, say, Green Lantern) without losing a certain sense of fun. The Brave & The Bold is awesome, too. How about The Batman? Only saw one episode of that and it looked awful.

As far as comics go, I like Matt Wagner's reimaginings of Batman's Golden Age stories, Gotham By Gaslight (Mignola + Batman = no brainer) and Year One. I also liked his part as grumpy sitcom dad in the early years of Justice League International. The fifty year anniversary issue of Detective Comics where Batman, Elongated Man and Sam Bradley meet Sherlock Holmes, that was cool too.

I actually grew up reading all the Knightfall era stuff; I knew it was awful even then, but hey, those were the Batman comics that were available. I also watched the 60's tv show when I was really young - like five years old - and managed to enjoy it without even noticing that there was any sort of humor attached. Finding absurd shit in Golden and Silver Age Comics is a popular geek passtime, so I don't know why people shit on the Adam West version like it's some betrayal of the character - Bats had been doing stuff quite as silly in the comics for a while.
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#9
Batman Returns is still my favorite Batman film, and I really really like the Dark Knight. I'd rather watch the Adam West movie than Forever or & Robin. Begins is mostly great but Devin is correct about the messy(but mostly entertaining) 3rd act. Batman '89 has a ton of great stuff but a lot of it is horribly dated, and there was no need for Vicki Vale to scream every 10 minutes. The production design and score are among the greats though.
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#10
Eh, why not:

The Dark Knight
Batman Returns
Mask of the Phantasm
Batman Begins
Return of the Joker
Batman '89
Batman Forever
Batman: The Movie
Batman: Subzero
Batman and Robin
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#11
Nobody is going to mention the Superfriends or the Batman and Robin/ Scooby Doo cross over episodes?
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#12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackson
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Nobody is going to mention the Superfriends or the Batman and Robin/ Scooby Doo cross over episodes?

THE CHAAAALEEENGE OF THE SUUUUPERFRIENDS is the only Super Friends show worth revisting for the lols; I thought it was absolutley awful when I first saw it, but buying the other seasons made me realise that, within a Super Friends context, it's actually as good as it gets. The DVD also features a hilarious Mark Waid/Geoff Johns commentary track.
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#13
Film Wise I don't think their has been a perfect Batman unless we count Mask of the Phantasm.

I used to hate Adam West's potrayal as a kids but as I have grown up I have come to love it and he is well up there as one of my favorate Batmen. Likewise The Brave and the Bold was fantastic.

But overall my two favorate takes are the 60's TV show and the Bruce Timm cartoon.
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#14
I like when he fights the "yellow peril" Chinamen in the serials.
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#15
Ken Savage, I have one problem with...Mask Of The Phantasm. Considering that some of Bruce Wayne's past gal pals are long time villains, heroes, Talia Al Ghul, and Huntress, I didn't see the need to add another character, that becomes a vigilante. That is my...only problem with it, though.

Wayward_Woman, Sometimes it is good to fact check, before starting a thread. 1) Filmation's Batman, 2) Superfriends 3) Batman The Animated Series, 4) Batman Beyond 5) The Batman, 6) Justice League/Justice League Unlimited 7) Batman The Brave And The Bold.

My favorite Batman films are...
1) Batman Begins
2) The Dark Knight
3) Batman
4) Batman Returns
5) Batman Mask Of The Phantasm.

Batman (66), is a fun series, with at least to me, one of the better...female superheroes, Yvonne Craig as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon! The only completely...PURRfect Catwoman is Julie Newmar. Of course...Michelle Pfeiffer would be second. Halle Berry's Catwoman, is barely even connected to Batman at all. HB's Catwoman, makes...Steel, with Shaq, seem like an...Oscar Winning film!
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#16
1. Return of the Joker Uncut-Still my favorite Batman movie all of time, and it might be my favorite comic-book film of all time. It has great fight scenes, great writing, terrific voice acting, and that powerful flashback. It also features what might be Mark Hamill's best Joker performance, as he's a seriously scary motherfucker in this.

2. Mask of the Phantasm-It tells a great Bruce Wayne story and continues the tradition of the great animated series, and the ending is still a heartbreaker.

3. The Dark Knight-It may have the occasional bad line or overacting extra, but this is still a powerful, exciting film that gets better every time I watch it.

4. Batman Begins-The third act is pretty messy, and Katie Holmes can't hold a candle to Maggie Gyllenhall, but there's still plenty of greatness here, especially on the Bruce Wayne end of things. It's also the best version of the murder of Bruce's parents I've ever seen.

5. SubZero-It's not the best Mr. Freeze story, but it's a good one, and it feels rather nicely like an extended episode of the show.

6. Batman Returns-It certainly has some story and logic holes, but I still enjoy Burton's strange, Expressionistic vision, especially since this has arguably the best version of Catwoman, another weirdly awesome Walken performance, and the whole tone of the film is just wonderfully kooky.

7. Batman 89-Some of the effects have dated badly, the story and logic holes are WAY more apparent now than when I was a kid, and poor Keaton, great as he is, can't help but be overshadowed by Jack. Still, this definitely has one of Bats' best introductions, some great iconic imagery, Anton Furst's terrific Gotham design, and Elfman's kick-ass score.

