I have now watched all 5 Batman films. The first one (in storyline chronological order) is the latest one released – Batman Begins. All films are brilliant but quite different in their directing. Tim Burton made Batman and Batman Returns fairly dark and twisted, and you can really see the connection to some of his other films like The Nightmare Before Christmas.
It is hard to say who makes the best Batman, but Christian Bale and Val Kilmer make obvious choices.
I really like Val Kilmer, however his performance didn’t give as much depth as Christian Bale, but is defenitely stunning. George Clooney’s performance in Batman & Robin was undoubtedly the worst, and Arnold Schwartzanegger didn’t help that movie much.
As for best villain, now there is a hard question. All the villains are spectacular actors, and each have their own moments of pure brilliance. I don’t think there is anybody who can play crazy as well as Jim Carrey, although Jack Nicholson as The Joker is a masterful performance. Each villain is quite different, and the directing really helps to bring out the best (or worst?) of each. Uma Thurman does steal the show for Batman & Robin, leaving poor clooney and the rest of the superheroes looking pale in comparison.
As for gadgets and cool effects some of the best are probably in Batman Begins even though it really tries not to focus on the effects and more on the story. I think the fact that the gadgets are given little interest also adds to their effect, making them seem far more ingenious.
The effects do generally get wilder with each film, and the sets certainly get far more complex. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin have lots of UV paint as well as magnificent CGI cities and special effects, however it starts to feel way over the top in Batman & Robin.
The story is mostly consistent apart from Batman Begins completely changing the early history of Bruce Wayne by him trying to kill his parents’ killer when in fact in Batman it turns out that The Joker killed his parents. Then again in Batman Forever the story of his parents’ death is twisted a little too, making it seem more like random murder and losing any connection to who the killer actually was.
Overall I think that Batman Begins and Batman Forever are probably the best films. Batman and Batman Returns are marvellous films too, but going back to them is harder than you think and they do feel a little dated and the special effects not quite up to scratch. I would defenitely reccomend watching them all again (all except Batman & Robin which is too cheesy. On that note, do Americans not realise that “oxbridge” is not an actualy university, but a term for “Oxford University” and “Cambridge University”? Batwoman is the rejected student of oxbridge – whoever figured that storyline out should be banned from screenwriting)