Hi guys! Hopefully some of you have had the chance to see the new Batman v Superman film. I saw it and you can see my spoiler free review here:
It however is not a family film and I would not recommend taking children to see it. However, you can stage your own version of Batman vs Superman at your own home! Recently I watched all of the Batman and Superman movies and you can find my thoughts on all of them over at my blog http://54disneyreviews.com. After viewing 6 Superman Movies, 8 Batman movies, and 1 combined, I can confidently say Superman 1 and 2 and Batman: The Movie are the 2 best versions for a family. Let me tell you why:
Superman: the Movie and Superman 2
I went into this rewatch expecting to like Superman: The Movie the best out of all the Superman films. It was an iconic superhero film that changed the genre from the camp of the 1960s. Richard Donner took a superhero character seriously (without taking it too seriously. A lesson Zack Snyder could learn from). Without Superman: The Movie there wouldn’t be any of the major franchises we see today.
My problem with Superman: the Movie is its extremely slow start. It takes forever to get to Christopher Reeves- nearly an hour. I did find that introduction kind of boring.
However, once we get to Superman things get really great. I particularly loved all the scenes between Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Christopher Reeves’ Superman. They have such wonderful chemistry and play off each other very well.
Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor never really works for me. He’s just too silly and doesn’t fit with the tone of the film.
This is where Superman 2 comes in to play. Despite having major problems behind the scenes the movie turned out great. Christopher Reeves is Superman right away and he and Margot Kidder continue to have great chemistry. This time there is more emotion because Superman must chose if he wants to sacrifice his own happiness to serve the people of earth.
The villain is much stronger in Superman 2 as well. Lex Luthor is there but the main villain is General Zod played with gravitas by Terence Stamp. Director’s Richard Donner and Richard Lester (I watch the Donner cut) do a great job managing tone and walk that line between action, charm, emotion and everything else.
I think you and your family will really enjoy Superman 2.
Batman: the Movie (1966)
I wonder sometimes if we have forgotten that superhero movies can be funny. Not just moments of humor like in the Marvel films but outright comedies. This was the Batman of the 1960s and I don’t know if it is quite given the respect it deserves.
Starring Adam West and Burt Ward, Batman: The Movie is a spinoff from the popular TV show of the time. It’s bawdy and silly and ridiculous and a lot of fun.
The main strengths of this Batman are Adam West as the caped crusader who is actually very charming in the role. I was particularly impressed with him as Bruce Wayne. He is dapper and smoother than I remembered. He and Burt Ward have nice chemistry together.
The villains are wonderful in Batman: The Movie. We get not 1 but 4 classic villains- Joker (Cesar Romero), Cat Woman (Lee Meriwether), The Riddler (Frank Goshin), Penguin (Burgess Meredith). Their plan to use a dehydrator to dissolve the UN is ridiculous but it’s a comedy so I didn’t really care. It’s just fun to see these 4 actors playing off one another.
And then we get the terrific production design. My favorite thing is how everything in the movie is labeled. You get labels on the computers, cups, luggage, cars, etc. I especially liked the label on the entrance to the bat cave and both Dick and Bruce’s fire poles labeled! That made me laugh.
I am sure kids will be disappointed to not get to see the new Batman movie but I honestly couldn’t in good conscience recommend any of the other films for small children. Tim Burton’s Batman movies don’t hold up very well and have darker themes/innuendo, Schumacher Batman movies from the 90s have a surprising amount of erotica for films made to sell toys, and the Nolan films aren’t really made for children.
I certainly recommend the animated versions. I love Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and have heard great things about the Superman animated films, so you could go with those. But for live action I think Superman 2 and Batman: the Movie is your best bet!
Have a family movie night and stage your own version of verses!