Batman, the ultimate non-powered superhero, is one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world. He has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows since his debut in 1939.
Batman is the alter ego of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Bruce Wayne is the orphan child of Thomas and Martha Wayne. His parents where gun downed by Joe Chill in front of young Bruces eyes. This traumatic event forever changed Bruce Wayne's views. He decided to become a masked vigilante and take out crime.Dick was the orphan of John and Mary Grayson, together they were The Flying Grayson's until one day their wire snapped and his parents fell to their death before his very eyes. Bruce was in the audience and felt sorry for they boy, he took him in and trained to become his sidekick, Robin The Boy Wonder. Dick was later fired from the role of Robin, he left Bruce and became his hero, calling himself Nightwing but then after the "death" of Bruce he took up the mantle of Batman.
Batman is an iconic comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, with his first appearance dating back to 1939. Over the years the caped crusader has gone under several variations and upgrades in both the comic medium and the film adaptations. From Adam West’s campy hero to Christian Bale’s dark vigilante, Batman's history is a long and diverse one.
Batman’s silver screen career began in 1943 with his debut in the Film Serial Batman. The serial was broken into 15 chapters and revolved around Batman, a US government agent, fighting against the Japanese agent, Dr. Daka, at the height of World War II. In addition to being a major inspiration for the popular 60’s television show staring Adam West, the Serial provided some of the core elements that make up the Batman universe. This film introduced the “Batcave” and the grandfather clock entrance as well as the standard appearance of the Butler, Alfred Pennyworth (in the original comics he was portrayed as a stout man, but William Austin’s depiction of a tall, slender Alfred lead to a permanent change in his appearance).
Batman was Columbia Pictures’ largest scale Serial production to date, and was so popular that it was given a sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1949. While the Batman film adaptations are notorious for providing the character with several “make-overs”, the film’s changes from the comic character were minor. The Bat Mobile was replaced with a black Cadillac (due to low budget), the famous utility belt was present but rarely used and Batman is a secret Government agent instead of a crime fighting vigilante.
Stylistically, the film employed the use of cliffhangers to entice audiences to want to watch the next installment or chapter. The film was re-released in 1965 as An Evening with Batman and Robin and has been credited as the starting point for the popular 60’s TV show Batman. An executive of ABC attended a screening of the re-release and was so amazed by the audience’s enthusiastic reception that the idea for a Batman TV show in the same campy, “hip” style was born.
The 1960s Television show starred Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, respectively, as well as a variety of other villains such as Cesar Romero as Joker and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. It aired on ABC for two and a half seasons from January 1966 to March 1968. Despite its short run, the show had a total of 120 episodes and has garnered a massive fan base over the years. It is most recognized for its use of the extremely cartoonish onomatopoeias such as CRASH! and BOOM! that would flash across the screen. This TV show is also famous for its main theme song as well as its legacy that it left behind.
Batman was immensely popular during its run time, so much so that it brought about an entire franchise of Batman products (from costumes to lunchboxes) and inspired a long list of adaptations to follow it. In its prime, the show had a variety of guest actors that would be encouraged to over act and enjoy their time on a high-rated TV show, boosting their own careers. It was the only prime time TV show other than Peyton Place to be broadcast twice in one week.
The TV show is remembered for its kitsch-like, campy style that included hammy, over acting and an overall cartoon feel. It lead to an assortment of memorable quotes such as Robin’s catch phrase “Holy…(insert text here) Batman!” as well as unfortunately type casting the actors for decades after the show’s cancellation.
The show lead to its very own film adaptation, the very first feature-length film about the caped crusader, promoted as Batman: The Movie. The movie featured the same campy dialogue, over acting and occasional breaking of the fourth wall like the TV show did, including the famous scene where Batman runs through the streets carrying a comically large bomb over his head.
The television show inspired an animated cartoon, The New Adventures of Batman that would come eleven years later.
Batman has been a fixture in animation since the 1970's when the original Super Friends cartoon debuted in 1973. Batman would continue to appear in every one of the Super Friends cartoons, voiced by Olan Soule and later Adam West. He would get his own show in 1977, The New Adventures of Batman featuring Adam West as the voice of Batman.
While the Batman comics were continuously changing, the universe of Gotham remained dormant on the screen. That was, at least, until 1989 and the release of Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger and Jack Palance. The plot of the film deals with the rise of the villain known as “The Joker” (Nicholson) and is famous for its drastic departure from the cartoon tone felt in the 60’s TV show and film.
With the darker Batman appearing in comics (such as The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns) Tim Burton decided his film would show the vengeful, tormented side of Batman and has left a legacy over the modern perception of the superhero film genre. It was a landmark in the Batman film series, inspiring the TV show Batman: The Animated Series as well as the two Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan.
