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Batman Through the Years [VIDEO]

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Right in the midst of my teenage years, when I was actually into comic books, Hollywood seemed to realize that the world of comics was a treasure trove of material for movies. The release of the first Batman was very exciting, even if the choice of Mr. Mom, aka Michael Keaton was surprising. Kim Basinger, on the other hand, was not a surprise nor a problem for anyone.

A modern Batmobile, the dark Batcave, and the noir of Gotham City were just what the times called for as alienation and disaffection in society seemed to reach an all time high. But, the first movies retained much of the ridiculous cartoon campiness of the series from the ’60’s. I never realized that Jack Nicholson’s Joker was too pressed, too perfectly made up, too kitschy until I saw Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the former Jack Napier. Now, Nicholson’s performance was great. No qualms there. It was the conception of the Joker as an actual joker that was off. Ledger seemed to teach us that the Joker wasn’t a comedian, he was a demented sociopath. This was the actual dark direction that these movies should have been moving the whole time.

But, through the 90’s, the movies became more and more cartoonish with each installment. Batman Returns brought an even more star studded cast. OK movie by those standards. The quality of the movies continued to come from the fact that we didn’t know what we were missing.

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Batman Forever took campy and turned it to a hackfest. It went even further in the wrong direction. It was almost like the movie parodied itself. Val Kilmer played Batman/Bruce Wayne. This film introduced Chris O’Donnel as Robin. I saw it, and immediately wanted my two hours back.

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Just when we thought the 60’s were dead, and this franchise couldn’t get any worse, we were given Batman and Robin. George Clooney took the role of the caped crusader. Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl. It wasn’t the actors that were ruining the movie, it was the conception of what it should be. It reached the point where I didn’t even care to go see it. But I did, the whole time thinking, “Could you please stop with the one liners?!”

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Then came Catwoman, which I did not (and will not) see. I did want to see Halle Berry in the Catsuit. Everyone did.

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I was actually so jaded by the bad experiences of the 90’s Bat series that I didn’t see Batman Begins in the theatre. That was a mistake, but not as big of a mistake as not seeing the Dark Knight on the big screen, a mistake I won’t replicate with the Dark Knight Rises. Finally, a Batman movie a fan of the comic can be happy with!

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