Is there something about the Batman franchise that makes people hate it? What is it about this famous superhero that provokes such strong feelings? Is it because he is so powerful and successful that he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the world? Is it because of the way he dresses? Or maybe it’s the way he acts and the way he gets things done? Whatever it is, we at Coverking are here to let you know exactly what is wrong with Robert Pattinson’s Batman.

The Underwhelming Returns

Nowadays, Hollywood loves making sequels and remakes. It seems like every other week, we are seeing a new film or television show based on a book or comic or video game. But not the Dark Knight. Since 2008, there have been four separate films and a TV show about Batman, and not one of them is good. In fact, if we compare the critical response to other recent sequels and remakes, it is quite clear that Batman is the worst of the bunch.

The Dark Knight (2008) was met with mostly positive reviews, but it still earned only a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2010, the second installment of the franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, expanded on the negative reviews, earning a 22% rating on the Tomatometer. And let’s not forget about the Batman versus Joker episodes of the 1960s Batman television show, which rate around 25% and 34% on Honest Abe’s rating scale (a teleological measure of a comedy’s quality). If you’re curious, you can see where all four of these films rank on IMDb’s Top 250 List.

It would be easy for Warner Bros. to cash in on the craze for all things Batman by rebooting the franchise with a new actor in the role of the Dark Knight, but they haven’t. In fact, 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first and, so far, only Batman movie in the DC Extended Universe, and it was a risky move by the studio. With one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, they knew there would be backlash. But even though it wasn’t exactly well-received by critics or fans, many people probably won’t complain about not having to wait another five years for the next installment.

The Inept Villains

One of the significant problems with the Batman franchise is its villains. It’s not just that they are a pain to fight (though they usually are). It’s that none of them are very memorable, which makes it hard for the hero to stand out. Take the Penguin for example, who made his debut in the 1966 Batman television show. He has gone on to appear in countless films and television shows, and has even had his own amusement park ride, but he is still mostly unknown to the general public. The same goes for the Riddler and Bane, whose stories were told in the 1980s Batman comics, and the Joker (we’ll get to him in a bit).

These villains have been around for a while, but since they haven’t been spoken about much, it’s like they have never even been a part of pop culture. It’s not really their fault. After all, Hollywood execs rarely give superhero franchises the attention they deserve. Most of the time, they are content to recycle the same old villains time and time again, never daring to try something new. When they do, it almost always ends in disaster. Which brings us to…

The Amazing Disappointments

Even though we’ve been down this path before, it’s important to remember that Hollywood tends to undervalue comic books and overestimate theatrical releases when considering which films to make. So when a film like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is considered, it will always have a special place in film history, but that doesn’t mean it was a perfect movie. Far from it. One of the things that makes these films so amazing is that they managed to capture the essence of the comic book while also going the extra mile to make it more cinematic.

In 2012, DC and Warner Bros. held a comic book summit, inviting creators, illustrators, and writers to participate and talk about the legacy of the Batman franchise. The most significant moment came when Kevin Nolan, the younger brother of Christopher, took the stage. Kevin had just finished writing his own graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, which served as a prequel to the Christopher Nolan films. He started by saying that, as a kid, he always looked up to his big brother, and then he dropped a bomb: “I don’t think he’ll ever be topped.”

Christopher replied: “I don’t think so either. But…I’ve always felt that it was a good thing that I didn’t write the Batman story. Because I think, if I had, it would have been very, very boring.”

This was a surprising moment of humility from one of the most prolific filmmakers of all time. In The Dark Knight Returns, which serves as a sequel to the Batman film series, Batman fights the Joker and the Penguin, and it is more of the same. But that was the point. This was supposed to be different. This was Kevin’s attempt at giving the Joker a more human element, portraying him as a bitter, frustrated man who feels marginalized by the world. But it didn’t work. The general public didn’t understand what was going on, and it was quite a chore to try and explain it to them. And then there was Penguin’s constant “confusion” about whether or not the world is flat.

The Dark Knight (2008) wasn’t perfect, but it did have some amazing moments. Like the scene where the Joker threatens to kill Alfred, and the way Alfred replies, “We’ll see about that.” Or the moment when Batman realizes that Gordon has been keeping secrets from him, or when Harvey points out that the only person who hasn’t been complimented is Batman. One of the greatest scenes is when the Joker shows up to congratulate Batman on his “coming out” party. Joker: “You invited everyone in your elite little circle.” Batman: “No, in yours.” Joker: “What are you talking about? This is everybody.”

But none of that matters if the film isn’t good. And unfortunately, The Dark Knight was far from that. Its failure at the box office proved that no one wanted to watch a Batman movie anymore, and while it was critically acclaimed, it fell short of expectations.

The Overblown Budget

The Dark Knight was the first in the series to be known for its incredible production values. Every scene is a sight to behold, with incredible costumes, sets, and makeup. But that doesn’t mean it was a good financial decision. As a self-proclaimed “superfan” of the Batman franchise, it’s quite easy for me to remember how much money was spent on the production of The Dark Knight.

The budget for The Dark Knight was a whopping $250 million. For comparison, the 2011 movie Bridesmaids which was also lauded for its unique aesthetic and extravagant sets cost only $30 million.

And that was before marketing costs. The marketing budget for The Dark Knight was an incredible $100 million (about four times more than what was spent on the actual film). For comparison, The Avengers, which was also a critical and commercial success, spent a significantly smaller amount on marketing — only $52 million.

So, with marketing budgets in mind, let’s take a quick look at the other Batman films. We’ll start with the most recent one, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which came out in 2016 and cost a total of $300 million to produce.

Not too shabby. Especially considering that it made nearly every dollar back at the box office.

The Reckless Repetition

Since the beginning, there has been a connection between Christopher Nolan and the Batman franchise. This is quite evident in his debut film, the underrated 1997 thriller, The Dark Knight. Even though it isn’t connected to the Batman brand, it is still often cited as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. The connection continues with its prequel, Batman Begins, which Nolan directed in 2005. Between the two of them, they have made three Batman movies and a Batman versus Joker television show.

But even then, there were signs that something was amiss. The most glaring example being the fact that both films share a writing credit with Alan Moore, the famed author of both the graphic novels on which the franchise is based and the inspiration for many of the characters in the comics. Moore has publicly stated that he had only seen the first film, and had no involvement in the making of the second. But this didn’t matter, because both films are clearly linked to the same source material.