With the large change in tone there was also a drastic transformation in the characters of the Batman mythos. Batman was no longer a quirky detective that paraded around in tights, but a suave millionaire by day and tormented vigilante by night, cracking down on crime in a sleek black suit and assortment of gadgets. The Joker, too, went under a drastic metamorphosis, from a goofy two-bit criminal to a monstrously diabolical psychopath.
The film focused on the theme of “the duel of the freaks” centering around the fight between two disturbed people (Batman and Joker) which was enticing enough to make Batman the highest grossing film based on a DC comic book until it was beaten in 2008 by The Dark Knight.
The film was so popular that it lead to its sequel in 1992 titled, Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman and Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer. This film went in an even darker direction than its predecessor, resulting in a more negative reception from audiences who found it more dark and depressing. It was the last Batman film featuring Tim Burton and Michael Keaton as director and lead actor, and the franchise was picked up with Batman Forever which took the story in a lighter direction to make it more of a family film.
After Batman, Warner Bros. produced Batman: The Animated Series the first in the DC Animated Universe. The series is noted for its darker artistic style, voice acting from Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy and a variety of others as well as being a milestone in the Batman franchise.
The series focuses around Batman and his struggles with various villains such as The Joker (Mark Hamill) and various others. The show drew most of its story from already existing plot elements from the comics and expanded on them and added new characters of their own, the most famous creation being that of the female counterpart to the Joker, Harley Quinn. She was such a popular character that she went on to have her own comic created for her.
Batman is portrayed in the animated style that is now often used in all other animated adaptations, with a long black cape, haunting silhouette with white, spear shaped eyes and a array of weapons and gadgets the most famous being the “Batarang”. The main departure from the previous storylines was that of Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne. Traditionally Bruce deliberately plays up his image as a selfish, slow-minded billionaire. Instead, here his character is treated more seriously, shown as intelligent and actively involved in the management of Wayne Enterprises.
The animated series has been met with virtually universal acclaim, highly praised for its mature writing, artistic style, and faithfulness to the source material. One of the episodes, “Robin’s Reckoning” won an Emmy, and the show was such a success that two animated movies were created ( Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero) as well as a new animated series Batman Beyond.
Batman Beyond was about an much older (retired) Bruce Wayne. He was once Batman, but, gave up his cape and cowl after he used a gun to protect himself. Bruce is now trying to get redemption for what he had done, by teaching a much younger and cockier kid. Terry McGinnis is Batman Beyond of the future. His (new) batsuit can fly, cling to walls, has super strength and can turn invisible. This new Batman has to fight crime, however, get to High School in-time!
After Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, Warner Bros. took the Batman franchise in a more family oriented direction with the release of Batman Forever directed by Joel Schumacher. The film stars Val Kilmer as Batman, Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, Chris O’Donnell as Robin and Nicole Kidman as psychiatrist Chase Meridian.
This film’s tone was significantly lighter than the two previous films, to make it more appealing for younger audiences although the artistic style was still very dark. The Batsuit was redesigned, with it now being dark blue, having nipples on it, and it featured a codpiece.
The villains were played a little more upbeat to make it less disturbing than DeVito’s portrayal of The Penguin, and it was the first movie to use the Batman & Robin dynamic duo. The film had more gadgets and equipment and lead to the sequel Batman & Robin directed by Joel Schumacher starring George Clooney as the Bat, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.
Although Batman & Robin was a commercial success, it is considered a critical failure. There is even some controversy that Joel Schumacher added possible homosexual innuendos in the storyline due to the addition of rubber nipples and close up camera angles on the butts and crotches. The suit and weapons are pretty standard and most carried over from the last movie, with the exception of some of the cold weather battling gadgets, like laser cutters to thaw out ice and weapons in that realm.
The Batman movies once again remained still until 2005 when Christopher Nolan came around and completely revamped the franchise with Batman Begins. The film kick-starts the mythos by telling Batman’s origin story, beginning with his fear of bats, death of his parents and documenting his entire journey of becoming the vigilante. Christian Bale stars as Batman with Michael Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Katie Holmes. It draws its visual inspiration from such comics as Batman: The Long Halloween.
Chris Nolan's version of Batman also draws heavy influence from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Miller's book had bat-tank like vehicle and imitation Batmen. The title of the third Nolan Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises also draws influence from Miller's book.
This movie completely rebuilds everything about Batman from his suit, to his gadgets to a more tank-like Batmobile. It documents his story of becoming Batman and is the first live action film to feature the villains Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul. The film was much darker and steered away from the family oriented tone of the last two and dealt with Batman facing his own past as he tries to rise up and save Gotham.
The film was such a commercial and critical success that a sequel, The Dark Knight, was made. This film starred mostly the same cast with the exception of Katie Holmes who was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal and the arrival of Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/ Two Face.
Batman has even more gadgets in this film, including a suit that is more lightweight and improves his agility and a system that tracks all cell phone use so that he can pinpoint any person’s location in Gotham.
