Tag Archives: Batman

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016) Review

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Time: 182 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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Link to review of theatrical cut: https://thecinemacritic.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-2016-review/

Batman v Superman was an extremely divisive movie upon its release, particularly with the direction that they took the movie and its iconic characters. However from what I can tell, the 3-hour cut is generally more well received. Whether this version will make you like it more depends on your problems with the original version, if your issues were the pacing and editing you might like this more. If your issues were with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance or the fact that Batman kills, then no, chances are you’ll still have problems with this version. I loved the theatrical cut and that was already my favourite movie of the year. My only problem I had with the movie was that it felt like there was a lot of footage missing. With that issue fixed, there’s not many problems I have with the movie, maybe there might be the occasional plot decision that could’ve been done better but that’s really it.

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In this version we get more expansion of the stories for Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. One of the criticisms of Batman v Superman was that for many, Clark’s motives weren’t clear. I personally understood what Snyder was going for but the extended version does make it a lot clearer, especially as it shows more scenes of him like when he goes to Gotham. In fact it shows more of his emotions, there is a certain scene during the senate scene with Superman during the halfway point that’s in the extended version, and I have no idea why it was cut. Lois gets to do some investigation of her own. Lex didn’t get a whole lot of new scenes but it does show how much of a part he played in making Batman and Superman battle each other. Also other characters like the African woman at the Senate at the beginning of the film and Wallace Keefe are more defined, with their motivations made even clearer. This film also flat out explains things that were left ambiguous in the original cut, for example in the middle of the movie, an ‘incident’ occurs involving Superman and there is an explanation of why things went how they did. If you watched the theatrical cut before seeing this version, you’ll notice that there are random things that weren’t included, for example there’s a bit of 2 seconds of Batman punching Superman, which was cut from the previous version. It was like Warner Bros was trying to cut down this film as much as possible.

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One legitimate criticism of the theatrical cut was the editing. While it didn’t bother me, I definitely noticed that the scenes jumped locations quickly, and with not a great transition, especially in the first act. The Ultimate Edition gives time for the scenes to breathe, the Lois desert scene was an example, it gave a lot more time for us to get into the scene. Not only that, this version rearranges scenes and connects many of them. For example, this connects Lex’s two introductory scenes, the first when he’s speaking to the senators and the second when he gains access to the Kryptonian Ship and Zod’s body. In the theatrical cut for no reason at all, they put a scene in between. The movie overall seemed to flow a lot smoother, for me at least.

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This film was always going to be divisive, no matter what version was released. I have no idea how differently you’ll see this movie to the first version, some people like this version more, others think the theatrical version is better. But either case I do think it’s at least worth checking out, whether you love or hate this movie. I will openly say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition might actually be my favourite comic book movie of all time. And I don’t say these kinds of statements easily.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review

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Time: 151 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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Click here for my review of the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the superior version of the film

Batman v Superman has been 3 years in the making and it has been my most anticipated movie of 2016 ever since its announcement. So much was riding on this movie to succeed, with it having to establish Batman, Wonder Woman with cameos from the Justice League, all in one film. Even though the film’s premiere received critical acclaim, the reviews started to worry me, with the Rotten Tomato score being around 30%. However after watching the movie, I have to say that I’m very satisfied with what we got in the end. The acting from its very talented cast and the direction from Zack Snyder was great, but it’s the script from writer Chris Terrio which ties it all together, and sets up the DC Cinematic Universe perfectly.

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When you compare Dawn of Justice to Man of Steel, you will notice how significantly the writing’s improved and that’s all thanks to Chris Terrio. This film doesn’t rely on a lot of action scenes to move the plot along like the previous movie, it really for the most part follows Clark and Bruce’s inner struggles as they are trying to find their place in the world as well as the conflict between them. I know from the reviews that this put people off as there’s not a whole lot of them saving the world or even physically fighting each other but I appreciate the risks that the movie took. This isn’t your typical comic book film. This movie had a lot of elements that they had to incorporate with the Justice League forming and I thought the film managed to pull it off quite well. As for the cameos of the other Justice League members, they were done well, to some they would probably feel a little forced but I have a feeling that was supposed to feel forced, it’s just a little taste of what’s to come. I will just say this, the final act is absolutely incredible, not only on an entertaining level but on an emotional level too, the ending is one of the best comic book endings I’ve ever seen, you’ll never see it coming.

