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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #568

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Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-eigth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, in honor of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, here are three legends involving Batman and Superman films! Did Happy Meals really lead to Tim Burton not returning for a third Batman film? Was Jor-El nearly a bagel in the first Superman film? And how did the Daily Planet help put out an issue of the Daily News?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: Tim Burton wasn’t brought back for a third Batman movie in part due to dissatisfaction over Happy Meals for Batman Returns

STATUS: True Enough for a True

COMIC LEGEND: McDonald’s canceled their Batman Returns Happy Meals promotion due to backlash over the toys.


Whether you agree with the end results or not, I think it is fair enough to concede that the Happy Meals tie-in with Batman Returns was botched from the start. At the same time that Tim Burton was fighting with the MPAA to get Batman Returns down from an R to a PG-13, McDonald’s was rolling out commercials for Happy Meals featuring toys based on the upcoming film.

McDonald’s actually had to put the toys together without ever having seen even a SCREENING of the film! Hence the toys not really matching the film much, except that they featured Catwoman and Penguin…


So when the film came out and it was fairly dark and violent, people freaked out, as they are wont to do.

Entertainment Weekly covered the story back in 1992, showing the reactions of both McDonalds and Warner Bros.:

McDonald’s, stung by the criticism, is trying to downplay the connection between Batman Returns and the Happy Meal promotion, set to end this week. Says McDonald’s spokeswoman Rebecca Caruso, ”The objective of the (Happy Meal) program was to allow young people to experience the fun of Batman the character. It was not designed to promote attendance at the movie. It was certainly not our intent to confuse parents or disappoint children.”

Warner Bros. also claims that the Happy Meal promotion isn’t tied to the movie but to the 53-year-old Batman character. ”We were careful not to provide actual toys from the movie,” says a Warner spokeswoman. She insists that Batman Returns is rated responsibly in comparison with other PG movies, like Hook and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which also were considered not suitable for young children. ”Clearly Batman is not meant for 5-year-olds. As for whether it’s appropriate to Happy Meals, that’s up to McDonald’s. We don’t tell them their business.”

That’s the thing about the promotion – contrary to legend, it wasn’t canceled, McDonald’s just downplayed it until it ended on its own. It’s not like they recalled these toys. They lasted until September 1992.

However, the public relations damage HAD been done, and Tim Burton himself noted that one of the reasons Warner Bros. was not interested in bringing him back for a third Batman film was because his film was TOO dark and that alienated their licensing agreements.

He told Yahoo! in 2014:

“I think I upset McDonalds. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!’ It was a weird reaction to Batman Returns, because half the people thought it was lighter than the first one and half the people thought it was darker. I think the studio just thought it was too weird — they wanted to go with something more child- or family- friendly. In other words, they didn’t want me to do another one

That was basically the rub. They felt it was too dark to market.

Story continues below

Burton also has a funny story in the documentary Shadows of the Bat that aired with the Batman DVD anthology about coming in to a meeting with Warners when he thought he was still returning…

“I remember toying with the idea of doing another one. And I remember going into Warner Bros. and having a meeting. And I’m going, ‘I could do this or we could do that.’ And they go like, ‘Tim, don’t you want to do a smaller movie now? Just something that’s more [you]?’ About half an hour into the meeting, I go, ‘You don’t want me to make another one, do you?’ And they go, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no!’ And I just said, ‘No, I know you!’ So, we just stopped it right there.”

Thanks to Jordan Zakarin and Tim Burton for the Yahoo! quotes. Thanks to Shadows of the Bat and Tim Burton for the other quote. Thanks to Pat H. Broeske and Anne Thompson and Entertainment Weekly for the great information.

Check out some Superman and Batman entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

Did Heath Ledger’s Tragic Death Ruin Plans for the Joker to Appear in The Dark Knight Rises?

Did Superman Returns Use CGI to Reduce the Size of Brandon Routh’s Crotch While He Was Wearing His Superman Costume?

Did Kevin Smith Write a Decoy Screenplay for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice?

Did H.R. Giger Really Design a Batmobile for Batman Forever?

Did Steven Spielberg Want to Direct the First Superman Movie as a Musical?

On the next page, did Marlon Brando really want to play Jor-El as a bagel?

