We all remember George Clooney in the 1997’s Batman & Robin, right? The movie gave us n*pples on the Batsuit, cringeworthy puns, and a laughable portrayal of Mr. Freeze by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a disaster, to say the least, and left many fans wondering if the Batman franchise was doomed forever.
Enter Christian Bale, the British actor who would become one of the most beloved and iconic Batmans ever. It all started with 2005’s Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan, which breathed new life into the franchise and set it on a path toward critical and commercial success.
George Clooney’s infamous role as Batman
George Clooney. the actor known for his charming good looks and smooth-talking demeanor, was an unlikely choice to play Batman in Batman & Robin, The movie, directed by Joel Schumacher, was a huge departure from the darker tone of Tim Burton’s earlier Batman movies and left audiences scratching their heads.
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In an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, George Clooney joked about his portrayal’s impact on the franchise, saying he would “always apologize.”
“I always apologize. They say that I actually thought I destroyed the franchise until they brought it back. You know they’d somebody else brought it back years later and changed it”
But let’s give credit where credit is due. George Clooney was not solely responsible for the failure of Batman & Robin. The movie was plagued with issues, from the cheesy script to the over-the-top costumes. And, of course, the Bat credit card.
The Dark Knight Trilogy’s Success
Luckily, Batman & Robin wasn’t fatal to the Batman series and had since completely recovered. Then along came Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan. The pair gave us Batman Begins, drastically altering the series’ tone and aesthetic in 2005. The bright colors and corny one-liners were ditched to favor a somber, realistic interpretation of the protagonist.
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Batman Begins was a huge financial and critical success, and it set the way for the sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, all of which were also huge hits. The Nolan-Bale trilogy is typically rated as the finest of its kind, and The Dark Knight is commonly considered Warner Brother’s best superhero film of all time.
To what extent did Christian Bale’s interpretation of Batman strike a chord with moviegoers? To begin with, his portrayal of the character was unlike anything else ever witnessed in terms of intensity and intricacy. The Batman portrayed by Bale was troubled by his history and seeking his identity. His interactions with others, including Alfred and Rachel Dawes, revealed a new layer to his personality.
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Yet, the success of the Nolan-Bale trilogy can’t be attributed just to Bale’s work in the films. The direction Christopher Nolan took in the series was innovative. Instead of superhero pictures, he made psychological thrillers about morality, anarchy, and justice. He also gathered an outstanding ensemble cast, which included Heath Ledger as the Joker, for which Ledger earned a posthumous Oscar.
Nonetheless, George Clooney should be credited as the movement’s progenitor. The actor was a surprising choice to portray Batman in Batman & Robin, given his attractive looks and easygoing personality. Audiences were confused by Joel Schumacher’s film because of how much it differed in tone from Tim Burton’s previous Batman films.
Source; The Graham Norton Show