06 October 2021 381 Views

Batman’s Best Moments on Film: Part 3

by James Murphy

#midweekmovies. With BATMAN!

Title says it all. Batman Continues.

In no specific order..

  • I’M BATMAN! /BATMAN (1989)

We take it for granted now as something that the character says when introducing himself. But this was the moment where it became a calling card. This has the menace of the Bat but also the mercy of the ‘man’. He is clear that he will not kill needlessly but will threaten and scare and get results. It was a statement that this was a new cinematic iteration. Definitive, perhaps?

  • BAT SHARK REPELLENT! / BATMAN (1966)

This is the height of camp, silly, fun, colourful, imaginative Batman. Is it ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’? No, ‘course not. But it does work in the context of that ‘take’ on the lore. That is a lesson movies today are forgetting.

Go full on all out send up by all means. Or go ‘dark’. But avoid awkward, needless fusion (though BATMAN FOREVER is an exception to that rule imho). I can enjoy the Batman of the Adam West iteration for what it is as well as what it is not. And this gadget is a case in point. Living pop art!

  • BRUCE AND SELINA’S SCARS /BATMAN RETURNS (1992)

The word ‘chemistry’ is an overdone thing in film criticism nowadays. But Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer have it, in spade(s). The scene on the sofa where two dysfunctional yet beautiful, powerful souls interact (Bruce and Selina): Beautiful.

Tense, funny, fast, awkward, insightful and punctuated by that moment which says, in shorthand, that these two people cannot ever settle together in lasting domestic love.

They literally begin to feel the scars they have given each other from their other personas and so withdraw from a kiss, readied to face the darkness. So it is tragic, ironic, sexy and thought provoking stuff. All backed by a Christmas motif in the background, too!

  • MARTHA! / BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016)

People hate on this scene, I get it. You are entitled to your opinion. But you are wrong. 😉

It is beautifully scored, lit, edited and sold to us with great acting by Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. You see Affleck’s desperation on Batman’s face. ‘WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?’

He is being awakened from a violent trance of obsession by the recognition of common vulnerability and humanity between him and Superman. And it solves, both credibly and immediately, the problem of the two characters being at odds. Effective and beautiful, moving shorthand.

Batman is remembering his humanity through renouncing his obsessional, delusional hatred for an alien. Turns out, he was angry at himself and Superman was there to bring him back. So his subsequent ‘turn’ into an ally for the good, as Amy Adams’ Lois begs for mercy and alerts Batman to Superman’s mother having the name ‘Martha’? All works.

And critically, all leads into Batman kicking arse to save the Superman Martha mom:  the best live action depiction of comic book full strength Batman. Ever. 

Trivia: I met the lovely vocalist from the score to the scenes in question. I was talking about how much I loved the music and the voice on it. ‘That was me!’, said the singer. Lovely memory.

More next week. Same Bat-time! Same Bat-Channel! Happy Mid-week. x

 

 



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