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View Poll Results: Who was the better Batman / Bruce Wayne, and why?
Christian Bale (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) 265 61.20%
Michael Keaton (B89 and Batman Returns) 168 38.80%
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:11 PM   #76
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Originally Posted by Godzilla2014 View Post
True, but he still comes off as lacking Batman's traditional drive and obsession. He is neither the laconic, weird creature of the night that Michael Keaton's Batman was nor the frightening, driven man of justice that Christian Bale's Batman is. He comes across as having become depressed by his parents' death, and such depression isn't consistent with the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that becoming and being Batman would entail.
I think you're mis-construing the character altogether. He is still portrayed as all of those things. He still has the capacity to frighten criminals (note the scene where the mere sight of him causes that whole alley full of scumbags who were attacking Dick to scatter in fear).

He's still driven by justice or do you consider his quest to bring down Two Face not a man driven by justice?

He's still very much obsessive, which is why he sees in Dick what he saw in himself. It's why he takes him into his home. It's why he's adamant that Dick not kill Two Face because if he does he'll lose himself to the darkness like he did. He even mistakenly says "I killed them" when he's referring to the death of Dick's parents.

Batman is a character depressed and haunted by his parents' death. For the first time we get to see it used effectively and not just as a plot device. Batman Begins also did something similar with Bruce being haunted by images of bats and having flashbacks to when his parents were killed. These are things that haunt him.

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Did you forget about the flashbacks to the Waynes' deaths in Batman (1989)?
Yes, but that was only prompted by him recognizing Joker as his parents' killer. Kilmer's Batman was always haunted by these images without having to be looking at the face of his parents' killer.

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Old 08-13-2011, 12:39 PM   #77
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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I think you're mis-construing the character altogether. He is still portrayed as all of those things. He still has the capacity to frighten criminals (note the scene where the mere sight of him causes that whole alley full of scumbags who were attacking Dick to scatter in fear).
I never really bought that scene. Val Kilmer's Batman never came across as someone who criminals would be afraid of. If that had been either Michael Keaton's Batman or Christian Bale's Batman, I would be willing to believe that they would scatter in fear at the mere sight of Batman.

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He's still driven by justice or do you consider his quest to bring down Two Face not a man driven by justice?

He's still very much obsessive, which is why he sees in Dick what he saw in himself. It's why he takes him into his home. It's why he's adamant that Dick not kill Two Face because if he does he'll lose himself to the darkness like he did. He even mistakenly says "I killed them" when he's referring to the death of Dick's parents.

Batman is a character depressed and haunted by his parents' death. For the first time we get to see it used effectively and not just as a plot device. Batman Begins also did something similar with Bruce being haunted by images of bats and having flashbacks to when his parents were killed. These are things that haunt him.
What I am saying is that Val Kilmer's Batman seems to lack the passion of either Michael Keaton's Batman or Christian Bale's Batman. Him trying to stop Dick from going down the same road he did is something of an exception, but otherwise, he doesn't seem to have much drive or passion as Batman.

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Yes, but that was only prompted by him recognizing Joker as his parents' killer. Kilmer's Batman was always haunted by these images without having to be looking at the face of his parents' killer.
True, but I think he was haunted by his parents' deaths throughout the Burton films, and was emotionally scarred as a result of the experience.

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Old 08-13-2011, 12:49 PM   #78
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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I never really bought that scene. Val Kilmer's Batman never came across as someone who criminals would be afraid of. If that had been either Michael Keaton's Batman or Christian Bale's Batman, I would be willing to believe that they would scatter in fear at the mere sight of Batman.
Well that's your own personal preference, of course. I would agree that Bale and Keaton are more intimidating than him, but then the movies they are in are more dark than this one, too. But the fact is that his Batman is still portrayed as a figure with the capacity to scare criminals. That's the point.

Whether you buy that or not is beside the point. That's the way it is in the movie.

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What I am saying is that Val Kilmer's Batman seems to lack the passion of either Michael Keaton's Batman or Christian Bale's Batman. Him trying to stop Dick from going down the same road he did is something of an exception, but otherwise, he doesn't seem to have much drive or passion as Batman.
That's because he faces a crisis of identity in this one. He's supposed to be lacking a passion for the mission because it's haunting him too much now. Kind of like Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2. That's why he makes the decision to quit. Remember when he's shutting down the Batcave and Dick is arguing with him that he can't quit?

