VIDEO: A Defense of Joel Schumacher's Batman Films

We’re sorry...

This video is no longer available due to the shutdown of Blip.tv.

It’s the Agony Booth debut of Joshua the Anarchist, host of Anarchy at the Movies, where he reviews current releases, and The Lunatic Fringe, where he takes a deeper look at films on DVD. 

Here’s an episode of the latter, where Joshua defends every Batman fan’s most hated director, Joel Schumacher. Find out why Josh thinks the problem with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin is that they weren’t camp enough, and why you should just leave Joel Schumacher alone!

Scroll down to comment on this video...

You may also like...

  • MichaelANovelli

    A reviewer after my own heart!

  • Muthsarah

    Balls.  You has them.  An excellent choice for a new series intro, at least as far as drawing attention.

    (the following is a sorta stream-of-conscious comment made up as my first pass through your review goes along)

    I have always taken offense to any comparisons between the Adam West and Joel Schumacher Batmans.  THEY ARE NOTHING ALIKE.  There’s good cheese, and there’s rotten, moldy cheese that one finds in a port-a-potty.  Just because you can say they are both cheese, THEY ARE NOTHING ALIKE.  I really shouldn’t have to explain why, just friggin’ watch them, and know the most basic difference between comics of the 1960s and today.

    Batman may be non-realistic, but it’s one of the most realistic comic series out there.  No superpowers, no aliens, nothing supernatural.  Just a man with issues, money, and ridiculous abs.  A troubled eccentric “job creator” with a vigilante streak; not too out there, considering.

    The single biggest problem with the Schumacher camp was that IT WASN’T FUNNY.  Seriously, argue that it was funny; I haven’t heard a single person try.  Adam West’s Batman was silly in that dated way; even the old Bond films are sorta silly to us.  We could take it seriously because it was decades old; it didn’t reflect on us, but on our parents’ generation and often on the technological limitations of the day.  But Schumacher’s films were new to us, so it felt like its camp/stupidity was supposed to reflect on our ideas of comedy, and thus on ourselves.  And it didn’t.  At all.  After the Burton and Timm Batmans, the character and the universe was already calibrated for dark and serious; that’s what we expected, that’s what we wanted.  Nothing comedic would have worked.  Nothing.  I will admit that.  But even taking that into consideration, Schumacher’s comedic take was way, way, WAY over the line.  Not only “not dark”, but a complete insult that mocked the very idea that we would or could ever take Batman seriously.  And the animated series had already earned that right; we weren’t going to throw it away on something as lazy as these movies.  Not remotely dark, just comedic and campy, and never in an enjoyable way.  Nothing fails harder than bad comedy.  Schumacher never shouldn’t have tried.  He wanted Batman to be campy again, BUT THE FANS DIDN’T.  That’s why it failed so badly.

    As for Two-Face, the Animated Series did a pretty good job with him, despite his “missing half his face”.  It can be done, if done well.  There was no reason to assume the character was too stupid to be taken seriously.  There was already ample prove of that.

    Finally, regarding how Batman & Robin didn’t kill the franchise for good?  How was it resurrected?  By returning to dark and SERIOUS.  Mostly.  Because that’s what the character is best known for, and what fits the character and his world best.  The 60’s series was an aberration, a fluke of a rather silly (to our modern eyes) era.  But you know as I do that nothing like that could EVER fly today.  Same way that a modern, campy Star Trek would never work.  It’s funny because we know it’s dated, and that it wasn’t meant to be.  It’s enjoyed either ironically or sympathetically.  Nobody would sympathize with a product that was never even taken seriously by its creators, ESPECIALLY if we felt the creators weren’t taking OUR feelings seriously.

    And don’t bring Star Trek V into this.  Totally different issue.

    Long story short:  The Schumacher Batmans failed because the audience felt like the movies didn’t take the audience, or its expectations, seriously.  No one likes being talked down to.  Schumacher tried to get the audience to change its opinion of the character in a complete 180.  That’s always risky.  It failed.  Big time.  I appreciate that he has sorta apologized, but every interview I’ve heard from him still suggests he felt we didn’t meet his expectations, not that he didn’t meet ours.  That’s really all there is to say about it.

    (I’m in the Burton Batman camp, FWIW.  And the animated series.  That’s MY Batman.)

    Still, enjoy the balls.  You earned them.

    • (Well, here’s my own stream-of-consciousness in response.)

      My point was more that Joel Schumacher was TRYING to make the movies like the Adam West show. He didn’t succeed, granted, but he tried. These movies are definitely BAD camp as opposed to the show’s GOOD camp (BTW, it’s gratifying to here that someone out there still can tell the difference. Too often these days people treat “camp” as a derogatory term in and of itself. It’s a style that deserves more respect).

      Yes, Batman is “comparitively” realistic, but that’s like saying Rambo is a comparatively realistic war movie when compared to G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. He’s still a comic book character, he still inhabits a world nothing like our own.