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I will say that looking back at the film, there were some elements that felt missing. For example, one element that I wished the film delved deep into was Lex’s motivation. I’ll go onto the performance later but I have a feeling that there is a scene explaining Lex Luthor’s perspective on Superman that was missing, which is a shame as that would’ve made his character even more compelling. I know that there is a 3 hour cut that will come to Blu Ray, maybe that might fix the problems but for the most part the movie really works on its own. Now onto the elements that might divide some people. Ben Affleck’s Batman is very hardcore, this is like Dark Knight Returns and Thomas Wayne Flashpoint Batman. There are moments where his actions lead to many deaths and that might be hard for some viewers to stomach after Bale’s ‘no kill’ portrayal. Also this movie is 3 times darker than Man of Steel so if you found that movie hard to watch, you will be horrified with this movie. As I said before, this isn’t your typical comic book movie, it’s quite unconventional, so that might alienate some people.

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The performances were phenomenal. I’ll start with Henry Cavill, I have a feeling he will be forgotten as a result of being overshadowed by Affleck and he really shouldn’t. He was given a lot more to work with than in Man of Steel and after this movie, he is my personal favourite version of Superman. Unlike other versions there is a humanity and relatability that Cavill infuses that makes us really care for him, this was seen especially in his scenes with Lois played by Amy Adams, who was also great and shares better chemistry with him than in the previous film. No matter what anyone thinks about the movie, most people agree with one aspect, Ben Affleck was incredible as Batman. He was incredibly dark and has a history and every moment he’s on screen, Affleck sells it. His relationship with Alfred (played Jeremy Irons, who also does an excellent job) was also entertaining to watch, I just can’t wait for the Batman solo movies. Keaton’s and Bale’s Batman roles needed to perfectly play the Bruce Wayne and Batman roles, and both of them really did one aspect better than the other (Keaton did Batman better and Bale did Wayne better). Affleck was the first actor to nail both Bruce Wayne and Batman perfectly. We didn’t see a lot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman but when she’s on screen she is great, and she stole the show in the third act. I’m now even more looking forward to seeing her solo movie next year.

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The other supporting cast was also great with Holly Hunter, Laurence Fishburne and others being quite good in this movie. The one divisive performance will be Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. If you thought he looked a little over the top in the 2nd trailer, just wait till you see how he is here. From my limited knowledge of Lex Luthor in the comics, he is quite different from this incarnation, but this was such a strong decision that I have a feeling he will be developed more as the films go on. I personally liked the performance, this was a more crazy portrayal of Lex Luthor, and he worked quite well for the film as he manipulates the dark knight and the man of steel to fight. However I can’t guarantee that you will love his performance, as his performance has so far divided many.

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As this is Zack Snyder directing, the visuals look very beautiful. One of my issues with Man of Steel was the cinematography, it adopted more of a handheld sort of camera work and while that worked for the most part, it could’ve been done better. This time, it has a much steadier direction as Snyder this time used his cinematographer from Watchmen. As I said earlier, there aren’t as many action scenes as there was in Man of Steel but all of them are done excellently. There are so many memorable scenes, the beautiful opening credits sequence, the flashback to Metropolis’s destruction from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, the Knightmare sequence (which features an incredible one take moment) and more. The fight between Batman and Superman, while a little short, was still enthralling to watch. The final act in its entirety was great, especially the final battle featuring the trinity. Last but not least is the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. All of it was great, from Batman’s theme, to Lex’s theme, to Superman’s theme as well as the fight between Batman and Superman. However I’ll just say that Wonder Woman’s theme was my favourite of the lot.

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From my first viewing, I can say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is now one of my favourite comic book movies of all time. The performances were great, with standouts from Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg, Zack Snyder directed this movie beautifully and Chris Terrio gave even more depth to this movie than most would initially expect. Looking at the mixed reactions from both critics and fans, I’m not entirely sure if you will like this movie or not, and I can understand how some elements might rub people the wrong way. However I think you should watch it and make up your own mind about it. For me, this was an incredibly satisfying experience. Don’t wait for it to come out on Blu Ray, see it on the biggest screen that you can find as soon as possible.