In the end he over comes it. "I had to save them both. You see I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be, but because I choose to be".

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True, but I think he was haunted by his parents' deaths throughout the Burton films, and was emotionally scarred as a result of the experience.
Again that's all down to personal perception. In both Returns and TDK there is no direct references to Bruce's parents.

With Batman Forever it is made clear he's haunted and emotionally scarred by it to the point where he goes to see a psychiatrist to deal with it.

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Old 08-13-2011, 01:12 PM   #79
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Well that's your own personal preference, of course. I would agree that Bale and Keaton are more intimidating than him, but then the movies they are in are more dark than this one, too. But the fact is that his Batman is still portrayed as a figure with the capacity to scare criminals. That's the point.
The thing is that the fear in the hearts of the alley full of thugs that cause them all to flee is inconsistent and contrived. After all, none of Two Face's thugs are afraid of Batman, and they don't run, even though they are approximately 10 or 20 of them. So why are about 100+ thugs so terrified that all of them flee at the mere sight of him? Wouldn't they use "strength in numbers" and attack him?

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Whether you buy that or not is beside the point. That's the way it is in the movie.
Well, it affects my opinion of his performance, because what is shown does not match what we are told (visually).

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That's because he faces a crisis of identity in this one. He's supposed to be lacking a passion for the mission because it's haunting him too much now. Kind of like Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2. That's why he makes the decision to quit. Remember when he's shutting down the Batcave and Dick is arguing with him that he can't quit?

In the end he over comes it. "I had to save them both. You see I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be, but because I choose to be".
True, and I think that had Batman Forever maintained its subplots and such, it would affect my overall opinion of Val Kilmer's performance. However, I really can only judge the film and its content as I have seen it.

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Again that's all down to personal perception. In both Returns and TDK there is no direct references to Bruce's parents.

With Batman Forever it is made clear he's haunted and emotionally scarred by it to the point where he goes to see a psychiatrist to deal with it.
True, but it doesn't always need to be flat out said. I knew that Bruce Wayne was haunted by his parents throughout Batman Returns, through the film's subtleties, like when he "His parents, I hope he finds them." to Alfred about Oswald Cobblepot's search for his parents.

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Old 08-13-2011, 02:12 PM   #80
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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The thing is that the fear in the hearts of the alley full of thugs that cause them all to flee is inconsistent and contrived. After all, none of Two Face's thugs are afraid of Batman, and they don't run, even though they are approximately 10 or 20 of them. So why are about 100+ thugs so terrified that all of them flee at the mere sight of him? Wouldn't they use "strength in numbers" and attack him?
Because Two Face's men were anticipating Batman, armed with guns and the whole point of Two Face in this movie was trying to find and kill Batman. So if you're working for him then you've put aside your fears of Batman.

Did you see any of the Red Triangle gang running in terror from Batman during the attacks on Gotham when there was dozens of them?

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Well, it affects my opinion of his performance, because what is shown does not match what we are told (visually).
So you really believed that thug who asked Keaton's Batman "What are you?" when he was holding him up close to his face? Because anyone with two functioning eyes can see it's a man in a costume.

These are the aspects of Batman where you're supposed to suspend your belief.

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True, and I think that had Batman Forever maintained its subplots and such, it would affect my overall opinion of Val Kilmer's performance. However, I really can only judge the film and its content as I have seen it.
In what way did it fail to maintain that sub plot? It ran throughout the whole movie. It's peppered with scenes about Bruce's nightmares.

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True, but it doesn't always need to be flat out said. I knew that Bruce Wayne was haunted by his parents throughout Batman Returns, through the film's subtleties, like when he "His parents, I hope he finds them." to Alfred about Oswald Cobblepot's search for his parents.
That doesn't mean he's haunted by it, it means he relates to it. Oswald is missing his parents. Bruce knows what's that's like and hopes he finds them.

I lost my little brother several years ago. If someone said their little brother is missing or died, I could relate to it. It doesn't mean I'm haunted by it. I still miss him terribly, but I'm not haunted by it having nightmares and what not.

