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Author Topic: 15 years of Batman and Robin  (Read 16380 times)

Offline Azrael

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #70 on: Sat, 12 Aug 2017, 03:53 »
And actually it took some time for even B&R to get it's distinction. It wasn't really until the social media age that fanboys took out their anger on that film and cemented it's legacy.

Back in 1998-1999, when Altavista and Yahoo were the most popular search engines and anyone could sign up and do a personal site using services like geocities.com and angelfire.com, the web had numerous anti-Schumacher sites. It's during the more recent, post-Nolan times that many fans have made peace with B&R.

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #71 on: Sat, 12 Aug 2017, 06:09 »
Back in 1998-1999, when Altavista and Yahoo were the most popular search engines and anyone could sign up and do a personal site using services like geocities.com and angelfire.com, the web had numerous anti-Schumacher sites. It's during the more recent, post-Nolan times that many fans have made peace with B&R.
This is true. I remember some of those sites. The one that stands out was called "Harp On Batman Forever", which went online circa 1996 and was, as the name might suggest, an anti-Batman Forever screed.

I can only assume B&R sent that guy off the deep end.

This notion that B&R only became reviled the day after MySpace went online is pure revisionist tripe. It's not true. B&R was a joke even before it came out. The relative acceptance it has now is a completely recent (though welcome) thing.

Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #72 on: Sat, 12 Aug 2017, 06:43 »
Referring to his mother by first name is exactly what I mean. No one does that. And the greater reason why it's so painfully contrived is that it references young Wayne when he hears his father's last words become "Martha". Now come on. That's horribly staged. You know as well as I that when you're building a story you introduce plot points that explain character motivation, play to social metaphors, and in some cases service a plot twist for irony. There's NO logical way Superman can surmise (especially at THAT moment) that a formal reference to his mom through her first name would spark a trauma filled moment only Bruce Wayne knows about.

I donít even think Superman was smart enough to surmise that, to be honest. It wouldnít surprise me that Superman tried to tell Martha Kent was in danger without referring to her as his mother because he had some misguided reason to continue keeping his identity a secret.

Look, as you might have guessed in my last post, Iím not really defending the choice of saying Martha, per se. I also agree itís contrived. The only time Iíve seen anybody refer to their parents as their first name is when theyíre working in the same job together. Otherwise, nobody talks like that, as you say. Iíve even posted a few weeks ago that Iíd change that line to  ďSave my mother!Ē because itís a lot more realistic, and it wouldíve resulted in the same conclusion.

But the difference is I think that is more of a criticism against Superman than Batman. We can debate about whether or not Batman reacted too quickly upon learning what was going on, but I think people are being too literal to think the fight simply ended because the two heroes both have mothers called Martha. That's all I'm saying.

I understand your perspective on the subject. But seeing Batman as a traumatized vigilante is not something I missed in all this. It's actually been a pretty consistent and tired theme in the Batman franchise. Identifying my cynicism would be spot on in terms of looking at the arc of Batman in film. I compare it to the constant Spider-man reboots. How many times do we need to see Parker in his psychological Underoos learning to be a superhero? I GET IT...

In my opinion, I donít really think there is a comparison between Spider-Man and Batman, because Spider-Manís origin has been told as close as it could get, and comprehensively. Whereas in Batmanís case, his origin story has never really been done faithfully. As much as I like B89, I canít deny the backstory only served to connect with the Jokerís story, and it ended with Batman avenging his parents. BF was meant to be a continuation to the Burton films, so portions of the re-enacted scene was sort of redundant. BB also had the League of Shadows trying to destroy Gotham City economically, which indirectly caused a poor and struggling Joe Chill killing the Waynes. Not to mention that film took just as much liberties that werenít in the source material, as Burton was criticised for.

