(1989-1997 Film Series)
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About These Films
1. Batman (1989)
2. Batman Returns (1992)
3. Batman Forever (1995)
4. Batman & Robin (1997)
5. Batman Triumphant (NEVER MADE!)
to a 2-disc set that features all four of the
1980s-1990s "Batman" films. Astonishing great quality and a
for those who love this era of "Batman"!
Films: The "Batman" series of films that started in 1989
was originally director Tim Burton's baby. They weren't so much
"Batman" films as they were "Tim Burton's Batman" films. They
have that funny, quasi-creepy style that Burton is famous for in his
movies. When Burton bowed out after "Batman Returns", the series
kept that quirky humor, but his style was gone. The second half
of the series took on a brighter, more optimistic tone, nearly
reverting to the campy style of the 1966 "Batman" television series
(but not that bad). Although I feel "Batman & Robin" was a
good, entertaining movie, it's lackluster commercial success and switch
to George Clooney as Batman pretty much rang the death knell for the
series. I'm also in agreement that Clooney as Batman was a
mistake. Batman wasn't even a big focus in that movie! It
was everyone else's movie (Robin, Batgirl, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy,
The first movie was probably the best, although I
missed Robin. Michael Keaton really nailed Batman's brooding
personality, while Jack Nicholson is, and will always be, the ONLY
Joker. Michael Gough was very excellent as Alfred the butler in
all four films, giving us his most likable role in a long and
distinguished career. I also really enjoyed Kim Basinger as Vicki
Vale and the music of Prince. They really should have had Prince
be the soundtrack star for all of the films. I missed those fun,
funky songs in the later films. There really wasn't any great
music in the films after "Batman".
"Batman Returns" is my least favorite film in the
series. Way too serious. Catwoman was more psychotic than
she was sexy and Danny DeVito, the primo choice for Penguin, was kind
of wasted in this film. The Penguin came off as such a sad and
tragic character in this movie. I was hoping he'd be a bit
funnier. The best part of "Batman Returns" is the opening scene
with the Batmobile where he takes out the Red Triangle Circus
Gang. The one thing that could have helped this movie is the
introduction of Robin, which didn't happen. By this time,
however, audiences were demanding to see Robin in a Batman film.
So much so, that action figures for this movie had to include a Robin.
The series redeemed itself with "Batman
Forever". We finally have a Robin, and he's excellent!
Chris O'Donnell did a very good job with the character. I liked
him as Robin, and I'm not a great fan of Chris in all his roles.
This movie's biggest disadvantage is the loss of Michael Keaton as
Batman. I've always felt that major cast changes breaks the
reality of a movie series. However, Val Kilmer was a wonderful
choice for successor and he did the role proud. Kilmer played
Batman different than Keaton, but he didn't disgrace Keaton's
work. Kilmer's Batman is still as brooding as Keaton, but a bit
more lively. He looks cool, too. I can believe he would be
Batman. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face is a natural, and it looks
like he's having a good time. Jim Carrey also did a good job as
the Riddler. My only complaint is that Carrey's Riddler relied
more on being manic than for his puzzling riddles. His riddles
weren't that great. They didn't challenge Batman or the audience
very much. Still a great movie, entertaining, and I like Sugar
& Spice; they're funny.
I don't know what's wrong with most people, but I
liked "Batman & Robin". It's very underrated. I do feel
that George Clooney was NOT a good choice for Batman. Batman
wasn't even that important of a character in his own film! I also
think the film was trying to capitalize on the current success of the
Bane villain from comics way too soon. They just plunked him into
this movie as a mindless thug. In the comics, Bane was a fiercely
intelligent and more competent villain, and he didn't serve anyone but
himself. I do like Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Uma
Thurman as Poison Ivy. This was an interesting villain
match-up. These two characters never had much to do with each
other before or after this film in any media, but they were about the
only major Batman villains that hadn't been put into a movie. I
also liked the idea that Batgirl was brought into the cast.
Alicia Silverstone did a respectable job, but this movie really tweaked
the character from the comics. Batgirl is NOT the daughter of
Commissioner Gordon in this movie, but the niece of Alfred the
butler. What? Also, Batgirl was a blonde instead of a
redhead. In addition, we rarely saw Batgirl with the traditional
bat-ears hood, but with a little eye mask. She hardly resembled a
bat at all! They could have called her anything! I also
thought they made her Batgirl too quick and easy in the film.
Bam! She becomes Batgirl, and that's as far as the origin story
goes. I can look past all that silly stuff, though, if a movie is
fun and entertaining. This movie is fun and entertaining; a big
budget spectacle. I would liked to have seen this series
continue, but such was not to be. Sadly, the "Batman" film
franchise took a pretty big hit until the series was restarted in 2005
with "Batman Begins".