Relating to someone's situation doesn't equate to being haunted by it.

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Old 08-13-2011, 02:38 PM   #81
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Because Two Face's men were anticipating Batman, armed with guns and the whole point of Two Face in this movie was trying to find and kill Batman. So if you're working for him then you've put aside your fears of Batman.

Did you see any of the Red Triangle gang running in terror from Batman during the attacks on Gotham when there was dozens of them?
Good point. Still, why did the thugs in the alley all run in fear? After all, they outnumber Batman 100:1, so they would have stood a good chance of beating him, even if they had to tire him out. So why did every solitary last one of them flee?

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So you really believed that thug who asked Keaton's Batman "What are you?" when he was holding him up close to his face? Because anyone with two functioning eyes can see it's a man in a costume.

These are the aspects of Batman where you're supposed to suspend your belief.
I guess I think of that as the thug expressing disbelief that he just saw Batman recover pretty quickly after getting shot.

I understand that disbelief must be suspended, but I feel that there should be some effort put in to make that suspension of disbelief easier in this case. Both Michael Keaton and Christian Bale succeeded in selling me on Batman being frightening to criminals. Val Kilmer makes no such effort, and, other than in the alley scene, there isn't an indication that criminals are afraid of him.

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In what way did it fail to maintain that sub plot? It ran throughout the whole movie. It's peppered with scenes about Bruce's nightmares.
What I am saying is that most of the Red Book subplot was excised, as were other things. The inclusion of those scenes would affect my overall opinion of Batman Forever and its components.

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That doesn't mean he's haunted by it, it means he relates to it. Oswald is missing his parents. Bruce knows what's that's like and hopes he finds them.

I lost my little brother several years ago. If someone said their little brother is missing or died, I could relate to it. It doesn't mean I'm haunted by it. I still miss him terribly, but I'm not haunted by it having nightmares and what not.

Relating to someone's situation doesn't equate to being haunted by it.
I'm pretty he's always haunted by it. It's the reason why he has trouble getting close to people in both Batman and Batman Returns, and it's why he's Batman.

Sorry about your loss.

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Old 08-13-2011, 03:29 PM   #82
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Again that's all down to personal perception. In both Returns and TDK there is no direct references to Bruce's parents.

With Batman Forever it is made clear he's haunted and emotionally scarred by it to the point where he goes to see a psychiatrist to deal with it.
But in B89, I thought it was extremely clear. He goes to the site were his parents were shot, and puts roses on the ground. He has flashbacks about them, after he made the Jack/Joker connection, and at the very end of the movie, when he's fighting Joker, he says, "you killed my parents. I made you, you made me first".

I can't say the same about Returns, other than what has already been said about Cobblepot.

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Old 08-13-2011, 03:39 PM   #83
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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But in B89, I thought it was extremely clear. He goes to the site were his parents were shot, and puts roses on the ground. He has flashbacks about them, after he made the Jack/Joker connection, and at the very end of the movie, when he's fighting Joker, he says, "you killed my parents. I made you, you made me first".

I can't say the same about Returns, other than what has already been said about Cobblepot.
Exactly.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:15 PM   #84
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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actually, i would rate all the batmans pretty much in the order they were released, actor wise. keaton was the best, hands down. i have absolutly no issues with him as batman, he just fit the role despite his size. val kilmer was a step down, but i thought he still rocked as batman and did a good solid job and brought a different kind of energy to the roll, not to mention more athletic and he looked bangin in that sleek batsuit. george clooney for some might be the worst, but he was the most likeable batman, obviously very friendly and i thought his scenes as bruce wayne were better then his batman scenes. at least he was likeable. then you got bale who i just plain couldnt stand in or out of that rediculous looking batsuit with the gigantic egghead cowl and the silly looking S&M rubber and cloth cape. the Begins suit looked downright awful, worst suit of the films, even more then TDK suit, which doesnt get a free pass either but at least it looked a bit sleeker. still, bale to me is wooden, comes off as an irritating college kid who can do anything he wants and get away with it. i honestly dont see whats so special about him as batman. he lacks charisma that even clooney managed to have.
Bale is a great actor but he doesn't work that well for a psychological take on Bruce Wayne or Batman. To me, he's just a replaceable actor. Sometimes when he's in the suit and growling, I wonder if a stunt person could do just as good as a job.