In contrast, not only does the BvS interpretation closely resemble to the comics, specifically Dark Knight Returns, it built upon the theme of tragedy and powerlessness for Batmanís character arc. The Waynes killer never got found (which happens quite a lot in the comics than some people think), and his inability to save the people around him because the circumstances were always out of his control increased his cruelty and paranoia. Itís only when he recognised what he was becoming and Superman pleading for his help did he realise he can still make up for his mistakes, he can still be a hero and redeem himself. Thatís why I liked it.

But where this particular story just collapses on itself (for me) is the fact Snyder takes nearly three quarters of the film to build Batman up as this tragic and reluctant hero, then pulls the rug out.

If you found the transition happened too quick to be believable, very well, I canít argue with that.

What I can say is that there have been analyses suggesting the writers were influenced by Ancient Greek tragedy, including literary concepts such as Anagnorisis Ė which is supposedly a moment where a character makes a dramatic discovery; learning what the true situation is about and sometimes reflect their own true nature. I wonít say Iím an expert in these areas, but I think thereís a fascinating insight and has some merit to what Batmanís arc was aiming for here.

So am I saying Batman should be beyond repair? No I'm not. But to spend the majority of a story underscoring his anger and rage only to flip the script is too much for one film. I have read your analysis and I completely understand what youíre saying. But you are also adding exposition where the film does not.

Not everything needs expository dialogue though. The flashbacks and Batman's horrified reaction upon learning what's happening, and what he was really about to do before throwing the Kryptonite spear away in disgust, shows this isn't some lucky spur of the moment. It's just too on-the-nose, so to speak. For me at least.

In many ways BVS falls into the same traps you perfectly construct for the Nolan series. And I wouldn't argue against those. We're in agreement there.

Okay, thanks for clarifying. I apologise for sounding a little hostile earlier, I didn't know this was your true stance in this area.

Snyder dug too deep a hole for Batman to crawl out of at the end and I believe most audiences felt that way, which is why it was beat up so badly both by critics and fans.

My problem with this is, more often than not, these critics and fans are the same ones who blindly accepted everything Nolan did to the character. You and I may be on the same page when it comes to the issues affecting the Nolan films, but I notice that the very same criteria these people held against Snyder's films, conveniently does not apply when it comes to the Nolan films. As a matter of fact, they unfavourably compare Snyder's film to Nolan, while blatantly ignoring all of Nolan's terrible mistakes, awful writing and muddled moral messages.

For example, these people continuously complained about Batman killing BvS, and Keaton and Kilmer in the past, but never uttered a single word when Bale did it too, despite he explicitly stated he was against killing. It's idiotic and hypocritical. These people need to wake up: the only WB live action Batman who never killed anyone was George Clooney. But they can't do that, because not only they would be forced to admit uncomfortable truths about Nolan's trilogy, they'd have to acknowledge something positive about Batman & Robin. Because God forbid saying anything good about Schumacher's movie, right? But what do you expect, I've seen people trying to argue that TDK's Joker was the true hero of the second film. When it gets to that, then there's something seriously wrong with critical consensus. If people were more consistent with their criticisms, I'd be a lot more empathetic towards their feedback on BvS. Who knows, maybe if people bothered to actually scrutnise Nolan's work, WB wouldn't have taken some cues in terms of tone from him and MOS and BvS may have turned out differently.

I think that is why allot of people reacted as they did to the particulars on Batman and quite honestly Superman as well. Snyder does not create likable characters. When I watched it, I didn't find that I cared for either one. They were both so conflicted and bitter, it felt more like a mercy killing to just let them both die.

No matter how conflicted they were, ultimately I found both of them redeemable. Superman, despite all the troubles he faced in a divisive world and the mistakes he made, still cared too much for the world to let it succumb to ruin by Doomsday, and sacrificed his own life to save it. In turn, it touched everybody in Metropolis as they expressed their gratitude, and it inspires Batman even more to become a better man, and his death was the whole reason there is a need to start the Justice League. If that isn't a Superman trait, then I honestly don't know what is.

