It’s one of the most popular phrases in comic book lore:
But, really, who is this masked man? With two of The Bat’s most-popular films celebrating anniversaries this week, Costume Discounters has decided to explore the similarities and the differences between Batman Forever (1995) and Batman Begins (2005), celebrating their 20th and 10th anniversaries, respectively.
While Forever is widely-regarded as one of the worst comic book movies of all time for it’s high regard for color and corny jokes, Begins is popularly-known as one of the best. Both do provide audiences with origin stories and feature eventual Arkham Asylum inmates for their first on-screen portrayal, the latter is darker in theme, and, for as unbelievable as a real-life superhero is, had audiences believing that the storyline was, not only possible, but actually plausible.
Riddle me this: Val Kilmer played Batman in Forever, and Chris O’Donnell acted as his boyish sidekick Robin, but had O’Donnell turned the role down, who was next in line? That’s right; Christian Bale, who has since donned the cape and cowl thrice. For comic purists, one disservice might be that Bruce Wayne, who stands at 6’2″ in the literature, was actually portrayed by two actors who barely breach 6’0″ in these two films. For the more casual fans, though, director Chris Nolan’s biggest controversy in Begins was the first appearance of the Batsuit not being seen until more than an hour into the flick.
When it comes to Forever, though, the biggest of several criticisms of the Batsuit comes, not in storyline, but on the torso. Director Joel Schumacher added nipples to the Batsuit, an idea he got from statues of Greek gods. The nipples went over poorly, not only within the fandom, but also with Bob Kane, the creator of Batman who worked as a consultant on the film.
The Bad Guys:
As previously mentioned, both films introduce familiar foes to the big screen. In Forever, though, it’s kind of a technicality. While fans see Two-Face for the first time in Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones, they’ve seen his former-self, Harvey Dent, in a variety of shows and films featuring the Dark Knight. Pair Jones with Jim Carrey’s overly-animated Edward “The Riddler” Nigma, and you have a lot of crime for one Bat to handle.
The man behind the mask is the one who becomes a target in Batman Begins, as Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) makes his on-screen debut as Bruce Wayne’s mentor, hoping he’ll return to Gotham with the intentions of destroying the city.
Both film’s versions of the Batmobile are awesome, and neither actor who played Batman was permitted to drive them. The only casted character to drive the Batmobile in either film was Chris O’Donnell, who insisted on it, and later crashed it and damaged the fender.
Whether you prefer Kilmer’s Caped Crusader or Bale’s Dark Knight, take some time this week to celebrate The Bat. And, of course, let Costume Discounters help!