This might seem a difficult sell, and to be honest I’m really gonna have to dig deep into my recesses to pull this off – but then, I’m up to the challenge. Why? Because I think it’s a worthwhile undertaking: I happen to think that Joel Schumacher is a very good director and it’s sad to see how two silly superhero movies have tarnished an otherwise interesting and artistically fulfilling career. Also I feel that Schumacher’s two Batman films, as flawed as they are, still have more worth and merit than the unholy trilogy that Nolan and his company produced, and I wince a little bit each time I hear someone singing the praises of Christopher Nolan his great Batman films while ignoring the vastly superior Burton and Schumacher films. Burton will at least get a condescending shout out by Batman fans but Schumacher is still regarded as the devil himself.
I feel that most of the problems people find in Schumacher’s Batman films are stupid nit-picky fanboy critiques that don’t have anything to do with assessing the films as works of art but as comic book fanboy properties. It’s utterly ridiculous for a film to be judged as bad just because there are nipples on a bat suit, or because somebody uses a bat credit card. Call me crazy but I happen to think that a film should fail or succeed based on things like acting, plot, direction, writing, etc.
It seems that Schumacher gets a lot of flak solely for not depicting the “right kind” of Batman mystique: the kind of Batman people wanted to see. Forget all that frivolous business about making a good movie, just make sure you get the characterization of Batman correct, and if you do then the movie will get a pass even if it’s an awful incoherent poorly directed mess. At least that’s how it clearly worked for Christopher Nolan.
Schumacher’s Batman films were far from perfect but they don’t deserve half the hate they receive. If people were to step back and take the Bat blinkers off they would see that both Schumacher Batman films have their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Since we never hear about anything but weaknesses, I’ve chosen to highlight 6 things that I believe Joel Schumacher did right in adapting Batman for the big screen, and 6 things that consequently make him a better Batman director than Christopher Nolan.
Maybe if we focus on the good and stop over-emphasizing the bad, we can learn to once again appreciate the cinema a great modern day auteur.
Let’s get into it…
This article was first posted on February 1, 2013