Batman Day 2018: JUMPCUT’s Top 5 Cinematic Batmen

Today is Batman Day 2018, an annual event where fans come together to celebrate all things Batman. DC is marking the occasion this year by launching it’s highly anticipated streaming service, which will feature shows such is Titans, Doom Patrol, The Swamp Thing, and even Harley Quinn be getting her own show.

Here at JUMPCUT we’re marking Batman Day by ranking our top five favourite cinematic Batmen. As always with our rankings, the team have voted for their personal favourites, and we use a point based system to determine the final rankings – so the rankings below don’t necessarily reflect the teams personal rankings.

 

#5 LEGO Batman (Will Arnett)

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Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman made his first appearing in the 2014 hit The LEGO Movie and he proved such a hit with viewers that Warner Bros. got big ol’ dollar signs in their eyes and made plans for a solo film. Chris McKay, who directed The LEGO Movie, signed on to direct LEGO Batman’s solo outing and he said the comedy in the film was heavily influenced by films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun – and boy does it show. This animated caper pulled no punches with its barrage of easter eggs, cameos, and its general bat-shit craziness. Arnett is returning to voice this moody vigilante in the upcoming The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which hits cinemas next year.

 

#4 Adam West

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The late, great Adam West was cast as Batman after a producer saw him in an advert for NestlĂ©. West played Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Batman TV series that ran from 1966 – 1968 and had 3 seasons and one feature film. Even after the shows cancellation, West returned to the role of Batman in voice-over roles for both TV and animated films – most recently Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs Two-Face, which are based around the campy 60’s version of Batman and his enemies/allies.

 

#3 Michael Keaton

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Michael Keaton donned the Dark Knight’s cape in Batman (’89) and again in Batman Returns (’92), but there were a lot of names in the ring before he secured the role. Actors such as Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, Billy Murray, and Willem Dafoe were all considered for the role before Keaton. His casting caused some controversy amongst comic books fans and Warner Bros received over 50,000 letters of complaint (luckily for them there was no social media platforms back then!) . Complaints aside, Batman (’89) became the fastest film to earn $100m, a feat it managed it just 11 days.  Talks of Keaton returning the the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman have been circling social media later as fans say they would like to see him as an older version of the character in a live-adaptation Batman Beyond.

 

#2 Ben Affleck

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Whilst his future as the caped crusader may be in doubt, Ben Affleck comes graciously in second place amongst our rankings of Batmen. For his first outing in the cape, Affleck went toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck was Zack Snyder’s first choice for the role, but it quickly became apparent that, much like Keaton, Affleck’s casting wasn’t popular amongst comic book ‘fans’. Practically minutes after news broke that Affleck would be the latest live-action Batman, people took to social media with a number of petitions calling for Warner Bros. to remove him from the role and cast someone else. Batman v Superman received what Connor4Real would call ‘mixed reviews‘, but Affleck was largely praised for his performance despite the initial backlash. The less said about Justice League the better, but we here at JUMPCUT hope to see Affleck don the batcowl at least one more time in the near future. The whole team are rooting for Ben and wish him all the best as he recently checked back into rehab for his alcohol addiction. You’ve got this, Ben!

 

#1 Christian Bale

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Our number one likely comes as no surprise to you at this point. Bale suited up for Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) in what is surely one of the highest praised comic book movie trilogies to date. Bale originally had to bulk up for the role in Batman Begins as he had just finished filming The Machinist when he was cast. He gained over 100lb in muscle in just a few months, then he and Nolan agreed he was too big and so he had to lose some of that newly gained muscle to get the look of his Batman just right. Bale’s portrayal of Batman is one of the most popular comic book performances to date and the trilogy as a whole has raked in just under $2.5b at the worldwide box office.

And that’s our cinematic Batmen ranked! We’d love to hear your rankings – feel free to tell us over on Twitter, or in the comments below!

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First Trailer For Justice League Drops at SDCC

‘Justice League’ is a film with a huge amount of pressure on it, in the wake of the hugely divisive ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, so this trailer has a lot of work to do. It has to deliver for fans of ‘Batman v Superman’ AND try to coax back those who were less than impressed with the DCEU’s second outing.

