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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Movie Talk - The Original Batman Franchise


This installment of Movie Talk is brought to you by Ace Chemicals - the place for all of your villain-making products!

Well, it’s that time. Tonight, I’ll go through the first Batman movies. As of right now, I’m watching Batman and Robin…you’ll find out below about what I think about it. First, let’s get to the background. Oh yeah…ice skates??????

Background
I know I have seen these movies a number of times. I rented them at either Jitney Jungle or Movie Gallery.  I was about 4 or 5 when the first movie came out, so I don’t remember seeing it till later on. The same goes for the second one and the third one. I did see the fourth one at the theaters (!!!!!) in Columbia. Apparently, my taste for movies was still under development. A couple of birthdays ago, my sister bought me a two disc set at Wal-Mart that had all four movies on it. She also bought one that had all four Superman movies on it. I’ve gone through the Superman movies. Now it’s time for the Batman ones. Today, I’ve watched all of them (yay?). What are my findings? Find out below.

Batman (1989)
This movie starts the franchise by introducing Batman to Gotham City and having him go against the criminals and the ultimate one: The Joker. Bruce also falls in love with a photojournalist named Vicki Vale. The movie’s the best one of the bunch. Just about everything about this movie was pretty good. Keaton made a good Batman and even a good Bruce Wayne. He didn’t look like he would, but he made it work. The love interest was okay, but there are better. Kim Basinger did look good though. The breakout star though was the Joker played by Jack Nicholson. He was pretty crazy all the way through and definitely more “an agent of Chaos” than Heath Ledger’s Joker was. The man was dancing to Prince for goodness sake! 
Batman: I'm gonna get you for playing that Prince album.

The movie itself was pretty dark and funny as well. The music was pretty good, even the music by Prince. Yeah, it dates the movie a little, but I like the music. The city itself looked average and pretty good.  I really don’t have any dislikes about the movie. I do think it’s a little weird that Batman rakes a body count of like 30 towards the end of the movie. Yeah, the Joker deserved it, but the rest? I don’t know.

Favorite Quotes
“You…are my number one...guy!”
“I’m Batman.”
"You can call me... Joker. And as you can see, I'm a lot happier." 
"Excuse me. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? "

Batman Returns
This movie puts Batman not only against the Penguin and Catwoman. It also pits Batman against the one and only: Christopher Walken!!! Keaton is still good as the hero, but it’s the villains that get the most out of it. Danny DeVito as Penguin was pretty creepy as well as Michelle Phifer’s Catwoman. Dang, she was nuts, but she does mesh well with Bruce. She’s definitely my favorite love interest of these movies. The city itself was more stylistic than the one in the first movie. I see where……Bat Credit Card. I just needed to say that right now. Anyway, I see where the whole obsession with male statues started. I also liked how it took place during the happiest time of all: Christmas. I liked seeing Bruce play DJ in his “smear campaign” against the Penguin. Batman’s body count is a little low here and that’s good. 
Bruce: Gyah! Dang! Here I am brooding, and all of the sudden God says "let there be light"! This was a horrible idea. 

One dislike was that the movie was even darker than the first movie It’s probably the darkest of all of the movies.  One thing I’ve noticed about these movies is actually how adult they are. It’s not a bad thing; I just wanted to point that out. Other than the “too dark” angle, there’s not much else to dislike about this movie. It’s alright, but it's so depressing.

Favorite Quotes:
“You gotta admit I played this stinkin' city like a harp from hell.”
“Meow.”
“True. I was their number one son, and they treated me like number two.”
“Eat floor. High fiber.”

Batman Forever
Now, we’re to the “Nipples” era. This movie is pretty much the “Superman 3” of the franchise. It made a lot of money, but it wasn’t that good. I do think that it’s an entertaining film, but it has its flaws. First, here’s the good. Val Kilmer was okay as Batman and Bruce Wayne, but he seemed a bit wooden at times. Nicole Kidman was...well, HOT! She was an okay love interest though. Chris O’Donnell was even a good Robin. I liked the whole revenge angle of his story. The action scenes were also well done especially the fight scenes. Also, a villain survives the movie!
This is probably the creepiest Batman has ever looked.

Now it’s time for the not so good. First, the costumes sucked. Really, ALL of them sucked. What was up with those nipples? The villains were not that good. Two-Face was nothing but a Joker rip-off. He didn’t even suffer from a multiple personality disorder; he suffered from D-Bag Syndrome. Just see the scene where he constantly flips his coin at the Manor to get the bad side. The Riddler was way too “Jim Carrey” during the whole movie. The movie also didn’t balance the serious from the funny all that well. Continuity was also a little wonky here as well. Bruce was never in love before? What the Heck?  I also thought the look of the city was too bright. And what’s up with all of those giant statues? The music was pretty bad as well. Overall, this movie is not too bad. It may even get the second spot in the best Batman movie list…Yeah, I know.

Favorite Quotes:
“I need a name! Batboy, Nightwing, I dunno. What you think? What's a good sidekick name? “
“Was that over the top? I can never tell.”
“You see, I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman, not because I have to be, now, because I choose to be.”
“By the way, do you have a first name, or do I just call you Bats?”
“Don't worry, people, no need for alarm, it's just a good-old fashioned, low-tech stick up! We're interested in the basics: cash, jewelry, cellular telephones. Just hand them over nicely, and no one will be hurt.” 


Batman and Robin
And now time for the one that killed the franchise for about 8 years: Batman and Robin. In this movie, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl go up against Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and something that looks like Bane… more like the “bane of existence”. What can I say that already hasn’t been said? This is the worst of the four. Still there are some good things in it, I think. The whole subplot involving Alfred dying was okay. Seeing him and Bruce talk was not bad. George Clooney even made a decent Bruce Wayne. Shockingly, I like Arnold Schwarzenegger as Freeze. Yes, he’s horribly miscast, but it was still funny seeing him throw out ice puns. He even has a couple of touching moments when he thinks about his wife.  “The Iceman Cometh” indeed. Poison Ivy isn’t even that bad. Actually, if you take this movie purely as a comedy, it’s okay.

Now, it’s time for the bad. As a Batman movie that people want to see, this one fails. It’s full of camp. There’s really no sense of danger. The puns are a little too much to bear.  The costumes still suck, and what’s up with those butt shots?  The villains are over the top, but since this movie is over the top, it balances out somehow. Bane was pretty much destroyed here as well. Also, what’s Batgirl doing here as Alfred’s niece??? It’s definitely at the bottom of the list.

Favorite Quotes
“The Iceman cometh!” (I like it.)
“She wants to kill you, Dick!” (The way Bruce says it is funny)
“Bomb…bomb…”
 “That's not very PC. What about Batwoman, or Batperson?”
“I want a car. Chicks dig the car. / This is why Superman works alone.”

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Well, that’s where I’m stopping at with this. I’ll save the Nolan movies for later. I do think you should check out all four movies. If anything, watch the last one with some friends or something. It will make the time go faster.  Next time, I’ll look at the Spider-Man trilogy and see if they are still worth it.  

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