The Big Picture: Batman Revisited, Part 3

medv4380

The Crazy One
Feb 26, 2010
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My problem with the old Batman set exuding the first is that there were just too many villains to actually put in a valid story behind them. Two-Face could have been good but should have been a solo act. The first one despite it's faults got the villain mix correct. One Primary villain, and minions and mobsters to fill in any need for a beat-em-up action sequence. Three primary batman villains like Batman Returns and Batman & Robin is just too many to tell a good story in a hour and a half or two hours. Too many characters just makes it so that the other failings show much brighter.
 

Xanthious

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Dec 25, 2008
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Ya know, Batman Forever was probably my favorite of the 90s Batman movies. I wasn't much for Val Kilmer as Batman/Bruce Wayne but I really liked Jim Carrey as The Riddler and loved Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face. They actually had really good chemistry together. That being said, I damn near walked out of Batman and Robin. That was an absolutely unforgivable movie.
 

FuzzyRaccoon

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Sep 4, 2010
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I was kind of annoyed how he tapered off there at the end of his video only to leave us hanging.
When it came I was just like: DAMN YOU MOVIEBOB!

Also, I always found Two-Face in this iteration to be a little too over the top ridiculous. The Riddler I could understand, but not him. I also disliked the art style, looking back on it though it's pretty classic 90s though.
 

MonkeyPunch

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Feb 20, 2008
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I really disliked Forever at the time, despite it having a cast that should make me feel the opposite.
I'm also one of those who really disliked the style change. I thought the movie looked OK but it was just too garish. I feel the style actually made the film more hollow. It made it feel sort of cheap and "Hollywood", if you know what I mean?
 

Sixcess

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Feb 27, 2010
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It's Robin. Robin sucks. There will never be a good live-action Robin because the character is inherently stupid, and his costume is stupid, and he will never come across as in a movie as anything other than stupid. And camp.

Or to put it another way, Robin is the Wesley Crusher of the Batman mythos - an annoying, hyper competent teenager who is invariably despised by the teenagers in the audience who are supposed to identify with him, and bores the adults.

That aside, I've never been able to sit through Forever. It's just too bright and garish and cluttered.
 

ZippyDSMlee

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Sep 1, 2007
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Ya but forever was not as bad as B&R, I still like Batman 1 and 2 the most then Beginnings then the dark knight then forever.
 

Gallium

Cannon Fodder
May 3, 2011
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I've always had a soft spot for Batman Forever.

Then again I've never been one for the original source material. Being British and born in the 80s, I was raised on The Beano and The Dandy and then on to Commando. Proper comics (I jest, but you get my point!). None of this super-hero malarky.

To me, Batman is the goofy American 60's TV show shown on repeat on 90s Channel 4 during lunch in the summer holidays. I enjoyed that show immensely and Batman Forever is the closest in feel of the recent films to what I know and love of Batman. Supremely stupid at times? Yep. Ropey dialogue and acting? Yeh, that too. But somehow it just kind of all meshed together into this fun, camp, popcorn blockbuster in the same way the old TV show did. (Fun! Remember that?)

And to add to my unpopularity stakes, I'll state that the sound track isn't half bad either with U2's "Hold me, Thrill me, Kiss me, Kill me" being best thing they have ever produced.
 

omegawyrm

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Nov 23, 2009
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Jetsetneo said:
So, Bob's gonna connect the Schumacher bashing to the fact that he is gay?
Oh I hope not, whether or not its true, its pretty clear everyone's beyond it. Its seems like the Halo 'Nazi' thing all over again. Grasping for something that isn't there, blinded by some form of white knight crusader-dom.
Of course he's going to do that. Can't wait to have another round of "Let's all get unreasonably pissed off and defensive about Moviebob's opinions".
 

Rellik San

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Feb 3, 2011
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Gallium said:
I've always had a soft spot for Batman Forever.

Then again I've never been one for the original source material. Being British and born in the 80s, I was raised on The Beano and The Dandy and then on to Commando. Proper comics (I jest, but you get my point!). None of this super-hero malarky.

