Batman has had almost as long a history of appearances on the big screen as he has had in his 75 years of comic book adventures - and this great supercut by video editor Jacob T. Swinney charts the characterisation of the Dark Knight across decades of cinematic incarnations pretty succinctly.

It's cool to see the different adaptations of Batman over the years, from the 1940's Columbia Pictures serials, all the way up to Will Arnett's Batman in The Lego Movie - but perhaps most interestingly it really highlights the ebb and flow of the way Batman is perceived by audiences, two explicit approaches to the character that fade and come into prominence as time passes: The 'serious' Batman and the 'camp'. Many people seem to think there was a distinct break between the two styles when Burton came to define the character (cinematically speaking) in 1989's Batman, but as Swinney's cut shows, it's much more of a rise and fall in how the character is adapted.

We see it start out fairly straight in Columbia's serials, even if there's a sort of archaic, slightly goofy feel to them in the context of modern cinema, but Adam West's take on the character is a complete tonal break, full of silliness - something that is completely excised when we get to Burton's two movies. But then shortly after we see the gaudiness and silliness creep back in in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, before it's once again set aside for the serious, straight tone of Nolan's Bat-trilogy, which came to redefine Batman and the superhero movie just as much as Burton's films did (and it's equally interesting that, on TV, they ran concurrently with the incredibly goofy and camp run of Batman: The Brave and the Bold) - which by now, has become so prevalent and iconic in its grittiness that we arrive at Lego Batman being a silly, hard pastiche of the 'edgy' take on the character.

It's like watching a tide flow in and out - serious, camp, serious, camp. But, you know. With more bats.

[via Laughing Squid]


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