      That’s my point, it was really bad timing. Fans were in no mood for a return to the franchise’s campy days. I don’t think it was ever Schumacher’s intention to “mock” the idea of a dark Batman, he just wanted to make the Batman he knew and loved from his childhood. It was still a bad idea, obviously, but I don’t think it came from malice. (Also I do think there are funny moments in these movies. Not enough to save them, but as a mentioned Arnie always makes me laugh.)

      I never said Two-Face couldn’t be done seriously, quite the opposite. I said he was too serious to be done campy. The basic idea of the character (guy gets his face burned off, goes insane) is just too grusome to be done tongue-and-cheek unless you’re doing DARK camp (which actually can be done, just look at Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula movie).

      The franchise was saved by returning to dark & serious because people reacted SO negatively to Batman & Robin that going to the complete opposite end of the spectrum was the best way to win them back. It doesn’t mean that take on Batman inherently better, it’s just what was called for at the time. And the 60’s show was much more than an aberration, it was the most recognizable symbol of the Silver Age of comics, which like it or not is a permanent and important part of comic book history, including Batman’s. And who says campy Silver Age Batman wouldn’t work today? Have you not seen Batman: The Brave & the Bold? And yes, the 60’s series wasn’t meant to be dated but it WAS meant to be funny. It’s not funny just because it’s old and silly in retrospect, it’s funny because it was a camp comedy, and a damn good one.

      Heh, the Stark Trek V thing was just for an example of a movie that sucked because the studio and the director wanted different things.

      Yeah, the gothic pulp Batman is my Batman too. Takes itself just serious enough to be dramatic and engaging, but not so much that it forgets to have fun.

      And thanks, I will enjoy the balls…I think. 😛

      • Muthsarah

         “And the 60’s show was much more than an aberration, it was the most
        recognizable symbol of the Silver Age of comics, which like it or not is
        a permanent and important part of comic book history, including
        Batman’s. And who says campy Silver Age Batman wouldn’t work today? Have
        you not seen Batman: The Brave & the Bold?”

        I didn’t mean to say that the old Batman show was an aberration as Batman is concerned, just that it was unusual that it remained popular (even in the 1990s) despite Batman still being seen as fundamentally dark and serious.  I grew up watching reruns of the old show, and I recall it even being popular with kids I knew in high school.  Everyone loved the movie.  There was wide acceptance of it, even when there was zero acceptance for Batman & Robin.  They were viewed as being completely different.

        If something’s good within its own universe, it will find acceptance somewhere.  B&R didn’t make sense at all – the plot was all over the place, the visuals were blinding, the pacing rarely let up (except in Alfred’s scenes), it was hard to figure out what was going on or why; it single-handedly prevented any of the characters from making sense.  The plots from the old Batman were simple, but that always allowed the actors plenty of time to ham things up and let the viewers feel they were driving a ridiculous plot, not being dragged around by an incomprehensible one.

        I have not seen the Brave and the Bold, BTW, so I can’t comment on what a contemporary campy/goofy/self-aware Batman would be like.  Once they started changing the art design on the animated series, I tuned out, and with the exception of The Dark Knight, I haven’t followed Batman since.  Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people; once I’ve seen perfection, nothing else is ever going to rival it.  I even went into B&R fully expecting to hate it (it was a rental, at a party, and we were either watching it ironically or just planning to trash it).  If I recall correctly, we were all burned out after about 30 minutes, then one by one, we started to leave.  It wasn’t even worth making fun of.  It just seemed so outrageously wrong.

      • The_Stig

        We get that Schumacher was trying to make Batman more like the 60’s show. What we’re saying is that this was an INSANELY stupid idea. Not necessarily the idea itself, mind you, but making this new, campy take on Batman take place as a SEQUEL to Burton’s films instead of doing a reboot (even though this was before franchise reboots were a thing in Hollywood). Tim Burton, the comics and the Animated Series established Batman and Gotham City as a dark, foreboding place with muggers around every corner. It’s a place Adam West would be as welcome as RuPaul at the Westboro Baptist Church. We left Batman Returns on a shot overlooking a Gotham that was dark, gothic and art deco. Three years later in 1995 we returned to a Gotham that now looked like a really crappy nightclub. It was jarring, it felt wrong. It WAS wrong. We had gone from “You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” to “I’ll get drive thru”. Only George Lucas would destroy a franchise on a more epic scale.

        • Sammy

          “We had gone from “You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” to “I’ll get drive thru”.”
          You skipped right over “mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it” and “There’s the pussy I’ve been looking for.”  And rocket penguins.

          • The_Stig

            The jokes in the Burton films were few and far between and with only a couple of exceptions, they worked. I chose the “I’ll get Drive Thru” line because it’s the first joke of the bad comedy that would define the Joel Schumacher era of Batman.

            And rocket penguins are awesome.

