With several new DC movies coming out this year, including: Matt Reeves’s “The Batman”, “The Flash” (starring Ezra Miller, with Michael Keaton returning as Batman), “Black Adam” (starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, and “Batgirl” (plus James Gunn’s “Peacemaker” on HBO Max and an upcoming “Green Lantern Corps” series), as well as next year’s “Shazam: Fury of the Gods”, I thought I’d take a look back and *try* to rank my favorite DC movies so far…Continue reading
In their first episode: “Holy Bad-Movies, Batman!” – Chris Carroll and Erik Slader endure 8 hours of Batman films (two of which were good) so that you don’t have to!
Will they decipher the plot of “Batman Returns”?
Will they solve the Riddler’s ‘e.nigmas’?
Will they survive “Batman and Robin”?!
Find out here, this Bat-time, this Bat-channel!
(Also, be sure to check out Issue Zero: This Time, it’s personal!)
There was a long period of time where the only super hero movies we had were the Christopher Reeve Superman films, which (as we discussed HERE), had their considerable ups and downs (mostly downs), and the Batman franchise (which we discussed HERE, HERE, and HERE), but this was before the excellent Christopher Nolan reboot, so it was also mostly bad.
Then the late 90’s hit and Marvel (with New Line Cinema) had a surprise hit on their hands with Blade, and all of a sudden it felt like there might be a chance we’d get some more. That’s when Fox dropped a bombshell and announced they were going to finally, FINALLY, release a live action X-Men film!
Say what you want about the first movie, and we will, but it really opened the floodgates for the huge wave of superhero films (that mostly sucked) for the early 21st century. For better or worse we probably wouldn’t have the Spider-man movies without this one!
Fifteen years later, and the franchise has had its ups and downs (notice a trend?), but found its footing again with X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past. Now, with X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, and a third Wolverine film looming, the franchise appears to be in as good a shape as it has ever been.
But how did they get here?
The first, and greatest, super hero, Superman has had a rather mixed bag when it comes to adaptations of his comic book adventures. There have been numerous television shows, radio serials, animated series, animated movies, video games, and live action movies, more of which were either just ok or straight up bad than good.
What is it about the big, blue boy scout that leads to so much crap?
You would think the elements that have been in place for 75 years now would be easy to adapt to the big screen, or the small screen. It’s not like there aren’t literally hundreds of pre-made stories in his publication history that are begging to be filmed and thrown on the screen, yet time and time again people think they can ‘improve’ upon the man of steel and his epically large library of awesomeness, and time and time again they fail miserably.
That’s not to say there haven’t been some success stories… “Superman: The Movie” was a high point, as were the Bruce Timm animated series and his representation in that same universe’s “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited”, as well as a handful of direct to DVD animated movies that did well. Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” may have divided some fans on its quality, but both Erik and I will go to our graves defending it.
But for each of those, there are Superman 3, Superman Returns, Lois and Clark, most seasons of Smallville and the dreaded Superman 64! It’s curious. And as bad as those are, you wouldn’t believe some of the utter shit that almost got made. (6 Terrible Superman movies, you won’t believe almost happened!)
For now, just to keep things relatively simple Erik and I are skipping 1951’s “Superman vs the Mole Men” and are only going to discuss the live action feature films, starting with…
We did it! We made it! I was worried for a second…
In Part One – we covered Batman ’66, Batman ’89, and Tim Burton’s Batman Returns…
Then in Part Two – we tore apart Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and the god awful Batman and Robin…
Now it’s time to review Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy!
Batman Begins (2005)
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale (Batman), Liam Neeson (Ra’s Al Ghul), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow), Ken Watanabe (fake Ra’s), Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes), Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone), Rutger Hauer (Mr. Earle)
Plot: A true origin story following Bruce’s life periodically from the murder of his parents to his travels around the world making himself into Batman, one step at a time. He becomes a member of, and eventually turns against, the League of Shadows, who come to Gotham to get their revenge and destroy the city. As Batman, he must face the Falcone mafia, the Scarecrow, and Ra’s Al Ghul, while trying to rekindle his relationship with childhood friend turned assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes, establishing a relationship with Jim Gordon (one of the only honest cops in Gotham), and working to get his company back from Mr. Earle.
Last time, in Part One: we covered Batman ’66, Batman ’89, and Batman Returns, now for our descent into Hell…
Batman Forever (1995)
Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Val Kilmer (Batman), Chris O’Donnell (Robin), Jim Carrey (Riddler), Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face), Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian), Michael Gough (Alfred)
Plot: Batman and his new sidekick Robin must face the combined forces of Two-Face (former district attorney Harvey Dent, who blames Batman for the courtroom incident that scarred his face) and the Riddler (Edward Nygma, a former employee of Bruce Wayne seeking revenge for being justifiably fired), and their device that is going to steal all of the information from all of the brains in Gotham. Or some stupid crap.
Batman has had a number of incarnations over the 75 years he’s been around, and many of them have been captured on film in the last 50 years. Depending on which movie you watch, he can be either part of the campy, ridiculous dynamic duo to the dark, brooding, badass dark knight. Depending on which version you prefer you can find at least one film that is to your tastes and is a totally valid interpretation of the character. Unless you like Batman and Robin, in which case go fuck yourself.
Erik and I will break down each of the Batman’s feature films, beginning with the 1966 adaptation of the television show and ending with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, and will attempt to convey what is good and bad about each, and which ones we liked (Batman), loved (Dark Knight) and straight up went into murderous hatred over (Batman & Robin).
Animated features were left out this time, as there are so many we feel like they deserve their own article.
Batman: The Movie (1966)