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Summer Knights: Bat-A-Thon Part 1

By Geeky Gem

As part of Avenging April some of you may recall Hmsbeefnuts watched all The Avengers related movies in the run up to The Avengers hitting the big screen. Now as this is Summer Knights and we are focusing all our attention on The Dark Knight it has fallen to me to watch all six Batman movies in order to fully enjoy The Dark Knight Rises ; that and Hmsbeefnuts didn’t want to have to sit and watch Batman and Robin. That’s right brave Knight’s I am stepping once more into Gotham City to watch the Batman strike fear into the hearts of criminals.

Batman – 1989

Back in 1989 Tim Burton brought us Batman in his own dark gothic way, as I watched this movie there where elements of Burton all the way through it from the twisted origin of The Joker to gothic feel of Gotham. The opening credits rolled, I knew I was in for some fun as to me this movie never gets old Danny Elfman’s soundtrack haunts the opening credits.

The things I like about this movie is there is some awesome dialogue one such line is as Batman holds a mugger off the edge of the roof “What are you?” the mugger squeaks and Batman simply says “I am Batman”.  Another fantastic line comes a lot later in the movie as the Joker says “Have you danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” simply fantastic. Not only are there some great lines there is also a brilliant cast. Michael Keaton was Batman and a good replacement for Adam West, Jack Nicolson took the role of the Joker and then there is good old Michael Gough as Alfred. Always watching and advising his young master on right and wrong and frankly build some amazing gadgets. Not to mention healing battle wounds.

The reason I like this Batman so much, as it was the first time on screen that he seemed less funny and more dark and edgy. Burton gripped the gothic feel he wanted and ran with it, it later transfers over to the animated series and that’s why it worked so well. There is some fine acting in this movie, if Michael Keaton could have moved his neck more in his bat suit it would have made for better fights I feel. The movie is just everything I wanted Batman to be when i was younger but little did I know it would get worse before it got better.

 

Batman Returns – 1992

Well that’s Batman covered how about we move onto movie number two in our epic marathon of Batness. I bring you Batman Returns, at the start of this piece I said Hmsbeefnuts couldn’t face the thought of sitting through Batman and Robin this is true but Batman Returns was another of the reasons he didn’t want too. Plus I don’t really mind, so back to Bat Cave we go.

So its 1992 and Batman Returns hit the screens, Tim Burton again directs this one and it sticks to the Burton-esqie feel as well as staying very dark and gothic. A style that he never strays to far from really, not that there is anything wrong with that. It works for him, anyway when I sit and watch this movie, I think about the time when I saw it first, as I have got older and read a few more Batman comics I have come to notice that this movie is very far from what it should be.

Let me be clear, the Penguin is not a sewer monster, he was and is a crime lord of Gotham, specializing in guns and weapons he just happens to be a gentleman and wear a suit. That is very different from this movies origin for him, and knowing that means I was less than impressed this time round. This means I hold a different veiw of this movie now, plus I don’t like the circus, so the whole circus gang bit puts me right off.

However let’s move on to the things I did like, the Catwomen birth always brings a smile to my face as Selina goes from pink and fluffy to dark and sexy. That and the fact she trashes her flat. I like Christopher Walken and Danny DeVito in other films but in this one I don’t know something just doesn’t feel right about either of them.  The story for this one is also a bit dull I feel, sorry if you like but it’s just how I feel. However in saying that, the part where Penguin has control of the Batmobile cracks me up. That alone is a plus but not enough for me to change my mind about it.

Batman Forever – 1995

As we near the end of our first part of the Bat-A-Thon it falls down to Batman Forever now I will not lie  to you, I am not a huge fan of this Batman movie but as part of the Bat-A-Thon I have to watch it. For the sake of Hmsbeefnuts and the many fans of All Geek To Me I do this for you. I will go one last time for now in to the streets of Gotham.

Right here we go on to the last movie in this part of epic quest to round up all six movies before we see The Dark Knight Rises. We are treated to a new director on this movie Joel Schumacher, who claims that Val Kilmer is the best Batman but we’ll leave that open for debate shall we. In fact I am not even going to get into it.

Oh where do I start, there are more things I dislike about this movie than I like. This may be harder than I thought, however I will try. Ok, so we have a new Batman as I mentioned in Val Kilmer, who although I do not like a whole heap as Batman, I do think he gets Bruce Wayne right. He truly is a slightly more haunted Bruce than Keaton. That alone makes him watchable, bur I am sorry but what were Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones up to? I get that at the time this was made Carrey was hitting it big with his new comedy style but my goodness it is so over used in this movie that it’s not funny at all. With that being said Jones can’t really do Ha ha funny can he?  Two-Face was never meant to be a funny character he was meant to be dark and scary.