          • Thomas Stockel

            I don’t think much worked in Batman Returns.  Christopher Walken soaks up too much screen time and the Penguin sub plots rip off two of the Batman series Penguin episodes (Penguin runs for mayor, Penguin frames Batman and Robin for a crime they did not commit).  In fact, I would say Batman Returns is just as bad as Batman Forever.  It looks better but Burton had no idea how to write Penguin and Catwoman and compensated by squeezing in a third villain to give the other two motivation.

          • Tim Terrell

            Stig, you should have pointed out that in the Burton movies, the jokes were regulated to the jokey villains, not a bat credit card wielding Batman: “Is it the car? Chicks dig the car.”

        • Tim Terrell

          I agree with your comments Stig, except for one point: It could be argued that the Schumacher Bat movies were, in fact a reboot and retcon from the Burton films. Aside from a flashback to Thomas and Martha Wayne’s death (which is canon), the movie didn’t reference specific events from the Burton films, different actors played Batman and as you pointed out, Gotham was…different. The only reason one might say it wasn’t a reboot is because it wasn’t an origin story, which is one thing I give Schumacher credit for as far as Batman goes, because it a total redo of the origin wasn’t necessary at that point.

      • Tim Terrell

         Lots of people respect and enjoy camp. Just not in their contemporary Batman movies.

        • Sofie Liv

           It was awesome in Batman brave and the bold though.. which was a very recent show..

          Also it was awesome in the Starkids “Holy Batman” Musical.. which is from this very year. I don’t see why we can’t have both.
          The character is now big and epic enough to contain all the aspects.

          And now the Nolan movies are done, and they were all dark and serious, that for me means that its time to take a step back.. take a breather, have fun again, so we can be ready for the next big epic dark tale in.. five or six years sounds good to me.

  • Immortan Scott

    The main issue I had with the Schumacher Batman movies isn’t so much that they were campy, but that it was bad camp. Like, the Adam West Batman movie is good camp.

    That being said, I place most of the blame on Akiva Goldsman and the studio.

  • The_Stig

    I appreciate the balls it took to actually do this and risk getting trolled for it, but I can only agree with you on one point. Before I get to the body of my post, let me point out that as much crap as it gets for being campy, the 60’s series is a near PERFECT translation of the comic at the time. It’s not too farfetched to imagine Cesar Romero’s Joker going around committing boners all over Gotham (although considering Romero’s err…’proclivities’ that’s a whole other can of worms, so let’s move on). However, Batman and Robin was not a terrible movie because it’s camp, it’s a terrible movie because it’s pure, concentrated crap. 

    Schumacher, while he DOES deserve blame for his Batman films (though it’s mostly for Batman and Robin. Forever wasn’t bad. Wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible. It was the safe, marketable Batman movie the studio always wanted) and was completely wrong for the franchise, gets more crap than he actually deserves. The biggest problem with them, as with any crappy film was with the script. Akiva Goldsman who would go on to WIN AN OSCAR for A Beautiful Mind, is the true architect of the franchise’s destruction. He was the guy who wrote such memorable lines like “It’s the car, right? Chicks dig the car”, “This is why Superman works alone” and of course the infamous ice puns.Also, Elliot Goldenthal. How lazy a film score composer must you be to COMPLETELY recycle literally the ENTIRE score from the previous film? (and I actually LIKED Goldenthal’s Batman Forever score to the point where I actually bought the CD. Speaking of which, the soundtrack to Batman and Robin is actually pretty good, in contrast to the movie. As is the Forever soundtrack. You CANNOT lose when you’re dealing with an album that has PJ Harvey, Mazzy Star and Nick Cave).

    Also George Clooney. I’ve always believed that he deserved to be in a better Batman film than this. He’d have made an awesome Batman but he can’t make chicken soup out of chicken droppings.

    I prefer to tie the Schumacher films with the Burton films by saying that at some point after the events of Batman Returns, Gotham underwent a MASSIVE urban renewal project to increase tourism by turning the entire city into the world’s largest disco, followed by the success of Commissioner Gordon’s “DayGlo for Guns” program.

    If Joel Schumacher comes out and says “I’m sorry for the Bat Nipples, I did a lot of cocaine that day”, I’d forgive him. 

    Cocaine is, as we all know, a hell of a drug.

  • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

    No mention of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy?  I was surprised by that.  Overall though, I do tend to agree with you that Schumacher went for the campy tone without realizing that the fans didn’t want that, they wanted the more serious and edgy Burton-esque movies.  Even Time Warner must’ve realized their mistake after the super backlash in the time after the movies release.  It took an awful long time for DC to get another movie made (no movies from 1998 to 2003) and 2004 saw Catwoman before Batman Begins hit the theatres in 2005, so after Catwoman kept the fan hate hot, few had any expectations for Batman Begins to be any good.  And really the history of DC comics superhero movies, isn’t really a good one.  Superman, Superman 2, Burton’s Batman movies and Nolan’s Batman movies are the only good ones.  Jonah Hex and Green Lantern, when we don’t get a Flash or a Wonder Woman movie…there is no way that studio would have a clue how to do a Justice League movie if they can’t even do individual character movies well.

