A comparison between Batman movies made by Nolan’s as compared to Tim Burton’s

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Nolan showed the real story of Bruce Wayne; how his parents died, how it affected his childhood, and how he overcame his fears while being under the training of Ra’s Al Ghul. Nolan also showed the public’s perspective of Bruce Wayne as a contemptible playboy, who doesn’t take life seriously, flirts around with every other beautiful woman, throws parties and gets drunk. Nolan’s hero played by Bale, was successful in showing us all of these three personalities of Bruce Wayne. A rich distasteful, businessman, a private person, and the Batman with whom viewers will sympathize. Burton’s Batman played by Keaton, on the other hand, didn’t get anything right about Bruce Wayne or Batman. Keaton only got the Batman persona correct and played Wayne like an awkward geek and a Gatsby type of person that none of the viewers are familiar with or know anything about and when one barely knows anything about one’s hero, people are not going to care about him and so will easily be distracted; that’s exactly what Keaton was.

Another failure in Burton’s understanding of Batman is his inability to showcase Batman’s fighting abilities. Burton mostly showed Batman getting knocked out by the main villain’s henchmen, which can become very frustrating to watch and after a while one is just waiting for the action to end and the remaining story to continue. Also, Nolan used a lot of quick-cut editing to show Batman’s fastness in his ability to appear out of nowhere and take down the bad guys and if any Batman fan has read the comic books or played the video games, Batman’s fighting capabilities are supposed to be this way.


Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City was a city overrun by either people like Falcone, Sai Maroni, or Joe Chill, or even Lau. People who were simply criminals and doing their illegal activities making money, or people like Talia Al Ghul, Ra Al Ghul, Joker, Bane, or Scarecrow, who wanted to watch the world to be a completely catastrophic place leading to a loss of all hope for the people of Gotham City. Burton’s Gotham City was simply a circus carnival show for all of the villain’s clowns to play around with. Burton’s style, most of the time, overtook the movie and it became irritable and self-indulgent compared to Nolan’s.


The Batcave in Nolan was the best place for Bruce Wayne along with Alfred to study the psychology of the criminals giving it a look of a real modern day-era Batcave that didn’t look cheap or disgraceful. Burton’s Batcave looked like a set made way back in 1935 {the time before World War 2}. It was dark, dimly lit, and one may feel like looking at a blank computer screen.


The Score by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, used in Nolan’s movies, gets the adrenaline rushing very quickly, realizing how fast and exciting the movie gets whenever Batman is in action and how epic the scale of the Dark Knight Trilogy truly is. Danny Elfman’s score was good too but was overshadowed by Prince {Rest in peace}. In Batman Returns, it doesn’t even feel like a Batman movie, it feels like Burton going full apeshit with his style and the score makes the film feel like a horror movie. That’s not Batman was about. Howard and Zimmer nailed the score compare to Elfman.


Michael Caine’s Alfred was much better than Michael Gough’s Alfred. Caine’s Alfred was smart, considerate, inspirational, and knew the answers to everything. In the Dark Knight Rises, Nolan gave him a humanistic touch by making him declare to be done with helping Bruce Wayne. It felt like more humanistic and real compared to Burton. Burton’s Alfred was a robot who never complained, never be smart, never considerate, never felt human or realistic and should have been called “Alfred Robot Pennyworth”.


Gary Oldman’s Gordon was a detective who was conflicted with his morals of what’s right and what’s wrong. This was expanded in the sequels with Nolan giving him more to do and giving his character an arch. The Burton’s Gordon is pretty much a greedy, fat, ignorant, and oblivious cop who had never anything to do other than just show up every once in a while, giving Batman something, and then just disappear. Nolan’s Gordon was much more sympathetic to watch then Burton’s.


Nolan’s female heroines felt like real people who had motivations and viewers understood what they wanted in life. Rachel Daws wanted to clear Gotham of corrupt people like Falcone and Scarecrow and she was in love with Bruce Wayne. In The Dark Knight, she is conflicted with herself to either marry Harvey Dent or Bruce Wayne and in the end, before she dies, she chose Dent because he could give her a normal life compared to be with Bruce, yet she still remained Bruce’s friend even she died by leaving him a letter. In Anne Hathaway’s case, she is an anti-hero who wants to avoid being killed by Bane and his men, so she betrays Batman to Bane and ends feeling guilty about it. In the end, she redeems herself by helping Batman defeat Bane and Talia Al Ghul. The latter wanted to honor her father’s memory by finishing his work by killing Batman. In Burton’s, his women were just one-dimensional characters, like Vicky Vale, who was just there to look beautiful, scream at every situation, and get kidnapped by the Joker. Michelle Pfeiffer‘s cat-woman was a psychopath whose only way of dealing with life is killing anyone and didn’t seem realistic at all.


Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal of two-faced is the best portrayal of Harvey Dent I have ever seen. He got judgmental looks, the unhinged aggressiveness of Harvey, and the businessman like uniform and attitude. When he becomes Two-Face, one can feel scared and sorry for him at the same time and when he dies, one feels saddened by his death and wish this could never have happened to him in the first place. In Burton’s 1989 film, Dent’s character is useless and appear in only two scenes and doesn’t add anything to the story and one doesn’t know a single thing about him other than the fact that he is Harvey Dent {And don’t even get me started on Tommy Lee Jones’s over the top and cartoonish version of Two-Face that belongs in a 1955 Tom and Jerry cartoon}.

Heather Ledger’s Joker was a realistic anarchist, terrorist, and a mad clown that simply wanted to spread lawlessness in Gotham City. He was trying to get the audience on his side by explaining his monologue about how he is a victim and how the system, rules, laws, government, families, and friends are all lies and how Dent, Batman, Gordon, and Rachel are all living in their own bubble. He also gives us hints of us thinking of him as a modern soldier from the Iraq War who became disillusioned with his own country after his face became disfigured trying to find no WMDs. He also tries to manipulate everyone into thinking that he is the victim of society. That’s why Ledger’s Joker is one of the best villains ever. Nicholson, on the other hand, planned to spread toxin over Gotham City and kidnap Batman’s love interest. Wow! What a great villain he is. NO! He is not and I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up in a 1960s James Bond movie with Roger Moore. He is simply a gangster with white paint on his face and is easily recognizable as a boring and way over the top.


The city’s point of view for Batman in the Nolan was explored way better than in Burton. Nolan showed us that the police suspected Batman as being responsible for Harvey Dent’s murder, but honored Batman by building a statue at the end of Dark Knight Rises for saving the city by taking and dropping the neutron bomb in the sea. In Burton, I simply don’t care about the city helping or chasing Batman because the city has never been a character of itself that hated or loved Batman because he was always in shadows or those clowns that Burton loved so much appeared and caused havoc and wasn’t interested.


The Tumbler in The Dark Knight Trilogy looked realistic and awesome and it made us believe that a real Batman could exist along with his gadgets. It was very useful for him to go to places and investigate in his tank, which gave Batman more advantages in action sequences. In Burton, the Batmobile looks like it belongs in Disneyland Park which looks like a car that is just there to sell toys and never gave Batman any advantage over his enemies.


Nolan’s Batman movies were inspired mostly from World War 2 storied and he created a realistic environment while Burton created a fantasy world for people to escape from everyday situations. The only difference is that Nolan was able to combine fantasy and reality while Burton couldn’t do that and made everything seem implausible to the point of eye-rolling and cringe-inducing.


In Nolan’s movies, everyone was a perfect cast. In Burton’s lot of people were miscast and was only interested in showing weirdo stuff on screen than any plot or character development.


Bale’s Batman voice was perfect because it made him scary, commanding, angry, and determined, while Keaton’s Batman voice was mostly whispering like he is telling a 6-year old girl a bedtime story on Halloween Night.


Bale’s Batman suit was like a realistic armored suit that looked and gave him the impression of a superhero. Keaton’s suit, on the other hand, was simply a rubber sized suit that felt like it belonged in a cartoon and not in a superhero movie and it made the actor not even to move properly and required him to stand around and make awkward pauses.


Batman’s moral code is a vow never to kill. Bale showed that beautifully when he refused to kill Joker or Bane and simply let the police deal with them. On the other hand, Keaton’s Batman kills various people and doesn’t give a thought because they are bad guys with zero humanity or goal or motivation and it’s okay to kill them because people would be cheering when the hero kills the villain and has no emotional resonance. I wouldn’t be surprised if Keaton’s Batman showed up with John Rambo and both of them started killing aimlessly.


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