John

Superman: The Movie (1978) vs. Batman (1989)

Superman: The Movie (1978) vs. Batman (1989)  

40 members have voted

  1. 1. Which film do you prefer?

    • Superman: The Movie (directed by Richard Donner)
    • Batman (directed by Tim Burton)
  2. 2. Which score do you prefer?

    • Superman: The Movie (composed by John Williams)
    • Batman (composed by Danny Elfman)


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Which film and score do you prefer; Superman: The Movie or Batman?

 

When it comes to the films, I feel Superman: The Movie is the superior movie. For all its atmosphere and distinctive production design, Batman ultimately feels somewhat hollow. As with nearly all of Tim Burton's movies, it is a film of style over substance. I feel Keaton fails to own the role of the Caped Crusader, while Reeves completely owns the characters of both Clark Kent and Superman. The Bruce-Vicki relationship is empty and emotionally vacuous, and while Jack Nicholson's turn as the Joker is entertaining to watch, it ultimately is little more than an iconic celebrity doing his well-worn shtick in a villain costume. All this is not to say Superman is a perfect film, but it has a lot of heart, and I feel it does a lot right, arguably hitting higher highs than Batman.

 

Both scores are excellent and undoubtedly iconic. While I concede that Williams' Superman may be the superior score, I've always preferred Elfman's Batman, which I firmly believe to be his magnum opus, and in my top ten favorite film scores.

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Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na

BATMAN

 

 

BATMAN

 

 

 

BATMANAAAAANAN

 

 

If I could pick just the first half of Superman or its score, they'd win.  Or just themes vs. themes, it's Superman.  But as whole pieces, nananananananananananananananana.

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I love Batman.

 

I never really cared to watch Superman. Lately from the many threads and comments, I sometimes wonder whether I should give it a try, but I always put the thought down because I'm not at all interested in the character (truth be told, the main pulling power of the Batman stories for me isn't Bats himself, either, but his villains), and what I've seen of the movie is a bunch of bad effects and a laughably stupid old-comic-book-logic of a climax.

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11 minutes ago, Holko said:

a laughably stupid old-comic-book-logic of a climax.

 

You're not wrong, I'm afraid.

 

I'm not particularly taken with either of the two films. There's charm to Christopher Reeve's Superman, but the film as a whole adheres way too closely to its comic-book origins in its aesthetic and theatricality.

 

The Superman score is aces, though.

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Superman is a character I'm very much in love with, and I don't think any movie has really nailed the character.  The Animated Series does the closest job.  Donner's movie nails Clark Kent, but doesn't really bring it all together.

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I think I’m too young for the movie question. 

 

I didnt see either as a as a child so it’s hard to enjoy either as an adult. 

 

As for scores... eh. It’s not my favourite Williams and I do quite like Batman... I can’t decide...

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Superman has the same problems as Hook: A movie messing around between different genres, unable to decide what kind of movie it wants to be. Although, like the first two Harry Potter movies, The Green Mile and Hook it is a lovely movie, despite its flaws. Batman is almost entirely overshadowed by Jack Nicholson, but it got substance, Tim Burton's distinct style and great performances. The studio meddling prevents that it is as good as Batman Returns. I voted the latter.

 

I'm neither a fan of Danny Elfman's composing techniques and style, nor am I a fan of John Williams' Superman score, but for me it wins.

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For all four films in their respective series, I'd vote the same way for films and scores:

 

Superman over Batman

Batman Returns over Superman II

Batman Forever over Superman III

Superman IV over Batman & Robin

 

 

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

 

A celebrity death match for the ages.

 

Although I am rather partial to some Prince.

I have considered a finale celebrity death match to end them all. 

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15 minutes ago, Brundlefly said:

No, not at all.

Oh yes. Perfect entertainment. No superhero film is better acted. None is better scored (this particular isn't even open to debate), Greatest opening credits, greatest comic prologue. And the total embodiment of the greatest superhero of all time. 

Sure there are films with better effects but thats easy.

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3 hours ago, Richard said:

For cryin' out loud!

BATMAN is a tremendous achievement. It's a thriller, it's a psychodrama, it's a satire on the "me" culture, that was prevalent in the late 80s. It's also wonderfully dark, brooding, and with an arid wit...and SUPERMAN shits all over it, from a very great height.

 

This!

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Superman all the way, missteps notwithstanding.  Christopher Reeve is Superman.

 

The best superhero movies of all time, however, are Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. 

 

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funny, I just watched Superman yesterday (after many years), the theatrical cut with original mono soundtrack and i really enjoyed it.

Frankly I can't choose in this poll.

I love both films and scores.

5 hours ago, Pellaeon said:

 

They didn’t leave much of an impression on me.

I was especially bored in the first one.

 

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Tbh I saw most of Batman again sometime last year, and well it just struck me as being more than a little... excessive. It suddenly seemed obvious where Joel Schumacher looked for ideas and even style. The poor guy just forgot to include the "broody" part.

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6 hours ago, John said:

The Dark Knight movies are more of a crime/drama saga than a trilogy of superhero films.

 

Kinda, yeah.

 

I have to say, though, if that trilogy is at fault of being too serious (at least to the liking of some of the members of the board), than the original Superman is way too light. Even when you set out to make a fun, escapist, comic-book, kid film - you always need to have some moments of darkness and gravity, because it creates a sense of contrast that only alevates the rest of the film. Its true of all great kids films (think how tragic the Lion King gets) and 80's adventure films: there are moments of darkness in the original Star Wars, in Indiana Jones films, etc - not so much, however, in Superman.

 

First lesson to be learned: never ever make your villain the comic relief!

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That's besides the point: those issues stem largely from the screenplay, which Donner did not write.

 

They just wanted to make it very much in the style of the actual comics: monologing, mustache-twirling villains; moronic hencemen, etcetra...

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Hackman's Lex Luthor is one of my most memorable movie villains from when I was growing up. He's also one of the most quotable, which is normally the mark of great villainhood.

 

Mind you, I never really cared much about "gritty" villains in the superhero genre anyway. It's largely a corny genre to me.

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