    • The original script did discuss Poison Ivy briefly. I cut it for time because it was overall off topic and didn’t fall within the two categories of villains. She’s not a bad choice for a campy Batman movie, and she certainly doesn’t have any weird take-me-seriously moments like Mr. Freeze does, but I also can’t say she really works either. She’s just kind’ve a weird not-sure-what-I-think-of-her area of the movie for me. My only real thoughts on her is that Schumacher clearly wanted to do the Julie Newmar Catwoman, but they’d already done Catwoman, so he basically made Poison Ivy Catwoman. Seriously, watch the movie again. You can see it in her performance and even her costume. That green jumpsuit is basically the 60’s outfit except green and hair horns standing in for cat ears.

      Oh and about Superman II…heh, and few episodes into this show, I get the feeling you’re going to be WAY less fond of me. 😉

      • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

        Superman 2 is by far my favorite DC movie, with Dark Knight in second place (I know Superman 2 has its flaws, but when it was made (1980!) it had a great combination of storytelling, action, and pretty impressive visual effects that are now 32 years old).  I still hold it up as a great super hero movie, and one that wasn’t surpassed until exactly two decades later, with X-Men in 2000.  Avengers is my favorite Marvel movie, with Punisher: War Zone being my second favorite (I know I know, it’s campy as all hell, but it’s fun, true to the character and the universe and everyone fit their roles very well).  Captain America, Iron Man 1 and 2, and Thor were good movies, but didn’t grab me like Punisher: War Zone did, which I think is an important element for a good movie in any medium.

  • Sofie Liv

    HEY JOSHUA! and welcome to the site, I actually saw this video a while back as we first discussed you entering the site, and I loved it. We all agreed that that was the one that should be put up.

    Good to have you here, all excellent points, I do indeed agree, looking forward to work with ya 😀

    • Thanks, glad to be here! I’m glad you liked to video, it’s my favorite I’ve made so far. I look forward to working with you too. 🙂

      • This is actually the first video of yours I watched as well, I think when you posted it on Twitter.  I like to think it won’t be the only video regarding Shumacher’s Batman on the Booth over the next year.

  • Rocha674

    I’ll be honest, the very premisse of your video sounded like a gimmick, but I felt I had to hear what you have to say. Overall my first impressions were wrong and you really did your research, managing to explain very well not only the way the franchise was handled, but also how and why Joel Schumacher’s movies came to be. Even so Batman and Robin – Batman Forever not so much – was and still is a horrible film. It didn’t estranged me from the director’s following films, – I was sad that his career suffered from it -, but it did put me off from super hero films for a while.

    Batman and Robin is a tiresome film, with tiresome jokes, tiresome characters, bright and cluttered sets that although visually impressive, just add to the feeling that you had a kaleidoscope of noise and mayhem stuck in your brain. There is no notion of entertainment in it for me, but I agree with you that Schumacher should be allowed to live it down, because if somebody is really holding a grudge because of a film made 15 years ago, then somebody is doing it wrong – “it” being getting a life.

    • Tim Terrell

       It was a gimmick. it said “I will defend Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies” only to get to the end and hear him say “Those movies were bad”. Even Joshua knew his premise was a crock of shit.

      • Thomas Stockel

         But the title of the video is “In defense of Joel Schumacher”.  He goes on to say the movies sucked but he feels they sucked for different reasons in that they lacked the focus Joel Schumacher would have liked due to studio interference.

  • Thomas Stockel

    A ballsy first video to submit here, Joshua, and an excellent one as well.  I think I am far less bitter now than I was back when Batman and Robin came out, especially after I learned Joel apologized and I came to understand he was working under certain studio mandated constraints.

    I am a huge fan of the sixties Batman television series (except for season three, where Yvonne Craig aside is just terrible.), I am a huge fan of both Paul Dini’s Batman animated series as well as The Brave and The Bold and the tone of those two series are quite different.  I have no problem with different interpretations of Batman. I think what makes me hate Batman and Robin so much is that this is not the Batman I was looking for.  At all.  I was not looking for a call back to the campy sixties series.  I was not looking for horrific performances by Uma Thurman, George Clooney, and whoever was in that Bane costume.  Sure, Schumacher can be forgiven for his being forced to include things in the film he may not want have wanted (i.e. more villains and super heroes = more toys, a serious tone clashing with his campiness, etc.) but in the end I did not want a return to the West era and I do not think hardly anyone else was as well.  So even if Joel had been given carte blanche and been allowed to make the movie he wanted, would people have wanted it?  I don’t think so.  And I think that if Joel’s experiences with Batman Forever had taught him anything then it should have been the studio was going to fuck with his vision in numerous ways, so he walked into the house of horrors known as Batman and Robin with open eyes.

