I thought it be a little fun to have a battle thread of two separate film franchises. At first I was considering Burton's Batman trilogy (he did produce Forever) vs. Nolan's...but let's be honest there is no comparison there. I will not be seeing Dark Knight Rises until next week so NO SPOILERS here.... When I thought of potential replacements I realized the answer was obvious: The Donner* Superman films (1978-1987). Just like the Burton* Batman films (1989-1997) there are 4 of them. What I couldn't believe is just how unbelievably close these two film series' are in comparison to one another. They almost perfectly mirror each other. Please note that I am taking into account the fact that both series', particularly Superman's, are rather dated by our modern superhero film notions. *I'm naming these series by the first film's director. So what follows is a LONG (sorry) review of the Good, Bad, and Ugly of each of these film series. I'll give my picks and hopefully you all will contribute your thoughts and suggestions as well. Enjoy! Battle 1: Superman vs. Batman Superman: Directed by Richard Donner (1978) The film that started it all. It was the first real film that hinted at America's appetite for superheroes. It was fun, light, and full of hope. Just like Superman is when he is at his best. It's definitely a little hokey by our standards but it does lay out the origins of one of fandoms most well known characters rather well. Batman: Directed by Tim Burton (1989) The first "dark" superhero movie of its day. Burton introduced a brooding, dark, and more serious Batman to the audiences. Although he does fail to "get" Batman this is a great flick that features an amusingly over the top Jack Nicholson...and when is that ever a bad thing? In what are 4 intense dogfights, this was by far the toughest to call. Superman set the bar for superhero films to this day; but Batman redefined the most iconic character in American folklore...perhaps ever. This could totally go either way, and I suspect many will disagree with me, but for me: Edge: Batman Battle 2: Superman II vs. Batman Returns Superman II: Directed by Richard Donner & Richard Lester (1981) Superman finally gets a physical challenge in this worthy sequel. Zod and company put Supes through the ringer and threaten the world. Batman Returns: Directed by Tim Burton (1992) If you didn't know that Tim Burton likes black, this movie proves it. There has been a lot of recent praise for this film, and I certainly enjoy it on some level, but it is NOT a Batman film. It's a Burton film. Enjoyable? Sure, but it seems like Burton just took the Batman characters and inserted them into one of his odd "misfit monster" tales. The only "Burton" staples missing from this film are Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. I'm sure if Burton had his way he'd do a re-release next year with them CGI added in. To me this was an easy one. Superman II continued the story from I and brought in real threats. Batman Returns presented a fun, but ultimately un-Batmany, Burton experience (before we were dreadfully bored to tears by those). Edge: Superman II Battle 3: Superman III vs. Batman Forever Superman III: Directed by Richard Lester (1983) Well here's where these battles take a turn for the worse, lol. Superman III is a bizarre movie that is probably more comedy than superhero. However if you were young enough to remember it: was there ANYTHING scarier than the evil computer and its wacky cyborg transformations? Nope. Also Richard Pryor is hilarious in a so bad it's good film. Great movie to watch with your friends and a few beers. Batman Forever: Directed Joel Schumacher (1995) Raise your hand if you like "flair"? No one? I didn't think so. Well Joel Schumacher sure does. This film is full of flair and plenty of over the top antics. There are moments in this film that do work. I liked some of the Riddler/Two-Face scheming scenes; those two characters do seem to have an inclination towards one another in some respect. However this is overall a bad movie with only a handful of passable moments. Well it's not easy comparing two very weak films. One is so dumb it's almost fun and the other is at times half way decent but overall a bad film. But I suppose the film that works better over all is... Edge: Batman Forever Battle 4: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace vs. Batman & Robin Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Directed by Sidney Furie (1987) Corny, cheesey, plot hole filled, and rife with hamfisted cold war propaganda this is by all accounts a bad movie. Easily the worst Superman film to date. Batman & Robin: Directed by Joel Schumacher (1997) Ugggghhh.....Screw you Joel Schumacher! Simply because Batman & Robin is the most atrocious, god awful, impossibly stupid, homoerotic, vile, POS probably of all time... Edge: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Well we have a tie 2-2. How can we break it? Female Sidekick Spin-Off Tie Breaker! Battle 5: Supergirl vs. Catwoman Supergirl: Directed by Jeannot Szwarc (1984) Remember this film? Probably not. Heck WB doesn't even include it in its Superman DVD releases. Yet it is a direct spin-off from the aforementioned Superman films (Mark McClure even reprises his role as Jimmy Olsen and the other Supes films are referenced). If you like awful acting this one might be worth checking out. Otherwise this film is unwatchable. If you don't believe me watch any of the clips on YouTube (especially the truck driver/attempted rape scene). Supergirl fights...a witch? Catwoman: Directed by Pitof (2004) This film is a quasi-spin-off to the Batman series. It actually relies on Burton's idiotic notion from Batman Returns that Catwoman is given powers by dying and being revived by cats. Hallie Berry tries here but it is horrendous. Just god awful. Why make this film? It's just miserable. Wow it's really sad that the fate of these two series' have to come down to these two impossibly unwatchable films. Whoever wins: we lose. There's no way to pick the "better film" here so here's what I boiled it down to. Which was less *****e chilling and which was over the fastest (Catwoman has a 20 minute shorter runtime). So with that in mind the winner is...impossibly enough... Edge: Catwoman Again I apologize for picking Catwoman over anything but Supergirl truly is unwatchable. Overall Winner: Burton's Batman Franchise So there you have it. These are my picks in this classic superhero film battle royale that truly contains Good (Superman I & II, Batman & Returns), Bad (Superman III, Batman Forever), and Ugly (Superman IV & Supergirl, Batman & Robin & Catwoman). I'm sure many of you will disagree with me but feel free to explain why you do.