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I still want to know what that black stuff was coming out of Penguin’s mouth.

The problem was that Batman was a Batman movie directed by Tim Burton, and Batman Returns was a Tim Burton movie featuring Batman.

Though I love how everyone says the toys had nothing to do with the movie with the movie Batmobile right there.

It’s funny because a lot of the parental backlash against Batman Returns seems very similar to the stuff people are saying about the new movie. In both cases, it seems like the directors probably should have been reigned in a little more by the studio instead of being allowed to put their personal preferences (and in Burton’s cases, fetishes) in display in a big budget superhero movie.

Burton’s Batman films are “too dark”….WOW. Compare these to Nolan and Snyder’s Bat takes.

Happy Easter!

Funny how back in the day it was bad to have a dark Batman movie. How times have changed.

Funny how things change in 20 years: nowadays Burton wouldn’t be allowed to direct a “Gotham” episode because he wasn’t too weird or violent ENOUGH.

Same goes for writing a typical Batman comic, I suppose.

M-Wolverine, I think you nailed it.

Unfortunately Pete, I think you did too.

Sad but true that when director of a first in a in a successful franchise, gest enough clout to be an auteur, his second. more personal film alienates its audience. Burton gave a dismayed WB an extreme German expressionist nightmare for his followup. Schumacher delivered a gay, Broadway musical for his second Bat-film.

Both played like Springtime for Hitler for their expectant audiences.

The problem for me wasn’t that the film was too dark overall, it was just too stupid! The black ooze in Penguin’s mouth, the raw fish, and I barf in my mouth a little bit every time I hear him yell “Unlimited Poontang!!” What the hell were they thinking? From the ads and posters I expected to hate Kidman’s Catwoman but she turned out to be one of the better parts of the film. The overall plot of the villian running for mayor had been done a few years earlier in a Moon Knight annual, but I forget the villain’s name in that one – Dark Something.

Me, I’m just tickled by that last one, about the blackout. That’s just awesome.

The Moon Knight villain was Black Spectre I believe.
And I love Michelle Pfiffer as Catwoman, but now I kinda wanna see Nicole Kidman try. Hmmmm….

Ganky: Don’t even need Moon Knight… Penguin ran for Mayor on the Adam West TV series!

“Clearly Batman is not meant for 5-year-olds.” — Clearly he was, and that’s the problem.

“What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth” — Hamburger and Coke. Batman returns, Penguin regurgitates.

The Gospel of Marlon: “Kal-El, son of Jor-El, son of Bag-El, son of Pretz-El.”

“Spike Lee did a movie about the blackout” — Dat’s funny. The screenshot too because Lois looks like Spock, even though she’s not the alien.

Glenn Greenberg

March 25, 2016 at 12:16 pm

“The problem was that Batman was a Batman movie directed by Tim Burton, and Batman Returns was a Tim Burton movie featuring Batman.”

Actually, Batman was a JOKER movie directed by Tim Burton that happened to feature Batman. ;-)

RavenProject- Exactly. I always assumed the plot was (very loosely) based on that episode. Which added to the strangeness of the movie.

Maybe Brando meant that he wanted to play a different member of the family, Bag-El.

That Bruce Springsteen Song About The Eyes That Never Lie

March 25, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Say what you want, but I loved, love, and forever will love Burton’s Batman.
I also admit, that I grew up with this, darker version of Batman, and I grew up reading Grant / Breyfogle era.
And watched Batman’s famous cartoon.
It wasn’t until I discovered internet, when I learned the vastness of DC’s rich history.
I do think that Burton’s nightmarish, and fairy tale like version of Batman was great.

In regards to parents feeling outraged. I think that it’s usually a minority that is outraged,
but it’s always enough to make a company nervous. That’s fine by me btw.

In my case, I watched the first Batman as a kid (with parents) on TV, the second I watched years later, and didn’t watch Forever until I was a teenager. To the young me, Batman Returns felt like a boring movie, as there was a lot of talking, and not enough action, and it wasn’t until I got older, when I learned to appreciate the genius of Burton. I did however love to re-read over and over the comic book adaptations of the movie.

