Ranking Batman Movies: From ‘Batman’ to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’
He is the terror that flaps in the night.
Wait. I might be thinking of Darkwing Duck. In any case, Bat-guys and Bat-gals, I am taking on what I have no doubt will provoke a heated discussion in the comment section below: Ranking the “Batman” movies from best to worst. Now, some measure of personal taste is involved in this list, so be warned: the “Batman” movie I think is the best might not be your favorite. I try to examine the movies both as pieces of art and as movies that I did or did not enjoy. I’m also not including the 1966 “Batman” in this list–the one with Adam West and Burt Ward–although Batman does use “Shark Repellent Bat-Spray” on a shark at one point (and it explodes), which is pretty epic. No, I’m going from the “Batman” of 1989 to “The Dark Knight Rises” of 2012. Enjoy!
7). “Batman and Robin”
“Ice to see you.”
The Bat-nipples. Oh, Good Lord, the Bat-nipples. (Also Bat-butts.) “Batman and Robin” was the final Bat-film directed by Joel Schumacher, and maybe that was a good thing. Schumacher has said that he was under pressure from the studio at the time to make the movie more “kid-friendly” and “toyetic,” but he accepts responsibility for how badly it turned out. And boy did it turn out badly. Even though it starred George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy (also Bane might have been in it?) “Batman and Robin” was full of lame puns, ill-timed shots, and villains that didn’t really do it for me.
Really, it was Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Take the one from the animated show: tall, skinny and brilliant, but he needed his suit to live. Schwarzenegger used to be Mr. Universe. When he says, “I’m powerless without my suit,” it’s silly to the point of ridiculousness, and if there’s one thing this movie doesn’t need any more of, it’s more ridiculousness (Bat credit card, surfing down the dinosaurs tail in the museum, Robin blasting through a wall on his motorcycle to leave a giant Robin-shaped hole behind him, surfing on the doors from the death-rocket…the list goes on and on).
And Freeze’s minions. The guys are dressed in hockey gear with bladed hockey sticks, so they’re useful when Freeze wields his gun on the floors of places, but what do they do when they leave? Unlace their boots or take the time to take them off? I guess Freeze could blast an icy path back to their base, but wouldn’t that leave a rather obvious trail to their secret HQ?
As far as Poison Ivy goes, I kinda liked Uma Thurman in that role, (plus that snake-flower hybrid was pretty awesome), though her performance wasn’t much better than Schwarzenegger’s. Sure, she didn’t sound like she was gargling gravel while roaring her lines, but Uma was about as campy as everybody else in this movie, and if I wanted campy, I’d watch the 1966 movie.
6). “Batman Returns”
“My dear penguins, we stand on a great threshold!”
Released in the summer of 1992 (which is weird since the movie takes place during Christmas-time) and directed by Tim Burton, “Batman Returns” is one of my least favorite Batman movies. Obviously not my most least favorite (which sounds odd to say), but it’s up there. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the works of Tim Burton, and the animated Batman show was rather Gothic, much like Mr. Burton’s second run with the Bat. That being said, the grotesqueness of this movie always puts me off when I watch it.
Danny DeVito’s Penguin isn’t just a short guy with a penchant for birds and a neat umbrella, he’s a mutated, flipper-handed, beast of a man with a pointed nose and some kind of dark crust around his teeth. Blech. Now, I don’t think Penguin should ever be portrayed as some sort of urban sophisticate, but Burton took it a bit far with this one. As far as Pfeiffer’s Catwoman goes, I was neither overly impressed nor disappointed. It’s definitely not as bad as Halle Berry’s, but I liked Anne Hathaway better in the role.
Michael Keaton as Batman did let me down. I know countless people have pointed out the many flaws and breaches of Batman’s supposedly inviolable code of “Do Not Kill,” but the moment in this video is pretty explicit. The Caped Crusader, having just prevented a bomb from exploding, is walking along, beating up gang members that cross his path, as he does. Then a big guy comes up to him, so Bats hits him. To no effect. The big guy chuckles, but then Batman looks down, prompting the big guy to do the same. There he sees a large, cartoonish bomb ticking away in his pants. Batman smirks, throws the guy down an open manhole, and walks away. As he turns the corner, the bomb explodes.
Now, let’s just say the guy was able to get the bomb off him as he fell, head-first, into this sewer/drainpipe. Perhaps he even landed in a roll, what with him being from the circus and all, as opposed to simply breaking his neck on the concrete or lying there in a dazed heap at the bottom of the hole. Even in the best case scenario, the shockwave from that bomb would still kill him. Batman punched a guy, put a bomb in his pants, and then smirked before throwing him to his death. Smirked. Uncool, Bats.