Batman and Robin (1997) Review

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Batman and Robin

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy
Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson/Batgirl
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Director: Joel Schumacher

This superhero film finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O’Donnell), attempting to the foil the schemes of a deranged set of new villains, most notably the melancholy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to make Gotham into an arctic region, and the sultry Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a plant-loving femme fatale. As the Dynamic Duo contends with these bad guys, a third hero, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), joins the ranks of the city’s crime-fighters.

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Despite mixed reviews of Batman Forever, it did well enough and so Joel Schumacher returned for the sequel. Batman and Robin killed the Batman franchise for about a decade before being picked up again by Christopher Nolan. Even though Batman and Robin is one of the worst superhero movies ever made, out of all the bad superhero movies this is actually kind of enjoyable. It is absolutely a movie that’s so bad it’s entertaining.

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If Batman Forever was cheesy, Batman and Robin takes it to a whole new level. The tone is completely corny and it tries being a really bad cartoon, there’s even a scene where Batman has a bat credit card. This film is extremely over the top, a great example is Batman’s introduction. The dialogue was terrible, for example there are so many puns, most of them ice puns from Mr Freeze. It’s actually hard to summarise everything wrong with the movie, all of that can only be seen if you watch the whole movie.

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George Clooney had the potential to be a great Batman but due to bad direction and writing he wasn’t good at all. The worst part about him is that his Bruce Wayne and Batman identities feel exactly the same with no distinction between the two. The best performance had to be by Michael Gough, who plays Alfred. Throughout all of these four Batman movies he’s been credible, even the Schumacher movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mr Freeze and I have no idea why he was chosen. I have a feeling that it was because he was a big name because he does nothing but deliver bad puns. The most over the top performance was Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Uma Thurman is actually a good choice for Poison Ivy but just look at her performance. She acts like a pornstar obsessed with plants, and it’s honestly one of the most cartoonish performances I’ve seen in a movie.

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A good example of how over the top the action is, is shown in the first minutes: Batman and Robin are skating over ice and are using hockey sticks to get a diamond. The production design is also terrible, there’s a moment when a frozen car door opens and the ice on it wobbles. There’s also some obvious and over the top wire work, at time it felt like a puppet show. The costumes are worse, not just the Batman and Robin nipple suits. Mr Freeze’s suit is a giant neon lit ‘costume’ that just looks plain ridiculous. Fun fact, this movie was made to sell toys and you can see that everywhere. There’s even a scene where Batman, Robin and Batgirl change outfits between scenes without going to the Batcave to change.

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Batman and Robin is a bad movie and is the worst Batman movie. It’s cheesy, over the top, doesn’t make sense, isn’t Batman and it should be watched. I’m not kidding, it’s actually worth watching, more than Batman Forever even though that movie is a better movie. This movie is such a disaster, gets everything wrong and decades later it’s become this fascinating movie that could honestly be watched over and over again. Just know that the movie is absolutely terrible before watching it.

Batman Forever (1995) Review

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Batman Forever

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Pat Hingle as James Gordon
Director Joel Schumacher

Batman (Val Kilmer) is back. This time he faces several challenges. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) who had acid thrown on his face, Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) who has invented a device that manipulates human brainwaves and transfers them into his own head, Dr. Chase Maridian (Nicole Kidman), who has a major crush on him and Dick Grayson (Chris O’Dowd), who lost his family at the hands of Two-Face and is taken in by Wayne. Batman now must train Dick Grayson and confront both Two-Face and The Riddler to save Gotham City.

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Batman Returns wasn’t loved by everyone, mostly due to its even darker tone, as a result, Warner Bros decided to replace Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher in order to have a lighter tone, and they certainly got what they wanted. Batman Forever however isn’t a good film, it’s not without its entertaining moments but it’s not a good movie overall and its style just doesn’t fit Batman.