    Anyway, welcome to the site.  Oh, I loved your review of The Dark Knight Rises.  Spot on.

  • Brian O’Connell

    That’s Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens as Bat Mite, BTW.

  • Tim Terrell

    The claim that the Adam West TV show is the reason we have the Batman movies and cartoons that we have today is ridiculous. Even before Adam West, the characters “escaped the comic book page” as there were batman serials in the 1940s. Then the 60s show came and went, and guess what? No live action Batman (except the godawful Challenge of the Superheroes) until Burton’s movies, which were 180 degrees different in tone.  As a matter of fact, the only thing that prodded the movie into production after ten years of trying was Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. And the audience loved the movie because it wasn’t campy, it was dark. Didn’t see too much of the Adam West show influence there.

    The 60s TV show wasn’t an impetus for the Bat franchise past the 60s. How could it be when the comics went straight bat to a more “serious” tone in the early 70s and has for the most part, stayed there. The West show is a product of it’s time and the movies would have existed, and maybe sooner (say in the late 70s/early 80s) if not for the campy and dated image of the TV show the was embedded in the head of every movie exec in Hollywood. That show held the franchise, and comics in general back from movie success. No doubt about it. Why do you think almost every superhero movie played
    down the superhero costumes in most Superhero shows for a long time? To avoid the campy label.

    I hated the Adam West Batman show even as a comic book loving adolescent in the 70s . I felt the show insulted my intelligence even at the age of 6 or 7. I remember being particularly turned off by the scene in which Batman ran around a pier trying to dispatch of a bomb straight out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.  I loved the Batman character due to the cartoons like Super Friends, comic books, Power Records and Comics (particularly stories by O’Neil and Adams) and toys.

    Then I went to Marvel and came back to Batman through Miller’s Year One, Dark Knight comics and John Byrne’s Superman crossovers.

    And no one in their right mind thinks Batman is “realistic”. The argument has been that most fanboys like the stories “dark and gritty” not “realistic”. The Nolan fans were the ones going on about those movies being realistic. Batman stories have been dark in tone longer than they have been campy. They started out dark in the 40s, with the noir and crime tone, got campy somewhere in the fifties until the late 60s, then have been “gritty” ever since. Campy Batman was a phase.

    The reason “Batman and Robin” is shat upon and was a box office bomb has little to do with the fanboys. Non-comic reading mainstream audiences avoided the film due to word of mouth. Even if comic book and Batman fanboys liked B&R they could not support it at the box office alone. As a matter of fact, every fanboy could have loved the movie and still seen it twice, but you need a regular movie going public to make the movie a hit. And the Average movie goer didn’t support it, even though it had Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman and George Clooney. Know why? Because it was awful!

    I could barely sit through this shit you were spewing. If you have to constantly tell your audience “I know you hate the Arnie jokes, and I know you hated the campy acting, but this is what made the TV show great….” Newsflash, this is a movie in the 1990s, not the TV show.

    I liked the first two Nolan movies, and apparently so did everyone else. You can dismiss them all you want, but they were infinitely more loved than the Schumacher films, by both general moviegoers and Batman fans.

    To make a video defending two despised movies that you think are bad, but want people to think they are bad for for different reasons is the most idiotic infuriating thing ever in a video by an internet critic.
    Joel Schumacher is not getting short shrift: People love his other movies. There is no homophobia surrounding his movies. There are only people pointing out the obvious bdsm undertones in those movies.

    P.S. Two Face was never missing half his face in the comics. His face is deformed.

    • You know who else got his own movie serials around the same time? Spy Smasher. Heard of him? Probably not. Deny it all you want but the 60’s show was undeniably the phenomenon that made Batman a household name worldwide. They didn’t call it “Batmania” for nothing. There would have been nowhere near a larger enough market for a new Batman movie in 1989, dark or otherwise, if no one outside of comic book readers knew or cared who Batman was, and many of those readers wouldn’t have even been readers if not for the show

      Wait hold it…you felt the Adam West show was insulting your intelligence…but you liked the Super Friends? No offense dude, I loved that show as a kid too, but it was a horribly written lazily animated show. The Adam West show, whether you like camp comedy or not, was definitely smarter, more high quality entertainment. And yes, I said smarter.

      And yes campy Batman was a phase. So was gritty Batman. The comics have been constantly evolving from the beginning. We started with gothic pulp noir Golden Age Batman, moved on the Campy Silver Age Batman, then it was the more adventurer/detective focus of the Bronze Age, The gritty phase of the 80’s, the even grittier phase of the 90’s (because that’s what ALL comics were in the 90’s), And today we’ve got a mix of takes, but I think the 2000’s will come to be remembered for Grant Morrison’s macabre reinterpretations of silver age weirdness. Pretend all you want but Batman is no more defined by grit than he is by camp.

      Yes, the movie bombed because it was bad. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it being bad several times already. They were bombastically edited, obnoxious, and incredibly jarring after the first two films, of course they bombed. That wasn’t the point of this review, the point was to explain why it was bad and point out Schumacher’s good intentions that led to it.

