When it comes to comic characters, the DC Comics character Batman has the distinction of being the one with the most adaptations. It seems that there is at least one Batman for each generation. This character has been played by Hollywood superstars such as Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Christian Bale and, more recently, Ben Affleck. And we’re done even with Batfleck, and Robert Pattinson is ready to put on his cape and hood.
Today is Batman Day, and on the occasion, let’s take a look at the Dark Knight’s complicated journey through television and real-action cinema.
The next great adaptation of the character came in Tim Burton’s films. Michael Keaton was chosen for the role in an election that surprised many. In 1989, Batman arrived, and the character became the one we know. All of you, fans of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, have to thank Burton.
The character’s first major adaptation was the Batman television series in the 1960s, starring the legendary Adam West as the crime fighter with a cape and hood. Even now, more than half a century later, the series is still fun and colorful, although Batman’s on-screen personality has been drastically transformed. West Batman was not afraid to laugh, make jokes and make puns, and along with his pupil / partner Robin, he fought criminals. To a modern Batman fan, this series would seem like a parody, and in a way it was. The suit did not fit, and Adam West would not be anyone’s idea of a crusader with torn cape. But who cares about these trivial matters when you had lines like these inexpressive in the great west? (Look the following video)
There was also a movie about Batman at that time, but it was like a too long episode of the television series. Entertaining and fun it certainly was, but it added little to what the television series had already done.
While Batman was always a dark and complex superhero with more depth than the typical comic book superhero, it was with Frank Miller’s 1986 comic story The Dark Knight Returns that Gotham City’s protector became the man we know: dark , melancholic, tactically bright and, when necessary, completely ruthless. While Burton’s Batman did not have an old and jaded Batman as in Miller’s story, he was strongly influenced by him.
Tim Burton followed Batman with a stellar sequel in 1992, called Batman Returns, which also received positive reviews and commercial success. What happened next, however, is embarrassing. Warner Bros, the DC-owned studio, decided that while Batman’s Batman movies were a success, they didn’t earn enough money. Joel Schumacher was hired to direct the follow-ups of Burton’s films, but Keaton retired, he didn’t like the franchise’s address. While Batman Forever (1995) was a blockbuster, he received mixed reviews. Its sequel, Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney after Kilmer’s departure, was a direct disaster and is still considered the worst superhero movie of all time. And that is to say something about a genre that Daredevil and Catwoman have had.
The young filmmaker Christopher Nolan, then best known for his independent low-budget film Memento, released his version of Batman in 2003, and Batman Begins was scheduled to premiere in 2005. Starring Christian Bale in the title role, the film presented a story of origin of the character, something that was not done before in the cinema. Fans saw how the man we named Batman was born. With an unusually strong support cast for a superhero movie, Batman Begins was a commercial comic film combined with a solid script and direction.
The conclusion, The Dark Knight Rises, with Tom Hardy’s huge Bane as the Great Bad, was even more successful, commercially speaking, though less critical. By then, DC was building its own cinematic universe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe style. Nolan and Christian Bale left DC. Ben Affleck was chosen for the role of Batman v Superman of 2016, as a gray-haired Batman and Frank Miller style. Although the film divided the critics, Affleck’s version of the character was almost universally praised. However, some fans made an exception to their happy trigger forms. Batman in comics and anywhere else generally refrains from killing people. Batfleck had no such doubts. Affleck repeated the role in the Justice League last year, which ended up being his last turn as a character.
Batman Begins was a resounding success, but his last scene caused the future appearance of Batman’s archivillan, the Joker. Fans were eager to see what Nolan’s Joker would look like. Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Burton films was still the gold standard at the time.
The Dark Knight arrived in 2008 and changed superhero movies forever. Heath Ledger’s cast in the role of Joker had been controversial. The movie was released and nobody complained. Ledger infused the paper with a deadly charisma and mysterious gestures that, later Nolan admitted, were designed by the actor himself. This was not a silly joker. This was a malevolent and murderous agent of chaos. Batman, the best detective in the world, struggled to understand the puzzle of the Joker. He looked for a reason and was horrified to discover that there is none.
Matt Reeves, known for directing the series starring Andy Serkis Planet of the Apes, is making a Batman movie, titled The Batman with Robert Pattinson. All we know about the plot is that the movie will be based on a younger Batman and will focus on the character’s detective skills. Currently, the movie is in the preproduction stage, and Reeves is writing the script. It remains to be seen how it turns out to be Batman of Reeves-Pattinson. One thing is for sure: there is nothing like Batman too much.