What has been the best Batman in history? We reviewed the best adaptations
Since its birth in 1939, in the mythical number 27 of Detective Comics, the creation of Bob Kane and Bill Finger has gone through multiple mutations in comics. From the dark detective and influenced by the suspense pulp novel of the time to the carefree buffoonery of the fifties; From the recent post-Frank Miller reinterpretation to Grant Morrison’s pop reference panoply.
And that multiplicity of readings, which make the Man Murcielago almost a blank canvas in which the artists maintain a constant minimum (the suit, the origin and little more), moves to the cinema and the television in its numerous incarnations.
From the colorful verbena of Joel Schumacher to the seriousness of Christopher Nolan, from the joyful dementia sixties of the television series to the many and very particular animated adaptations, passing through the most recent mutation: the crazy movie of Lego Batman, that combines Under a parody prism to all the Batman that in the world they have been. To celebrate, we recovered the best and the worst Batman from the big and small screen. Unfold the wings.
1. Batman (1966-1968)
A series still unclassifiable and surprising. It does not matter how many times you’ve seen it: the Dynamic Duo’s gag climbing the building wall, fights with onomatopoeia, or the vibrant soundtrack-Neal Hefti’s main song included, of course-keep its freshness intact.
Or even it has multiplied: compared to something imposed seriously (we are talking about a guy who dresses as a bat because he is traumatized by the death of his parents) of the Batman of late times, the television series created by William Dozier and starring By Adam West and Bud Ward is directly subversive. It should not be forgotten that this good-natured, adventurous, firm, patronizing, ridiculously upright Batman is also a canonical Batman, as anyone who has read comics of the fifties knows.
The Batman television series is not a voluntary comedy: it is very conscious of making foolish humor and for all audiences, as is clear from the action sequences, the secondary characters, the galleries of villains and the own interpretations of the stupendous West and Ward.
Compared with the rather serious character of the Batman of late, the series is directly subversive.
And many of his great moments are among the best of the character, such as the deservedly mythical gag of the 1966 film that was shot as an extension of the series, in which Batman does not know how to get rid of a flashy comic bomb on the verge of exploding Because it is found successively with bands of music, ladies with baby carriages, groups of nuns and some adorable ducklings.
Seen today, the sequence functions as a jocular mockery of the strict morality that has always proven Batman, vindictive but unable to execute the villains. The perfect antidote for overdose of batman pensive and with head eternally amidst thunderclouds.
2. Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)
A duo of movies as essential or more than those directed by Nolan to understand Batman’s conception in today’s pop culture. Let’s not forget that it is the productions that gave the starting gun to Batmanía. And that also gave shelter to the jocular Batman of the sixties and the serious-but-not so much of the seventies, focusing the focus on the revolutionary Batman: The Return of the Lord of the Night that wrote and drew Frank Miller in 1986.
The first film is a somewhat stiff production because it tries to please too many fronts: it is faithful to the comics (with winks to several times of the personage), but also is a creation of Tim Burton. She is fascinated by the overwhelming personality of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, but makes concessions to the commercial cinema of the time.
Enter elements that do not look good (still) on the screen, like the Batmobile or, ehm, the action sequences, but at the same time we are facing a perfectly recognizable Batman. The choice of Michael Keaton is great, able to compose a vulnerable Bruce Wayne and at the same time an imposing justice without falling into the ridiculous Christian Bale (do not forget that the paradigmatic ‘I’m Batman’ is Keaton’s creation).
And although the film stumbles at times and has severe problems with his script (turning the Joker into the murderer of Wayne’s parents is one of the worst approaches that has ever received the mythology of Batman) the result is very remarkable.
The choice of Michael Keaton is great, able to compose a vulnerable Bruce Wayne and at the same time an imposing justice without falling into the ridiculous Christian Bale.
Batman Returns, however, is already a one hundred percent Burton movie. And it’s curious, because it contains some of the most recognizable elements of the franchise, with the impressive Catwoman and the Penguin at the head. However, the design of production and atmosphere are one hundred percent Tim Burton.
It’s a film that is easy to catch mania, because as a superhero film is a disaster: the Bruce Wayne torment is artificial, Gotham City – unlike the great scenarios of the first installment – is not threatening, but simply spectacular and Above all, imposed on the remains the script structure of two villains (one more than another) allies against a hero, a structural cancer that even today to the genre films are hard to escape.
Still, he has such modern ideas as the freak coming out of the sewers to run for election (and winning), he is superior in everything to the most mediocre moments of the Nolan trilogy, and visually remains a retro, capricious enjoyment And staff.