To me, Batman is the goofy American 60's TV show shown on repeat on 90s Channel 4 during lunch in the summer holidays. I enjoyed that show immensely and Batman Forever is the closest in feel of the recent films to what I know and love of Batman. Supremely stupid at times? Yep. Ropey dialogue and acting? Yeh, that too. But somehow it just kind of all meshed together into this fun, camp, popcorn blockbuster in the same way the old TV show did. (Fun! Remember that?)

And to add to my unpopularity stakes, I'll state that the sound track isn't half bad either with U2's "Hold me, Thrill me, Kiss me, Kill me" being best thing they have ever produced.
^ This, exactly this.

But then again, I do have a soft spot for early - mid nineties action film soundtracks, they always... ALWAYS ended on a cheesy rock song and I love it.
 

ThrobbingEgo

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Nov 17, 2008
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Sixcess said:
Or to put it another way, Robin is the Wesley Crusher of the Batman mythos - an annoying, hyper competent teenager who is invariably despised by the teenagers in the audience who are supposed to identify with him, and bores the adults.
Which Robin? Dick Grayson? Jason Todd? Tim Drake? Damian Wayne? Carrie Kelly?

I found both the Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin in Grant Morrison's run in last year's Batman and Robin comics to be interesting characters. Grayson was filling Batman's big shoes and wasn't too comfortable about it, while DW (raised as an assassin by Talia Al Ghul) plays a Robin with serious issues.

I also found the version of Robin in Teen Titans interesting, back when I watched the show.
 

portal_cat

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Jun 25, 2009
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I had a professor that would go on a hate-filled rant if you ever mentioned Batman Forever. Especially on the bat-nips.
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
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I remember that as a kid, I literally fell asleep while watching Batman Forever. Seriously, I could stand crappy movies any day, the whole day (ahh, the wonderful days of Canal 5's trilogy weekends :D), but after we rented this movie in glorious VHS (!), I simply fell asleep while watching it. And also, feeling immensely dissapointed by Jim Carrey, I seriously liked Ace Ventura 2 back in the day.

Today, I watch it and I consider it equally as bad as Batman & Robin, but with less puns.

Damn it Bob, you're leaving me out in the cold until next week >.<'
 

Xenominim

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Jan 11, 2011
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It's rather funny how with both Burton and Schumacher, after making their own competent but slightly flawed films rather than trying to fix those problems the studio just gives both directors full control and both men wind up making completely insane versions turned up to 11 in their own particular style. Talk about history repeating itself.
 

Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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Let me get this out of the way now.

I didn't even know Schumacher was gay when Batmans Forever and and Robin came out. I noticed the changes in Batman Forever, and perhaps I didn't like it as much as Burton's vision (which played a significant role in allowing comic book characters to go to more mature places within the mainstream even if "mature" became synonymous with "grim and gritty" in others' hands), but I was a long way from hating it.

Batman and Robin is an utterly crap movie.

It is the worst Batman movie of all time. If you say otherwise, you're wrong. And, yes, it's largely Schumacher's fault. Not because he's gay, but because he took a terrible script full of cardboard characters, contrived plotting, and terrible dialogue, and pumped out a cotton-candy colored monstrosity with terribly shot action sequences and not a one performance worth a shit.

George Clooney can act. Chris O' Donnel, Alicia Silverstone, and Uma Thurman have all put in decent performances under other directors (see Scent of a Woman, Clueless, and Dangerous Liaisons, if nothing else). Even Schwarzenegger, while no one's idea of the go-to man for Stanislavskian technique, can generally fill the boots of an action movie character and make him sympathetic and likable.

And still: not one performance worth a shit. Say what you will about the over-emphasis on villains, Nicholson, Pfeiffer, and DeVito were fascinating to watch (even as the viewer was going "are we seeing this?" as DeVito prepared to arm penguins to blow up Gotham.) B&R gave at least one more villain too many (surely even MB's continuous dismissal of Bane must recognize the ludicrous travesty of B&R's portrayal), and not a single scene with the hypercaffeinated-origin villains that wasn't groan-worthy.

The action was frenetic, but confused and poorly lit in service Schumacher's garish color scheme. The plot shoveled major characters into the stew with a "more is more" mentality even as it showed every willingness to spend more time on loving shots of rubber-bedecked body parts and cringe-inducing one liners than character development.

And if we must make a note of the director's sexuality, let it be only to note that B&R took two of the most attractive actresses in Hollywood, one of whom was playing a character whose major ability as a supervillain is her sex appeal, and made them both utterly unattractive to every heterosexual male in the audience!