With that said, my parents always were talking with me about the violence in movies, and
always talked with me about separating fiction from reality, and not emulating stuff from medias.
I do feel that they were worried, whether letting me watch Batman was appropriate, as on one hand
Batman was a COMIC book hero, thus childish, while on the other hand, the movies definitely had this
“adult” feel.


That’s probably my biggest gripe with the Burton movies. They have to many stupid moments that it makes me hard to take them seriously. Bruce Wayne sleeping upside down like a bat. Batman getting quickly owned whenever he got into a fight. Batman trying to shoot at the Joker with the Batwing and missing. The Penguin being thrown into the sewers as a baby and then being raised by penguins (worst Tarzan parody ever!). Catwoman’s supernatural origin. Plus the Penguin’s depiction (a deformed, brutish murderous psychopath who for some unexplained reason has nasty green ooze coming from his mouth) felt like it was trying too hard to be dark and scary to the point you just couldn’t take it seriously.

The original Sam Hamm script for the first Batman movie is interesting. Very futuristic, and very Silver Age in a lot of ways. Bruce Wayne and the other characters are more interesting and three-dimensional.

And there are a lot of small differences, like the Joker shoots at the Batwing with a tank instead of a cartoonish revolver. I would love to know the reasons for a lot of the changes.

Interestingly, some of the crew of Superman the Movie thought that THEY were responsible for the blackout. It happened right when they turned on their lights.


Touche’ Glen Greenberg, touche’.

And of course Batman had to completely miss with the Batwing guns and missiles. Everyone knows Batman doesn’t kill, right? RIGHT??!!?

Glenn Greenberg- “Actually, Batman was a JOKER movie directed by Tim Burton that happened to feature Batman. ”

Actually, I think that was even MORE true of “The Dark Knight”. Except the “Tim Burton” part, obviously.

All Batman movies in all incarnations have been too enamorated with the villains, with the possible exception of Batman Begins. They’re sorta the poster child for the cliched and cynical commentary that the villain in action stories is more interesting than the hero.

Interesting that the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and most sucessful Marvel movies have avoided this trap, even though we have some charismatic villains like Loki and Magneto, they’re balanced by charismatic depictions of Thor, Xavier, and Wolverine.

Rene- On the other hand, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and ANT-MAN went to the opposite extreme, and made the villains the least interesting characters in the movies. (Somehow, though, both were really good movies, anyway.)

Well, I really liked the Burton Batman movies, even though in some ways they were not very true to the ‘real’ Batman.

The claim that the Happy Meal toys were not tie-ins to the movie might be the strangest thing about Batman Returns.

The weird thing is that they were released just a few months before the Animated Series, so they could have actually pulled it off as tie-ins to the upcoming cartoon series and then just hope that the attention of Batman Returns carried over.

[…] McDonald’s toys for Batman Returns have a part in Tim Burton not making a third Batman […]

There are people who will complain about “dark” superhero movies, whether there are toy tie-ins or not.
I remember parents complaining about the sex and violence in “Watchmen” because they felt it was “marketed to children”. To some people, superhero movie = children’s movie, regardless of the actual nature of the movie, so any superhero movie is marketed to children by default in their minds.
I can just imagine how they would react to the Rainn Wilson movie “Super” or the Michael Rapaport movie “Special”, if their releases had been more mainstream.

I’ve never understood that backlash against Batman Returns in particular. When I was a kid, Batman ’89 was rated 15 and I knew it as “that Batman movie for grown-ups where the Joker apparently dies from falling down a building and you see his dead body and everything” while watching Adam West instead. Batman Returns was rated 11.

But when things like Happy Meals and a third Burton movie are brought up, it’s “Oh my god, Batman Returns was so dark and kid-unfriendly!” as if ’89 was some light-hearted romp.

Bernard the Poet

March 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm

I have always been bemused by the popularity of Tim Burton films. Who are meant to be the audience? The films seem too childish for adults, yet too grotesque for children. Still the man keeps getting work so he must have his fans, but I just can’t see the appeal.

Alaric –

For some reason, Batman is the eternal straight man in his own movies.

And it’s true about Guardians and Ant-Man, but that trend goes back further. The first Iron Man and Captain America movies had very by-the-book bad guys, while the heroes shone. The first Spider-Man movie too. I think Tobey Maguire was much better as hero than Willem Dafoe as villain. A lot of Marvel movies are all about the heroes, with the villains almost an afterthought, because you got to have a villain.

