History of Batman and Superman in Film


“What Every Fan Needs to Know After Dawn of Justice
Writer: Adrian Murphy

Both Batman and Superman have had their own live action films for as long as we have had television. Richard Donner’s “Superman” circa 1978 starring Christopher Reeves as the orphan Kryptonian gave us what I like to describe as a beta-high-spectacle version of the Man of Steel, but was limited by the visual technology of its time.

Bryan Singer left the ex-franchise to helm what he said was a continuing story to Donner’s version with “Superman Returns” with unknown actor Brandon Roth as the man in blue tights, and that version was very emotionally draining with very little action.

Batman has had several live Action movies played by a wide range of actors, starting with Tim Burton’s directed and produced (1989 through 1998) Batman franchise, starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. Which they had some degree of success, but will forever be a pun for the Batman and Robin campy story and Bat-nipples. Then we had Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. We fans finally thought we had the Batman we wanted and deserved starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. Nolan’s version for the most part gave us the Batman that most resembled what those of us who read and collect comics as the grim and tough detective, and ultra rich and smart billionaire Bruce Wayne. Not to mention a stand out performance from the late Heath Leger as The Joker.

Then in 2013 Zack Snyder gave us “Man Of Steel,” starring Henry Cavil as Superman and this movie was the start of the DC cinematic Universe as a direct reaction and competitive move by Warner Brothers to combat the success of The Marvel Cinematic Universe. which had already had a string of hits that tied each of their films together to create a whole franchise of movies that culminated with the prior year “Avengers”.

DC needed to play catch up and fast. Man of Steel delivered in a big way. It laid the blueprint for a new take on comic book movies with a more mature tone compared to its competitors at the Marvel Universe with lighthearted high action movies. Man of Steel was based on a realistic interpretation of what it would actually look like to have a being of Superman’s power set be exposed and prosecuted by other beings matching his power. The result was widespread destruction of Metropolis and Superman committing the soul wrenching decision to take another beings life. Having the Boy Scout actual kill someone put fans and casual spectators in a frenzy. Both good and bad feelings emerged regarding this version of Superman. But it was now the Superman we had and were going to deal with going forward.


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