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As I said previously, the tone in this movie is much more light-hearted than Burton’s films. First of all there are some pretty cheesy lines in this movie (“Chicks dig the car”). I’ll admit that some of them are enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way but a lot of the time it can get ridiculous. There are also some over the top stuff, for example in order to stop Batman and Robin from coming to their hideout, Two Face and The Riddler play a game of Battleship. I didn’t really buy Edward Nygma’s transformation into The Riddler, as he seems to become The Riddler in his first scene, which doesn’t lead to him being developed at all. I will say that the film surprisingly handled Robin’s story okay, it wasn’t great but it worked for the movie. Overall if you are planning to watch this movie, don’t go in for the story, it’s not a very good one and you can have more fun with how stupid it is.

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Val Kilmer makes for a decent Bruce Wayne, I could buy him as this character but he was a pretty forgettable but okay Batman. Chris O’Donnell was okay, as Robin but he wasn’t very memorable. I really don’t understand why Nicole Kidman was in this movie and something about her performance actually annoyed me a little. Maybe it’s because the ‘romance’ between her and Batman is not plausible in the slightest. The villains are very over the top that’s the problem with Schumacher’s Batman villains. They are all crazy and nothing else. Jim Carrey is playing Jim Carrey in this movie but I can at least give him credit that The Riddler is meant to be kind of nuts, even if this isn’t a good portrayal. The same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones, who is so incredibly over the top as Two Face, I’m convinced that he thinks he’s playing the Joker with half his face burnt.

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As the tone changed with Schumacher’s direction, so did the style, you can see if everywhere from the countless neon lights in this movie to the annoying amounts of Dutch angle shots. The costumes are pretty bad too, and I’m not just talking about the Batman nipples, for example The Riddler looks like he’s wearing Riddler pyjamas, something that a Riddler fan would wear, not the Riddler himself. I guess the only suit that looks okay is the Robin suit, probably because they actually made it look not laughable. The soundtrack is nice but it’s not really the most suitable soundtrack for Batman.

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Batman Forever isn’t the worst batman movie but it’s not a good one either. The villain performances were over the top and the style wasn’t really the best for Batman. But still there are some enjoyable scenes, and a lot of the movie can be considered guilty pleasure material. It is by no means however a good movie, it was still better than Batman and Robin though.

Batman Returns (1992) Review

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Batman Returns

Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Danny DeVito as Oswald Cobblepot / Penguin
Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Christopher Walken as Max Shreck
Michael Murphy as Mayor of Gotham City

After successfully defeating the Joker, the Dark Knight, known as Batman (Michael Keaton) helps to keep Gotham City a safe place. Beneath the city in the sewers, another villain emerges. Known as the Penguin (Danny DeVito), he joins up with Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) and targets the position of new mayor. Whilst Batman tries to uncover the truth behind the Penguin, the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) also emerges with her own agenda in mind, but not without mixed feelings.

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In 1989 Tim Burton created one of the most iconic superhero movies, Batman. It changed the ways comic book movies could be made. After the success of Batman, Burton makes his return with his own personal style added to this film. Some people are split about this movie, I’m personally one of the people who likes this movie. It does have some problems but nothing to overshadow the overall experience.

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After Batman, Warner Bros gave Tim Burton the freedom to do whatever he wanted with the franchise and it definitely shows here. With the previous Batman, you are able to watch it without picking up that Tim Burton directed it but Batman Returns has Burton stamped all over it. The city does not feel like Gotham, it’s like a whole different city, a much darker city (if that’s possible) with even more gothic feelings. With this really being his movie, this film is of course much darker. The Penguin is an interesting addition to the film, the way he is isn’t quite like how it was in the previous stories and I thought that really worked. The film also shows how Selina gradually becomes Catwoman and I did like how it is shown. The only problem I had is that I don’t know how she becomes Catwoman. It’s not really a spoiler in me saying this, she falls quite a distance out the window and cats somehow bring her back to life. Despite this minor hole (and others) I thought that the film handled Catwoman and Penguin quite well.

