Does the Burton Batman suck?

The first Burton Batman was good and important as has been mentioned. More so than just the comic book sub-genre but for all of the nerdy sci-fi/fantasy culture. Some of you are forgetting (or too young to know) how sub-culture and off the mainstream nerdveau was in the 80s. After Star Wars/Star Trek, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters were the biggest thing in sci-fi, kid’s fare. Aliens was a cult flick. Tim Burton getting to make a comic book movie, and it not being utter studio-butchered crap, was a revelation back then. Along with Star Trek: TNG, and finally Terminator 2, Batman ushered serious nerdveau into the mainstream consciousness. If not the Lord of the Rings in terms of popular influence, it’s close.

Stop trying to ruin my childhood you haters :)

Just because something has since been surpassed doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome for its time.

What Nick and Caesarbear said. Batman himself has gone through so many retellings, tonal styles, and stories that’s it’s a bit unfair to call Burton’s terrible for not really sticking to the Batman mythos. The first was a good film irregardless of the Batman baggage.

If nothing else, Burton’s batman gave us Batman: TAS. It should be lauded for that alone.

Now I know you’re a troll.

I also really liked the first Batman, and especially Batman Returns, but I can understand (and even agree with) a lot of the reasons they are criticized - they are more Burton movies than Batman movies, so they’re not played completely straight and have a lot of goofiness that probably annoys people who love the character and would rather see a more serious take on him.

But they’re also stylish, creative, and interesting - and I think they work well as an adaption of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns- Batman (which was already a somewhat novel transition for the character at the time). Anyone who groups the Burton Batman movies with the Schumacher dreck really has no taste, or ability to recognize quality (even if you don’t think it works) vs infantile schlock.

I do think Batman Begins is probably the best made superhero movie ever - with the best director, cast, best writing, and straight take on crazy characters - but I just have no desire to own it or see it again, largely because Batman & crew just can’t sustain my interest - they’re inherently goofy and dramatically boring.

I can empathize with them not sustaining your interest, but I do think that the Batman oeuvre has done more than enough to prove that it’s NOT inherently goofy and dramatically boring.

The reality is that there are very few modern movies that were box office successes that actually hold up well almost 20 years later. If nothing else, culture changes. For it’s time, Batman was pretty important, even if only because critics liked it a well.

Sure, it had its campy moments and Keaton was not an ideal choice for the role (for physical reasons alone, I thought he decently captured a bit of Batman’s psychological issues), but for the time it was important. Unless you saw it then, it’s hard to understand, but just remember that prior to Batman big budget super hero movies had consisted of the last three ultra-crappy Superman flicks.

The Tim Burton’s Batman drinking game:

  1. Every time Vicky Vale screams, drink.

That’s it. Any more rules would lead to alcohol poisoning.

Yes, it sucks. As a film, as a piece of entertainment, as a genre piece, as a Batman film, for its time, however you want to slice it. In fact, I’m pretty sure Batman Forever was better (when it was good - when it was bad it was awful). It disappointd me at the time and it’s painful now.
I loved Begins the first time but I was cringing all the way through the repeat DVD viewing, don’t know what was up with that.

Hmm. I’m too old to say that I saw this as a “kid,” but not old enough to call it part of adulthood, either.

When I left the theater after seeing it, I remember thinking that while I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel like ever seeing it again.

And honestly, I enjoyed Jack’s Joker. “Of course, if anyone else calls you ‘beast,’ I’ll rip their lungs out…”

If nothing else, I agree with the comment about Pfeiffer’s acting for Catwoman – it was excellent. But then, she’s always been a top-quality actress who just happened to be beautiful more than a beauty thrust into acting.

No, it doesn’t suck. Then again, my favorite version of Batman is the Adam West series. :P

I honestly think the Adam West Batman is superior.

A reasonable opinion; the campy '60s Batman pretty much totally succeeded at what it tried to do.

I actually like Michael Keaton’s Batman, though. Certainly better than Clooney or Kilmer; that may not be saying much. But he brings a touch of insanity to it that works.

The '89 Batman has great music, great production design, and a very funny performance by Jack Nicholson that threatens to take over the movie. The subplots and supporting characters don’t hold up too well – nothing very interesting about Kim Basinger and Robert Wuhl. I guess there’s not a lot of great action, either – the shootout in the chemical factory is all right but the climax is kinda blah.

I’d call the '89 Batman quite flawed, but it still does enough things right to be an interesting movie.

I don’t know how any modern Batman fan can hate Begins. It was essentially a perfect adaptation of the whole Batman character and universe.

Look … Batman should be dark. His parents were murdered before his very eyes as a small boy and as an adult he dresses as a giant bat and hunts criminals every night, when he isn’t reacting to the lunacy of a rogues gallery of homicidal maniacs that dress up like madmen and put countless lives in jeopardy for their own selfish or psychotic reasons. Leading up to that point, he spent his teens and young adulthood training himself to utter perfection.

Campy Batman never made any fucking sense. Burton Batman, while enjoyable as a child and during an era in film where the only other project like it was the Donner Superman films, is gothic West kitch with AAA Hollywood stars and some brooding (probably the only real character trait that those films got right).