      Yes, I love the Nolan movies too. You’ll notice I never called them bad at any point. My point in discussing them was to show that as good and beloved as they are, they are far from perfect. There is bad to be found in them and there is good to be found in the Schumacher films. I was trying to disprove the hyperbole, basically.

      Even if people like Schumacher’s other movies, they aren’t what people think of when his name is mentioned. They only think Batman & Robin. That’s why I made this video. And if you honestly think there in no homophobia in the way people reacted to these movies, especially the Bat-nipples…Look that’s too big an issue for me to sum up. I wrote an article on it some time ago, read that: http://joshuatheanarchist.blogspot.com/2012/07/geek-chorus-5-uncomfortable-truth-about.html

      P.S. Deformed, missing, hideously scarred, you say tomato…

      • Sofie Liv

         Yeah… heroes as “Crimsom Avenger.” “The Shadow.” “Captain Marvel.” “Zorro.” (whom was huge back then and was in A LOT of movies in the fourtis, dusins of them, he was the biggest of them all back then.)

        Does not get to be that big house-hold names today.

        Also, the popularity of the 60’s show is probably also what propelled the popularity of the comics themselves, which ensured that the kids bought the comics, which ensured that Frank Miller would bother to write “The Dark knight.” AND it ensured that the story was any kind of big deal.. because this was batman, which people and comic book readers were all-ready familiar with.

        One thing I will say though I disagree a bit with Josh with, I don’t think Burton ever got batmans character.
        How-ever, what he is indeed the only director to get.. is the World of Batman or.. maybe he defined the world of batman how we see it today?
        Can’t deny the gothic style suit batman and his rouge gallary very well, and a big part of me is hoping that now they are re-booting Batman.. as you do with such a big selling name.. sadly..
        They’ll just go balls-out opposite if the Nolan movies and make it big, artistic, camp, gothic and beautiful to watch in dark tones, spiralled settings, croocked walls, thunder and rain in the scenes, the jokers laughter ringing over the streets of Gotham, and you question yourself if you are having some sort of weird drug dream.

        What? Am I really the only one wanting that movie?

        •  HELL YES. That is exactly what I want to see. Some Grant Morrison-esque fusion and Silver Age & Golden Age elements.

          Personally I’d start with Robin. Because I’m sick of these movies ignoring Robin (face it people, he’s been around longer than Alfred, the Joker or Catwoman. He’s the second most important character in the franchise so let’s drop this “Batman should be a loner” nonsense). I’d call the movie “The Dynamic Duo”. Have Robin be the main character with Batman is a secondary mentor role (cover his origin in flashback if you must). Maybe do the whole “Robin confronts his parents killer” story with, say, the Penguin as the villain (nice uncomplicated character that works functionally as a standard mob boss villain), with Tony Zucco as his henchmen. Also Ace the Bat-hound. Because it’s that kind’ve movie.

          • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

            I’ve often said, if they ever do a DC vs Marvel rehash the lineup should be:

            Superman vs Thor
            Batman vs Wolverine
            Wonder Woman vs Ms Marvel
            Nightwing vs Spider-Man
            Green Lantern vs Iron Man
            Black Canary vs Elektra
            Aquaman vs Namor

            I understand that Lobo, Captain America, Storm, Superboy and a lot of the other primary characters don’t have dance partners but this seems far more balanced, and the Nightwing vs Spider-Man fight is the one that is the toughest to predict.

          • Tim Terrell

            They did Aquaman vs. Namor in the first Marvel vs. DC miniseries. Aquaman won the battle. Peter David wrote it, and he’s clever like that.  But shouldn’t heroes be stopping crime instead of fighting each other? You know, the whole point being good vanquishing evil?

          • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

            They should be doing that in their regular titles…this is an historic crossover event…do you want to see Wolverine vs Riddler, Wonder Woman vs Apocalypse, Superman vs Magneto and Captain America vs Vandal Savage?

          • Tim Terrell

            Why even bring up Grant Morrison as an influence? Since you love Adam West so much, why not use the scripts from the old TV show as the sole inspiration for “The Dynamic Duo”. We wouldn’t want any of Morrison’s cerebral trippy-ness to taint the fun camp, would we?

            Let’s say The Adam West show is what initially caused mainstream fiction fans to snuggle up to the Caped Crusader forever. Fine. But the past is the past, the show is of it’s time, and apparently it’s time to move on, given the acceptance of the Burton, Miller and Nolan takes on the Dark Knight. And the mass shunning of talented but temporarily misguided (and admittedly addicted to recreational drugs at the time) Joel Schumacher’s romp through Gotham.

            And I know Exactly who Spy Smasher, Captain Midnight and Buck Rogers are. But they weren’t DC heroes who regularly teamed up with Superman in the comics and on radio shows.

