The four Batman films from the 90s even though I guess technically the first one was released in 1989 all share a continuity, now most people like to draw a difference between the Tim Burton films and the Joe Schumacher films and while there are definitely differences between them three is no denying that the four films are meant to take place in the same universe and are not as tonally different as people like to believe so let’s take a look back at them.
Too bad there is no easy way to tell this saga apart and since fans divide the films as mentioned above it hasn’t helped the situation. We’ve seen box sets of the films called as the Legacy collection and also the Anthology so I guess that’s the best we have unless we want to call it a quadriology or tetralogy. The movies do go nicely together when they use the logos to differentiate each movie as each one has a very iconic batman shield for that movie.
All films bring to life a character from the Batman mythos and changes them radically, now some of the changes might be better than others. Joker was a bit too Jack Nicholson but it worked, Catwoman was more of a metahuman but it worked and Penguin was actually a deformed penguin looking freak which I was never a big fan of though it was indeed scary.
Riddler and Two-Face might’ve had too much of a laughing gas but Riddler was still Riddler and two-face while more of a generic villain it worked for the plot. Mr. Freeze might not have had a super tragic ending like in Batman The Animated Series but was still superior to other past incarnations, Poison Ivy was alright and Bane while a shadow of its former self at least worked in not adding another character that needed more backstory by making him a grunt. In the end, Batman kills all of them in one way or another
The films are indeed very different tonally with the Burton films having a noir setting while the Schumacher films have a more techno ravish tone to them and really neither is 100% what Batman is about but it still fits in just fine. Tim Burton does an excellent job giving us this secluded dark full of darkness and lacking any hope, it really is a fantastic mood for Batman films and this is why people hate that it was not followed in subsequent films.
However the cyber-punk look that we got with Schumacher, the tone might’ve been lighter but it was not 60s Batman as some people like to compare it to, there’s a few things here and there that are lighter but in general the tone is still somewhat grim and Gotham is this mess of a city full of crime that can’t be stopped, its just gotten used to now having random super villains and its mixed in this setting that couldn’t have fit a better time period than the 90s when things had to be extreme and eye catchy. There really was a lot more to do with this style as well.
I’m a believer that all 4 movies have their flaws and strengths, the first two might be better cinematic experiences but both Batman 1989 and Batman Returns have a lot more in common in themes with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin that most people are willing to give them and instead will just follow with whatever the general consensus of the internet already thinks without actually giving them a fair chance.
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