Was there any real reason to mention Spike Lee’s film instead of just using the historical facts?

I would still love to see a 3rd burton Batman film. If Keaton were up for it, I think it could totally still work.

I don’t always agree with Kevin Smith when he talks about Batman, but his take on Burton’s films I think is correct. Burton is fascinated by freaks and outcasts, so understandably focuses on the Joker and the Penguin at the expense of the relatively straighter Batman. And the quirks that he does give Batman are rather freaky too, like the daft hanging-upside-down thing.

For all that, I’m still rather fond of his movies, although I think less of them than I did twenty years ago and they’ve not aged very well.

That last sentence applied to Tim Burton’s movies but I’ve just realised it could probably apply to most of Kevin Smith’s, too.

I have always been bemused by the popularity of Tim Burton films. Who are meant to be the audience?

Stoned college students proud of their ironic detachment.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

March 26, 2016 at 4:27 am

As usual, the comments about Burton’s Batman here remind me that people have wildly varied tastes, and many nerds will complain for 25+ years if someone dares to make an actually entertaining Batman movie. Or comic, for that matter.

Now, if one’s looking for a rubbish superhero film that is inexplicably universally beloved… look no further that this very column. The Donner Superman films were always headache-inducingly stupid, yet people keep pretending they’re some sort of a gold standard for superhero films.

Horde, if you think Batman Returns was entertaining … we disagree somewhat.

my biggest problem wasn’t the darkness but as someone mentioned above, the stupidity. The closest thing the movie has to a plot is Schrek’s scheme to build his doomsday power plant, which never made any sense—even assuming it sucks all the power out of Gotham, it’s not going to be that hard to undo.

Plus Burton’s Batman in both films moves through his fight-scenes like a wind-up toy soldier, stiff and awkward.

Those Burton Batman movies are kind of hard to watch now, especially the second one, Catwoman is the only really good thing in it, and even that wasn’t perfect because of the weird origin he gave her. I still have a soft place in my heart for the first one though, Jack is perfect as the Joker, and like someone else said, Burton seemed more interested in the villains than with Batman, which is ok when your villain is as cool and iconic as the Joker, less so when it’s the Penguin.

Younger folks probably can’t relate, but Batman was seen by most people outside of comics as the dorky, surfing, Adam West Batman. No disrespect to Adam West, those shows are fun, but they’re not really Batman, so the ’89 Batman got a lot of points from us because it took the material a lot more seriously than that.

Now that Michael Keaton has sort of made a comeback, I hope somebody with decision making power gets him in a film adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns.

Fraser –

Yeah, Burton’s Batman moves like Robocop. So annoying. Also, it’s a pity that the Nolan movies didn’t completely correct this. Batman still tends to be stiff. My dream Batman would move like Brandon Lee in the Crow.

I like the first Burton movie. But I always have to tell myself before I watch it: “Remember that this movie was made in a time when Hollywood had utter disdain for comic books. Don’t expect anything in this movie to have a similarity with the comics. Enjoy it for what it is.”

Donner’s Superman was the rare exception that captured the comic book’s spirit perfectly, because he was a fan and fought the producers. People have wildly varied tastes indeed.

Some folks say that Monty Python’s HOLY GRAIL is stupid…

Some folks say that Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS is stupid…

Some folks say that David Lynch’s DUNE is stupid…

…Aren’t they often the same folks?

“Some folks say that Monty Python’s HOLY GRAIL is stupid…

Some folks say that Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS is stupid…

Some folks say that David Lynch’s DUNE is stupid…

…Aren’t they often the same folks?”

Not in my case, love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but a lot of Batman Returns is pretty stupid. Dune isn’t stupid, just boring to me.

I can’t see what those three movies have in common.

I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It has nothing stupid about it, except perhaps the apparent “stupidity” of brilliant satire.

Dune is… I dunno… a movie that is very fascinating but also flawed. There was just too much to pack in little more than 2 hours. But David Lynch’s sensibility is always worth watching. Always. Even in flawed movies that have too much exposition.

Batman Returns is simply not Batman, even more “not Batman” than the first one. I don’t think it’s a horrible movie, either. Bizarre in a way that is not always the “good” bizarre of Lynch’s movies.