A suicidal Batman meets the death of Superman was way too much weight to put on a film that should have farmed out a better story for people to celebrate rather than mourn and feud over.

I don't know what you're getting at there. Batman was definitely self-destructive, but there was nothing suicidal about him. He never did anything like cheating death during a charity car race in the beginning of Dark Knight Returns. Same with calling Superman 'bitter'.

Justice League is having to correct that direction, so weíll see what that does for continuity of the established characters.

I don't see this as correcting course, because changing the tone was always the plan to begin with. Chris Terrio confirmed that JL would be lighter in tone to BvS, a week before the latter came out. https://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/03/11/inside-chris-terrios-vision-for-batman-superman-and-justice-league/.

As the saying goes, there's always sunshine after the storm.

Anyway, we'll definitely have to agree to disagree with this topic. No hard feelings.


Quote
Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Offline Wayne49

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #73 on: Sat, 12 Aug 2017, 20:35 »
Anyway, we'll definitely have to agree to disagree with this topic. No hard feelings.

No hard feelings at all. This was a great conversation and I thank you for an engaging and thoughtful reflection on the subject. This is what being fans is all about. We should be able to share our opinions (both shared and opposing) and still move forward unified. We love Batman. THAT is what matters. Have a great weekend my friend.

Offline The Dark Knight

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #74 on: Sun, 13 Aug 2017, 01:40 »
I have absolutely no problem with an occasional dark and edgy Batman. I think if the concept has demonstrated anything, it's that Batman has the flexibility to play to more than just one idea. He's not a one note hero.
I think Batman is in a good place right now. In Justice League there seems to be a good balance of light and dark. He's forced to work with other heroes for the safety of the world, but he's still trying to hold onto his individuality. Which is both true to the character and opening up room for humor. Batman's being serious like Adam West's incarnation, but others could find his statements funny. Except him. "It's good to see you playing well with others again - "it may be temporary." And it's not just that. Depicting Batman himself with a comic aesthetic (standing on gargoyles, clearing warehouses like the Arkham games) has also brought the character out of realism and into something more fantastical.

Offline riddler

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #75 on: Sun, 13 Aug 2017, 13:42 »
Ironically I think the perception on this film changed around the time I started this thread; at its 15 year mark in 2012

We can't blame the bad reception of B+R on the internet or marketing or anything else. 1997 was a time in which people were using the internet but it was still in its infancy and message boards weren't quite popular yet. The critics didn't like it even at the time, Siskel and Ebert both went off on their show about it.  1997-2005 remains the longest gap without a bat film since the 23 year gap between 66 and 89 and many people blamed this film for it. After their contractual promotions, it seemed that's when people from the cast started denouncing the film: Shumacher publicly apologizing and Clooney refunding people's money for seeing it. During the time of the first two Nolan films, many felt that Nolan was putting Schumacher in his place based on how different his films were.

To me things changed after the Dark Knight Rises exposed the fact that Nolan and Bale don't have all the answers either. The gritty and grounded concept became tiresome after three films especially when people were realizing how often these film makers were breaking their own rules. I suspect after seeing Rises, more than a few people went back to watch Batman and Robin just to  see a recognizable Batman do his thing and have some fun instead of being ultra serious.

Lastly I'll address the big elephant attached to this film since it's release- the homosexual undertones. I think we can agree that at least to some extent Schumacher sprinkled some male sexuality into his Bat-films and of course he is openly gay himself. In the past 20 years though, homophobia has become increasingly socially unacceptable and thus the criticisms of the butt shots, nipples, and shape of the Batmobile are far less legitimate in 2017 than they were in 1997. In fact these things may outright be perceived differently now than they were then; Such directorial decisions may not even be considered 'gay' by today's standards, if anything they come off now as an exploration of the male anatomy as opposed to the implication of male-on-male sexuality. Even though this film isn't known as the grounded one, I think common sense would tell us why Alfred didn't put nipples on the Batgirl suit for his niece.  I definitely don't think Joel set out to make these films gay. He has been honest about his sexuality for a long time but he's kept out of the limelight in that respect, he doesn't seem to advocate gay rights or act flamboyant and hasn't seemed to incorporate homosexuality into any of his other films.I think Shumacher just got guilty of deciding "hey we have this big budget, might as well use it." At worst he just might not have understood how male sexuality can make straight men uncomfortable, especially in this days hence the quick label of 'gay' on any form of male sexuality.