3. Batman Forever (1995)
The most balanced film of the original tetralogy of Warner is more Batman than those of Burton without ceasing to be a film with the seal of Schumacher, but without also arriving at the ends of dementia of Batman and Robin. Batman Forever – let’s forget the title, yes – is one of the best examples of a Batman movie that is both lightweight but with an interesting dramatic charge.
Val Kilmer does not have a physique as neat Bruce Wayne as Michael Keaton or George Clooney, but he knows how to endow the character with a load of depth that takes him beyond the mere masked psychopath, possibly because the original intention of Schumacher was to adapt the comic Batman: Year One, focused on the first twelve months of Batman’s life.
But in addition, Batman Forever is a party thanks to two perfect villains: Tommy Lee Jones as Dos Caras (in a role that could have touched Clint Eastwood) and Jim Carrey as Riddler (in a villain for whom Mark was considered Hammill, who certainly would have nailed it too: let us remember his Trickster for the novena series – and much influenced by the Batman of Burton – of Flash and his exceptional work of dubbing for the animated Joker).
“Batman Forever” is one of the best examples of a Batman movie that is both lightweight but with an interesting dramatic charge.
The action sequences at last have some chicha and all the elements inseparable from the character (the costume, the gadgets) are finally credible and not a mere convention with the mythology of the hero.
And the colorful and verbena brand of the house, well … certainly will not be very much to the liking of all batfans (and it will certainly be insufferable for the new ones, who identify inseparably Batman with the thicket of Christian Bale – that by True, did the tests to incarnate to Robin before the paper stayed Chris O’Donnell-), but none of that prevents that this is an impeccable bat-amusement.
4. Batman and Robin (1997)
The fourth film of the initial phase of the character at the hands of Warner and second directed by Joel Schumacher can be accused of many things, but the truth is that in something was undeniable pioneer: in 1997, times before the advent of social networks And the massification of the Internet, and with it, the digital hatred capable of making the executives turn uncomfortable in their seats, managed to mobilize the fans en bloc to cry out against her.
Batman and Robin did not like it. But he did not like it to extremes that burst the future of the franchise in the movies and nullified the possibility of sequels until the reformulation of Christopher Nolan, which in many ways can be understood as a calculated operation to prove that Batman was anything but Batman Schumacher.
That is, Nolan’s Batman is the opposite diameter to nipple suits, Batman’s package plans, an ice fight, scenarios that look like they came out of a Las Vegas B-series parlor … The reaction was negative to the point Which poor Schumacher has been apologizing ever since. Literally.
“Batman and Robin” did not like to ends that burst the future of the franchise in the cinema and canceled the possibility of sequels until the reformulation of Christopher Nolan.
Do you deserve that scorn? No: it’s true that the film has a strident and insane tone that leaves the television series of the sixties to the level of a Shakespearean tragedy, but the film is not a mistake: it is perfectly aware that Bat-VISA is a joke and Of which we are before an insane superhero comedian of past thread.
Even George Clooney happens to be one of the most credible Bruce Waynes of the franchise. A pity that his spectacular failure at the box office and the rejection of an Internet still in the making but already able to organize through forums and websites of fans gave final shelf to a Batman perfectly aware that it is a guy disguised as a bat, with all the Ridiculous grandeur that entails.
5. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
For many fans, the ultimate adaptation of Batman. Thanks to its animated production condition, it is possible to allow some visual lightness and to dispense with the continuous rational justification that every adaptation in real image needs, but at the same time takes itself very seriously: its main visual influence are the films of Tim Burton and a kind of personal version of the art-deco adapted to the peculiarities of Gotham City.
The work of dubbing is also spectacular: in the original version, Kevin Conroy is revealed as an absolutely perfect, dry and sometimes caricatured Batman, but if you fall into the guttural excesses of Christian Bale. And what about Mark Hammill as the Joker: a performance also equal to Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger.
Always keeping a proper tone for the children’s audience, the series was able to address adult themes related to Batman: the responsibility of being a hero, guilt, revenge and insanity. Among his most memorable achievements, undoubtedly, is the creation of the incomparable Harley Quinn, now a popular character thanks to the film Suicide Squad, and that would star alongside the Joker one of the best Batman comics of all time, Crazy Love , Which respected the aesthetics and characters of the animated series.
The series was able to address adult themes related to Batman: the responsibility of being a hero, guilt, revenge and insanity.
