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Drips & Dregs: Batman In Cinema


Never bring a Batarang to a rock fight.

Last week on THE ROCK FIGHT (which if you didn’t know is an outdoor podcast that aims for the head) I invoked Christopher Nolan’s amazing film BATMAN BEGINS to help frame all of the different ways we fall in the outdoors. 


If you haven’t listened to it yet you are dead to me but you can revive yourself by clicking here and checking it out. 

 

During that episode I also ranked the top 8 Batman movies of all time. Now there are more than 30 appearances of Batman in movies but I chose to do 8 because they’re the only 8 worth watching and revisiting because Batman as a character has been pretty underserved in his theatrical appearances. Other than this scene of course:



So in today’s Drips & Dregs I want to give you a few more details about my list. 

 

I’m only including Keaton Batman because I feel like I have to. Batman 1989 was a huge moment for me. I was 14 and for six straight months Tim Burton’s first Batman movie dominated everything. Its sequel, Batman Returns, is considered by many people to be the best or at least a top 3 all time Batman movie.  But here’s the thing: those people are wrong.


Lego Batman get’s the 6 spot because while I don’t like it as much as the original Lego Movie this is the first Batman movie that you could talk me into rewatching. 


I really liked a lot about this movie but it’s not super rewatchable as a whole. But the Batmobile/Penguin chase was awesome and I loved the Year One vibes. I didn’t mind the liberties taken with the suit to make sure it was functional and Zoe Kravitz is the real reason to watch this flick. Can’t wait for the sequel.


The most consistent thing that happened during my freshman year of college was convening in my friend Jay’s dorm room to watch an hour of TV before heading to dinner. The shows that we watched during that hour were Animaniacs and Batman: The Animated Series. When a feature length movie based in TAS world was released it was exciting but mostly I remember watching it with my brother and both of us impressed with how good it was; like a real movie, not just a cartoon. Before Nolan, Mask of the Phantasm was the best Batman movie ever.


Perhaps I wasn’t born in the dark and merely adopted the dark as my ally.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about here.  While TDKR doesn’t even sniff the highs of Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, it’s still a really fucking good Batman movie. I always loved the Tom Hardy Bane voice and never minded how the mask muffled what he had to say. And most of all The Knight Fall comic series ran during my peak comic book reading days; so seeing a live action Bane break Batman over his knee is a top 20 movie going experience for me.  One of those things you think you’ll never see and then when it happens you feel a rush that you can’t replicate or explain. 


I was in the moment I saw the teaser.  The only movie I ever walked out of was Batman & Robin and no Batman movie other than Mask of the Phantasm had ever sit 100% well with me.  Batman 1989 came the closest but even then it just still felt like it fell short for whatever reason.  The set design, maybe. The Prince soundtrack overshadows Danny Elfman’s amazing score, definitely.  But from the get go, Batman Begins was a promise of the Batman movie we’d not only wanted but deserved.  Like other comic book nerds I had worshiped at the altar of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and for the first time it seemed like we were going to get something like that in live action.  And oh did Christopher Nolan deliver.  I’ll never forget seeing it in the theater. Little did I know at the time that it was going to get even better.


I really don’t have much to add to the lore of The Dark Knight that probably hasn’t been said a million times at this point so I’ll just tell you this. My enduring memory of seeing TDK the first time at a theater in Delaware during a family reunion at the beach in the summer of 2008 is the first scene where The Joker ‘explains’ where he got his scars... and it was terrifying.  No comic book movie before then had ever delivered such a horror-esque element. It’s an incredible moment and still chilling to watch.


What are your Batman movie rankings? Send them to myrockfight@gmail.com.

See you next week.

-ct


Drips & Dregs is the weekly column from Rock Fight Founder Colin True.

Sometimes outdoorsy and always outdoor adjacent, check in weekly to see what is on his mind.

 

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