Well, I’d say those three movies have in common to be their own thing, and to be often called stupid movies by those who’d want them to be something else that already existed.

HOLY GRAIL isn’t EXCALIBUR, but it’s a Monty Python film.

BATMAN RETURNS isn’t BATMAN, but it’s a Tim Burton film.

DUNE isn’t Frank Herbert’s, but it’s a David Lynch film.

(DKSA isn’t DKR 2, but it’s a Frank Miller comic.)

…Why not try to enjoy new things for what they are, instead of always asking for OLD STUFF II: MORE OF THE SAME? Just sayin’!

But the situations aren’t the same, Anonymous.

In the case of Arthurian myth, it’s huge and immortal, and most people know the basics, and know it is serious and a major piece of British mythology. Monty Python made a parody, but it didn’t cause people to replace all they knew about King Arthur with Monty Python’s version. In the case of stories as old and popular as King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc. a parody or a bad version isn’t really damaging, because everybody knows people make new versions all the time. There is always room for Monty Python to co-exist with Excalibur to co-exist with Mists of Avalon, etc. One version does not erase the others.

With Batman, it was Hollywood’s first big production of a Batman movie ever. The previous ones had all been tied to cheap comedy TV shows or matinee serials, I believe. So there was considerable more expectation for it to be faithful to the comics, because it had never been done, and most people had a mental image of Batman that was very distorted, due to the 1960s TV show and stuff like Superfriends, and fans of the comics wanted it done right. It was not like King Arthur that could have another movie right around the corner. The OLD STUFF II: MORE OF THE SAME does not apply, because a serious Batman had NEVER BEEN MADE, and fans thought it would not be made again in that generation, and they were right.

I don’t know about Dune. There is a feeling among sci-fi literature fandom that Hollywood always butchers the classics, that is similar to what comic book fans felt in the 1980s (less so now, when we have more faithful superhero movies). So I can see why lots of Herbert fans may hate the Dune movie, just like Heinlein fans hate the Starship Troopers movie. But I think these novels have a secure place in the canon of sci-fi literarure classics, and even with the sci-fi ghetto, the inferiority complex is not as big as the one comic book fans used to have. When your hobby is as derided as comic book collection used to be, it becomes a point of pride to have the properties treated right by Hollywood.

Personally, my problem with Dune wasn’t that is was a David Lynch film, it was that it wasn’t enough of a David Lynch film. He had to fill it with exposition to make the story make sense, and so the best thing about the movie, the way Lynch creates this mind-blowing weird far future universe, is easier to miss.

I hold Herbert’s DUNE as a masterpiece. When I saw Lynch’s, I hated it. So much was stupid, including black suits in the desert. But I’ve since divorced it from the book, suspended my fanboy OCD about the changes, and appreciated it as its own thing. A David Lynch “space opera”, in a deviant way of the term.

Now, BATMAN RETURNS. It starts with a baby raised by sewer penguins! You should see right off the bat that it’s going to be a weird fairytale ala EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. It’s your cue to suspend the fanboy OCD about Batman’s this and Catwoman’s that, and appreciate it as its own thing. A Tim Burton “Elseworlds movie”.

In a weird way I think the ‘launching Batmobile”-a Batmobile inside a Batmobile-kind of anticipates the batpod a bit.

If Batman Returns is supposed to be judged as Burton movie and not as a Batman movie, then perhaps they shouldn’t have made it a Batman movie?

And I don’t recall any of the comments stating that it was stupid because it was unfaithful. Why is it that defenders of the Burton Bat films tend to act like any criticism people have about them comes from their dislike of the fact that they’re not “Batman” enough? Most of the scenes I mentioned would still be stupid in an original film.

Anonymous- just because people don’t like some of the things you like doesn’t mean they want the “same old stuff”. Different people have different tastes. that doesn’t mean people who like or dislike different things from you are somehow “wrong”.

Also, speaking as someone with a strong lifelong interest in Arthurian legend, who has actually read (translations of) many of the medieval versions and who very likely knows more about the subject than anyone you’ve ever met, I’d say MONEY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL is a) in many ways closer to the source material than EXCALIBUR, and b) easily the best Arthurian movie ever made. And I’ve never personally met anyone who thought it was a stupid movie (as far as I know). (On the other hand, I’ve never gotten what people see in EXCALIBUR.)

