Ever since the release of The Dark Knight, many fans have been divided over which Batman is better: Robert Pattinson or Michael Keaton?
Pattinson received rave reviews for his performance in the role as the Caped Crusader, while Keaton received criticism for his acting.
Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, the value of the Batman brand has skyrocketed, increasing by 300% in the last year alone.
This article will examine the pros and cons of each actor’s portrayal of Batman, and try to answer the question: Which is better?
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is the fifth and most recent installment of the popular Batman film series, based on the character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939. In this film, director Christopher Nolan chose to go in a more realistic direction, casting a British actor in the title role. In addition to being one of the most financially successful films of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $1 billion, The Dark Knight is also one of the most acclaimed films of all time. It holds an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the highest-rated film in the history of the franchise.
The Dark Knight introduced several changes to the Gotham City landscape. While the city has been devastated by superstorms, gang violence and an economic crisis in past films, this time around the damage is more tangible. The areas around Gotham City that had been safe havens for criminals have become heavily fortified encampments, while the slums have been retrofitted and turned into high-security compounds. It’s fair to say that Gotham, as seen in The Dark Knight, is no longer the golden beacon of hope it had been before. However, as much as the city has changed, Bruce Wayne has not.
One of the most significant changes brought about by The Dark Knight is the increased realism in its depiction of crime and punishment. The film is filled with violent scenes of both criminals and vigilantes, as well as riots, gun battles and the gruesome results of explosions. Most notably, the citizens of Gotham City seem to accept and even welcome these elements of chaos. The Dark Knight might be the first film in the series to feel more like a TV show than a movie. And that might be the scariest compliment anyone can give a film.
Batman is the dark knight. Like its protagonist, the Caped Crusader appears in black leather with a mask, but otherwise, the series is very different from The Dark Knight. While the Dark Knight went for a more realistic, gritty approach, Batman typically chooses a more fantastical direction. In the first film, the sole purpose of Batman is to save Gotham City from an evil man who is trying to murder everyone. While there have been more than 130 Batman films since the character first appeared in the 1930s, the overall tone of the series has remained consistent: It’s always been about a man in a mask fighting crime.
Of course, over the years, the series has evolved. Nowadays, when Gotham City is threatened, it’s not just Batman’s masked identity that threatens it — it’s his reputation as well. For example, in the 1989 film Batman, the Scarecrow releases a virus that spreads through the city’s water supply, turning Gotham’s residents into violent criminals. The city spirals into chaos, with the authorities — including Batman — being overwhelmed by the sheer number of crooks. In other cases, the real-world threat becomes a political one, as in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here, Batman v Superman’s Batman is pitted against the Man of Steel’s Superman, with each hero trying to prove who’s the superior hero).
What if, in the midst of all this, Batman was murdered? That’s what happens at the end of the 2014 film, The Dark Knight Rises. In the final act of this three-part sequel, director Christopher Nolan depicts not one but two separate Batman incarnations: One is a gruff, older Batman, who has grown weary of the city’s crime, poverty and insanity. The other is a bright, young version, who realizes that it’s his duty to protect Gotham City and sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Dark Knight is often cited as the masterpiece of the Batman film series. Its $1.4 billion worldwide gross is the second-highest of all time, and it currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, some critics argue that The Dark Knight’s status as a masterpiece is greatly inflated, because it is the only film in the series to receive widespread critical acclaim, while the rest of them are mostly considered disappointments.
Batman is often described as the anti-hero of the series. Unlike his dark antithesis, The Joker, Batman’s motivation for fighting crime is never explicitly stated in the films. Like other superheroes, Batman seems to get his powers through a combination of biology and technology; he draws on his immense wealth to fund his gadgetry and to create an efficient organization to take on his enemies. In fact, one could argue that Batman is the ultimate anti-hero, because he never actually intends to do any real harm — he’s just going after the bad guys.
Which is Better?
The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a realistic portrayal of crime and punishment in Gotham City, then go see The Dark Knight. If you want to escape into a world of superheroes and monsters, then go see Batman. These two films are like the yin and the yang of the Batman film series. One is serious, the other is fun, and together they make for one of the most interesting combinations ever. In the end, it’s all about what you want out of your entertainment.