This Batman with stylized design would appear in other great series of animation based on heroes DC, like Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and in a good amount of films. Among them it is possible to emphasize, without doubt, Batman: The mask of the ghost, an absolute marvel that came to be released in cinemas.
6. The Intrepid Batman (2008-2011)
The luminous reverse of The Animated series is The Brave and the Bold in its original version, the other great series of animation of the bat man. Where in that all were chiaroscuro, expressionism and sinister details, here the production opts for fun, polished jokes and a spectacular secondary school, since the grace of the series is that Batman is always accompanied by another DC character.
So the series, its light tone and for all audiences is not only a party for the batfans, but also for the connoisseurs of the DC universe, who will meet here with such beloved followers as Guy Gardner, Batmito or Plastic Man.
This is an oasis of action, humor and adventure in a universe that sometimes sins to take itself too seriously.
With some designs of delicious characters (the Joker, for example, refers to the first version of the character in the comics, a middle between the iconic card of the poker deck and the Conrad Veidt of the movie Man that laughs, genuine Original inspiration of the character) and a visual finish that rivals the very same The animated series, we are before an oasis of action, humor and adventure in a universe that sometimes sins of taking itself too seriously to itself.
Generated, in turn, a great video game for Nintendo consoles that also functions as the brainless counterpart of the serious franchise Arkham.
Although Batman is the most outstanding series of animation after The animated series, The Intrepid Batman is not the only nor the last. After his cancellation came the very ephemeral Beware the Batman, shot in CGI and showing a Batman again dark and sinister, and also first-timer, before becoming the best detective in the world.
7. The Dark Knight (2008)
If he is not the most influential Batman of all time (despite referring once again to Frank Miller), it lacks a little: the pseudo-realistic approach, psychological, serious and serious to the superhero gave him a patina of respectability that Pleased fans, sometimes somewhat in need of love from their elders (culturally speaking).
Putting the accent on the technological and ninja part of the matter, which would collect, expand and improve video games Arkham franchise, Nolan strives to make everything in his three Batman credible: the tank car (one of the most impeccable designs Of the trilogy), the suit-armor, the fall structure in disgrace and resurge from the ashes.
Nolan gave Batman blockbuster fabrications and although he may have overburdened the psychologist inks from three to four, his influence is incalculable. Nolan, in addition, tends to the continuous underlining, thing that in a personage barely subtle like Batman, sometimes feels better and sometimes worse.
The best film in the Nolan trilogy starring Batman is the second: you can do without narrative delays related to the origin of the character and battered something Batman Begins and present an enemy to his height, the impeccable Heath Ledger Joker.
Nolan gave Batman blockbuster fabrications and although he may have overburdened the psychologist inks from three to four, his influence is incalculable.
It’s not exactly the masterpiece that many would like, but a film that effectively portrays how a squared mind (for good or for evil) like Batman feels it right to stand up to the pure psychotic unpredictability of the Joker. The touchstone for the current respectability enjoyed by the genre thanks to Ledger’s Oscar.
8. Lego Batman
And to prove that not everything in the current batpanorama have to be drama clouds and puckered gestures, the Lego Batman regains the best of the carefree pop fun of the Batman of the sixties and adorns it with some of the frivolity of Schumacher and elements Of different animated incarnations of the character (of the already very canonical of Paul Dini, creator of the animated series, to the cameos in the gigantic Teen Titans Go!).
The Lego Batman was born in 2006 as a set of construction company, but obtained its final consecration with the 2007 video game Lego Batman: The video game, which followed a couple of direct sequels, plus games based on Lego Movie and The Lego Dimensions franchise. A whole panoply of digital entertainment that form the basis of a reinterpretation code of Batman mythology in which, essentially, everything is canon. All.
In Batman’s Lego games there is no drama and a lot of absurd sense of humor, such as detachable figures who are aware that they are, and therefore can afford to accept in their universe all the Batmans that have existed in the comics and in the films. The Lego Batman is the maximum sum of all: you can wear any of the costumes, vehicles, stages, bat-weapons.
The Lego Batman brings back the best of the fun-filled pop of the Batman of the sixties and adorns it with some of the frivolity of Schumacher and elements of different animated incarnations of the character
It is a dream come true for the unprejudiced fans of a character with decades of history and who for elementary logical reasons can not carry on his back with a past so nourished (unless Grant Morrison, but that’s another question).
These videogames were accompanied by minor and essentially advertising animated films of Lego sets, but his definitive consecration as a character with his own life came with his secondary role but memorabilísimo in The Legopelícula.