That still irks me, why does he growl so much? I've never pictured Batman in any incarnation to need to growl to remain feared or to keep his identity a secret.

I think Clooney's could possibly work in a live action TDK Returns movie.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:20 PM   #85
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Those nightmares about his parents death, falling into the cave and seeing the giant bat that kept haunting him are straight from the comics.

It's the only time we got to see inside Batman's mind and what haunts him in the old franchise.
Yep. Those two deleted scenes in BF were so good. The one where he crawls into the deeper parts of the Batcave, finds the redbook, reads it, cries a bit and faces a giant bat. And the other one where he's asking Alfred if his nightly escapades were always just to run away from his past. Never saw anything like that in any of Nolan's movies. Bale just didn't explore any of this identity crisis properly. The guy is just wooden, either he's just staring blankly into space (which as someone else noted, works well for American Psycho, his absolute best role), or he's forced to cry a bit or he just looks plain BORED to be on the set.

BF's remastered Red Book/Giant Bat scene:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW8MMJ9NeHg

A relaxed Kilmer asking Alfred the most important question of his life:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEGl8FJ99sg


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Old 08-13-2011, 04:26 PM   #86
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Exactly.
I have always thought it was lame to make Joker to be the Waynes' killer.

However I thought that maybe this is left to our interpretations. Perhaps Jack may or may not be the killer.

This is because it's all in Bruce's head, it's all in memories and flashbacks.

Keaton's Bruce Wayne is so psychotic that maybe his mind is playing tricks on him. He's subconsciously PROJECTING Jack's face onto the shadowy figure that he met a life time ago.

It could have been a different Jack, it could have been anybody. Associating the two, the Killer and the Joker, just made his job easier because he finds more devotion.

This confusion in regards to whether or not Jack killed his folks, or if it's Bruce just going mental, makes Keaton's take truly "mysterious".

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:27 PM   #87
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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But in B89, I thought it was extremely clear. He goes to the site were his parents were shot, and puts roses on the ground. He has flashbacks about them, after he made the Jack/Joker connection, and at the very end of the movie, when he's fighting Joker, he says, "you killed my parents. I made you, you made me first".

I can't say the same about Returns, other than what has already been said about Cobblepot.
I love the fact that Bruce goes to a shrink to get cured. The identity crisis deepens because he has to decide whether to lie about Batman or to come clean. Or the quit and never mention Bats again.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #88
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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I have always thought it was lame to make Joker to be the Waynes' killer.

However I thought that maybe this is left to our interpretations. Perhaps Jack may or may not be the killer.

This is because it's all in Bruce's head, it's all in memories and flashbacks.

Keaton's Bruce Wayne is so psychotic that maybe his mind is playing tricks on him. He's subconsciously PROJECTING Jack's face onto the shadowy figure that he met a life time ago.

It could have been a different Jack, it could have been anybody. Associating the two, the Killer and the Joker, just made his job easier because he finds more devotion.

This confusion in regards to whether or not Jack killed his folks, or if it's Bruce just going mental, makes Keaton's take truly "mysterious".
Nah, I don't think he was confused, or it was "all in his head", because after Bruce heard the 'ol "ever dance with the devil" line, he immediately remembered his parents killer.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:34 PM   #89
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

Burton just wanted to give him a greater reason to hate Joker and make it all relate. Nolan basically did it via inspiration from most of the books by having them relate due to Joker being obsessed with Batman and viewing him as a lifelong yin to his yang.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:43 PM   #90
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Nah, I don't think he was confused, or it was "all in his head", because after Bruce heard the 'ol "ever dance with the devil" line, he immediately remembered his parents killer.
Are we so sure that Bruce is not just having an episode? Memory can play tricks on us, especially if it's from so long ago. Maybe it's just up to the individual viewer to decide. I think it's best that way, it gives the film more gravity.

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Old 08-13-2011, 06:01 PM   #91
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

Michael Keaton anyday!

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Old 08-13-2011, 07:35 PM   #92
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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I have always thought it was lame to make Joker to be the Waynes' killer.

However I thought that maybe this is left to our interpretations. Perhaps Jack may or may not be the killer.