Offline The Dark Knight

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #76 on: Mon, 14 Aug 2017, 00:13 »
Lastly I'll address the big elephant attached to this film since it's release- the homosexual undertones.
On this subject, I find the whole gay interpretations of Batman rather annoying. Bruce adopts a young orphan and the usual voices claim this is proof he's gay. Uh, no. Anything that is a good deed is interpreted through a twisted lens. People have reason to be suspicious these days, but a mindset has developed where I'd think twice about helping someone, especially a youngster. If a youngster was injured or in need, and I went over to help them or simply be kind, there's a good chance I'd be accused of predatory behavior or some other gross accusation. So sadly, we choose to do nothing.

Offline riddler

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #77 on: Mon, 14 Aug 2017, 00:18 »
Lastly I'll address the big elephant attached to this film since it's release- the homosexual undertones.
On this subject, I find the whole gay interpretations of Batman rather annoying. Bruce adopts a young orphan and the usual voices claim this is proof he's gay. Uh, no. Anything that is a good deed is interpreted through a twisted lens. People have reason to be suspicious these days, but a mindset has developed where I'd think twice about helping someone, especially a youngster. If a youngster was injured or in need, and I went over to help them or simply be kind, there's a good chance I'd be accused of predatory behavior or some other gross accusation. So sadly, we choose to do nothing.

Sadly this mentality has been around for a while. It's been well documented that the reason why Aunt Harriet existed in the 60's show despite rarely having any relevance to the plot was to combat the supposed rumours that Bruce and Dick were gay. A grown man who witnessed his own parents murdered by criminals takes in a teenage boy who also witnessed his family being murdered by criminals and people use homosexuality to validate this?

Offline JokerMeThis

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #78 on: Mon, 14 Aug 2017, 00:55 »
Happy 20th birthday Batman & Robin. I still like this movie better than The Dark Knight.

Offline Wayne49

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Re: 15 years of Batman and Robin
« Reply #79 on: Mon, 14 Aug 2017, 00:59 »
Riddler I think because of the modern day shift in attitudes, the traditional jabs at B&R are bordering on being almost taboo to mention. But while B&R may be enjoying a swing in attitude towards the general tone of the film, I absolutely believe the heyday of it's supposed "hate" was completely spurred on by the internet. With the advent of fan forums that fed into Youtube channels becoming THE place to vent one's opinion, it became the "in" thing to rag on this movie.

Plus there are a couple of things people forget that actually elude to your aforementioned reflection on evolving attitudes. Back in 1997 superhero films were still in their infancy. Superman had collapsed into oblivion ten years earlier with 'Quest for Peace' and outside of Batman, the comic industry really had nothing on it's plate to look forward to. So when these films came out, fans put allot of weight on how they looked because it was a reflection on them and this new attitude about getting away from the loose interpretations from the 60's and 70's on television that bothered so many people back then.

And to be quite honest I was surprised the revolt did not happen with Forever after we had Robin literally saying " Holy metal Batman!" Keep in mind this was only a few short years after the industry first gave Batman a try with Keaton and kept everyone associated with the '66 show far away because they wanted no suggestions of camp. The industry was THAT paranoid and THAT aware of the stigma at that time. But a funny thing happen - Batman Returns was TOO DARK. In many circles it was regarded as too adult-like with the dialogue between Penguin and Catwoman. And as much as folks like to talk about B&R "tanking" the franchise, Returns actually took the ship down first. WB was so concerned about the fall off in box office after the initial film, they did not believe they had a viable future left. Keep in mind, this was before superhero films were really even considered a legitimate direction for studios to make money. So seeing Batman drop off so quickly after only one film made studios panic fast. They had gone the opposite direction of the '66 show and the 70's attitudes with Superheroes. But people were already complaining and revenues were already well down.