            When I revisited Challenge of the Superfriends as an adult, I was appalled at how awful it was. But that bolsters my argument. If I was such a kid that I thought *that* shit was good, but could see clearly see what swill the Adam West show was, even with my rose colored glasses on, then it’s bad.

            You want a  live action movie with a boy wonder alongside The Bat? When the ONLY live action Batman theatrical releases to bomb or be generally panned were the ones featuring Robin? Good Luck with that.

          • Because straight up comedy isn’t what I had in mind. Grant Morrison’s mix of Batman darkest and goofiest elements has never been tried onscreen before, it intrigues me.

            Who’s not moving on? I’m not asking we all bow down and worship Adam West as the one true Batman. Elevating one take on the character over the others is what I’ve been criticizing here. All I’m asking is that show be given proper respect as an important chapter in Batman’s history and not be treated as an embarrassment by insecure fans.

            Dude, EVERYONE teams up with Superman at some point. And even Superman needed the help of television to break through to the mainstream in a permanent way.

            So your basic argument is “I had crap tastes as a kid, therefore anything I didn’t like must’ve been doubly bad.” Yeah, sure. OR maybe as a kid you just couldn’t appreciate the brilliant performances of classic actors Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, or Frank Gorshin, or the clever, subversive humor.

            That’s my point. Nobody has gotten Robin right yet. His time has come. What, you wanna throw out any further uses of Mr. Freeze because he’s only ever been in a bad movie?

          • Tim Terrell

            Nobody has gotten Robin right?

            Didn’t you spend half hour defending that show? Now you are telling me you didn’t like Burt Ward? Ward played Dick exactly as portrayed in the shitty late 50s early 60sBatman comics.

            And are you saying Chris O’Donnell didn’t do the best he could with the character? Or did you just think they were both too old to play the part?

            Coincidentally as I am writing this, I am watching this video with Grace Randolph discussing the character of Robin from inception to the Dark Knight Rises. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nFVIBGu6OwU#!

          •  Nobody got Robin right IN THE MOVIES yet. Yes, Burt Ward was awesome (and technically in a movie), but I’m talking about giving him the same action-adventure oriented treatment Batman has gotten repeatedly. I want them to stop sending the Dark Knight into action without his squire.

            Chris O’Donnell is a generally forgettable actor who, yes, was way to old to be playing the character. Plus the whole 90’s extreme sports loving angsty teen characterization was dated and way off the mark.

  • filmguy450

    I loved this! I have long felt Schumacher was a punching bag because hardcore Batfans had no idea how to take his two Batman films, despite most every other Schumacher film (up to that point) being very good to great. Hell, I’d argue most of his modern stuff is good as well (I love “The Number 23”).

    • Thomas Stockel

      If you like The Number 23 then you probably won’t want to read what I think is a most excellent written recap posted here at the Booth.  From what I read the movie seemed full of plot holes.

      I think Batfans knew exactly how and where to take his Batfilms: right to the dumpster.

  • Moe

    Talking about bad timing… this review comes for me in a perfect time. Nolan is done with his Batman and I am glad it landed well enough, at least for me. That was the Batman I wanted to see since a long time (actualy you named it: 1988 reading The dark knight returns). Even the first Tim Burton was too campy for my taste…let alone the second.
    So I saw the first Batman Movie when I was really young and I liked it. But later on I felt the hate you described: This Batman was a joke. And I was feeling bitter, because it was more than likely that all Superhero Movies are going to be like Batman & Robin.
    Now we have all seen Superhero Movies of the last decade, and though not everyone was good (campyness.. I’m looking at you Fantastic Four). We live in a world with awsome adaptations of old Superheroes. I say thank you for that.
    But in the same aspect I now can appreciate the old TV Show again. And as a reminder by you (thanks for that) also the Schumacher movies. Go to youtube and watch Spiderman vs. the Yeti (even starring high ranking celebrities) and that is something I can enjoy right now. If it would have been all we got out of these costumed guys, it would have been disappointing.. Sorry for bothering, thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing your thoughts… maybe…just maybe.. the prequels are next.

  • Rory

    I personally think in order to enjoy the Joel Schumacher Batman films, you have to be in the right mind-set. If you treat them as serious movies like the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan movies, they are obviously going to be terrible in comparison (though Batman Forever personally was more OK than downright bad), but as so-bad-they’re-good guilty pleasures, they are pretty entertaining!

  • rainflyx

    Honestly, I was pretty much in agreement with you in most aspects until you started dogging on the Nolan films. Those were fucking masterpieces, although I’ll grant that the last one has some serious problems to it as well. This part of the video almost made give up watching it entirely. Glad I didn’t, as there are more good points later in the video, but damn.

