Tried watching Burton's 1989 Batman... its been several years, and I take back any statement I made about any movie before Begins. There is no "charm," just nostalgia, vague memories and incredibly slow pacing and terrible special effects. And Nicholson's Joker is terrible. Even Dimaggio's is better. There is a tone about Nolan's films that I like... but I have to say, aside from Ledger's performance, Begins is a much more enjoyable, and "complete" film. I can't wait for Dark Knight Rises. And B/S: Apocalypse was pretty good. Introduced me to several new DC characters. I also stand by my "Marvel focuses too much on superpowers" comment. The majority of Batman's enemies are just psychotics and the mentally ill. There is a certain charm about the lack of super-powers I find more appealing than anything else in the DC/Marvel universes.foxhound_fox
I appreciate that Burton's Batman was quite revolutionary back in '89. It was the film that got me into Batman and comics as a whole and had it not been for that film I would have never picked up and read things such as Miller's Year One and The Dark Knight Returns.
That understood, the more you read Batman, the more you come to realize Burton gets just about everything wrong. Nicholson's Joker is nothing but Jack in makeup chewing the scenery and stealing the limelight. Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne is laughably miscast. Then you have the notion of Batman actually killing, which goes against the grain of the character's established parameters to such an extent that you might as well be watching a Punisher flick. The best thing I could ever say about Burton's Batman is that it's a quirky interpretation by a filmmaker who was able to personalize an icon and make an entertaining film that completely abandons the integrity of the source material.
And I won't even get started on Batman Returns, which is simply ridiculous.
Nolan's films are Batman; even when factoring in some of his changes, he and his people understand the character at a molecular level. I actually think Dark Knight is the apex of the superhero genre but I don't think it can be considered a "complete" film until both bookends are finished, namely The Dark Knight Rises. When taken as a trilogy I believe all three films will tell one coherent and brilliant story that will set and maintain the high water mark for years to come. It is a shame that Ledger passed however, as it is clear Nolan intended for the Joker to return.
As to the Red Hood, it is, in my opinion, the best animated Batman film ever made. (Though I haven't watched Year One yet) I was blown away when I first watched it because it actually managed to surpass Mask of the Phantasm, which most Batman fans agreed was the best animated outing and had retained that title since the mid 90's.
One of the most fascinating things about Batman in the DC universe is that despite the fact that he is surrounded by powerful meta-humans whose supernatural and otherworldly powers eclipse his mortal limitations, he is the most feared of all the Superheroes and commands the Justice League side-by-side with Superman. He's also pretty much the only DC hero who has taken down Superman consistently over the years.