Batman Forever!

Celebrating the 80-year success of Batman. The caped crusader, super detective, and vigilante of Gotham City continues to fight crime in dark alleys, shadowy streets and seedy rooftops. Time to pay tribute to the superhero, who ignites hope among Gothamites that good will win over evil eventually!

As the unruly, gun-wielding crime perpetrators run loose in Gotham City, the only solace the citizens hold is that there's Batman with his stockpile of jaw-dropping, hi-tech gadgetry at his disposal to fight crime. But what poses a super big problem is that Gotham City's villainous tribe is of truly high-order merit: Riddler, Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Ventriloquist, Mister Freeze, Scarecrow, Egghead and others, who are not only harder to fight against but also harder still to dispose of. Will Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, emerge as a victor? Is that what the edge of the seat excitement for Batman – obsessed fans have always been! Frankly, the thrill has never been so chillingly dark and feverish.

Conversely, could you believe, Batman has been fighting crime since 1939 when he first made his appearance in the DC comics? Over 80-years gone by, Batman is still doing what he does best – getting rid of the syndicate organised crime in Gotham City. Any complaints? No, none at all. If any 'Jokers' disagree, they may. Remember. Remember again, Jokers, Riddlers, Eggheads, hold no chance against the genius-level, martial arts training, dark-hooded, Batman.

For those in the dark; who raise eyebrows when questioned on how Bruce Wayne became Batman? Here's the sad but compelling story. Joe Chill is a well-known mugger in Gotham City. One day, Dr Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne are out with their son, Bruce, when Chill tries to steal Martha's necklace. Unfortunately, Dr Thomas Wayne intervenes. To avoid confrontation, Chill, having no second thoughts on his mind, shoots at Dr Thomas. Martha screams for help, chill pulls the trigger once again and Martha is dead too! Shocked at the sudden turn of events, little kid, Bruce, sits and mourns at the unfortunate demise of his parents; but not before he takes a vow to strike terror in the hearts of these hardcore criminals of Gotham City.

Batman – a billionaire by day; Dark Knight by hours of darkness. Hidden beneath his sprawling estate is an ancient network of caves (bat caves) which stand as inventory to his technology and ammunition. Batman is aided by a butler, Alfred, and by Jim Gordon, a police commissioner, who sends 'Bat signals' to get Batman's attention during crime situations. Robin, his sidekick, with his dapper look and flashy costume, does a darn good job in aiding Batman catch crooks!

The master creators of 'Batman', artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, fashioned the character on the likes of Superman. When first launched in the Detective Comics #27 in 1939, 'Batman' gained swift acceptance and rose to instant fame. In no time, he got his own comic book title. The comics became a huge rage, selling in millions of copies. Batmania, caught on like wildfire, cutting across barriers of age, language, and culture and was on a steady climb to the top!

Inspired by the explosive success of comics, a television series 'Batman' was launched in the mid-'60s. Adam West donned the role of Batman and Burt Ward, the role of Robin, the Boy Wonder. Both these fictional characters stole audiences' hearts, laughter and common sense. That's because William Dozier, the producer, intentionally made the TV Series into a slapstick comedy! The witticisms, the senselessness, the over boarding of scenes was deliberately cooked up to heighten pleasure. The result: Kids loved it. Adults jumped at it, while women didn't give two hoots. Shot in colour originally, Batman and his villains donned zillion flashy colours that would blur the eyesight, but it worked wonders on the audience who saw the humour in it and nothing else. Guess they all have gone bat-blind! Additionally, what threw in the extra punches were the witty puns delivered with deadpan faces. Adam West and Burt Ward were matchless when it came about to indulging in side-splitting humour without ever breaking into a laugh.

Talking of silver screen, though there were several Batman movies prior, it was in 1989, under the director, Tim Burton, the 'Batman' movie characters dazzled like true stars. Michael Keaton is still hailed as one amongst the best Batmen to be featured. Tim Burton somehow carries noir merit in his exploration of characters. Jack Nicholson, who stars as villain, portrays the character of a clown and psychopath with some devastating effects on audiences. Tim Burton also came out with a sequel 'Batman Returns', which played to packed houses.

Close on these two colossal successes, Joel Schumacher directed 'Batman Forever' with Val Kilmer which received mixed reviews. A sequel, 'Batman and Robin' starring George Clooney, unfortunately, turned out to be a huge dampener. However, Batman franchisee received a shot in the arm, when Christopher Nolan directed 'Batman Begins' starring Christian Bale. The movie turned out to be a decent success. In a sort of quick succession, Nolan directed two more movies 'Dark Knight' and 'Dark Knight Rises', which were super-duper hits, making them block-busters! Batman Trilogy was how they came about to be known.

Batman character was envied by countless individuals. Ben Affleck too stepped into the shoes of Batman under the direction of Zack Snyder in the movie 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice'. Later, he also starred in a crossover movie 'Justice League', which featured other DC comic heroes as well.

Batman films brought about a certain kind of seriousness and maturity to the Batman character while lending him celebrity status in the mainstream culture. As Batman completes his 80 years, let's raise a toast to this superhero character who fastidiously built up a fanbase of millions and millions of 'bat' fans!

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