As if we needed reminding, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Batman since Tim Burton launched the first modern Bat-flick in 1989 (Adam West’s spin-off doesn’t count here), and in truth the franchise has been openly abused from the inside thanks to some seriously baffling decisions made by their directors. Since that first film, fans have traded opinions on just what the worst parts of the Batman film canon has been, and somewhat predictably the answers to the three main qestions – worst film, worst director and worst Batman – are all inspired by the overly-camp attrocity that was Batman & Robin.
But that doesn’t mean Joel Schumacher is the only director to have done wrong by Batman, with some head-scratching moments coming from both Tim Burton and Chris Nolan (the latter including making Bane’s voice apparently impenetrable to a good portion of the English-speaking world). They might not be quite as baffling as almost every creative decision behind Batman & Robin (though actually, there are
So Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and even Chris Nolan hang your heads in shame… Well, maybe not Nolan so much, as these things are all relative, but the other two, definitely.
1. The Joker’s Death (Batman)
Fans of comic books will know that the practice of killing super-villains or superheroes isn’t ever as final as it might seem, especially when it’s one of the biggest properties, because the concept of linear continuity isn’t particularly important to the medium. Story-arcs are better considered as comic book vignettes, that roughly fit together in a tapestry, but that is obviously a more difficult concept to translate across to film-making, unless the film-makers are particularly confident of establishing an ongoing franchise.
But then, why would that have not occurred to Tim Burton and the script-writers of Batman ’89 when it came to deciding the ultimate fate of Batman’s chief antagonist the Joker? It all boils down to the preference of continuity over closure, and rather unfortunately, the latter issue won, with Burton’s Joker meeting a grizzly end well before he should have, and robbing fans of the opportunity to see him again before Nolan’s reboot.
Why didn’t he just capture him and send him for a stretch in Arkham?
Of course, we did almost get to see Joker return, thanks to Scarecrow’s fear gas, which would have resurrected the villain as a hallucination in the ultimately scrapped Batman Triumpant, but to be honest, after Batman & Robin, I’m glad it never came to that.
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