The Big Picture: Batman Revisited, Part 1

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my favorite Batman movie of all time is the first Animated one, Mask of the Phantasm. I also liked Under the Red Hood more than The Dark Knight.

the premise of this video is neat, but there's no meat. (no real insight or criticism into the movie. it all just seems to be context to support the established premise that batman 89 was important).

But WHY was Batman'89 so important?

I think the key is that Burton dug up the old german expressionism of Fritz Lang and Robert Wiene, and shoved it into an 80s action movie. It's still a cartoony script, but the SHEER AWESOMENESS of german expressionism meeting action is what made it so fucking amazing. (and i think this explanation of Burton's goals/inspiration is upheld by the character of Max Schrek in the sequel. I went and looked up the name Max Schrek, wondering what batman comic it was from, and found : it's the name of the iconic actor who played Nosferatu in 1922. ohhhhhhhh). I think expressionism taps into the core of what makes movie making work: putting our dreams on screen. it's important.

The other reason this movie was so important, which is barely touched on here is : it ENDED the 80s action movie genre.
Go watch "Inferno: The Making of the Expendables" (streaming on Netflix), and you'll get Sylvester Stallone's explanation of why the 80s action movie died. he says something like "the moment they let keaton strap on muscles, it was over [for real men like me]." I think it's very important if you study film to see how pop audiences in the 60s wanted "tough old men" which turned into muscle bound power fantasy men in the 80s, which turned into costumed mythic comic book heroes through the 90s. (and now we may be deep under way into a power fantasy WOMAN standard. bizarrley celebrating women as the tough fighters we all aspire to be).

- I'll be curious if Bob addresses why Burton's first batman movie was so strong, then the sequel pushed people away. And then Schumacher's first batman movie was so strong, then the sequel pushed people away. That seems really weird to me. Why did this happen?

- I also hope he'll mention something about Daniel Waters (writer of Heathers, who was brought in to help with the Batman Returns script). Just because Daniel Waters is one of my favorite writers, and i'd love ot hear anything at all about him.

I hate to say it but: This episode concentrated more on the impact Batman had and less on why the movie worked or didn't and that shortcoming felt a little off, like there was much more to say but Bob was rushed.

It'll make the next episode interesting: I liked the 2nd movie more than the first but that may be nostalgia talking.

I must admit that even from an early age, I've always loved the "first" Batman movies. I'm not one for comic books and don't know the lore, so for all I knew/know, it was the Joker that killed B'mans parents.

In the same way that I never botherd to complete Dragon Age Origins, so for all I know it was all Morrigans doing. The whole mess was her fault.

I'd still rank Batman in my top 20 favourite films, at least.

First result on youtube for batman theme is the music from the 1989 movie. I'm pretty sure that movie had Elfman's batman theme....

I watched Burton's Batman maybe five years ago at most and was severely disappointed. I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed it has flaws.

Given the insane amount of re-writes and studio interference before shooting began its a miracle the film was any good at all. Originally it was meant to be an adaptation of alan moores killing joke and some of that can still be seen in the movie.

I really wish I had time to get into why Bob's analysis of Batman is yet another example of why Bob really isn't a very good critic. Not that he doesn't seem like a good guy, for what that's worth.

One of several objections that I will point out in my haste is that Batman stories, comic, cartoon or movie are ALWAYS DRIVEN BY THE VILLAIN. Bob criticizes this, but it's always been true. Batman is rarely if ever proactive in fighting crime, he reacts to crime (nature of being a crime fighter). Barring even that though, there is no need to develop batman too much as a character because EVERYONE ON EARTH knows his backstory. It's always about the villain. Batman may as well be a plot device for delivering punches to criminals. Don't believe me? Imagine this. Panel 1. Two muggers rob an old lady of her purse at gunpoint. Panel 2. A bat shaped shadow appears over the two muggers. Panel 3. Bruce Wayne sips tea in the batcave while talking to Alfred. No one needs to have it explained what just happened here, we already know. Muggers committed crime, Batman showed up, muggers were beaten and left for arrest. He's a plot device, not a character. The same is true of mysteries or rogue super heroes. We already know batman has a plan or has a solution. No need to explain it to us.

Since the character and device of Batman is understood, it's up to another party (most often the villains) to provide the plot and motivation for triggering Batman. This is not a fault of Batman the animated series or comic it's an understood feature, why would it be a fault in a movie? If anything, that makes it a more faithful adaptation.