This is because it's all in Bruce's head, it's all in memories and flashbacks.

Keaton's Bruce Wayne is so psychotic that maybe his mind is playing tricks on him. He's subconsciously PROJECTING Jack's face onto the shadowy figure that he met a life time ago.

It could have been a different Jack, it could have been anybody. Associating the two, the Killer and the Joker, just made his job easier because he finds more devotion.

This confusion in regards to whether or not Jack killed his folks, or if it's Bruce just going mental, makes Keaton's take truly "mysterious".
I don't think that was at all intended to be taken that way, but it would make Batman the first superhero psychological thriller. That would be really interesting.

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Burton just wanted to give him a greater reason to hate Joker and make it all relate. Nolan basically did it via inspiration from most of the books by having them relate due to Joker being obsessed with Batman and viewing him as a lifelong yin to his yang.
Pretty much.

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Michael Keaton anyday!
If you prefer Michael Keaton's Batman, wouldn't be more appropriate since he wore the symbol with the ellipse, while Christian Bale wore the simple black bat? Just saying.

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Old 08-13-2011, 08:53 PM   #93
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If you prefer Michael Keaton's Batman, wouldn't be more appropriate since he wore the symbol with the ellipse, while Christian Bale wore the simple black bat? Just saying.
How right you are.


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Old 08-14-2011, 08:50 PM   #94
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

I think after Begins came out Kilmer's weak and mismatched portrayal was even more evident. Both Bale and Kilmer were all about the cave memories and the rememberance of the murder night. Yet ALL Kilmer did was being sad and depressed, and Bale was so much more complex and developed and multilayered and real. Even in the suit, Kilmer was just this sad guy. Sad. Even when he was fighting criminals he either looked sad or frightened. Keaton was always vicious looking, making angry eyes and facial expressions. Same with Bale. Plus Bale wasnt moping around all the time in and outside the suit.

Kilmer was a big mistake imo, as was everything in Schumacher's Batman movies. Imo Forever isnt much better than B&R

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #95
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I think after Begins came out Kilmer's weak and mismatched portrayal was even more evident. Both Bale and Kilmer were all about the cave memories and the rememberance of the murder night. Yet ALL Kilmer did was being sad and depressed, and Bale was so much more complex and developed and multilayered and real. Even in the suit, Kilmer was just this sad guy. Sad. Even when he was fighting criminals he either looked sad or frightened. Keaton was always vicious looking, making angry eyes and facial expressions. Same with Bale. Plus Bale wasnt moping around all the time in and outside the suit.

Kilmer was a big mistake imo, as was everything in Schumacher's Batman movies. Imo Forever isnt much better than B&R
Agreed. I never really get excited about Val Kilmer's Batman, while I do for Christian Bale's Batman. I find Christian Bale's Batman to be far more compelling.

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #96
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

I like Kilmer way better than Keaton or Clooney. I think he made a better job of the role and he had a better script to work with for Batman's character.

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:30 PM   #97
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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I like Kilmer way better than Keaton or Clooney. I think he made a better job of the role and he had a better script to work with for Batman's character.
I thought that Michael Keaton was the best Batman of the old franchise. He felt more compelling to me than either Kilmer or Clooney.

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Old 08-14-2011, 10:28 PM   #98
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

Yeah I have a hard time believing someone that's so kind and sad, with lack of aggression, going out on a nightly basis beating the crap out of criminals. There's not even a small fire inside of Kilmer. It really makes little sense.

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Old 08-14-2011, 10:37 PM   #99
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

Jim Carrey's Riddler was the saving grace of Batman Forever. B&R has no redeeming quality whatsoever.

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Old 08-14-2011, 10:38 PM   #100
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Default Re: Christian Bale v.s. Michael Keaton - Part 2

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Yeah I have a hard time believing someone that's so kind and sad, with lack of aggression, going out on a nightly basis beating the crap out of criminals. There's not even a small fire inside of Kilmer. It really makes little sense.
My thoughts exactly! To me, he lacks the energy of either Michael Keaton or Christian Bale's performances as Batman. He has neither the ghostly presence of Michael Keaton's Batman nor the animalistic rage of Christian Bale's Batman.

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