Do we want Gothic or Gritty? Do we want ‘Batman Forever’ or ‘The Batman’? Looking back on Batman in the 82nd year since the creation of the property, in celebration of Batman Day, its hard to find an arena where it has failed to find success.
Running as a serial, a campy television show with a movie, Tim Burton’s dark turn before a rapid redirection to child-friendly faire (after the critical rejection of Batman Returns and the arrival of the Fan-Favorite Animated Series and ‘Batman Forever’), a trilogy embracing a grounded, gritty take on the character, a video-game franchise that reshaped the approach to superhero-based games, and a brooding staple in Snyder’s DCEU that has been debated as the best on-screen visualization of the Dark Knight, Batman’s role has shifted among generations of audiences who struggle with their own duality and desire to stand up to fear… and each audience wants their own, personal Batman to be the forefront of canon, in the DCEU and elsewhere in the cinematic landscape.
An audience has been calling for the Schumacher cut, which (if you’ve seen the deleted scenes) dives into the guilt that plagues Bruce Wayne and so many children in our own world who carry the blame of tragedy they experience (without sacrificing Jim Carrey being THE Jim Carrey). AN arguably larger audience awaits ‘The Batman’ and yet more sit patiently for other interpretations that explore the more fantastical elements of Gotham City and the Batman rogues gallery. Here lies an interesting opportunity for WB to hear voices heard by Batman fans of any age and variety, which is likely what they’re doing.
The Schumacher Cut seems to be the only thing not being explored, with many online noting a struggle in the Snyder Cut’s performance, which would lead to hesitation from WB and HBO on another, similar project. The Dark Knight Trilogy, arguably the most “grounded” take, made $2,440,278,890.00 (Numbers gathered are gross income and don’t account for budget and advertising costs). The Burton/Keaton Duology made $414,022,559.00 ($913,410,559.66 when adjusted for inflation), and Schumacher gathered $291,356,307.00 between Batman Forever and Batman and Robin ($551,594,953.89 after inflation). When ‘Batman v Superman’ didn’t perform critically despite an 872,000,000.00 gross, WB pushed Whedon to deliver on the character in ‘Justice League’ (2017). When fans rejected him, they revisited Snyder.
More than ever, fans have power to decide what they want, and there is no shortage of creators willing to give their own voice to the mythology. There will soon be Matt Reeves ‘The Batman,’ Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton reprising their takes in ‘The Flash,’ an ‘Audio Adventures’ outing with an IMPRESSIVE cast, continued comic runs, a legacy of video games, and even more ways to explore what draws us to Gotham City and the Caped Crusader.
In the end, we all simply vote with our wallets, and no amount of toxicity or aggression can take away why we enjoy Batman, and everything that comes with him. So share, celebrate, and enjoy yourselves while the next few years delivers whatever will resonate with audiences for now, and if you don’t see something you want, go out, create, and hold onto it as inspiration.