“BATMAN RETURNS isn’t BATMAN, but it’s a Tim Burton film.

DUNE isn’t Frank Herbert’s, but it’s a David Lynch film.”

I don’t know how old you are, but I grew up in a time when Superhero movies rarely stayed true to the source material, so I always evaluated it on its own merit, or you wouldn’t like anything. Batman Returns, aside from a few decent scenes, was mostly pretty stupid, regardless of director.

As far as Dune, I just found it boring, I’ve never read the source material, so I can’t evaluate it as an adaptation of the novels.

Alaric –

I liked both MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and EXCALIBUR. But I always thought the extent of HOLY GRAIL’S faithfulness to the legend is not really important. The movie’s satire against violent heroism and violent religion (my favorite scenes are Lancelot slaughtering the wedding guests and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch) are both extremely funny and extremely insightful. The movie is about so much more than just Arthurian Legend (while skewering that too).

I happened to catch the first Burton Batman movie on TV within the last few years, but was sort of half watching while I flipped to something else, then I’d flip back, watch a few minutes, etc. And I kept wondering when anything was going to happen.

Same with when I caught the first half hour or so of Batman Begins on TV. Doesn’t anything HAPPEN in those movies?

I have always been bemused by the popularity of Tim Burton films. Who are meant to be the audience?

Stoned college students proud of their ironic detachment.”

Are you talking about Tim Burton or Kevin Smith??”

I believed Burton wanted the second film to be called “Gotham’s Menagerie” but was required to change it so Batman was in the title.
And I consider the main villain plot in the film to be Penguin wanting to abduct or murder children of the wealthier citizens as part of his revenge against the city (but got sidetracked by the suggestion of becoming mayor).
Catwoman was a rogue element angrily lashing out at everyone
Lesser Villain Max Schrek just seemed out to steal energy from the city as part of a plot to ensure his less inteligent (and less ruthless) son would continue to have wealth and power in the city. His main role in the story was to be connected to the 3 leads and, thus, hold the story together (though the idea of him being the Penguin’s brother didn’t make it to the final script)

Some see BATMAN RETURNS as a Tim Burton warped fairytale and enjoy it this way. Some see it as a return to Finger & Kane’s bizarre Batman and enjoy it that way. Some have other takes, and I don’t mean positive reviews but interesting criticism:


(Also, if someone was to blame, shouldn’t it be Warner for okaying the script, more than Tim Burton for doing his thing?)

Ah, the days when people said “I said” or “I go” rather than the insipid “I was like…”

I remember seeing Batman Returns and when people got up when the credits came on, the person in front of us going ‘that sucked!’

You never forget reviews like that. Sad the theater I saw it in is gone and there’s a Loews there now.

As a life-long comic book fan there is no movie adaptation that I personally like.
Some are ok, some are entertaining, some are plain stupid or boring, a lot of them make me angry.
I mean how hard could it be to get the ‘facts’ right?

That being said…both Burton movies are ok in my book and I recently watched them again. Even with all their flaws they are still better than Nolan’s movies or the TV show. While the show is at least mildly amusing, I can’t watch the DK trilogy without getting furious. “Chicks dig the car and btw let’s tell the world that I’m Batman.”
Schumacher’s movie? Well, let’s pretend they don’t exist all together.

So for me Batman and Batman Returns is the best there is to this day and that’s pretty sad.
I’m gonna watch Dead End and Grayson now and hope someone’s gonna make a real movie out of them ;)

I have always been bemused by the popularity of Tim Burton films. Who are meant to be the audience?

10-14 years old who feel like they’re getting away with something by watching the movies. I was 8 when BATMAN came out, 11 when RETURNS was released, and I remember lobbying my parents hardcore to let me see the first one even though it was rated PG-13. It’s one of the few movies I can remember where my parents (or my dad, at least) went to see it first, to make sure it wouldn’t freak me out or anything.

So there was definitely a sense of “wow, I get to do something cool and adult” by watching the movies. And really, it worked out great: as a kid, I was too enamored with the sizzle to realize the steak itself was pretty subpar. Now I can watch those movies as an adult and recognize their flaws, but still enjoy them via my memories of how much I loved ‘em as a kid.