When Schumacher came onto the scene, he had to sell the project to the studio and to investors to get people back on board. Even Kenner was not big on putting much merchandise out because Returns had been lukewarm. So making Forever was not riding off the grand sails of Returns. It was fighting against the headwinds and pushing a boulder uphill with an industry that didn't believe these characters deserved to be on the big screen. So as much as I know many love to hate on Schumacher, he actually deserves credit for keeping Batman (and the comic license) on life support when the Industry already felt it was dead. And that was the only reason why the Industry went in this direction because no one thought Batman had a future.

So when Forever came out and Batman suddenly had a gleam in his eye and a wry smile on his face and oh wow look?! It's Robin at his side and they're having fun! That brought audiences back and the toys sold like hotcakes. Everyone in the industry was surprised. The critics liked this movie and the public was once again excited to see Batman on the big screen. There is NO WAY you get that connotation today reading anything online or even seeing reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a living document that reflects the modern day views as well.

So however we choose to see Batman and Robin, there is one undeniable fact to history. That film DID have the momentum of Forever, but also the fatigue of opening too soon after Forever did so well. The movie stayed in theaters longer, had extended toy lines, and was only out on DVD for a relatively short amount of time before B&R hit the theaters. So while B&R ironically became the film Studios had sworn never to make, the instincts it got from Forever fostered that notion. And while fans might have reviled at what the series became, that distinction was mostly leveled at B&R, not Forever.

Forever did not remotely start taking on the flack it got at the height of B&R hate until the internet age when the people complaining started comparing notes and decided all things related to Schumacher had to be trashed. And you know that is not a new thing. Attitudes change as new generations see films. Some movies that were critical and commercial failures in the 80's ( Big Trouble in Little China & the remake of The Thing) are now heralded as classics and loved by all, including the critics that originally trashed them. So there is absolutely a meaningful influence to films and how much the opinions of the public lay weight to them now that we have sites that allow fans to congregate and build support for (and against) films. No one was going to utter one positive word in Schumacher's defense for anything he did in the Batman universe once the popular narrative became that he "destroyed the franchise". That's a complete falsehood. Studios had already considered shuttering the windows after Returns. But once they went the other direction with Forever (and that tone went south after the second entry), they had no idea where to go and quite honestly no confidence in the license. Now tell me... does WB not knowing what to do with their DC license sound like a new idea?

How many times did they start and stop Superman projects? How many times did they announce a Justice League film? How many times did they mention other characters and mothball those? They did the same with Batman including the idea of moving forward with a third film from Schumacher. Sure B&R under-performed, but the merchandise line sold well and the movie made money after the box office receipts and DVD sales were tallied in. It's not like the Batman license was not profitable. It was just the standard cold-feet from WB executives upstairs who have never believed much in the license to begin with.

Batman & Robin carried more heat on itself back in the 1997 because there wasn't really any other superhero films out there, so every fan had to answer for this movie. These days there are SO MANY hero films , even when they tank (like FF) they are quickly forgotten and people move on to the next offering. B&R didn't have that luxury of being lost in a crowded industry. It had to carry the disappointment of every single fan and that anger and disappointment took on a life of it's own once fan forums and the internet became all the rage. People from that era vented and suddenly new generations looked at them and thought, "I guess I have to vent this way too." So yeah. I absolutely think raging on Schumacher was it's own thing for a while. But now there is enough water under the bridge and enough time spent with other films being less than completely serious that I believe people are understanding its okay to have movies like this. It's just a different perspective and it's okay to enjoy them as they are. Not just the way certain fans (and generations) need them to be.




 

 

    
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