Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
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I'm not sure if anyone else here on the STO forums feels the same, but as the new Batman movie gets closer and closer I'm getting more and more excited. I'm personally pumped for The Dark Knight Rises to see how Nolan's trilogy will end, to see how he did Catwoman and Bane. As a huge fan of the new Batman franchise I wanted to express my views on why I personally think the Nolan movies are much better than Burtons - Now, don't get me wrong, I love Burton's Batman, I grew up on it, but it didn't whet my appetite like Nolan's reboot has.

So I'm going to address and compare different aspects of both directors work on their respected Batman movies. I'll point out the flaws and the strengths of each franchise. Since I'm more of a Nolan fan I'll try be as least bias as possible and acknowledge the flaws of his franchise first.

Nolan's Batman flaws


So lets get the obvious out of the way, Christian Bale's voice for Batman is not easy on the ears. I personally like it, I like the idea of him sounding monstrous and never thought of it as a flaw until I heard other people say something about it. Once other people mentioned it, it started to annoy me as well - Not because I'm a sheep and listen to what other people see, but I started to see it almost cartoony and hilarious which doesn't mix with the overall feel of Nolan's films.

Secondly, The Dark Knight was completely over hyped due to Heath Ledgers death. This isn't a statement about Ledger's performance, but it is fact and even for a Nolan fan such as myself, I didn't need someone to tell me that to know that. See, I LOVED Batman Begins, probably more than The Dark Knight, I was following TDK long before LEdger died, I was already a fan with much excitement for the movie and while I followed the progress of the movie I noticed it didn't have much popularity - Until Ledger died then suddenly TDK was the most highly anticipated movie at the time.

The dialogue drags out, which is something that I actually love about the new Batman movies, but this is also coming from someone who enjoys dialogue driven movies. To me it doesn't drag out, I think it brings the characters to life and helps you understand them - But I'll accept this as a flaw since it's what a lot of casual viewers who doesn't like the new ones says: Strictly matter of opinion I think.


Nolan vs Burton

I didn't want to do a strict heading of "Burton's flaws" because honestly I don't hate Burton's Batman - I just don't think that not only is it not as good as it could have been but it wasn't as good as Nolan's either. I grew up on Burton's Batman, he revitalized it, reimagined Batman, and I honestly think that without Burton we wouldn't have the Nolanverse Batman. But there's several things about Burton's Batman that disappoints me, even before I evert thought they'd even think of doing a reboot.

For one, he leaves very little character development for Bruce Wayne. The first film was a great revenge story but the thing is it's also the end of Bruce's story. It's all about Bruce getting revenge on the Joker for the death of his parents, so we know his motivation and it's a plausible one - But then he kills the Joker and then after that we're offered absolutely no reason why Bruce is still fighting crime. Bruce is a vigilante out for revenge and then we get to Batman Return's and he just kinda seems like a bored rich guy helping out the police department and the police department is very open about it which just doesn't make it seem very believable. There's no story arc, just one story and then Batman fighting other villians for no explained reason.

Now this isn't even mentioning how weak Burton's origin was...

"Well he witnessed his parents die and now he dresses up as a Batman and beats the crap out of villians with fancy gear"

With Nolan's Bruce we saw his journey to becoming Batman. He had grown a fear of bats, had an anxiety attack while watching theatre with his parents causing them to leave then his parents are killed right after that - It's not just a simple story of revenge, but a story of carrying heavy guilt with Nolan's Bruce. He trains and embraces his fear, adopts the very thing that he felt had lead to the death of his parents.

Nolan also broadens Bruce's targets of criminals in Gotham by making the killer of his parents an everyday street thug. His motivation is initially wanting to bring the killer of parents to justice until he learns how complex the crime world really is. Not to mention how his father was somewhat of a hero himself trying to help the poor in Gotham - It became much more than revenge, it started to become honoring his father's life.

So now we move on to the Joker.