I’m thinking “chicks dig the car” was from Schumacher’s reign, and if it’s not it should be, right along with “I’ll get drive through.” Both of Burton’s movies seemed like masterpieces for a long time compared to Schumacher’s Batman. As for Nolan, loved Dark Knight, was ok with Begins, and Rises, well, it’s sort of Nolan’s Batman Returns, some decent stuff, but a lot of it just didn’t work.

Yes, ‘chicks dig the car’ was Schumacher. What do you expect from a race car driver? (Sorry, wrong Schumacher.)

I really love the Burton movies – especially Returns, which is one of my favourite movies. I love the gothic lyricism they have, the silent-film fairy-tale feel. The timelessness. The design of Gotham itself; it feels like it could be a real city, but is unique and you can look at it and think ‘no wonder half its denizens are mad’.
I love the way he does the villains. Nicholson is a great Joker to me. (I think of Hugh Jackman as a great villain, but not very Joker-y; I would’ve loved the movie a lot more if they’d called him Zazz or something.) Elfman’s score.

I love Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman! The way she plays three different characters in the movie (Selina before transform, Selina after, and Catwoman) has always impressed me. The song Face To Face.

That said, I’m not hugely attached to the Batman side of things, and was even less so when the Burton films came out; the massive changes didn’t bother me as much as they do others. (Though I don’t like that Batman kills in the movies.)

“(I think of Hugh Jackman as a great villain, but not very Joker-y; I would’ve loved the movie a lot more if they’d called him Zazz or something.)”

At first this confusion of Australians came off as trippy as all get out. But the more I thought about it…wouldn’t his angular jaw line and big smile, and that tall, lean body have made him an interesting casting for the more traditional, 70’s style Joker look? It would be out of type casting, but could be a lot of fun.

Le Messor –

Those elements you liked in the Burton movies (Gotham City, the timelessness, the charismatic villains) were all interesting, but all nullified for me by Batman himself being bland, uninteresting and very different from the Batman I knew. However, I give Tim Burton credit for coming up with the elements that were then used in the much superior Batman: The Animated Series.

They kept the timelessness and the charismatic villains, but created an equally imposing and charismatic Batman.

You know what little thing bothers me about the Batman movies? When every incarnation of Batman is in costume, they wear black makeup around their eyes. Then, when they take their mask off, the makeup is gone. I just saw it again this weekend in Batman-Superman. Why? WHY?????

Radiotto: the eye makeup has been a huge pet peeve of mine since the first Burton film. I always wanted to see a scene where Bruce appears in a full board room after a turn as Batman but has forgotten his mascara remover! Or about to go into action with Robin: “Hold up chum, let me get my makeup on!!”

I’m very excited to see how well Deadpool’s mask works with the correctly whited-out eyes and hope to see a similar approach in other fils too- maybe someday we’ll get a proper Wolverine mask!

In an interview with Richard Donner I just read, he said when Brando suggested the bagel voiceover approach, he told Brando something to the effect that since 1939 everyone has seen Jor-El is human, and has pictured what he looks like, and he looks like Marlon Brando”. Which pretty much ended the debate!

While true, that’s basically what I wrote, right?

When Donner explained that Jor-El had already been well-established in the Superman canon as a humanoid, Brando relented.

Professor Flash

April 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

(Also, if someone was to blame, shouldn’t it be Warner for okaying the script, more than Tim Burton for doing his thing?)

While Warner is certainly at fault for approving the script, Burton was tasked with making a Batman movie, so he flubbed his assignment.

As usual, the comments about Burton’s Batman here remind me that people have wildly varied tastes, and many nerds will complain for 25+ years if someone dares to make an actually entertaining Batman movie. Or comic, for that matter.

Now, if one’s looking for a rubbish superhero film that is inexplicably universally beloved… look no further that this very column. The Donner Superman films were always headache-inducingly stupid, yet people keep pretending they’re some sort of a gold standard for superhero films.

Stupid or not, at least the Donner movies were actually true to the character they were adapting.

holy cow I had one of those Catmobile toys. That’s awesome, I’d completely forgotten. The tail wagged as you pushed the thing forward.

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