Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review
|Special Comment on Burtonverse Batman|
There have been some comments of late regarding my review of the last two Tim Burton-imagined Batman movies that I thought I would address.
First of all… yes, there is no doubt that both “Batman Forever” and “Batman and Robin” were done in camp format. The latter was even admittedly done in the same vein as the 1966 “Batman” movie and TV series. Even the Bat-killer himself, director Joel Schumacher, said that he was inspired by Adam West’s campy portrayal of the Caped Crusader when coming up with the last movie.
That still doesn’t excuse two simple facts:
(1) The last two Burtonverse Batman movies SUCKED.
(2) The use of camp for superhero portrayals SUCKS.
What makes a good superhero movie is not comedy, but a sense of realism. You want to feel like what you see COULD happen.
When Tim Burton did his original 1989 “Batman”, he showed a Gotham City that was SLIGHTLY surreal. Sure the colors were simplistic and often dull, the architecture was slightly exaggerated, and many of the characters looked like they haven’t slept in a week, but it still had the air of reality. Sure Batman would glide off balconies or ascend to the skies, but you also saw the ropes and the grappling hooks that showed that there was a science to doing it. Compare that to the UN-realities of “Batman and Robin”, where you have Batman and Robin air-surfing from an exploding rocket and ascending up skyscrapers through an infinite number of bat-lines, and you’ll see a distinctive difference.
When “Superman: The Movie” came out in 1977, the original movie tagline was “You will believe a man can fly!” And he did, and we believed it to some extent. But by the end of its four-movie run with “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, we all said “Can you believe this ****?!” (By the way, that movie run is on my to-review list.)
What changed? The use of CAMP in subsequent sequels. The first Superman movie had SOME camp to it. The last one was nothing BUT campy.
Oh, and for the record, I do not count “Superman Returns” as part of the four-movie series. Different director, different style, and different cast altogether.
Another movie series that has done a much better job of keeping the quality-levels up (and also on my to-review list) is “Spider-Man”. Yes, Spider-Man is a wise-cracking comedian, but that’s the way that he’s always been, even in the comics. He has a sense of witty flair when he captures bad guys and leaves them tied up for the police, or when he muzzles J Jonah Jameson for running his mouth. That has always been a part of his character. You see those movies and you can BELIEVE those kinds of things COULD exist in the real world. That makes all the difference.
The differences between the Burtonverse Batman and the one imagined by Christopher Nolan (“Nolanverse?”) will be pretty clear once you see my reviews of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”.
Camp and action do not mix well. Camp has its place, but it’s not in the kind of movies where you are supposed to BELIEVE what you are seeing is real.