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I consider these sequels the best of their respective, independent series. It truly is difficult. Two fantastic takes on the same concept. It's killing me, but I'm going with 'Returns.' I think its overall tone was more consistent.
TDK destroys even Burton's Batman movies. I still very much like Burton's Batman movies, but this is not even close.
No contest. Ledger destroys Devito.
But does Ledger destroy Walken?
For me Batman Returns easily.TDK is a tad bit overrated.
I really think that The Dark Knight is overhyped, but it's still a great movie. Thus, this is no real contest because Batman Returns, while still being fairly good, doesn't come close to the original Burton Batman, Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. It's just too bizarre at times to be considered a truly great Batman movie.
I have to admit that it's been far too long since I've seen Batman Returns. I'm actually ding to see it again....
I've never liked DeVito's Penguin, and I found Walken oddly under-whelming. "The Dark Knight" wins.
Both awesome. Refuse to participate.
@slvs:Yes. Yes, he does. I love Burton's stuff, but TDK makes just about EVERY superhero movie look silly by comparison.
I liked De'Vito's penguin but Ledger's Joker was legendary ( "why so serious"). TDK makes other super hero films seem like child's play. (I loved the child's play fantasy of Spider-man 2 though.)
Another thing that gives TDK the edge over, well, just about any action movie is its dangerous villain. Ledger made me nervous whenever the Joker was onscreen. Like something extremely violent could happen at any moment. Some of my favorite villains, guys like Oldman in The Professional, didn't make me nervous. Ledger's Joker did.
Batman Returns has the talents of Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton going for it, and it's the only other Batman flick that I have a fondness for other than The Dark Knight. Well, I don't really have a "fondness" for The Dark Knight, because it's not fun or fantastical like Batman Returns. No, instead The Dark Knight is grimmer and grittier, and a meaner machine all around. I think The Dark Knight delivers the action and intensity far better, but Batman Returns does appeal to me more on a human sort of level. I didn't really relate to any of the characters as strongly in The Dark Knight because they lacked the same damaged melancholy of the characters in Burton's movie. Still, The Dark Knight does kick more ass. Both movies have their excesses, but The Dark Knight manages to deliver the most thrills and feelings of awe despite its weaknesses.
Batman Returns, definitely. While Dark Knight is a very good film, it's insanely overrated, overlong and wouldn't be half as memorable without Ledger's performance for it to lean on.
@kingofpain: you hit the nail squarely on the head. I still think Returns is the best of the 1st four Batman films, but The Dark Knight...and especially Batman Begins, for that matter...are leaner, grittier, more realistic films with MUCH better action and plots that are much more thought out. Plus, Nolan's films are cast very, very well, from Bale as Batman to Caine as Alfred.
Particpation I hardly knew ye. Going with the symbolism of Returns over TDK's transparent assertions on humanity and ethics.
I love Batman Returns a lot. The Dark Knight is good, but it doesn't have any of the magic, and is notable primarily for a single performance.
Returns is garbage, pure and simple. A terribly written mess with a plethora of plot holes, contrivances, ridiculous backstories, motivations that are either bland or make no sense, and for a film that many describe as "emo", it seems to also be dealing with a great amount of attention deficit disorder. Giving Burton complete control was just as much of a mistake as giving Michael Bay full control over Revenge of the Fallen. The Dark Knight wins in a landslide.
Squaremaster couldn't have said it better. Dark Knight by far.
No question here. Dark Knight buries Batman Returns...