This is still one of my favorite superhero movies, despite the fact
that Batman is without a Robin. To me, it just doesn't seem right
if Batman has no Robin. At any rate, this was still an
outstanding movie for its time. Looking back at it almost two
decades later (this was written in 2005), it's still a wonderful
film. The Batmobile in this film, and later in "Batman Returns"
(1992) is the best-looking and definitive Batmobile. This is my
favorite on-film Batmobile. It's big, sleek, and tough. The
Batmobile from the 1966 TV series is wonderful-looking, too, but not a
supercar in the sense that this Batmobile is.
Jack Nicholson as The Joker is definitely the star
of this picture. Everything he says is quotable! I always
liked Kim Basinger in movies, and she's perfect as the catty,
fashionable photographer Vicki Vale. Michael Keaton gives a
strong performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Although he doesn't
really look the part of Bruce Wayne or Batman, the personality he plays
is the closest to the comic character than any of the other actors who
have played Batman before or since. Keaton's Bruce Wayne is
always quite serious and thoughtful like the comic version, and it
makes sense since he is obsessed over his parents' murder. He's
not an overly fun guy, but that's good for this show. The Joker
is where all the fun comes in. He's just so crazy and downright
ridiculous with everything he says and does. Even a stonefaced
person will find something amusing about the Joker. I also like
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, the butler. He's the nice old
guy that gives the show kindness and humanity. It doesn't seem
like anyone else should have ever played Alfred but Gough. It's
going to be very hard for any actor to measure up to his standards in
future portrayals of the character. Last, but not least, is the
wild, crazy soundtrack by Prince. He's got the right kind of
funky sound that's perfect for strange action shows like this. I
strongly recommend this Batman film if you want to see something wild
and fun in a superhero show!
Returns (1992): This is my least favorite film in the
series. However, I don't think it's a "bad" film. It's just
not as much fun as the others. This movie goes off track by
taking itself too serious. It's way too dark. I wanted to
laugh at the Penguin. Instead, I felt sorry for him.
Catwoman turned out to be more psychotic than sexy, and also a tragic
character. Michael Keaton is excellent as Batman for the last
time. I think he left the series too soon. Michael Gough is
cool as ever as Alfred the butler. Is there really any OTHER
Alfred? My favorite part is the opening sequence where Batman, in
his Batmobile, rolls into Gotham City and takes out the Red Triangle
Circus Gang. This movie delivers on the action, but there aren't
a whole lot of laughs, and there isn't a very happy ending.
Director Tim Burton, as a general rule, tends to
take things to a very dark place. The first movie, I believe, was
dark enough while still being fun. This movie was very serious,
and it ruined a lot of great opportunities for the story and its
characters. I know a lot of people were bummed when Tim Burton
dropped out of the series, but I don't mind. Joel Schumacher did
a great job in the next two films, and he brought some life back into
Forever (1995): Another well-done Batman film; third in
the series. This time Val Kilmer is Batman. He looks more
like Batman, and his Bruce Wayne is a happier individual than Michael
Keaton's Bruce Wayne. It works, though, because Bruce Wayne IS a
happier person than he was in the first two movies. His parents'
deaths are long avenged, and he's settled into his life as
Batman. I think Val Kilmer should've played Batman in the
following film. He's good at it. It took three films into
the Batman series, but we finally see his legendary sidekick
Robin. Thank goodness! Chris O'Donnell plays Robin and is
much cooler than the classic Robin character of comics, TV, and film,
who is also good but kind of lame. This Robin is his own person,
but definitely Batman's apprentice. It works! The Riddler
and Two-Face are interesting supervillains for this movie. I've
always liked the Riddler character from the comics, but Jim Carrey is
overly annoying most of the time. I never liked the Two-Face
character or Tommy Lee Jones in movies, but this is actually a good
character in this movie. This Two-Face is a bit more colorful and
not as serious as the comic book character. The new Batmobile
they made for this movie is okay, but just not as good-looking as the
Batmobile from the first two movies. Michael Gough is dependable,
though, and once again plays the butler Alfred.
An added comment: Debi Mazar looks too sexy as
like Debi in all her films, and she really makes Spice a funny, funky
(1997): I like the fact that Batman, Robin, and Batgirl
finally together fighting crime. Michael Gough is superb as
Alfred the butler for one last time. The supervillains Poison
Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Bane are interesting additions to the Batman film
series. Chris O'Donnell is the
He's a more hip version of the "Golly gee, Batman!"
, but still has that same overconfident teenage/early twenties
personality. I like Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, too.
