Thread: Batman...
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Old June 8 2012, 05:01 AM   #58
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Re: Batman...

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Much as I love the Nolan films, I hate the fact that, ever since they came on the scene, they made it fashionable in the fan community to slag off on the Burton films.
Is it really "fashion," or is it a sincere recognition that the Burton films weren't really all that good an adaptation of Batman? I think even before the Nolan films came along, there was a consensus that the live-action Batman films had been far exceeded in quality and fidelity by Batman: The Animated Series. So I'd say the bar had already been raised well past Burton before Nolan came along.

As a piece of camp, the Schumacher movies achieve their objectives.
I don't think they do. I find Batman and Robin a very inconsistent film, because there are moments when it tries to be serious and thoughtful and other (far more) moments when it just goes for sheer lunacy. So it was trying to be two kinds of Batman story at once, both the modern more serious approach and the Silver-Age, insanely weird and over-the-top approach. It should've picked one or the other and stuck with it.

On the other hand, I think it's totally inaccurate & unwarranted to call the Burton films "campy" or "mocking." The Burton films aren't camp. They're gothic melodrama.
The second movie's climax featured remote-controlled, missile-launching penguins. I think that kinda qualifies as camp.

If anything, Nolan's The Dark Knight seems to be the movie least comfortable with its superhero origins. I get the sense throughout the movie that Nolan just wants to make a straight crime drama about Lt. Gordon & Harvey Dent trying to take down the Joker. For the most part, Batman only shows up for some perfunctory action scenes (or to mope about Rachel).
But The Dark Knight was very much about Batman, in the terms that Batman matters most in the Nolan films: as a symbol. The whole story was about the consequences of Batman's existence -- on the one hand, driving criminals to escalate to a new level to match him, and on the other hand, inspiring the people of Gotham to stand up for justice themselves and make their city a better place.

Part of why the Burton movies work so well, IMO, is because Burton embraced the material and made it his own. I think that kind of innovation is being valued less & less among the fan community. There is such a demand for fidelity to the source material, to the exclusion of anything else. No one wants to see things adapted for another medium with different demands anymore. They just want Hollywood to put a film camera in front of what they're already familiar with.
I'm usually the first person to point out that adaptation means change, that there's no point in doing a new version of a story if you're not going to do it differently. But there should be some fundamentals preserved; it should be a new way of presenting and exploring the same essential ideas. The way the movies told the stories of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America was different from how they happened in the comics, but the characters were true to themselves. Burton's Batman characters and world, on the other hand, are so far removed that I barely recognize them. I have never once in my life been able to look at Michael Keaton in that unwieldy piece of rubber and think of him as Batman. I have nothing against diverging from the source material, but there are reinterpretations that work and ones that don't. Burton's interpretation kinda works in its own bizarre Burtonesque way, as long as you can look past the incoherent scripts, but it just doesn't work in a way that feels like Batman to me.

And it sure seemed like Uma Thurman & John Glover were having a great time vamping it up in Batman & Robin. It's a terrible movie but they're very good in it because they seem to be the only ones whose performances are matching the tone of the overall movie.
John Glover is always excellent. And I did think Thurman's Mae West-style performance was sexy and fun.

I also think that, of all the actors who've played Bruce Wayne/Batman in live action in the past quarter-century, George Clooney was the best fit for the role. He was easily the most convincing Bruce Wayne (I find Val Kilmer almost as completely miscast as Keaton), and he could've been the most convincing Batman if he'd had a good script and a less ridiculous costume.

RandyS wrote: View Post
I agree with everything you say here, except I'm pretty sure that Batgirl actually originated in an early 1967 Batman comic book, and then was almost immediately added to the third season of the TV series later that year.
Technically, yes, but the producers of the show asked Julius Schwartz to develop a new female character for the Batman comics that could be adapted for the show to boost its female viewership. So it was a joint effort, although I guess the main creative input came from the comics side (specifically Gardner Fox & Carmine Infantino).
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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