Amazingly enough it’s been 50 years since the first Batman movie was released. And boy has this movie and character evolved. Obviously the one in 1966 is far and away the most different of the bunch but still, it’s interesting to see how the characters and story line were at that time. In the last 50 years I think you can really see how the tone of the movie has shaped through something of a darker image to more of a light, comedic movie, back to the dark tone but added action and tons of movie technology. It’s truly interesting.
And I really think that you can see all of this through the trailers. Here is the evolution of all 8 Batman movies through its trailers.
Batman: The Movie -1966
Holy Superlatives Batman! This is amazing. I cannot believe how Adam West talks. This is beyond funny. Pretty amazing that this was the first Batman movie though. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a working trailer but this clip MORE than gives you a sense of what’s going on.
Batman – 1989
This is one of the best action movie trailers of the 80s. I think audiences knew they were in for a treat with this movie. It was definitely the start of something great. “Wait till they get a load of me.” Keaton and Nicholson completely nailed their parts and obviously Basinger was gorgeous. Just a fantastic overall movie and Burton really brought a dark tone that was so appropriate. Just the town of Gotham itself gave a very crappy, dirty vibe and it couldn’t have been a better setting for the Joker to take over and Wayne to come in and try to clean it up.
Batman Returns – 1992
Considering it was Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Danny Devito who were added to the movie, I felt it was a little disappointing. Still, a solid flick. Plus when you have LoFontaine narrating you kind of get even more excited by the trailer. But all in all, not a terrible extension of the first Batman. Plus, Christopher Walken!
Batman Forever – 1995
And here marks a new Batman. I gotta say I like Val Kilmer as Batman. Jim Carrey definitely spiced up this flick and Tommy Lee was excellent as Two Face. However I think this actually marks a very big and negative change in Batman. It started moving towards the comic a bit more which I guess is good. However, comedy started to get a bit out of hand and you lose that dark feel. They tried to keep it there with the whole him having dreams thing and Nicole Kidman character. But still I think it was Carrey who stole the show. And clearly with a change of director you see more of an action movie feel, rather than the darker toned Tim Burton.
Batman and Robin – 1997
I’d like to forget this movie was ever made. “This is why Superman works alone?” Come on man. I just think this movie was way too light and completely missed any intention it was supposed to have, if any. This is probably why there was an 8 year layoff. I just feel like the whole point of the Dark Knight was removed for stupid satire and a bunch of crappy one liners. Think about how bad awesome a character Mr. Freeze would have been if Chris Nolan directed this.
Batman Begins – 2005
And we’re back! This movie was a great move away from all previous Batmans. I will say it brought back the dark tone of the first one but clearly Christian Bale gave a new perspective on the character. In addition you had all the elements of new action movies post 2000. CGI, great special affects, etc etc. Batman definitely had a new voice and a new image after this flick. And what a set up for….
The Dark Knight – 2008
Hands down the best movie of 2008 in my opinion. Ledger posthumously got an Oscar which was 100% well deserved. He WAS a psycho in this movie. It was just amazing every time he entered the room. And you still had all the greatness of Batman Begins, only it was better. And of course…
The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan’s swan song on Batman and he did it extremely well. Hardy was marvelous as Kane. Obviously Bale and Bale. But Joseph Gordon Levitt stepping in as a potential Robin gave this movie some serious hope for the future of the series. Probably not as good as The Dark Knight but I think pretty close.
Bonus: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice
So now Batman is a robot and can withstand a punch from Superman? Alrighty then! Let’s see how Affleck handles the role.