With Ben Affleck in the suit, Zack Snyder at the helm, and the director’s trusted DP Larry Fong lensing the picture, it’s safe to say we’re in for another good-looking Caped Crusader in this month’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” But will the new film support his handsome presentation? That remains to be seen. With nearly 60 years under his bat belt, the Bill Finger/Bob Kane-created superhero has suffered a lot of ups-and-downs. Batman and his public conception have welcomed their fair share of acclaim and ridicule, and with the potential for both just weeks away for Gotham’s savior, The Film Theorists have put together a comparison piece studying the shadowed figure’s greatest triumph (Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”) and worst stumble (Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin”) in this 12-minute video essay.
From studying how Nolan streamlined iconic Batman imagery into the narrative of his second superhero blockbuster while Schumacher “bastardized” it in his second go-about, to the varying success of the villains portrayed in both (making a special note on how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze and George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne/Batman should be been more complex, especially given the inner turmoil they share with grief and the threat of loss with ones they loved), this video ultimately makes a point of noting that Nolan succeeded in his interpretation because — even though he made the character grittier and darker than before — he stayed faithful to the core of Bruce Wayne/Batman, played by Christian Bale, and shot a compelling film trilogy around such a tortured individual. Schumacher, however, made a bland, overtly commercial film with little-to-no respect for its character or audience, and provided a flat, inconsistent lead to boot.
Based on the promotional materials that bounce between promising and worrisome, both seem like possible conclusions for ‘Batman v Superman,’ and early word is equally mixed. But we’ll only have to wait a short while longer to see for ourselves what becomes of this reinvigoration of the ever-popular vigilante.
In any case, check out the new video and watch this well-versed, thoughtful analysis of film and character. And do so before the Batman onslaught continues further as the March 25th release date for ‘Batman v Superman’ looms upon us like the Dark Knight himself above-the-skies and in-the-shadows.