I loved both Jokers, but I like how Nolan's Joker was delivered much more than Burton's. Don't get me wrong, I love Jack Nicholson, he's a great actor - But his role in Batman just seemed like very typical wildman Jack with clown makeup. Yeah, he was funny, but the whole time I'm very aware that this is Jack Nicholson. I already admitted that Ledger's death is what pretty much gave TDK blockbuster success, but I think people take that fact as a way to say his performance was over rated.

Honestly, I think Ledger's performance was brilliant regardless of his death, why? I couldn't recognize him. I forgot I was watching Heath in that movie, whenever I saw him in any other film I always thought "Oh, the b-rate australlian heart throb from that cheesy Knight movie" but the entire time I watched TDK I didn't think about his other performances at all because of how immersed his performance made me feel. When I watch Nicholson's Batman The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next, and other films he's done kept flooding into my mind - Watching TDK, I forgot Ledger was even in the movie even as I watched him.

Nolan's Joker was also much more threatening, neither Joker from either franchise had a real aim , which is what makes the joker who he is, but Nolan's challenged Bruce Wayne psychologically. The interrogation scene when Batman is thumping the Jokers for Harvey's location gave me the chills when Joker just laughed hysterically and replies "with all your strength and might, there is nothing, nothing you have that you can threaten me with" raised the hairs on my arms. That is what established that this Joker is a real threat, it was what made it apparent that Bruce might have been over his head, he wasn't used to this kind of villian. Most of all the Joker wins, he changed the whole city on a psychological scale - He screwed with everyone's mind and even forced Batman into a position of taking the blame for a murder, becoming the city's enemy.

The worst Burton's Joker does is shoot the bat wing the a pistol - Apparently the Batmobile can handle anything from gunfire to explosions but the Joker is a great marksman able to shoot Batman's bat plane out of the sky with a pistol with a comically long barell. OH, and pull Batman over a ledge to let him dangle like a damsel in distress with a damsel in distress.

Overall, I appreciate Burton's Batman for what it has done not only for the franchise, but for superhero movies in general, I also enjoy the more comic book look of it - But as I've said before, it never cut it for me completely. It had no intention at longetivity and had me asking a lot of questions about the Bruce Wayne that I really wanted answered. Batman Returns on the other hand was only great because of Pfieffer's Catwoman, other than that is still a huge disappointment. Burton tried to remain true to the comics and Batman lore with the first film, but we get to the second and it's just another "dark" artsy Burton film with Batman in it.


Anyways, thx for reading my wall of text if you made it this far and let me know what you think!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
06-17-2012, 03:59 AM
That was a wonderful read. You've sparked some interest in me for revisiting both of their incarnations of Batman.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
06-17-2012, 10:26 AM
Tim Burton's Batman wasn't bad..... I wasn't keen on Batman being so quick to reveal his identity and consider the Joker's death at the end a complete waste. Other than that I rather liked it.

It was the steadily declining sequels that were a real issue.....

Nolan's Batman is pretty good. I wasn't quite entirely enamored with the Joker, although I thought it was a good take with moments of brilliance.

I did think Harvey was entirely underused, unless he is going to survive and be used in a subsequent movie.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
06-17-2012, 11:05 AM
I like Batman Begins. It fully explored Batman/Bruce's psyche, it builds it up and explains why he becomes Batman.

Burton's Batman tells us this, but it doesn't go into as much detail. But the psyche, the why is not important for that story, whereas it is for Begins, as that is an origin story. I believe Keaton's Bruce Wayne is more likely to be a crazy person who dresses up as a Bat at knight and beats people up. As for why he keeps doing it.... it's something he's been doing for most of his life. It's all he knows. And maybe he wants to stop what happening to himself happening to other little kids.


TDK, I like it. I really do. Ledger put in one hell of a performance (No, I do not say that because he died. I say that because he put in one hell of a performance). Is he a better Joker than Jack? I can't answer that, as they are different types. Jack was the more fun loving, crazy Joker, whereas Ledger was the more chaotic, what the hell is he smoking type Joker.