The signs are promising. The bleak colour palette is still on display, but the tone definitely seems lighter. Focusing on Bruce Wayne’s attempts at building said Justice League seems smart at this stage, giving us a chance to get to know each character a little better. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) makes a strong impression, although for me it is Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen who gets the best introduction. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) gets the smallest amount of screen time out of the three new characters – hopefully this will be rectified in future trailers. I’m also hoping that the Cyborg costume is still a work in progress (assuming it’s mainly CGI) as I’m not sold on that at this stage. All in all though this is a solid trailer that shows clear signs that lessons have been learned.

‘Justice League’ is due in UK cinemas on 17th November 2017
Written by Emma Ditchburn

Which Alfred Is The Best?

Written by Patrick Alexander

Much hullabaloo has been made in the recent weeks, months and years as to where Ben Affleck does, has and will stack up in the overall Batman role sphere. Is he better than Christian Bale? Probably not. He’s got to be better than Michael Keaton, right? A push, maybe. Yeah, but he kicks Val Kilmer’s butt? Definitely. However, forget being caught up in the endless debate over Affleck’s position on Mt. Batmore, inevitably carved out of the wet walls of the Batcave. We’re here today to talk about the butler of all butlers, Albert Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth, and where his various portrayals in film and television stack up. 

First, a little history about Alfred. As any comic book nerd will tell you, Albert hails from Great Britain, having been a highly skilled British Intelligence Operative, making him the perfect guardian to protect young Bruce Wayne from the cruelties of a dark Gotham City. Outside of being the most overqualified babysitter and tea-man in the world – from his expertise in domestic sciences to his proficiency with mechanical and computer systems – Alfred always had Batman’s back, even putting his emergency medical acumen to work numerous times to save Master Wayne’s life. So where do the representations of the legendary chamberlain stack up? Let’s find out.


 

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5. Jeremy Irons 
Films: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The latest enactment of Alfred left much to be desired. While his role is scant in the new DC universe picture, Irons does flex his proficiency with mechanical and computer operating systems, helping Batfleck out several times, such as taking control of the Batplane whilst Batman has to skydive smash through a wall to go kick some criminal butts. Irons certainly looked the part as an aged and tired Alfred, ready to give up the reins to his care of Wayne Manor, finding his role rather diminished as Master Bruce had aged gracefully into a Kryptonite induced mid-life crisis. However, there is hope yet for Mr. Irons with ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Justice League’ pictures in production, and the possibility of appearing in solo Batfleck movies, we could still see Irons and his Alfred ascend this list.


 

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4. Michael Gough
Films: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin

Gough carried nearly a decade’s worth of the Alfred torch, spanning the runs of Keaton, Kilmer, and lastly, George Clooney. Whilst Gough never portrayed the more tactical and eternally youthful former military man version of Alfred, Gough served his role as Batman’s foremost confidant in an ever-changing Gotham universe. The most dapper of this list, Gough seemed to always be there with a joke, or to light up a smoke when Master Wayne needed it most. Despite a heralded four film run, spanning three different Batmen, Gough’s finest hour, perhaps, might have been this 1990’s Diet Coke advert. 


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3. Alan Napier
TV Series: Batman 

A throwback to the 1960s live action television series that any older American male can remember watching, spliced into the Saturday morning cartoons. Napier’s portrayal might well have been the most savvy in the pre-super-darkness era of Gotham. Napier’s lighthearted portrayal – before Batman got uber-techie – won hearts as Batman and Robin’s main man (servant). During a storied, three season, 120 episode run, Napier had the Batphone on lock down, always promptly answering and alerting Batman to the dangers of Gotham. Indubitably things got easier once they invented sonar tracking devices and advanced communication platforms, including computers, so it’s hard to say if Napier’s Alfred would have made it in the modern era.


Sean Pertwee

2. Sean Pertwee
TV Series: Gotham

Pertwee makes a strong case for the title belt here, combatting his way onto the Alfred scene. The youngest Alfred to date, known for protecting the young Bruce Wayne in the immediate aftermath of his parent’s demise, Pertwee’s protective instincts for young Bruce and his knack for continuously felling the villains of Gotham come in handy, as Bruce has yet to fully realise or actualise his future as the bodyguard of Gotham. The ‘Gotham’ TV series has been praised as a hot new show from Fox, and it’s casting of Pertwee really delivers, from Wayne Manor brawls with former British Intelligence Operative pals (psychopaths), to always putting himself in harm’s way to shield Master Wayne from the lurking evils of Gotham’s craziest menaces.