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Michael Keaton once again is good as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Like the previous film, it doesn’t really focus as much on Bruce Wayne but more on the villains. Danny DeVito is great as the Penguin. Now this Penguin really isn’t quite the character from the comics but more like how Burton would interpret him. I would’ve preferred The Penguin was portrayed in a different way but his interpretation was done well. Danny Devito really sold the slimy and unpleasant nature of the Penguin. Michelle Pfieffer is excellent as Catwoman. As I previously stated this film shows her descent into madness and it is somehow plausible, and a lot of that has to do with her performance. Christopher Walken is also pretty good in a supporting role. The acting by some people can be over the top, in a Tim Burton sort of way, though it wasn’t really too much of a problem.

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The action scenes are as good as ever. The costumes are well designed, from Batman, to the Penguin and Catwoman. Even though this city feels more Burtontopia than Gotham, it was well designed for what he was going for. Danny Elfman’s score is once again good, even though like a lot of this movie, it feels more like a Tim Burton soundtrack than a Batman soundtrack.

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Batman Returns is definitely a divisive movie but I thought that it was overall a decent movie and I almost like it as much as its previous movie. It is definitely more of a Tim Burton movie than the previous film but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think that if you haven’t seen it already, Batman Returns is definitely worth checking out.

Batman (1989) Review

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Batman

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/The Joker
Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale
Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox
Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon
Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Jack Palance as Carl Grissom
Director: Tim BurtonIn Gotham City, a dark knight known as Batman (Michael Keaton) helps to defeat evil and keep the city’s citizens safe. When Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) is transformed into the evil Joker, he promises to take over Gotham City. It is up to Batman to stop him in his tracks before it is too late.

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With Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy being one of the most well-known comic book adaptations of Batman, it’s easy to forget where it started (not including Adam West). Tim Burton’s Batman had an immense impact on many things, culture, superhero movies and movies in general. It still does hold up to this day and even though I like Christopher Nolan’s trilogy more, Batman is still a great film that is worth watching by everyone.

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First, what should be mentioned is the differences between Burton’s and Nolan’s take on the Caped Crusader. This film starts out with Batman already existing in Gotham City, we don’t see an origin story of how Bruce Wayne became him. We do eventually learn about his past later on but we don’t learn about it in the order of a usual origins story. It actually shows how The Joker became how he is, whereas the roles are reversed in the Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman is really Joker Begins as opposed to Batman Begins). I like how they showed Batman’s origins in Batman Begins more, but this version works quite well. One other great thing is the tone used, it was a darker sort of movie than most superhero movies at that time (like Superman) and it was really a changer for superhero movies. Batman also has the right around of dark comedy infused (mostly with The Joker), which is something that Tim Burton is mostly good at.

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Michael Keaton was really good as Batman, he is able to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman, which is also something every actor needs to do with every superhero character; they need to be able to play both the person with and without the mask. We don’t see as much of Wayne’s past and he manages to act mysteriously with subtlety. Jack Nicholson was fantastic in the role of The Joker. He is really funny, gleefully evil and he absolutely steals every scene he’s in. It’s like they took The Joker directly out of the comics. Now in comparison to Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, Nicholson’s performance isn’t as realistic or scary, but it doesn’t take away from his enjoyable and entertaining performance. Other actors like Kim Basinger and Michael Gough are also great in their roles.

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The look of the film is dark; particularly the set designs such as the city and they suit the movie, Tim Burton can always be trusted to at least get the look right and he does so with flying colours. The action was also pretty good, they aren’t really comparable to modern movies, but back in the days you didn’t really get action scenes like these. The soundtrack by Danny Elfman also suits the tone; it’s dark and brooding and very suitable for the movie.

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Apart from the first two Superman movies, no other superhero movies in the 70s and 80s really succeeded in being really great films. Even though I prefer Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy in terms of Batman adaptions and comic book movies in general, Batman is still a big part of the history of superhero movies and should be given credit. It is visually great with an interesting story and great acting from everyone. Batman is in my opinion Tim Burton’s best movie and it’s played a significant part in film history.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Dark Knight Rises

Time: 165 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon
Tom Hardy as Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle
Marion Cotillard as Miranda
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Director: Christopher Nolan

After Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder 8 years ago after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham is at a time of peace. However, a new force named Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary has arrived in Gotham and aims to take over the city and destroy it. Now that Wayne Manor has been completely rebuilt – Bruce Wayne has become almost reclusive, rarely leaving the estate. And with Bane taking over the city by force, it forces Bruce to come out of retirement to once again become the Batman.