8. Batman Forever-I'm still annoyed that they ruined Two-Face; Tommy Lee Jones could've been great as that character, but he's completely misused here. Otherwise, this is bad-but-fun, especially with Carrey's lunatic performance and the gaudy production design. And Nicole Kidman is extremely hot here.

9. Batman and Robin-Urgh. Aside from Schwarzenegger's hilariously bad Freeze and a delightfully hammy cameo from John Glover, this is just painful, though it can be fun if you're in an MST3K mood.

I have not seem the Adam West Batman movie. I plan to remedy that shortly.
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#17
Also, in response to Justin's Batman Beyond question: I actually think the first season is the best one, and certainly the most consistent. The second season has some good episodes but also has one too many crappy high-school stories, and the third season is similarly uneven, though it has three undeniably great outings in "Out of the Past", "King's Ransom" and "The Call".
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#18
I loved Batman Beyond. The smartest element of that show was "Old Bruce" as a mentor without making Terry into a Robin. BB had a lot going for it, and was a fun, energetic show that was occassionally about something, which is what you ask for from a nice 30 minute cartoon. I really liked it. I think Season 2 of JLU was the height of the Timmverse, which is really saying something.

I won't rank the movies, but rather the DCAU series:

JLU
B:TAS
BB
JL
S:TAS (still a good series, but without Batman's Rogues Gallery, not as good as Batman)

As expected, some seasons were stronger than others (and some episodes as well), but I can't differentiate to that level from memory.

Batman works across so many iterations because superhero is merely an instantiation of the core idea (righteous crusade hidden in shadows), as opposed to what defines it (like Superman or Spider-Man). You can do Batman almost anytime, anywhere.

And I loved Gotham by Gaslight. Decent story, beautiful art.
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#19
I like the way they're telling random Batman stories from the comics with their straight to dvd movies now. GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT would actually be a visually cool choice for another film.

And I think everyone would love to see RETURN OF THE DARK KNIGHT tackled at some point.
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#20
Time to beat the dead horse again: Batman and Superman: World's Finest is my favorite on-screen representation of either character.
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#21
I think a large part of Batman's success in multiple mediums is the character's rich mythology, and it being the one Hollywood has been least afraid to explore, even when they're lampooning it.
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#22
When I was but a lad I really enjoyed the Batman/Predator crossover. Was that actually any good? Or just a childhood memory of mine?
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#23
HERETICAL STATEMENT OF THE DAY: As great as the Timmverse version of Batman is (and it is really really great) it can never be the definitive take. Why? BECAUSE TWO-FACE IS BLUE. The end.

Also, the Joker doesn't kill people. I blame the children.
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#24
Keaton is the best Bruce Wayne. By far.
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#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
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Keaton is the best Bruce Wayne. By far.

He isn't Bruce Wayne. He's Michael Keaton. You are very very wrong.

Haven't we had this argument like a million times already?
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#26
Never Forget.
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#27
You're right, he's more interesting than Bruce Wayne. Your beloved Bruce Wayne has a square jaw and smiles at pretty ladies and is boring as shit while my Bruce Wayne is out of his goddamned mind because when he's not throwing gala events he's a goddamned man in a bat costume fighting crime.
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#28
Keaton's Wayne is a neurotic weirdo who barely seems like he can carry a conversation, let alone be one of Gotham's most eligible bachelors.

He's really not out of his mind, just extremely socially awkward.
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#29
Exactly why he's the best Bruce Wayne.
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#30
So your argument is that the character of Bruce Wayne would have been better in all forms of media past present and future if he had been depicted as a runty, balding nutjob.
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#31
Runty and balding are optional. But yeah. Because he is a nutjob.
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#32
"Who could this Batman possibly be Commissioner Gordon?"

"I dunno, that squirrely rich weirdo Bruce Wayne maybe?"
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#33
That's a leap of logic even Nolan couldn't make.

The world is full of eccentric millionaires, and they're all more interesting than the square-jawed handsome ones. I understand most people on these boards worship at the feet of the animated series, but that Bruce Wayne is dull. I'm not saying Batman '89 is the best Batman movie because of it (though it's certainly my favorite), but it clearly features the most interesting portrayal of Bruce Wayne as a character.
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#34
Wayne isn't really a square jawed handsome playboy, though. I mean he is - but he's really a nutjob under all that. The square jawed handsome playboy thing is an act, and one that Keaton's Wayne could never believably pull off. Bale's Wayne and the animated series Wayne are also nutjobs, just nutjobs who can pull off the "fake" Wayne. I think it actually adds another layer of depth to the character, though some people thinks it makes him more boring.
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#35
My point is the handsome, boorish billionaire playboy is the front for the crazy guy underneath. If he's crazy on the surface, he draws attention to himself and is the obvious candidate for Batman. That is why Keaton's portrayal doesn't work and isn't true to the character. Bale did it best in BATMAN BEGINS.

EDIT: What Zodiac said.
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