M@Movies: The Goddamn Batman
July 25th, 2008

Posted by Matt

As Ben Affleck said it in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, “The internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another.” There’s still one niche there you’ll have to look elsewhere for, (though possibly not much further than Morgan’s MSN info), but I got to thinking that there’s no reason I can’t make an attempt at filling the other.  As a result, M@Movies has been born. (Please forward all complaints about the choice of name to [email protected]).  Putting the cheesy puns behind us though, M@Movies blog posts will come along whenever I’ve got something I want to say about a film (or just films in general).  It might be a review, it might be an observation, it might be a complaint.  You’ll just have to keep your eye out for them to see what every update brings.  For now, though, On with the show…

Batman.  At this point, it’s safe to assume that most of the world has seen The Dark Knight.  A fantastic film that everyone should enjoy.  (Well, unless you’re Keith Uhlich – Seriously?  Thinly veiled endorsement of the Bush Administration’s surveillance policies?   I’m pretty sure batman has had a big bank of computers that let him watch Gotham long before Bush was in office.)  But that’s not what I want to talk about.  Graham pointed me in the direction of a YouTube video last night featuring a clip from the fourth season of Batman: The Animated Series.  The clip surrounds Joel, a flambouyantly gay batman fanboy, enamoured of a pink feather boa, expressing his adoration of Batman’s “fabulous” rubber muscle suit and car, while standing in front of a store named “Shoemaker’s”   (Check it out, funny stuff).  This obvious dig at Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies naturally inspired a great deal of debate about the batman film franchise (and by debate, I mean swearing and poorly-spelled insults), as well as the inevitable ranking of the films.  Typically, the rankings went like this:

  1. Batman
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Batman Returns
  4. Batman Forever
  5. Batman Begins
  6. Batman & Robin

Now back up the batmobile a second here.  What?  Why is Begins at the bottom of that list?  When did this happen?  Last time I checked Begins was everyone’s favorite.  Aside from laying the foundation for Dark Knight, which is singularly the best comic-book movie I’ve ever seen, it provided a compelling and believable origin story for Batman, and revitalized a franchise that had seen some serious damage done to its credibility. To rank it down with Forever and B&R makes a big statement.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that the Joel Schumacher Batman films employed art direction and a consistency of style the we have rarely seen since.  I hated it, but at least it was comprehensive and complete.  (I put it forward to you that Schumacher’s films were going for a very specific goal – a revisit not of the previous films, but that of the 1960’s Adam West Batman.  In that regard they were a total success – the campiness, the rogues glalery, the whole bit.  It was neon colours and crappy pop music instead of comic-book sound effects and the Bat-Dance, however the end result was fundamentally the same.  This topic could probably constitute an entire post of it’s own though.) And in fact, the film Batman & Robin was brobably the breaking point for that style.  After a film that bloated and overwrought, who could ever hope to pull that style off again? (And who would want to?)

For reference:

We needed the reboot of the franchise that Christopher Nolan gave us, and I’m sad to see that it’s not getting the kind of respect that it deserves.  The film was a credit to everyone involved, and if the Dark Knight’s box office take is any indication, it made us care about old bats once more.  So, when constructing your best-to-worst lists, don’t just remember what Batman Begins was as a film, but what it meant for the franchise it rescued.

See! Now youve made Batman sad. I hope youre all happy.

See! Now you've made Batman sad. I hope you're all happy.

-M


10 Comments »

  1. Looking forward to reading more of these.

    Comment by Proudfoot — July 25, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

  2. It’ll never be as good for me without the Burton/Elfman/Keaton crew.

    Comment by Evil Jim — July 25, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

  3. I really liked B&R, but then again I’m a fan of most/all things campy and 90’s :P

    Comment by Misty — July 26, 2008 @ 2:21 am

  4. I love that name, Matt.

    Come on, it’s both “M at the Movies” and “Matt Movies”… what’s not to like!?

    Comment by Graham — July 26, 2008 @ 3:42 am

  5. I don’t think you’re giving campiness enough credit.
    At the end of the day it’s a dude in a bat suit calling his car the batmobile.
    What’s not silly about that?

    Comment by Cheeseonfire — July 26, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  6. As is often the way with good things for me, I’ve stumbled into going to the cinema this Wednesday to see The Dark Knight.

    Problem: With 2 twelve year olds, because everyone else in the group (Me included) is a legal adult. So basically we’re taking two children to see a film…I feel very old now…

    Comment by Lyinginbedmon — July 28, 2008 @ 7:06 am

  7. Mask. Of. The. Phantasm.
    Admitedly, I haven’t seen the new one, but of all the old ones MotP was the best.

    Comment by Matthew — July 28, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

  8. Batman Begins was an amazing movie that did an excellent job of revamping a series that had become horrible, and not only gave batman a realistic basis in the real world (shark-repellent? why would batman even have that? why would he have needed to have prepared that in advance?!) but it also gave us back the dark and egdy tone that batman should have. He’s a character driven by revenge, don’t make him goddamn goofy.

    That being said, The Dark Knight blew that movie out of the water.

    I came out TDK saying “I will never see another movie this good ever again” and after having watched it again, I can see how beautifully layered it is.

    My favourite performances were:
    1. Aaron Eckheart as Harvey Dent (It’s cause I have a crush on his chin…..his manly, manly chin)
    2. Heath Ledger as the Joker

    Comment by Android — July 31, 2008 @ 1:32 am

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