    See, I have no problem with Micheal Schumacher making silly Batman movies. It’s a valid interpretation of Silver Age/Adam West Batman, and while I personally prefer the darker style of cape, there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad with a goofy Batman world. In fact, there’s a lot of things that make comic book Bats inherently goofy. The hate, as I see it, comes not from making a goofy Batman movie, but for hijacking a Batman franchise with a totally different tone and appeal to make his goofy movies in. Outside the context of the earlier movies and the expectations they *must* project onto further sequels, I think the Schumacher films could have succeeded, even despite the crappy timing. This is why all the Batman fans act like Schumacher shot their dog. Because the franchise *was* their honorary dog, and Schumacher shot it.

    For another example of this sort of thing in action, I give you SGU. As a diehard Stargate fan, it’s hard to adequately express how much I was looking forward to it, and how much it let me down. I could have written blistering critiques long into the night about how its attempts to be less silly were ironically making it both sillier, as a poor imitation of Ronald D. Moore, and also unforgivably frustrating. That is, if I’d kept watching it, instead of eventually giving up in resignation. I never could figure out why my dad loved it. I’m rewatching SGU on Netflix these days, going into it expecting it to be what it is… and it’s actually not that bad. I understand why Dad liked it. Because it isn’t actually terrible for what it is, just so different in tone from what the designated fanbase *wanted* from the franchise. Now SGU didn’t have the luxury Joel did, it’s basically impossible to make Stargate anything without necessarily tying it in tight with SG1 and SGA, while Batman is much more flexible/compatible with alternative interpretations. Making his movies as sequels to a radically different kind of franchise was the real mistake.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Well you could write off the underwhelming adventures of Nick Rush and the not so intrepid Destiny as a dream of Eli. ^^
      Seriously – I agree with you. Stargate was in its first (SG 1) and second (SGA) incarnation always about going to other planets, get into problems, solve those problems and when possible have the lead-character wisecrack about something. Most of the time one of the characters would share a look with the audience, basically saying “Yeah, I know, not really realistic, but we’re having fun here!”

      SGU was a carbon copy of Battlestar Galactica – only without anything that made BSG great and completely nixed that, what made Stargate great, that is characters that… have fun.

  • DocLathropBrown

    This is crazy, because just prior to this video, I had written an article on the EXACT same subject for Batman Online. Seriously. Crazy!

    http://www.batman-online.com/features/2012/7/26/in-defense-of-the-neon-knight-where-schumachers-batman-succeeded

    And dude, you’re so entirely right. On everything. Including the rediculousness of the fandom. I’ve been a Batman fan since 1990 and you’ve nailed the truth about fan expectations and the tone of the character. God Bless you, sir.

  • DocLathropBrown

    Also, Joshua, I can tell you first hand not to bother fighting against haters. Batman fans particularly are the snobbiest, rudest set of fans there are. And the most immature. They have no persepctive and refuse to be reasonable. Just a friendly warning.

  • Shariban83

    I wish Bat-nerds would pull the sticks out of their arses. I guess that’s why I’m a Superman and Spidey fan. I love all the versions of Supes, and even the Japanese Spider-man.

  • Charlie Pauch

    Finally!  Somebody agrees with me about how non-amazing the Nolan Batman movies are.  Amen sir!

  • jacob nelson

    If you watch the deleted scene it reveals that the repressed memories were of him asking his parents
    to take him to the movie theater as a kid.

  • W.C. Wit

    “Batman and Robin” was actually one of the first movie theater experiences I remember from when I was a kid. I loved this movie like crazy back then and even had a few of the toys.

    I have known the general consensus of this film for a while and even re-watched it recently and yeah it’s not a good movie but I don’t hate it. This film has plenty of problems and silly moments and my opinion of it has definitely downgraded since I was a hyperactive five-year-old, I just can’t seem to bring myself to actually hate it. I still have good memories that connect to this film and there are definitely superhero films I consider worse (Galactus is not a freaking cloud) and it being worse than I thought it was when I first saw it isn’t going to change that, after all it is just a movie.

  • Adam

    Well done. I applaud you, man.

    I might not agree whole-heartedly with everything you had to say but I agree with the overall point. I was one of the few who actually really liked Batman & Robin and in turn it made curious as that was so. It came to the point (after much analysing) where it has become one of my favourite movies to a point and fine-tuned my general ability to give things a chance to entertain me. For the most part anyway. (It was mostly down to an adolescent crush on Poison Ivy and things went on from there but that’s another story. Pretty deep one though, I feel. :D)

    But I digress. Schumacher’s lynching by the general public is beyond a joke and the amount of videos glorifying this behaviour is despicable. I thank you for rallying in his defense. Great video.

  • Aeon

    In DEFENSE?? That shit is indefensible! I agree with you about the Nolan films completely and that Burton was by far the one who got it right… but none of these things change the fact that the Schumacher films were utterly steaming piles of shit.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Actually, I think you’re wrong and those movies are defensible. the exact same way that people could defend the Nolan Films and other Movies. I gotta admit, I liked the Schumacher Movies more than the Nolan-Movies because they were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to serious and waaaaaaaaaay to annoying about that.