Don't you dare suggest that anger at Schumacher is nothing but poorly-disguised homophobia. It's nothing of the sort.
 

MB202

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Sep 14, 2008
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You know, I think Joel gets too much bad rep for his two Batman movies. I feel like they're bad mostly because of Executive Meddling then because of Mr. Schumacher himself. That said, I think Batman Forever is better then most people say it is... Batman & Robin, however... Well, we'll get to that next week.
 

Trishbot

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May 10, 2011
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I have a few issues with Bob's praise and criticisms, of both Burton and Schumaucher films.

First off... deviating from the source material...

THAT IS OKAY! When will fans ever accept that, yes, it is more than okay to deviate from the source material to make a better film. The source material is not the end-all, be-all of a superhero story. If it was, we'd never have gotten Heath Ledger's Joker. Hell, even Marvel's Avengers, which Bob practically joygasmsed over, streamlines the complicated comic book origins of Thor (he's not Donald Blake, the doctor, anymore) and, last I checked, Wasp and Ant-Man were part of the original Avengers, not Black Widow and Hawkeye. Hell, Captain America himself wasn't in the original Avengers until a few issues later... So who cares if it's true to the source material if what they did was so very GOOD?

Secondly, Bob hand-waves aesthetics as rather unimportant to a movie... yet the aesthetics of a movie very much are an essential part of the core experience. There's a reason the very LOOK of Burton's Gotham City is so atmospheric, otherworldly, and memorable, and there's a reason why Schumaucher's disco-ball, neon-glow look for his movies is so garish, cartoony, and impractically campy. They set the TONE of a film, and the TONE of a film can be a very clear indicator of a person's enjoyment of it. You could dress Batman up in a bright pink outfit and make Gotham a city of rainbows and candy canes, keeping the story and characters the same, but the tone of the film will be entirely different. It's the same reason music, costumes, and lighting are so important in conveying a film's mood and tone to an audience. You can't just hand-wave that away, since the very look of the film is indicative of the tonal qualities the film possesses.

Thirdly, I'm surprised Bob just sort of ignored the true aspect of the "stunt casting" the Schumaucher films did. Let's be honest; Jack Nicholson was a big-name actor for the 1989 movies... but he was not just cast because he was a big-name. He was legitimately the best man for the role of that Joker at the time, and you won't find many people disagreeing. His Joker was SO good that it made people feel that Batman was overshadowed (I disagree... I agree with Keaton's philosophy that Batman was always a creature of shadows and actions, existing as the boogey-man of the criminal underworld). Same goes for DeVito's Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer was exceptional. You lose yourself in those early villains; DeVito, Pfeiffer, even Nicholson, largely disappear and their villains take over. But Jim Carrey's Riddler is totally just Jim Carrey the whole time, and Tommy Lee Jones's Two-Face had zero actual personality at all... both of which were far more cartoony than the ACTUAL cartoon versions airing on TV at the time (what irony).

Lastly, for all Burton's flaws in the original films (mainly their pacing), they existed as something the Schumaucher films were largely NOT. They were visually stunning, highly imaginative, and catastrophically bold. Batman Forever (and Batman & Robin) were so safe and market-created that I'm surprised Bob is so receptive of them after he did TWO videos talking about how The Amazing Spider-man represents the worst of Hollywood. The Burton films, at the very least, pushed the envelope so far, and when you remember that, prior to 1989's Batman, the only image people had of Batman in live-action was the campy Adam West series, and those films basically took what was a Looney Tunes cartoon series and spun it into a dark, psychologically disturbing look at the caped crusader and his world. There does not exist a single movie before or sense that has so vividly and dramatically and successfully reimagined its superhero like that.

Schumaucher's films were ones I may have been entertained with as a child, but in retrospect, they're hammy, childish, immature, product-driven, and, well, vapid and soulless. There is very little depth to them. They're like Twinkies. And I grew to resent them over time for all their many condescending and utterly juvenile approaches to the Batman mythos.

And, no Bob, I don't care that Schumaucher is gay. I'm bisexual. The fact that he's gay and gave Batman butt-shots and rubber nipples isn't the sole reason I hate his films... but they certainly didn't help the movies any either.