The absolute disaster that was Batman & Robin scuttled Warner Bros' plans for a fifth Batman movie. Instead, Warners brought in Christopher Nolan and made Batman Begins, rebooting the Dark Knight from scratch with new creators and stars, and sending him off in a much darker direction. Every Batman movie since then, up to and including the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, can be seen as a reaction and corrective to director Joel Schumacher’s Batmen, Batman & Robin and its predecessor, 1995’s Batman Forever.
So were Schumacher’s movies really that bad? They’re silly and juvenile and shockingly tacky, and we wouldn’t go so far to say they’re good, but they’re not entirely terrible either. Schumacher made some very questionable decisions, but he also made some smart ones as well. In the interest of balancing the record, we've made this list of the best stuff in the “worst” Batman movies.
Zack Snyder recently revealed that he sought and received Christopher Nolan’s blessing for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (though it really sounded like Nolan just didn’t care), but he wasn’t the only one looking for approval for the upcoming superhero epic. Ben Affleck says that he also went to his Batman predecessors — not for their blessing, but for some helpful Bat-tips.
There have been five men to portray Batman in the character's eight live-action feature-length films, from Adam West in Batman '66 to Christain Bale in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. All five actors came with their strengths and weaknesses, but the best was Michael Keaton, who played the DC Comics superhero in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns.
In the first major scene of Batman '89, Keaton famously grabs a terrified mugger by the collar, holds him off the side of a building, pulls him close to his face, and hisses, "I'm Batman." As a 12-year old watching that moment on a VHS tape in my living room, I believed Michael Keaton. And I still believe him as a grown man watching it on DVD in my office 25 years later, even after having seen a half-dozen different Batman movies since.
I realize declaring Michael Keaton's performance as Batman to be not only my favorite Batman but the best Batman is a somewhat controversial statement, even (especially?) among my fellow writers at ComicsAlliance, but allow me to make my case.
Each week, Chris Sims and David Uzumeri take a look back at one of the most successful and influential comic book movie franchises of all time, in ComicsAlliance's in-depth retrospective on the Batman films...
Chris: Welcome back to Remedial Batmanology! This week, we begin our discussion of the fourth and final film of the Burton/Schumacher era, the much-maligned Batman & Robin. And as a special bonus, as we write this very article, David is watching the movie for the very first time.
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