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When people go to this movie, they shouldn’t go in expecting The Dark Knight 2. This movie’s tone was much more thoughtful and the movie’s pace is slower. It goes in depth into the idea of Batman and what Bruce Wayne will do to protect Gotham from criminals. The second time I watched this movie I noticed the tone which actually seemed much tenser than The Dark Knight. There is a real sense of intensity and suspense even when there aren’t any action scenes happening at that point. The final act is really big and has a lot of build-up to it, and has most of the action scenes in the movie in that part.

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Christian Bale, like I said with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight does a good job at playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman. One thing that should be noted is that Batman isn’t in this movie as much as the previous two movies, most of the time it is Bruce Wayne. In fact, the first time you see Batman is quite close to the middle of the movie. As with the previous movies, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman return to deliver great supporting roles. Also as with The Dark Knight, there are some new characters in the trilogy. Bane was magnificently played by Tom Hardy. When I heard that Bane was going to be the main villain of the Dark Knight Rises, I couldn’t help but think of the version in Batman and Robin. That movie made him look like a stereotypical villain’s drone that was always brain dead. Here though, Tom Hardy manages to make Bane a menacing force to be reckoned with. Like The Joker, he was always a presence, even when he wasn’t on screen. He even manages to match The Joker for the best Batman villain portrayal. Anne Hathaway was really good as Catwoman. This movie has a more realistic take on her than in Batman Returns and Hathaway did a good job portraying her. Marion Cotillard also plays a new character called Miranda who has an important part in the story, performance here is also good.

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Hans Zimmer’s score was as usual great but one thing I have noticed was the music wasn’t as big and bombastic as the previous movies. Not that it is bad; in fact it is great for the tone that this movie is going for. I said earlier that the movie’s tone was more reflective than the previous movies but it doesn’t mean the action was filmed slack, if anything the action is bigger. When Christopher Nolan films action, a lot of the action was practical and not CGI and this movie is no exception. The final act was such on a large scale it surpasses the final act of The Dark Knight.

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This movie is much quieter than the previous movie. It is more of a character study than an action movie, this isn’t Dark Knight 2. If anyone expects this to have constant action, they will be very disappointed in this movie. This is the biggest of the trilogy but is also the deepest of the trilogy as well. It is very debatable which movie is better, this or The Dark Knight. Either way, this is the fitting conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which shall be remembered for decades to come.
10/10

Batman Begins (2005)

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Batman Begins

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine as Alfred
Liam Neeson as Ducard
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow
Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Director: Christopher Nolan

As a child, a young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) witnesses the death of his parents at the hands of a criminal. As an adult, Bruce travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice. He lives among the boroughs of criminals and thieves in central Asia. Eventually, he meets and is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) and Ra’s Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) who are part of a group called the League of Shadows. When he returns, Bruce finds that Gotham City has become overrun with crime and corruption. Discovering a cave under Wayne Manor, Bruce assumes the identity of Batman to take on the criminals and organized crime underworld of Gotham.

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After Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise desperately needed a reboot. This is the first superhero movie that tried to take the movie into a more realistic direction and changed the way superhero movies are being made today. This movie does take its time to set up its plot and characters’ backstories which will put some people off as usual superhero movies set up their backstories fairly quick. Unlike other adaptations of Batman, this shows how Bruce Wayne became Batman. One thing that I found better in this movie compared to Tim Burton’s version is you get to learn more about Bruce Wayne. In the 1989 film it immediately starts and Batman has existed for some time. There are lots of superhero movies which show the main characters’ backstories such as Spiderman and Superman but this was the first superhero that really spends a lot of time delving deep into the psychology of the character. The movie isn’t predictable at all; it takes many twists and turns. With Batman Begins, everything is played as realistic as possible; the characters mostly feel like real people and it somehow manages to make the idea of a millionaire dressing up as a bat and fighting crime somewhat plausible. As much as I like Tim Burton’s Batman, this is the first adaptation of Batman that for me got the character right. It is also the second representation of a superhero that I felt was perfect after the original Superman.