Batman Begins was perfect. It even went farther than Timm’s BTAS take on Bruce Wayne coming up as Batman. Instead of this golden boy moving from training objective to training objective with little baggage or difficulty, the Begins take has him desperate enough to almost shoot the man that killed his parents and then losing his way during training as he gets caught up in beating the fuck out of bad guys in an Asian prison, because he’s angry and obsessed.

It was a great start and I’m sure we will see the character evolve in the next couple of films into the brooding, genius Rock of Gibraltar that Bruce Wayne in his full stride was always meant to be.

EDIT: And Batman/Bruce Wayne sholdn’t be portrayed as insane. He is deeply mentally disturbed and emotionally crippled to the point that he can’t live a normal life in any other context than a charade to enable him to live out his night life as what he has become. It’s what makes Batman the most interesting comic book character. He’s tragic and awesome.

It’s too bad we don’t get a good Superman movie that really does what Timm did for that character. Superman has never been more interesting outside of comic books than he was in STAS under Timm’s direction. The donner films were a step up from Burton’s Batman in that regard, but nobody has really tackled his struggle with his own power, the potential for him becoming a fallen angel or his one true weakness actually being his total reliance on his superpowered status.

It doesn’t hold up well, but it still has it’s moments. It still features two of the better henchmen in superhero movie (the martial artist and the sunglass wearing brawler in the church tower). The bad cop was a good character as well.

I remember wearing a tied dyed t-shirt with the batman emblem on it back in 89 at 12 years old. The Burton movies were pretty much my intro to the dark knight comics as I’d only seen the West tv show till then. I don’t think they hold up that well but they’re not horrible. Though it started my life long hatred of Kim Basinger with her scream acting. I also thank Burton for spawning TAS and its movies, my favorite take on Batman overall as well as Elfman’s theme music. “Begins” was ok but meh. I just want more animated stuff.

Sell color televisions?

Dude, it was the 60’s. Three words: Lysergic acid diethylamide.

I loved the Adam West Batman series and it was perfect for its time. It wouldn’t have made a lot of sense to have a dark, brooding Batman on TV while the comic versions of the dynamic duo were flying to the moon in a spaceship. Also, I am eternally thankful that Batman: The Movie introduced the term “Shark Repellent Batspray” to the language. Similarly, Batman and Robin yielded one great scene of Arnold screaming: “Grab de gem! Kill da heroes!” Unfortunately, that meant you also had to watch BatClooney sliding down a dinosaur’s back, bobbling his head and chirping, “Hi Freeze! I’m Batman!” I understand that Schumacher was trying to channel the 1960s with his films, but as dark and dreary as Batman Returns was, that was a massive over-correction that took the series straight into the ditch.

Why the Batman Returns hate? Aside from the utterly depressing vibe of the whole film, a meandering plot that struggled to keep three villains in the frame, and some stiff action sequences, it’s mostly the characterization of Batman himself. Michael Keaton didn’t seem quite right in the first movie, but was clearly wrong by the second. Overall, I’ve no complaints about the quality of acting in Batman Returns: Michelle Pfeiffer was dee-lish, and Chris Walken hadn’t yet crossed the line into self-parody, making the most of a lame part. Even DeVito had his moments. However, Keaton played Wayne as a lonely, weary, weirdo who was intriguing to watch until you realized that it was so far removed from Batman of the comics.

Burton and Keaton made a conscious decision to drop the whole “millionaire playboy” bit, and instead have Wayne sitting in a dark office all day waiting for the bat-signal to light up. (And what was up with the gravity boots in the first movie?) Again, it was Burton expanding on the idea that all the costumed characters are psychotic freaks, and chance determines which side they end up on. Comic-book Bruce Wayne is grounded by a strict moral code and lives a dual life to disguise his identity and motives. Keaton plays him as someone who’s nuts every time, all the time–mask on or mask off. And don’t get me started on the whole physical aspect, either. (Oh, those luscious, kissable lips…)

Incidentally, Elfman’s theme was good, but I consider Shirley Walker’s to be the definitive Batman theme. The opening of Mask of the Phantasm gave me chills. It was like da chilling sound of my doom.

What that guy said.

It’s a goddamn superhero movie and the dude’s wearing tights - I don’t see how anybody can take offense at Burtons camp bits. While I liked Batman Begins a lot, I found Batman Returns much more interesting as cinema.
It’s just a better movie.
Batman Begins might be the better and more serious adaptation of Batman… but it was less interesting and imo tried too much. And it was still a silly superhero movie with costumes and funny cars going for an all serious tone. And I never liked Ra’s Al Ghul anyway. The Scarecrow was great, though.

And don’t mention the Schumacer Batmans with Burtons as if it’s more of the same. They just sucked on so many levels.

But I love the dark tone of Returns, the nasty Penguin and sexy but schizo Catwoman - and there’s no hating a movie with Siouxie and the Banshees on the soundtrack.
The first was ok, but I could do without Nicholsons Joker and hated the PRince soundtrack that turned out to not really be the soundtrack.