The success of this one has made him worthy of his own film as a protagonist, and the elements that made the games great are replicated: this Batman lives in a universe where all the previous elements, from Tim Burton’s car to Frank Miller’s tank, Going through the bat-repellent anti-bumpers of the sixties series make sense. They make sense as a tribute to an icon: therefore, canons aside, the Lego Batman movie is called, for once, to agree to all fans. It can only be so with a celebration of the whole story of the man-bat.
And a few bad ones: Batman (1943)
Batman starred in a 15-chapter serial in 1943 that had Lewis Wilson as Batman and Douglas Croft as Robin. Usually it is put like example of how complicated it is that the costumes of superheroes, so showy in the comics, are well on the screen.
At that time Batman was only four years old and his characteristics were not as defined as at present: so here Batman is in the service of the government like a hooded justiciero that is limited to slap spies and to face the yellow threat (personified not like The typical Batmanian grotesque villain, but as the terrible smuggler Tito Daka). Out, then, the detective plots that in the comics had a character more typical of novel pulp de suspense.
And yet, the serial has its value. For starters, he laid down a couple of imperative codes within Batman mythology. On the one hand, the secret entrance into the bat cave through Grandfather’s watch at Wayne Mansion. On the other hand, the appearance of Alfred, the butler of Bruce Wayne, like a stretched out lackey with mustache: until then, in the comics had been an overweight servant.
This series can be seen as an example of how complicated it is that superhero costumes, so colorful in comics, fit well on the screen.
The success of the serial also led to a sequel, Batman and Robin, in 1949. Both serials were remade and re-screened in cinema as An Evening with Batman and Robin in 1965, and his extraordinary acceptance gave way to a version of the very Bat Man Superior, but certainly influenced by the serial: the television Batman of Adam West of 1966.
The Dark Knight Rises
So are the Batman of Christopher Nolan: they are between the best and the worst of Batman of all time. And if it was the Heath Ledger Joker and the balance between dramatic and comic elements that made The Dark Knight stand out as an adaptation, if not impeccable, at least fairly consistent, are very similar aspects that make El Dark Knight: The Legend Reborn, closing the trilogy, in a mess.
The habits of today’s worst blockbusters, with the deconstruction of the script of the films in set-pieces barely connected to each other, like a film of sketches, does not feel at all good to this film so paid of itself that is not able to give itself Says that his conclusion, with Batman fleeing hastily with a huge comic bomb on his back reminds too much of the aforementioned and hilarious gag of the Batman bomb of the sixties.
The result is not exactly a bad movie, just a dead end to which a hero as versatile as Batman should not be bothered.
And if Ledger’s Joker gave consistency to the loose fringes in The Dark Knight, giving even motivation and drama to Batman’s moves, in The Legend Renace Bane has the exact opposite effect: Tom Hardy’s over-interpretive makes him In a caricature that fits more with the villains of the Schumacher films (only that those were aware of the environment in which they moved).
Although the worst part of the show is doubtless Bale himself, that if in previous films he was already on the eternal tightrope between gravity and laughter, the voice of a sexual harasser on the telephone is already cast iron, To underline the involuntary comedy in which Nolan ends up converting the franchise. The result is not exactly a bad movie, just a dead end to which a hero as versatile as Batman should not be bothered.
Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice
If there is anything that makes clear that maremagnum of confusion and misconceptions that is The Dawn of Justice is that Zack Snyder has severe difficulties in understanding the nature and behavior of superhero myths.
He proved it by taking over The Steel Man in 2013, with one of the most mistaken films in history (yes, more than the last version of The Fantastic Four, more than Superman IV, that of Cannon ). And it continues with Batman Vs. Superman, who introduces us to a Batman turned into a sociopath who puts his agenda of rencorcitos to any other code of behavior. Which certainly gives us an interesting reading of American sociopolitical news, but it is not exactly what we expect from Batman.
If there is anything that makes clear that maremagnum of confusion and ideas is that Zack Snyder has severe difficulties to understand the nature and behavior of superhero myths
It is true that Ben Affleck as the Bat Man has been one of the most praised aspects of Snyder’s film, but it is still a sub-Nolan creation with few details of its own identity.
We will see what happens to the film of the hero alone that will-and-will not direct-Affleck, and if it will remedy the great problems of this new version (of the trail of corpses that is leaving in its passage to the null attention to the facet Detective of the hero), but for now an emotional Batman and moving by blind impulses is far from the cold, reflective and human justice we have seen even in the most parody incarnations of the character.