To me the 89 one is the best Batman movie of them all, and I know it's always going to be. It's thanks to this movie that Batman is what he is today.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Michael Keaton is still arguably the best on-screen Batman. He managed to project fear and authority into the character, while avoiding the over-the-top voice that ruins Christian Bale's portrayal of the character. I mean, I could understand in Begins when he's trying to establish himself as some kind of Dirty Harry with gadgets, using the voice to scare crooks is understandable. But when Batman is trying to have existential discussions with Gordon and the Joker in TDK, the gravelly rasp just ruins it. Keaton managed to create a voice that was intimidating, while still being quite and legible.

Agreed. This pretty much sums up my feelings about Keaton's Batman. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

As far as the movie is concerned, I've found that my appreciation for the 1989 Batman has only grown since Nolan's movies came out. Which isn't to say that I prefer Burton's version to Nolan's films. They just contrast each other so much that it seems silly to try to rank them. Nolan's realist, gritty approach has its strengths but it takes itself sooo seriously that it can be a drag. Burton's more exaggerated Gothic style embraces the camp and imagination of its source material but it is often too silly for its own good. Together they provide variety.

And I'm not sure how many people are shocked to hear Burton's Batman is flawed. I think most people who grew up with the movie lost their nostalgia glasses about a decade ago. There are just so many awkward story elements (My personal favorite: I've always wondered about Keaton's brilliant plan to taunt Joker into shooting him in the chest as a way of getting out of Vale's apartment. What if he had shot him in the head? Or anywhere other than the small part of his body protected by that tray?). But I don't really think having a well-polished, logical, coherent plot was important to Burton. And I feel sorry for anyone who lets those kinds of flaws interfere their enjoyment of the rest of the movie.

Honestly, sloppy story telling and plot holes are a more serious problem for movies that try to tell serious stories. Who knows? Perhaps in 20 years someone will make a video pointing out the complete cluster f*** that is the second act of The Dark Knight.

Batsamaritan:
Given the insane amount of re-writes and studio interference before shooting began its a miracle the film was any good at all. Originally it was meant to be an adaptation of alan moores killing joke and some of that can still be seen in the movie.

That would explain how it feels to me. I agree with Bob in that it is a Mess of a movie. Not BAD persay, but you can jump in at almost any point of the movie and you won't feel like you missed much scene wise, but that you missed enough for it to make sense. It just bounces around that much.

yourbeliefs:
Compared to other movies like Iron Man, The Avengers, X Men, Spiderman, etc etc it's hard to hold Batman up on the same pedestal that I used to.

Out of the one's you listed, Tim Burton's Batman is better than Iron Man (overrated) and the first X-Men.

e.wlmo4:
To your no other movie being as influential I throw another film into the ring. Transformers (unfortunately).

When I saw Avengers I actually noticed a lot of similarities to Transformers 3 (action sequences, plot line, chaotic last hour, etc).

The first Burton Batman movie is still my favorite to date. The Joker is portrayed much better than Ledger's. My idea of the Joker is almost like "the first /b/ member." Someone that does sick things, but still manages to make the audience laugh. There were plenty of times Nicholson did that, but the only time I felt that way with Ledger's joker was when he was pressing the button repeatedly to blow up the hospital. THAT is a joker moment, only the Joker would make me have to stop to realize, "Hey, I'm laughing at a hospital being blown up!"

And the Joker killing the Batman's parents has been used so many times since then it's basically canon now. It DOES fit in with the more in-depth psychology of it all. I remember in one of the cartoons (<-not sure) the Joker says something along the lines of "We're one and the same; I created you, and you created me."

Thank God I am not the only person on the internet that thinks that the Tim Burton Batman movie was really weak.

Ive been noticing a tend lately with MovieBob, didnt wanna say anything but this vid confirms it.

Its seems to me that Bob will often go back and look at a show or movie from 10, 20+ years ago and judge them how we would look at stuff now. I mean critics are their to point out flaws , but when you watch something from 10, 20 years ago you have to think about the time period and what was happening at that time. Trends and styles in movies change every so often, you have to look at it and say "How does this compare with movies/shows of that time period? How where they made, how did they look?, etc..."

I can do the same thing if I wanted. In fact to go so far as to prove my point, Star Wars: Ep4, yeah you know where im going with this. I could drive a Mac truck through the collective plot holes of the movie, and could tear down little bits of its story. Then again this was 1977, not 2012, so movies where different back then. Key phrase I want Bob to remember, "For its time..." Star Wars was amazing, their was nothing else like it. It proved that sci-fi and fantasy movies could be serious blockbuster movies.

In closing if im reading to much into this apologies, just how I think should be viewed.

I'm glad someone has said it. These movies are hugely overrated, IMO. I love the Nolan films, and my friend had me watch this one, saying how much better it was. It was a complete mess from a film making perspective. Very overrated.

I have Tim Burton to thank for Batman Beyond?

THANK YOU TIM BURTON.

...what? I really liked Beyond...

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