Michael Caine

1. Michael Caine
Films: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

Let’s be honest though, we all know Michael Caine is the greatest of all time when it comes to Alfred. Readily beside Christian Bale’s side through the best installment of the Batman franchise, his fame through association certainly buffers his ranking. Competent in (all too often) medical procedures, Alfred never wavers in his faith of Master Wayne as mainly a confidant and ally in his later years. Despite lacking the fighting ability other Alfreds reveal, Caine had perhaps the most quotable Alfred because he understood his role in Wayne’s life as a father figure better than any other. In ‘Batman Begins’, after the house burns down, Wayne belittles Alfred in a rough way saying: “why do you give a damn, Alfred? It’s not your family”. Caine replies in a manner representative of the Alfred who got it most, “I give a damn, because a good man once made me responsible for what was most precious to him in the whole world”. Beautiful, Michael.

Watch This Space: July 13 – 19

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

It’s been nearly three months since Marvel last graced the silver screen, so it’s about time they brought us something new. ‘Ant-Man’ promises to bring a unique and fresh edge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and should entertain cinemagoers of all ages.

I saw the trailer for ‘Self/Less’ recently and I have to say that, despite a reasonably strong cast of Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, it looks like a flop. And judging from various reviews dotted around the web, that hypothesis seems to be correct. Feel free to take the risk though.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 21:00 GMT: Splitting the polls, ‘Bad Teacher’ is a relatively crude, adult and comedic film. Cameron Diaz stars as the detestable, yet hilarious educator on Film4.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: This year’s ‘Furious 7’ was an absolute monster hit at the box-office. See where all the action began with ‘The Fast & The Furious’ on ITV2.

Friday 22:45 GMT: Surely we don’t need to tell you how great ‘Gladiator’ is. Winning 5 Academy Awards and finding itself in the IMDb top 50 films of all time, this is a must-see on ITV1.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Way back in 2000, Ben Stiller graced our screens in ‘Meet The Parents’. Still as awkward and funny as ever, you can find it on BBC3.

Sunday 20:00 GMT: A family-fave due to its obvious youngster appeal and added wit, sarcasm and emotional reach for the adults, ‘Shrek’ is deservedly the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Catch the loveable ogre on BBC3.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Batman: Our news feed was absolutely dominated by San Diego Comic Con last week, most notably the emergence of a trailer for ‘Batman v Superman’, which we LOVE by the way!! The signs suggest that Batfleck might just be a success after all, but until March 2016 we have to make do with the caped crusaders of the past. Tim Burton’s 1989 classic should calm your impatience for a while.

American Psycho: Almost as exciting as the footage of Bats and Supes, was the ‘leaked’ trailer for ‘Suicide Squad’. The man everyone wanted to see – Jared Leto’s Joker of course. He may only play a bit part in ‘American Psycho’, but we don’t need much of an excuse to advocate this gruesome great of modern cinema. Plus, Christian Bale is Batman too, so there’s another link if you weren’t already satisfied.

Grease: This week, the people of Greece united and stood their ground against a harsh and unfair austerity plan, a slap in the face for greed worldwide. Tedious, but phonetically correct, our link comes in the form of 1978 classic musical, ‘Grease’. Both John Travolta and Olivia Newton John will forever be known for their roles as high school lovebirds Danny and Sandy. Complete with “gang” rivalry (gang being used in the loosest sense of the word), adult-scale drama and musical hits a-plenty, it’s a must-see if you haven’t already.

Catch Me If You Can: Based on a real life wonder, this biographical crime drama depicts the fascinating and surreal life of fraudster Frank Abagnale Jr. JumpCut favourite Leonardo DiCaprio leads, successfully demonstrating Abagnale’s tenacity and charm when battling with the law, in the form of Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty. Working as a doctor, lawyer and co-pilot before his 18th birthday, Abagnale’s journey is a riveting one.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Molly Dolan