Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Looking Back on Batman: A Critique

Batman had many chances when it comes to his life on screen.

Whether it’s video games, T.V. or film, many of them have been flops. But for some reason, he keeps coming back and we always want more.

There’s a particular balance that superhero movies have to maintain. It’s something that one can easily notice when comparing the films of DC Universe (Let’s exclude “Green Lantern” for now) with Marvel, and in the styles that they are presented in. Marvel followed in tune with the flashy and cool flair of “Transformers”, namely “Iron Man” and “The Avengers,” which contrast greatly with the more serious depictions of “The Dark Knight.”

“Man of Steel” was also very off key to what Marvel and Disney have been doing with their universe and characters, showing a more conflicted Superman, but it did indulge in greater effects to wow audiences. The next “Superman” film will include Ben Affleck as the new Batman who will be outside a universe that director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale have fleshed out. Consequently, fans shouldn’t be surprised if this new Batman isn’t more stylized as well.

The more recent depiction of Batman in “The Dark Knight” trilogy took a more realistic and dramatized style to its approach to the world that Bob Kane and Bill Finger have crafted, but that doesn’t mean our favorite brooding vigilante wasn’t so, well, broody when he first appeared on screen.

Take a look back at the 60s version of Batman, and you’ll notice something very peculiar about how he is portrayed and how contradictory, but amusing, it is to “The Dark Knight.”

60s Campy Batman video

These dramatic camera angles and monologues that are present in the 60s resurface later in the many reboots and failed sequels to the “Batman” films–in the supporting characters, namely the villains. Jim Carrey’s role as the Riddler in “Batman Forever” was very prone to do dramatic monologues as well as Danny Devito in “Batman Returns,” which was probably due the actors upbringing with the 60s show. The flashy camera angles and overly dramatized screenplay are very present in all of the Batman films leading up to “The Dark Knight.”

Overly dramatic music cues video

For me, the perfect presentation of Batman would have been in the cartoon show, “Batman: The Animated Series” and the animated film spin offs. Looking back, it wasn’t the art style or nuance of a “Batman” cartoon that caught my attention. What was really great about the show was how serious it took itself, respecting the mysterious allure of seedy Gotham and the double life of Bruce Wayne/Batman, while fully fleshing out characters in a way that the films, including “The Dark Knight,” never could.

Batman animated video

Now if someone would just pick up where the last episode left off…

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Gustavo Sagrero, Author

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