Earlier this year, I'd said that there wasn't a single movie that enticed me enough to go to the theater to see. And while that's true of new movies, I hadn't considered anniversary/special showings of classic films. Fathom Events' celebration of 80 years of Batman brought the Burton/Schumacher anthology into cinemas again - in stunning 4k! And let me say, for someone who thinks that 4k is generally a waste, I was impressed. Almost like watching the movie for the first time. The HDR really benefited the dark, gothinc imagery. Shadows were black without being overblown, and colors were vibrant and majestic. And the audio tracks were updated with added sound effects and much better mastered music that added to the atmosphere.
Michael Keaton is a great batman, and 89 is a fantistic film. I've always been more partial to these films than most other interpretations of the character, but watching them again, I have to say Batman 89 might just be my favorite superhero film period. Certainly better than The Dark Knight.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see Batman Returns in theaters, but rewatched the Blu-Ray at home. I'll admit, it's a little too dark and quirky. Definitely glad the series didn't continue in "this direction." Although, the carnival's attack and immediately following Bat-signal scene made me tear up. It's like there's a perfect Batman movie hiding in the worst Batman movie... Really wish this one would have turned out a bit differently. But, it's still good as it is. And, it was the first Batman film I ever saw.
Growing up, Val Kilmer was always my favorite Batman. Seeing the film again, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy his performance again! Two-Face has got to be one of, if not my favorite Batman villains - and Tommy Lee Jones plays him brilliantly - Psychopathic, yet kooky enough to not scare children - the target audience of superheroes. Nichole Kidman was excellent as Dr. Chase, and Jim Carry was fine as the riddler. The improbable greek-inspired architecture that Joel Schumacher presents in his interpretation is preferred by myself - so nice to notice so many things I've missed for years by watching on the big screen! And the soundtrack is fantastic. I think I just might prefer Goldenthal's take on the caped crusader over Elfman's. Sacrilege, I know.
Batman & Robin
This film is so much better on the big screen! George Clooney's bobbing cowl, Alicia Silverstone's odd lip movements, Arnold's unrelenting puns, and Uma Thurman's over-the-top exaggerated femme fatale inspired hammy acting is so ever so enjoyable. If you can't sit, laugh, and have fun with this film, then you're taking movies way too seriously.
And the dramatic cues (although few and far between) are excellently done and really pack a punch.
Spoiler (click to read)
Bruce's reminitions about Alfred in the face of his father figure's illness is a powerfully dramatic scene often overlooked by the naysayers. That moment alone is darker than most batmen ever get. Not even Nolan accomplished quite this level of drama in his excellent trilogy.
And Barbara's late night rides, and [email protected]#$'s eventual discovery of her antics, are well done too. Nice having a little side plot resolved by Robin alone. Adds to his character.
And, as the shortest of the quadrilogy, it never seems to drag. I loved seeing Batman & Robin perhaps the most, although I'll admit that Batman 89 or Forever are probably the best of the series. But this fourth film is so fun and entertaining. If they made comic book movies more like this, my butt would be in a theater seat just about every week!
Can't wait for the 4k releases. The HDR, updated soundtracks, and overall better image quality are enough to get me to buy them. And I don't own any 4k releases... But these will certainly be worth it!