However, I do feel TDK is overrated. It was a psychological thriller, that I felt went a little too long with the whole Harvey thing. That was wasted potential for Two Face (Where was his split personality, anyway? Only the animated one ever managed to get that shown right IMO). But I can not class it as a great batman movie. Bale's voice is horrid in that film, it sounds like he has a cold and can't breathe properly. I've heard it was not Bale's choice, but done post processing. And Batman doesn't really use any of his Batgadgets (call me shallow if you must. I like my Batgadgets, except for stupid Batstuff like Batsharkrepellant).


Been too long since I saw Batman returns, so I wont talk about that. Except I'm not fond of his Penguin.


Burton's Batfilms, I like them for what they are, a more realistic take on Batman, but I prefer the fun, more comic bookish style of Burton's Batman. Saying that, I am looking forward to Dark Knight Rises.
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# 5
06-17-2012, 11:15 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by grylak
Burton's Batfilms, I like them for what they are, a more realistic take on Batman, but I prefer the fun, more comic bookish style of Burton's Batman. Saying that, I am looking forward to Dark Knight Rises.
Both are 'comic book' though. Burton's couldn't quite decide whether it was Frank Miller's Dark Knight or the 60's Adam West version.

Nolan's is closer to the more modern incarnations of Batman, which aren't as well known to non comic readers.
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Posts: 120
# 6
06-17-2012, 02:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmera
Both are 'comic book' though. Burton's couldn't quite decide whether it was Frank Miller's Dark Knight or the 60's Adam West version.

Nolan's is closer to the more modern incarnations of Batman, which aren't as well known to non comic readers.
Nolan's films were mostly inspired by The Long Halloween and Batman: Year One, not sure if that's considered modern incarnations and wasn't trying to debunk what you said, just thought I'd throw it out there.
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# 7
06-17-2012, 02:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by grylak
I like Batman Begins. It fully explored Batman/Bruce's psyche, it builds it up and explains why he becomes Batman.

Burton's Batman tells us this, but it doesn't go into as much detail. But the psyche, the why is not important for that story, whereas it is for Begins, as that is an origin story. I believe Keaton's Bruce Wayne is more likely to be a crazy person who dresses up as a Bat at knight and beats people up. As for why he keeps doing it.... it's something he's been doing for most of his life. It's all he knows. And maybe he wants to stop what happening to himself happening to other little kids.
That's what actually disappoints me the most about Burton's Batman. I like the fact that he gave the audience just a taste of Wayne's origin, but he missed a huge opportunity with Batman returns - He could have developed the character a little more and revealed a little more about him, but instead he just makes another dark art film, it almost doesn't even feel like a sequel. I wouldn't agree with Keaton's Batman being a little more crazy though, I think Bale's is on the verge of murderer - I felt that Keaton did what he did simply because it's the right thing to do, Bale's seems to have a lot of built up rage and I think his story is a lot more tragic because he doesn't know how to handle his issues. We're not offered any of that in Burtons, just a breif taste which is awesome because it adds more mystery to be explored, but he never gets around to offering more of that mystery - By the time I got to Batman Returns I completely forget about that mystery because everything is mostly happening between Catwoman, Penguin, and Christopher Walken, Batman just isn't that interesting in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grylak
TDK, I like it. I really do. Ledger put in one hell of a performance (No, I do not say that because he died. I say that because he put in one hell of a performance). Is he a better Joker than Jack? I can't answer that, as they are different types. Jack was the more fun loving, crazy Joker, whereas Ledger was the more chaotic, what the hell is he smoking type Joker.
Totally agree, I think Nicholson's Joker was VERY entertaining, I just don't think his work was as breathtaking as Ledger's. He had fun with it though which is what makes me love his Joker - Which is completely understandable because before that we hadn't seen the Joker in anything live action since the 60s. It was the 60s Joker for a modern audience, I think Ledger/Nolan pretty much had to do a new take on the Joker. It just would have felt redundant to try to copy Jack's Joker.