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When it comes to playing Batman, the actor actually needs to play two characters: Bruce Wayne and Batman. Michael Keaton in Batman nailed that role, Val Kilmer did an okay job in Batman Forever and the less I say about George Clooney in Batman and Robin the better. Christian Bale managed to pull off both parts off well as Batman, even as well as Keaton. He managed to personify Bruce as a millionaire playboy and Batman as an intimidating presence (with a raspy voice as well). Also great in the supporting roles are Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy. The characters felt and were acted like real people.

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Hans Zimmer’s and James Newton Howard’s music in this movie is very effective and atmospheric. The action is filmed very well: one thing about the Dark Knight Trilogy is that most of the things that go on look like they could happen in real life, this includes the action scenes. This Batman Begins’s cinematography always seems to give this atmospheric realistic feel to me. When the action scenes are paired with the score, it is a masterclass of filmmaking. The best example of this is a scene with the tumbler, Batman’s
car.

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This movie changed the ways comic book movies were made, no longer did they just focus on just action (which still was fine) but also focused on character development and plot. The Dark Knight Trilogy goes beyond just being superhero movies. This film is both a fun action movie and a thrilling drama that takes many twists that will keep the audience of the edge of their seats.

The Dark Knight (2008)

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The Dark Knight

Time: 152 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne
Heath Ledger as The Joker
Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel
Gary Oldman as Gordon
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Director: Christopher Nolan

Set within a year after the events of Batman Begins, Batman (Christian Bale), Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and new district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) successfully begin to round up the criminals that plague Gotham City until a mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as the Joker (Heath Ledger) appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman’s struggle against the Joker forces him to confront everything he believes, improve his technology to stop him and forces Batman closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.

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The Dark Knight is one of the best sequels to an already great movie. This is up with The Godfather Part 2, Aliens, Terminator 2 and The Empire Strikes back for a sequel being as good if not better as the original. The film is much darker than Batman Begins, mostly because of The Joker but also because Batman is tested much harder by his new adversity. The dialogue between characters is very interesting and captivating, an example of this is one scene that is between Batman and The Joker. Most of the best things about this movie can only be seen, it can’t be explained. The first scene in The Dark Knight is one of the most surprising openings to a movie because of the soundtrack and the setup which I won’t spoil for those few people who haven’t seen this film yet. Once experiencing that first scene the first time I watched it, I knew that I was in for something special.

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As in Batman Begins, Christian Bale is great as Batman. He again manages to portray both Bruce Wayne’s side and Batman’s side. I honestly don’t need to say much about Heath Ledger’s surprising performance as The Joker as it’s been talked about so often. But no one expected him to act like this. People already knew he was a good actor but the fact that he was going to be The Joker was looking to be one of the worst miscasts for an actor for a role. However he impressed everyone by going beyond the comic book. People compare his performance to Jack Nicholson’s in Batman (1989). For me Jack Nicholson’s performance was the first supervillian that translated from the comic book to the big screen. Heath Ledger is the perfect portrayal of a sociopath who happens to be The Joker. For me, both performances were perfect but I slightly like Ledger’s performance slightly more, only because his character seems more realistic as an absolute psychopath than Nicholson’s. As usual, the cast from the previous movie, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman returns. The only character who has had a new actor was Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel who was also really good here. Aaron Eckhart was perfect as Harvey Dent. I can’t really give examples of his best moments in the film as it may spoil things for the few people who haven’t seen this movie yet. I will say that Dent goes through some changes as a character.

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Like the first film, Hans Zimmer composed the score to The Dark Knight and as usual does a good job. The action was filmed well, like in the first film; every action scene is made to seem plausible as possible. There are some scenes like the truck flip scene that weren’t CGI, Christopher Nolan actually managed to make that happen.

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If you replaced the character of Batman with someone else, it is still a really good crime drama. That’s the best way that I can describe The Dark Knight: a great crime drama with Batman in it. One of the best comic book movies of all time manages to be a great movie on its own, not just as an action movie. The excellent acting by everyone, the immersion of the world and the interesting story makes it an essential movie for everyone to watch.