Friday, August 1, 2008

Rick's Movie Review

Batman Movies: From Worst to Best

With The Dark Knight finally in theaters, I thought it would be good to look over the six feature-length live-action Batman films and count down from worst to best.

At the bottom is Batman & Robin: a disaster in every way. Mixing the gothic nature of the first two films w/the camp of the TV show is like making chocolate cake w/onions. Batman Forever (Num. 5) is slightly better, but not by much. Here, the Seeds of Death are planted. The bright lights and over-the-top performances start to stun you with its idiocy. The 1966 film is basically an extended episode of the Batman TV show, but it has its own charm which makes it enjoyable. Batman Returns (Num. 3) has a bit too much of Oswald Cobblepot’s (aka The Penguin) childhood issues, but Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer’s brilliant performances make it a worthy successor. It is basically a tie between Batman Begins and 1989’s Batman, but I’ll give the edge to the latter. Begins is the first to put the focus almost squarely on Batman himself as opposed to the villains, and the performances are first-rate, but with Burton’s version, it all worked. The story was straight, the performances are almost iconic, the visual style became the standard, and the music is instantly identifiable, all of which Begins cannot claim.

As for The Dark Knight? I’d put it at Number 4, between Batman Returns and the TV film version. I don’t think it’s the best Batman film, let alone the Citizen Kane of comic book film adaptations. Even now, I think Jack Nicholson is a better Joker than Heath Ledger. The former was gleefully malevolent, completely within his comic book origins, while the latter was just a sociopath with bad make-up. If anyone from this movie should WIN Best Supporting Actor, it should be Aaron Eckhart. Am I right? Am I insane? Defend your point (or mine). Let me know by posting comments. Thank you kindly.

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