|Harley Quinn in "Harlequinade"|
|Bruce Wayne and Diana of Themyscira|
|Batman and Superman animated series crossover episode|
Batman has served as a stoic foil to Superman ever since the two teamed up, and I especially liked Jeph Loeb's treatment of this in the Hush storyline. However, something like that would've been difficult to translate onto film. A three-part crossover between the Batman and Superman animated series and among my favourite episodes is the "Batman/Superman story" aka "World's Finest", a marvellous tale in which the Joker gets his hands on a dragon carved entirely out of Kryptonite and tries to sell his Kryptonian-killing services to Lex Luthor, while Bruce Wayne travels to Gotham to embark on a partnership between Lexcorp and Wayne Industries to develop space exploration robotics, which Lex of course uses for weapons. One can actually watch it on YouTube in separate parts.
Speaking of YouTube, there is also a fair amount of very good Batman fanfilms out there on YouTube, which shows that even with no budget dedication and sheer fanboyness can produce some awesome results. My favourites are linked below:
|Batman: Dead End fanfilm|
Batman: Dead End Definitely one of the best-produced fanfilms around, Batman dukes it out with Predators and Aliens. Nice!
World's Finest Done by the same production team as Batman Dead End headed by Sandy Corolla, the plot of this fan trailer pretty much mirrors that of various Batman/Superman stories but is very well acted and filmed.
Grayson I'd suffer hell if I didn't mention this groundbreaking fan film. It looks like a vanity project, but one can see all the work (and money) put into this fan trailer for a film where Dick Grayson avenges the death for Batman, returning to his Robin persona.
And lastly, Batman Legends Poorer production quality than the previous films, but very good characterization of a myriad of villains, plus one of the few fanfilms out there to show the Bat family in action together.
|Batman/Superman: Public Enemies|
|Joker and Robin in Batman: Under the Red Hood|
|Batman and the Red Hood|
|Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman, Batman Begins|
|Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face|
On a separate note, my best friend lent me the comic book adaptation of Batman (1989) by Dennis O'Neil and with art by Jerry Ordway and colours by Steve Oliff. It's the best comic book adaptation of a film I have read bar none. The art is amazing and the story is actually a teensy bit better than the film itself, with some very dramatic and well-drawn panels. Of course, by now this volume is very rare but it is worth searching for. Ordway also pulls off the likenesses of Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger incredibly well.
I didn't enjoy the film itself that much (mostly because the Joker killed Batman's parents, Alfred let Vicki Vale into the Batcave and Batman goes around happily killing people) but I did enjoy the comic adaptation. I have mentioned my love-hate affair with the Burton movies in part 1.
I think Christian Bale is doing most solid work and I'm very content for him to stay in Batman's cape and cowl. However, I have contemplated Keanu Reeves as Batman, and a local movie magazine did choose him when the writing staff tried to cast Justice League. Speaking of which, Armie Hammer, who has now fame as the twins in The Social Network, was been cast as Batman in the stuck-in-development-hell Justice League live-action movie which has now been cancelled.
|Batman: The Long Halloween|
With regards to straight adaptations of existing comic book story arcs, I would stay as far away from filming an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns as possible. To be completely honest, I am nowhere near a fan of most of Frank Miller's work. A grumpy retired Batman pummelling mutant rebels with a female, redheaded bespectacled Robin by his side would sound very far out to the average popcorn-munching audience, who make up the target audience as much or perhaps even more than your average fanboy. I don't think it's wise to adapt graphic novels wholesale, just take the choice parts as inspiration (which was exactly what Batman Begins and The Dark Knight did with great success). Graphic novels tend to carry a lot of baggage story-wise, which requires some background knowledge to get into. Also, being such a rich medium, things getting lost in translation are inevitable. However, my choice for big-screen treatment would be The Long Halloween and Hush, two sweeping, dramatic and exciting story arcs. Still, practicality and marketability rule out both, which consist of "everyone and their mother"-type kitchen sinks of lots and lots of characters.