The addition of Robin to these movies I feel is a breath of fresh air, however I am glad he was played the way he was. The death of his family in the circus at the hands of Two-Face is one of my favourtie scenes in this movie. Purely because you can see Bruce struggle for the first time to stand up for himself, something he can do really easy as Batman. You see Dick lose his family in one go much like Bruce did so you can see why he takes him in as his ward. Plus I do like it when Dick finds the cave and takes the Batmobile for a joy ride. These scene’s alone make this movie watchable but other than that I always think this one and Batman and Robin are a hard watch, but they are enjoyable fare and not a bad way to spend a few hours.

 

This brings to the end of the first three movies in this journey, well that was a bit epic wasn’t it? However, it’s going to get a little worse before it gets a whole lot better. Next time we visit Batman and Robin, We see Batman Begin and the Dark Knight run. Until then I am off to the Geek cave to relax after all this epicness.

Summer Knights: Behind The Cowl

By Geeky Gem

As Summer Knights is here, I have finally been given permission to write about my favourite Superhero again. Now if you missed any of My Geeky Obsession stuff then you may not know who this is, but if you did read it then you already know what Superhero this will be. That’s right folks Hmsbeefnuts has said I am now alowed to talk about the Dark Knight again. YAY!!! its been so hard not to talk about him, my ban has finally been lifted.

As I said Summer Knights is here and I am free to talk about Batman again. I thought long and hard about what I could talk to you about, but as I sit here looking at the cover of my Batman box set and the shiny copy of Knightfall: Broken Bat it can only be about one thing, the man or men, who have been inhabited the cowl. Shall we begin?

Adam West

If you are of a certain age you may well recall Batman was once a camp, cheesy television show starring none other than Adam West. This show was light hearted in its portrial of the Bat. However Adam West made the show, well for me anyway. Producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman, partly because he saw West perform as the James Bond-like spy Captain Q in a Nestle Quck television ad. The show ran from 1966 to 1968; a movie version was released in 1966.

Michael Keaton

Back in 1989 Tim Burton took on the task of directing the big screen version of the Bat. The question then was who shall play The Batman. The answer came in the from of Michael Keaton. Whose career was given a major boost when he landed the role of The Bat. Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could believably portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands.Warner Bros. received thousands of letters of complaint by fans commenting that Keaton was the wrong choice to portray Batman, given his prior work in comedies and the fact that he lacked the suave, handsome features and tall, muscular physicality often attributed to the character in the comic books. However, Keaton’s dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and Batman became one of the most successful films of the 80’s.

Val Kilmer

Now out of the men that played Batman on this list Kilmer is one of the ones that I am not a huge fan of. Never the less I have to include him on this list. In December 1993, Batman Forever director Joel Schmacherazsw had seen Tombstone and was most impressed with Kilmer’s performance as Doc Holliday. Schumacher felt him to be perfect for the role of the Caped Crusader, though at the time, the role was still Michael Keaton’s. In July 1994, Michael Keaton decided not to return for a third Batman film after 1992’s Batman Return’s due to “creative differences.” this lead to Kilmer landing the role without even knowing who the new director was and without reading the script. However the movie received mixed reviews from critics.

George Clooney

Another of my other, why was he Batman actors. This was one I could never figure out but again he has to be on this list. In 1997 Batman and Robin hit the world’s cinema’s with a pretty big list of A list names including Arnold Schwarzeneger and Uma Thurman. With Chris O’Donnell returning as Robin, and newcomer to the franchise Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. This movie is the fourth and final installment in theBurton/Schumacher Batman series.Development for Batman and Robin started immediately after Batman Forever, and Warner Bros. commissioned the film for a June 1997 release.

Christian Bale

As The Dark Knight rises gets ever closer we have to look at the man that brought Nolan’s Batman back to screen and put Batman back in our lives and on the map again. Christian Bale, In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the coveted role of Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, a reboot the series.Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman’s muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit. He dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He wanted Batman to be filled with a hidden demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. Now that Dark Knight is just around the corner it will mark Bale as the actor who has played Batman in the most movies.

Kevin Conroy

Now for those who know me, you will know that Kevin Conroy is my favourite actor to play Batman and he never actually appears on screen. Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman for many years. He voiced Batman in the animated show form1992 to 1995. Back in 1991 when Conroy was told that Warner Bros was producing a new animated TV series his agent asked him if he would like to try out for the voice of Batman. Believing it would be like the 1960s Batman TV series, Conroy went in to audition. He was one of 150 actors who auditioned for the role. When asked about the character, the series producer Bruce Timm explained to Conroy that this interpretation of Batman would not be like the 1960s TV version, but rather based on a much more gothic story line similar to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. Conroy walked into the booth and ultimately won the audition.  As I have mentioned before in another article Conroy has played Batman for the longest time of any actor.

There we have it folks, the men behind the cowl, the dark kinghts of Gotham. I hope you enjoy this and will return for more fun during Summer Knights.

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