She's a different-looking Batgirl than what everyone is used to.
She's blonde, not a redhead, and her costume doesn't really resemble a
bat or even Batman's costume. For a little while we see her with
a bat-ears motorcycle helmet, but for the most part she wears just a
simple mask over the eyes. I think the reason for the drastic
change in Batgirl's appearance is the fact that they were heavily
marketing this movie, and action figures of two redheaded women would
look too similar to each other. Since they make the merchandise
look like the movie versions, something had to be changed and it turned
out to be Batgirl.
Uma Thurman is outstanding as the lethal beauty
Poison Ivy. Arnold Schwarzenegger is COOL as Mr. Freeze. I
acting has come a long way from his early-1980s Conan the
Barbarian/Terminator days. He has expression in this movie, and
he's playing a definite character. Mr. Freeze isn't a complete
bad guy, although he does very evil things. He's mostly upset
over his wife being in a comatose state, and his condition of having to
be in extremely cold temperatures doesn't help his mood, either.
Thurman is definitely evil, and her thug Bane is just mindlessly
evil. He's not like the Bane from the comics, but it doesn't
matter because he's still a good character in this movie. I think
the producers just wanted the name draw of Bane in this movie, because
the character was pretty hot in the Batman comics around that
time. Poison Ivy with her powers of plants and Mr. Freeze with
his ice-weapons are interesting sci-fi touches to the Batman
series. Plus, this movie goes all-out with stunts, special
effects, elaborate sets, and high-tech gadgetry...especially the
vehicles. If you're truly a Batman fan, you'll love this film!
Triumphant (NEVER MADE!):
This would have been the fifth movie in the series. Had it been
made, I think it would have put the "Batman" series back on top!
It would have been darker like the first two films of the series.
The film would have had Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and Man-Bat as the
main villains. Jack Nicholson was going to have a significent
cameo return as the Joker in a nightmarish dream sequence where
Scarecrow's fear gas brought Batman's greatest fear back to life.
Mark Protosevich wrote the script. Warner
Bros. loved it, but the failure of the previous film made this script
null and void. It's been locked in the Warner Bros. vault ever
since and no one outside of the studio has ever read it.
It's said they were planning to have Man-Bat kill
off Batgirl early in the movie, but scripts can change, can't
they? I'm not too keen on that idea, but they were planning to
make Harley Quinn the daughter of Joker, rather than his mistress like
in the cartoons and, subsequently, the comics. In this movie,
Harley Quinn was out for revenge of her father's death. Jenny
McCarthy was wanted to play Harley Quinn, which would have been a good
George Clooney was NOT going to be Batman in this
film as the actor had declined to play the hero. It's unclear who
they were planning to cast. Chris O'Donnell WAS returning as Dick
Grayson, but his superhero name would have changed to Nightwing (like
in the comics). It's rumored that Alicia Silverstone passed on
reprising her role of Batgirl, despite the fact that she was contracted
for another movie.
Steve Buscemi was set as the main choice for
Scarecrow, although earlier choices were Jeff Goldblum and Robert
Englund. Englund would have made the best Scarecrow because he
has an ability to be SO scary. Madonna was the early choice for
Harley Quinn before Jenny McCarthy, but Madonna was going to play
Joker's estranged wife, and she wasn't going to be named Harley
Quinn. Mark Linn-Baker, I believe, was the only choice for
Man-Bat. We know him best as Larry Appleton from TVs "Perfect
Strangers". Martin Short was considered as a cameo for Dr. Jervis
Tetch, although it wasn't planned he would turn into the Mad Hatter in
Elle MacPherson's little seen character of Julie
Madison (Bruce Wayne's girlfriend) from "Batman & Robin" was
planned to return in this movie.
The basic story of the movie is this: Batman
retires from crime-fighting. Dick Grayson becomes
Nightwing. Nightwing and Batgirl are college students and
lovers. Early in the movie, Man-Bat kills Batgirl and frames
Batman for the murder. Bruce Wayne redons his Batman persona once
more to clear his name and avenge the death of Batgirl.
Joel Schumacher was going to be director of this
film, as he had been with #3 and #4, but Warner Bros. dropped him and
the movie was scrapped. The series remained in limbo until the
series reboot in 2005 with "Batman Begins". Interesting enough,
Scarecrow was made one of the villains in that movie.
When "Batman Triumphant" was scrapped, two other
live-action adaptations were planned and ultimately canned. One
was a prequel, called "Batman: Year One" that would have detailed
Batman's origin and early adventures. Ultimately, this idea
became "Batman Begins" (2005) when the series was restarted. The
other idea was a live-action version of the futuristic Batman cartoon
series, "Batman Beyond".