Quote:
Originally Posted by grylak
However, I do feel TDK is overrated. It was a psychological thriller, that I felt went a little too long with the whole Harvey thing. That was wasted potential for Two Face (Where was his split personality, anyway? Only the animated one ever managed to get that shown right IMO). But I can not class it as a great batman movie. Bale's voice is horrid in that film, it sounds like he has a cold and can't breathe properly. I've heard it was not Bale's choice, but done post processing. And Batman doesn't really use any of his Batgadgets (call me shallow if you must. I like my Batgadgets, except for stupid Batstuff like Batsharkrepellant).

Been too long since I saw Batman returns, so I wont talk about that. Except I'm not fond of his Penguin.


Burton's Batfilms, I like them for what they are, a more realistic take on Batman, but I prefer the fun, more comic bookish style of Burton's Batman. Saying that, I am looking forward to Dark Knight Rises.
Well I think Harvey's role in TDK was more than just being another addition to Batman's rogue gallery. I can understand why you think they dragged out Harvey's character, but that's why I really liked it. He was hyped up to be something better of a hero for Gotham than what Batman could be and them dragging this out and explaining why he is a better hero is also what made his fall much more tragic - And it also made the ending with Batman taking the blame for his crimes so climatic. I think we wanted more two-face simply because it's two face, but I think for the story Nolan is trying to tell his role did what it needed to do and I think giving him split personality would have both ruined the perception of him being the ideal hero and the believability of his turn ("just because he got burned he has a split personality now?). I think by Nolan making him loose his cool and becoming obsessed with basing things on chance made a believable Two-Face for his take on the Batman universe - Doing it spot on with the comic might have ruined the feel of Nolan's style.


As for the gadgets I'm going to have to disagree. I think there are some really cool gadgets in Nolanverse but I think they're introduced a lot more subtlety which makes it seem less gadgety, but really think about it...

The skyhook he uses...
A motorcycle emerging from the batmobile...
The sonar goggles or whatever he uses.
The emp rifle(or what I assume was the thing he was using to shut off the power to the building)
The hydrolic wrist thing that makes him seem like he has super strength.
His wrist blades turning into a saw.
His wrist blades shooting out.
Not to mention the redesign of his armor.


Not as much gadgets but still some pretty cool stuff, at least IMO. I also like the idea that Nolan uses a technical consultant for the things Batman uses in his films.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
06-17-2012, 03:31 PM
Now you're listing them out, I guess he does use quite alot of Batgadgets. I guess because they are more subtle, they kinda slipped past me.



Bale's Bruce, I fully believed could be a murderer. When he was outside the court with Joe Chill. But the way he plays him during his Batman days, maybe it's just a personal thing, but Bale's Bruce doesn't strike me as having some screws loose. He seems.... almost normal. At least with the way Keaton played it, you can tell this guy isn't playing with a full deck. Out of costume. In the batsuit, I happily agree Bale's Bats is crazy.


I agree with you fully on the Joker.


Don't get me wrong, I love the whole white knight, hero of gotham gets turned into a murderous villain that they went with, and it fits in well with the film. I didn't say they dragged his character, as that was what was needed for the film. Again, it's probably just personal preference, but to me, Norton's Two Face could be exchanged with any government person. Sure, he has the decide everything on the flip of the coin, but other than that one little aspect, I felt the character could be replaced with any DA character and still tell the same story.


Now if he had the split personality, there could have been moments where his two halfs were trying to argue the morality of doing what they were going to do. With the 'bad' side winning. Of course, that would probably slow down the film, so understandable. And Harv had the split personality before hsi accident. He was just able to control it better (at least going off the animated series. I confess, nearly all my Batknowledge comes from the films/animated series, so if he didn't have the split personality before the accident in the comics, I don't know).



Quote:
Both are 'comic book' though.
Both are comic book characters. But Nolan's is more real based, over the comic OTT nature of Burton's (Gothic buildings, stylised over the top car chase, crazy batgadgets etc.) That's what I meant by comic bookness. Nolan's is like I'm watching a film that could happen in real life. Burtons, I'm watching a comic book.
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