Everyone has an opinion on the Batman movies, from who is the best Batman to which Batman villain deserved their own spin-off film (it’s Scarecrow, by the way). No opinion is 100% correct (except the one about the Scarecrow), as opinions are statements rather than facts.
In this post I am highlighting five popular opinions about the Batman movies. These are opinions that many Bat-fans share, and tend to crop up in discussions about the film series.
Remember, these may not be opinions everyone agrees with. These opinions are based on a general consensus amongst fans of the Batman film series.
Let’s take a look.
The Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy is superb
When director Christopher Nolan took over the reins of the Batman film franchise, starting with 2005’s Batman Begins, many Bat-fans felt that it was a huge step in the right direction. The Batman they had longed to see was being depicted on the big screen, in a world that was dark, gritty, and as realistic as a film about a man dressed as a bat could be.
Nolan then went on to make The Dark Knight (2008) a hugely successful Batman film, which not only pleased critics and audiences alike, but also made a lot of money at the box office. The film – as well as the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker – became a significant topic of discussion throughout the year, ensuring its popularity remained long after the film left theatres.
In 2012, Nolan completed his Batman movie journey with the epic finale, The Dark Knight Rises. The reception might not have reached the same heights as The Dark Knight, but it was still well received and proved to be a fitting end to the story.
Because the series was capped at three films, and told a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, The Dark Knight trilogy is now considered one of the defining pieces of Batman cinema. It is also viewed by many fans as simply superb.
Batman ’89 is a classic
Prior to 1989, most non-comic book fans viewed Batman as a goofy character. A camp crusader, with a gadget for everything and a habit of using the word ‘chum’ far too often.
There’s nothing wrong with this version of Batman, he largely came from the popular 1960s TV series starring Adam West, but it’s not quite the Batman that some fans wanted to see. Many longed for a Dark Knight rather than a Caped Crusader.
Everything changed in 1989, when Tim Burton’s Batman opened in theatres. The Batman depicted in this film, as played by Michael Keaton, was a completely different take and one that audiences loved.
Batman ’89 became a phenomenon, changing the way audiences viewed super heroes and comic book movies. It also became an instant classic, which touched a generation in the same way that Superman: The Movie (1978) inspired the generation that came before.
To this day, Batman ’89 has a very strong, very loyal following. It is regarded as a classic of super hero cinema and a real turning point in changing the way general audiences perceived Batman.
Batman & Robin is the worst Batman movie
I’ve written an entire post on this subject called Why is Batman & Robin considered the worst Batman movie?, but to summarise the general feeling amongst Batman film fans is that Batman & Robin is not a good movie. From the story and the dialogue, to the tone and the infamous ‘Bat-nipples’, when Batman & Robin hit cinema screens in 1997 it opened to bad reviews and a poor reception from audiences.
Over the years, Batman & Robin has struggled to shake off its reputation as ‘the worst Batman movie’ and it probably never will. And even if you are a Bat-fan who doesn’t subscribe to this point of view, you understand that a significant amount of the fanbase do.
Even Batman & Robin director, Joel Schumacher is aware of the negative feelings towards Batman & Robin. He has gone so far as to apologise to fans if he disappointed them in any way.
Ben Affleck was a good Batman
Ben Affleck played the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in three movies: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017). The films that Affleck appeared in divided audiences, with some finding them palatable and others believing they missed the mark completely.
Regardless of how audiences felt about the movies, most believe that Ben Affleck’s take on the Dark Knight was a true highlight of the pictures. Critics also found praise for Affleck, even when they were less than complimentary about the movies.
Shortly after the completion of Justice League, Ben Affleck hung up his tights, with no plans to return to the role of the Caped Crusader; but his time spent in the cape and cowl gave fans a good Batman. He, like his fellow DC cast members Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, are regarded as great actors who appeared in material that may not have been quite right for them.
Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm – The best animated Batman movie
And finally, it is widely acknowledged that television series, Batman: The Animated Series is one of the best depictions of Batman ever. The series – which premiered in September 1992 – is also responsible for one of the most popular animated Batman movies.
The film in question is Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm (1993) – an original Batman tale which introduced the masked vigilante known as the Phantasm. The feature also included the Joker, as played by fan-favourite voice actor, Mark Hamill.
While Mask of the Phantasm was not a hit at the box office – few people saw it and it effectively bombed upon opening – it gained a second life on home video. The VHS release of the movie became very popular with fans and soon it was receiving rave reviews and recommendations from critics and fans alike, with many preferring it over its live-action siblings.
Over the years, many animated Batman films have been released, and many have been critically acclaimed, but none have taken the shine off Mask of the Phantasm. Newer audiences may not flock to it as the same way the original home video crowd did, but the film is still cited as ‘the best animated Batman movie ever’.
I hope the above information has been useful to you – please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
Please feel free to share what you believe are other popular opinions about the Batman movies. You don’t have to necessarily agree with the opinions, but they may prove useful to other fans of the Batman film series.