Dark Knight Nears: Batman Flix Redux

A mere mortal relying as much on wit and

intelligence as he does brawn, DC Comics’ Batman is a character ranking up

there in popularity with Superman and Spiderman. The Batman franchise of films has been much

beloved and much maligned. A tricked out Batmobile, yes. Nipples on the

frikkin’ Batsuit, negative.

With the upcoming release of The Dark Knight, here is a look at some past Batman flicks to get

you set for that highly touted sequel to Batman

Begins you are sure to be watching sometime on Friday, July 18.

Batman: The Movie (1966)

Save for those die-hard Batman junkies, many

didn’t realize when watching Adam West’s Batman TV show, and it’s subsequent

movie, the show was essentially Batman Lite.

Yeah, the “detective” elements where mildly

present and the “Pow” and “Bam” animations, just about all of Robin’s dialogue and

the campy jokes were nothing like the Dark

Knight Batman creator Bob Kane intended. But hey, watching Adam West’s Batman

battle a shark is entertaining, in a

ridiculous sort of way.

Batman (1989)

Michael Keaton donned the cowl for Tim Burton’s

lauded film adaption of Batman. But

the star of this movie was Batman’s arch nemesis The Joker, masterfully played

by Jack Nicholson. Though purists were thrown for a loop by some of the movie’s

plot turns (Joker does in Bruce Wayne’s parents, since when?), the film was the

start of a profitable franchise for Warner Brothers. And Prince’s Batman soundtrack wasn’t that


Batman Returns (1992)

Danny Devito as The Penquin and Michelle Pfeiffer

as Catwoman - not a bad deal. And with critics and parents groups having a

hissy fit saying the film was too dark, the movie couldn’t have been that bad.

It didn’t blow away 1989’s film, but Keaton’s last turn as Wayne/Bats was a

pretty good look.

Batman Forever (1995)

And this is where it starts to go downhill. Keaton

had dipped because he wasn’t feeling Warner Bros. decision to make Batman more

“family friendly.” Val Kilmer was decent, but the villains in this turn—Tommy

Lee Jones as Two Face, Jim Carrey as The Riddler—stole the show. Not

necessarily a bad thing, but let’s not forget the much mentioned travesty of

the Bat suit having nipples. Nipples

B! One highlight, Method Man’s “The Riddler” on the soundtrack was dope.

Batman & Robin (1997)

Cali’s current governor as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman

as Poison Ivy, Chris O’Donnell back as Robin and Alicia Silverstone joining the

fray as Batgirl. Sounds decent on paper… but real rap, this movie was plain

garbage. Holy wackness Batman! After this sole turn as Batman, George Clooney

would redeem himself with Ocean’s 11

and Thurman in Kill Bill. The rest of

the cast, not so much. Oh, and Coolio makes a cameo.

Batman Begins (2005)

After the nonsense that was Batman & Robin, the series was way past due for an overhaul,

and Batman Begins was the “reset” the

franchise needed. Christian Bale does his thing as a brooding, soon to be

trained assassin and prodigal son of Gotham City Bruce Wayne.

Based on a few of the beloved Batman series of

comics including Batman: Year One and

Batman: The Long Halloween, the

Batman had finally been translated to the film screen in the incarnation its

creator Bob Kane intended. The only faux pas is a hella annoying Katie Holmes

playing Rachel Dawes—bless you fast forward button.

The Dark Night (2008)

The sequel to the near perfect Batman Begins is receiving much hype.

Early word is it will trump its stellar predecessor. With Bale and Gary Oldman

reprising their roles as Wayne/Batman and Commissioner Gordon, respectively and

along with Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/”you ought to know already” and the

late Heath Ledger as The Joker, see this movie.Which Batman movie was your favorite? Who was the best Batman?