The Dark Knight was well received, notably because of Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker which many critics said completely shadowed Jack Nicholson’s portrayal and was truly maniacal. Sadly, Heath Ledger passed away and was unable to accept his Academy Award which he won for his Joker portrayal. The Joker won't be seen in the third (and Nolan's final) upcoming film of Batman.
Batmans personality can easily be described as dark. That has not always been true though since his personality is by product of its time. In the 60's Adam West Batman the personality of Batman was campy and slightly aloof. The same goes for his various cartoon incarnations in the 70's which were copy of the Adam West show. Than in the late 80's along with a darker turn in the comics due to the works of Frank Miller and Alan Moore. Tim Burton took Batman back to a dark distant damaged character in his two Batman films. Conversely during the Joel Schumacher era Batman at first was slightly dark in Batman Forever with lots of neon 90's style lighting. In Batman and Robin he returned to full camp with bat nipples and bat credit cards. With Chris Nolans take on Batman he has taken things back to a dark place where Bruce is emotionally damaged and distant from just about everyone save for Alfred and Rachel Dawes.
Throuout all of his incarnations though Batman has been shown to be incredibly smart and always has a plan to counter whatever evil deed the given villian has come up with.
In most incarnations, Batman is shown to have a strict no killing policy, even when his foes are vicious sociopaths like the Joker. Batman is known to accept brutal harm to himself and his friends rather than kill someone. He also will battle and cause serious harm to allies that try to kill in battle, even when they are super-powered Justice League teammates like Wonder Woman.
|2013||Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2||Peter Weller|
|2013||Movie 43||Jason Sudeikis|
|2012||Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1||Peter Weller|
|2012||The Dark Knight Rises||Christian Bale|
|2012||Justice League Doom||Kevin Conroy|
|2011||Batman: Year One||Ben McKenzie|
|2010||Superman/Batman: Apocalypse||Kevin Conroy|
|2010||Batman: Under the Red Hood||Bruce Greenwood|
|2010||Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths||William Baldwin|
|2009||Superman / Batman: Public Enemies||Kevin Conroy|
|2008||The Dark Knight||Christian Bale|
|2008||Batman: Gotham Knight||Kevin Conroy|
|2008||Justice League: The New Frontier||Jeremy Sisto|
|2005||The Batman vs. Dracula||Rino Romano|
|2005||Batman Begins||Christian Bale|
|2003||Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman||Kevin Conroy|
|2001||Justice League: Justice on Trial||Kevin Conroy|
|2000||Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker||Kevin Conroy|
|1998||Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero||Kevin Conroy|
|1998||The Batman Superman Movie||Kevin Conroy|
|1997||Batman & Robin||George Clooney|
|1995||Batman Forever||Val Kilmer|
|1993||Batman: Mask of the Phantasm||Kevin Conroy|
|1992||Batman Returns||Michael Keaton|
|1979||Legends of the Superheroes||Adam West|
|1972||Scooby-Doo Meets Batman||Olan Soule|
|1964||Batman Dracula||Gregory Battcock|
|1949||Batman and Robin||Robert Lowery|
|Beware the Batman||Anthony Ruivivar|
|Young Justice||Bruce Greenwood|
|De TV kantine||Arie Boomsma|
|Batman: The Brave and the Bold||Diedrich Bader|
|The Batman||Rino Romano|
|Birds of Prey||Bruce Thomas|
|Justice League||Kyle Alcazar|
|Justice League||Kevin Conroy|
|The Zeta Project||Kevin Conroy|
|Static Shock||Kevin Conroy|
|Batman Beyond||Kevin Conroy|
|The New Batman Adventures||Kevin Conroy|
|The New Batman Adventures||Michael Ironside|
|The New Batman Adventures||Gary Owens|
|Superman: The Animated Series||Kevin Conroy|
|Batman: The Animated Series||Kevin Conroy|
|Tiny Toon Adventures||Michael Bell|
|The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians||Adam West|
|SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show||Adam West|
|Super Friends - The Lost Episodes||Olan Soule|
|Challenge of the SuperFriends||Olan Soule|
|The All-New Super Friends Hour||Olan Soule|
|The New Adventures of Batman||Adam West|
|Super Friends||Olan Soule|
|The New Scooby-Doo Movies||Olan Soule|
|blog||BATMANBATMANBATMAN: Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Original Old Bruce||MrMazz|
|blog||TDKR Will SEll 10 Million Less Tickets than the 1989 BATMAN!!!!!!||VioletEyedDragon|
|blog||Screened Pupcast Episode 6 - Bark Knight Rises part 2||obscurefan|
|blog||Comic Sales Soaring (Likely Thanks to Movies)!!!!!!!!||VioletEyedDragon|
|blog||BATMANBATMANBATMAN: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)||MrMazz|
|news||Anti-Productivity: An EPK For the Batman: Year One Animated Feature||No_name_here|
|news||Dark Knight Returns Graphic Novel to Become Animated Movie?||No_name_here|
|news||A Justice League Movie and Batman 4 Already in the Works?||No_name_here|