Exactly 5 months left before The Dark Knight Rises, the most anticipated film of the year, hits cinemas around the world. It’ll be following The Dark Knight, one of the most successful films of all time, with Nolan and his crew having to handle pretty much impossible expectations.
This will be the third and final film (as of now) of the Nolan reboot which began in 2005 with Batman Begins, erasing the embarrassment of Batman & Robin. It’ll be the 7th Batman film all together, with Bruce Wayne’s character having its highs & lows since he first hit the screen in 1989, with a variety of movie posters and numbers to guide you through the journey.
Released in 1989, this was the first live-action Batman film, directed by Tim Burton. Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne, Jack Nicholson played the Joker and the movie, grossing over $400 million globally, was the most successful movie of the year. Rotten Tomatoes score – 72%. IMDB score – 7.6.
Batman Returns (1992)
Tim Burton & Michael Keaton making their second and final Batman film together, with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catowman and Danny DeVito as The Penguin. Still successful, making over $260 million around the world, but the uber-camp seemed a bit too much and less convincing the second time. RT score – 79%. IMDB rating – 6.9.
Batman Forever (1995)
Joel Schumacher takes over as director, with Tim Burton limited by the guys upstairs to a Producer role only. Two villains with better actors did make for better adversaries, although Tommy Lee Jones was a bit over the top as Two Face. Nicole Kidman was terrible as usual and no one likes Robin. Oh yeah, and the nipples on Val Kilmer. The movie grossed over $300 million worldwide. RT score – 44%. IMDB rating – 5.4.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman & Robin? More like crash & burn. Joel Schumacher’s second try with the franchise pretty much killed it, as the three villain syndrome proved to be a destructive force. Too many names, faces and bad acting, not enough story. In those days, even George Clooney, who was still mostly Dr. Doug at the time, couldn’t really elevate the low-level movie. It didn’t even cover the production cost in the United States, saved by global audiences. It grossed just under $240 million. RT score – 13%. IMDB rating – 3.6.
Batman Begins (2005)
The B & R damage was so big that it took eight years for Warner Bros to take another shot at the franchise, and they hit a bingo with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale. The world has changed, and a darker tone fit perfectly for re-telling the origins of Bruce Wayne and his transformation into the caped crusaders. Good actors and good choices for villains (Scarecrow, Ra’s al Ghul) were simply bonuses for the most important thing – a good script and story by the Nolan brothers and David Goyer. The film grossed over $370 million. RT score – 85%. IMDB rating – 8.3.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Everything we said about Batman Begins? Double it for The Dark Knight, which is probably the greatest superhero film ever made. The darkness continues, with Heath Ledger stealing the show as a sinister and insane Joker performance, which he sadly didn’t get to see in all of its glory. A terrifying looking Aaron Eckhart as Two Face didn’t hurt as well. The film was the biggest of the year, grossing over $1 billion globally. RT score – 94%. IMDB rating – 8.9.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A return to Bane, who played an unimportant role in B & R as the main villain this time, with Tom Hardy as the juiced up character. Catwoman again, with Anne Hathaway taking the tight, tight suit. The film will take place 8 years after the events of TDK, and frankly, with the team taking care of business in front and behind the camera, Nolan can do no wrong. Will it be epic and take your breath away when the credits start rolling like TDK? Small chance, but you never know. I never expected Inception to be what it was. Lets hope they finish their trilogy before moving the franchise into new hands the way it deserves, and we deserve as well.