The Evolution of Batman Films

Batman

Artist Jeff Victor is creating a series of cartoon style art that pays tribute to every Batman movie ever made, from the 1966 Batman film to The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. Each illustration includes a note from the artist about his thoughts on the film. Do let us know in the comments which Batman movie you love the most.

Hey guys, thank you for such an enthusiastic response to the Evolution of Batman art! I’ve had a poster printed and it’s now currently up for sale at my webstore. It is 18″x 24″, and printed on beautiful silky archival paper. It would look great in anyone’s personal Bat-cave. Limited edition of only 300.

The Evolution of Batman Films

“Hey guys! This is really exciting. I’ve been working for weeks on my biggest “Evolution” ever! This time it’s the entire Batman theatrical movie saga, featuring not only Batman, but the main baddies from each film as well! I’ll upload one or two a day. After they’re all posted, I’ll reveal the end product, a beautiful art print with all the characters on it, measuring 18″x24″. Stick around, you won’t want to miss it!”

“In summer 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman arrived and took the world by storm. At the time the only other major superhero movies released in theaters had been the Superman films, whose quality was diminishing rapidly. Batman had been a kitchy fad in the 60’s, but had now gone back to his roots as a dark avenger of the night. Batman introduced the concept of superheroes wearing black rubber suits instead of tights, a costume conceit that still persists to this day. Considered very dark and unsuitable for young children at the time of its release, Batman shocked many parents expecting Adam West style antics. But things were about to get even darker…”

“1989’s Batman was a massive hit. A sequel was greenlit, and Warner Bros allowed director Tim Burton to fully indulge himself in Batman’s dark tone and vile villains, resulting in Batman Returns. Unfortunately, the dark and violent tone of the film backfired in a major way. While the movie was a commercial success, it gained much notoriety as being TOO dark and gruesome. Burton and star Michael Keaton left the franchise, while Warner Bros reversed their decision to make Batman grim and gritty and instead turned the caped crusader 180 degrees into the realm of campy farce. Brace yourself, Batfans. Things are going to get rough.”

“Director Tim Burton was out, and now it was Joel Schumacher’s turn to helm the next Batman movie. The result was Batman Forever. Arriving in 1995, it marked a return to more of a lighter, campier style, similar to the 60’s TV show. Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones played the baddies, each competing to see who could chew more of the scenery. Despite grumblings by comic fans, the movie made a ton of money, and Warners decided to go all in on with this campy style. As we’ll see, this proved absolutely disastrous.”

“So we’ve come to it at last. Batman and Robin. The absolute nadir of not only the Batman franchise, but widely considered one of the worst films ever made. Warner Bros spent a fortune on this film, and tried to cash in on as much merchandising as possible. Unfortunately, the movie was a campy, jokey disaster. Comic fans hated it, the public hated it, and even the stars and director all but apologized for it. The reception was so toxic that it all but killed comic book movies for three years. Batman needed a fresh start, badly. Luckily, help was on its way…”

“Universally hated by just about everyone, Batman and Robineffectively killed the comic movie for a few years. However, after the success of the X-men and Spider-man films, WB decided to give Batman another shot, rebooting the franchise from scratch. Hiring director Christopher Nolan proved to be a very wise choice, as his more realistic version of Batman seemed to be just the things fans were hungry for. Batman Begins was a solid hit, earning critical praise as well. But the strongest Batman film yet was just around the corner…”

“In 2008, WB released what is arguably not only the best Batman movie ever, but the single best superhero movie ever made: The Dark Knight. Received enthusiastically by fans and critics, many described it as elevating the superhero movie genre. Many other reboots, similar in tone were attempted in the wake of Dark Knight, but none captured the lightning in the bottle that this film did. Anchored by an incredible Joker performance by Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight is a milestone in blockbuster filmmaking.”

“The Dark Knight was a bonafide smash hit. How do you follow it up?The Dark Knight Rises was a bold attempt, but due to many strange plot inconsistencies, and an overall less interesting main villain, the story never seemed to quite gel. It has it’s many admirers, but overall it didn’t seem to end the series on a high note.

“So that’s it guys….done! WHEW. Thank you guys for liking, sharing, and commenting on this series. It’s been a real labor of love, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it.”