Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about why I really like Batman – me, Sam Potts. So I’m gonna talk to you about how and where I’ve seen Batman and ingested Batman. How old I was when I really started to get into Batman and enjoy it and love it.
And who is Batman for me, how is it best representative, represented. Who is the best Batman actor? What is the best suit? Have I ever dressed up as Batman what do you think? Can you guess?
Even my students say Oh Sam’s crazy about Batman! So I’m guessing yes.
I thought I kept it lowkey.
No. I have bad news for you. All of BigApple knows you love Batman.
Not bad to me. Why do I think Batman is popular, cause if people, and you’re not a super lover of Batman, right?
But you’ll admit he’s popular?
So we’ll look at that, why or do we think that our superheroes need to suffer or heroes need to suffer. What kind of Batman do we want to see in the future and some news maybe about that. So that’s all the kind of stuff we’re gonna discuss.
And in case the listeners were worried about what I was gonna be doing here – I’ll ask questions.
To give you something to do.
And that would be boring if I was sitting here on my own.
I’m sure you can speak about Batman for at least half an hour without any interruption.
Okay. So, Sam, tell us, how you know Batman?
Good question, great question.
Great question. Maybe before you answer – you know, as you mentioned, I’m not crazy about Batman, I’m not crazy about too many of these superheroes, for me Batman is…
Do you think… I think as far as Spiderman, that there are too many flipping films. Do you feel that way about Batman?
I don’t think I feel that.. For me he’s quite unique. That I would say. I appreciate the uniqueness of Batman. He’s different form the others. I sometimes feel he’s more human than the rest of the heroes.
And we’ll dwell into that actually. That’s what I wanna talk about.
He’s very popular, of course he’s very popular. I had a little Batmobile. Even I had…
Exactly. Tell us how you know Batman.
Basically everything. There you are, podcast over. I watched the tv show, like the old wacky 60s. I guess maybe that was my first acquaintance with Batman. Then I would’ve later on probably read the comics, graphic novels or comics, you know.
And cartoons then in the 90s, there became animated series which were very popular and is very good. And then I think I sort of… I know him from all of that, but also from the films from Tim Burton.
So I think it was 60s Batman. To be honest, it’s not my favorite Batman, but it was there and it was on tv, and it was fun, light hearted.
That’s a really good question. It was recorded and made in the 60s of course.
Of course. How old… Do you remember when you watched this?
But I guess it was probably on tv repeated on tv. I guess it was probably on tv from as young as I can remember. I do not know how young. But I basically have read comics, not all of the comics, cause there are huge amount of comics.
You’ve been Batcrazy all your life.
Bat comics, graphic novels. Well, I think it became popular more for me when I was like 10-11-12. But it was always there, I always thought oh, you know, I’ll watch this. This isn’t bad. But I think it was film. I mean, it’s got all the kind of things a kid would need, right?
Not a super hero, but a hero as far as I’m concerned. So I would say about 12ish I was definitely hooked and I think it was actually… I mean all that Batman stuff which I liked and I thought was fun, was great, but I think it was when I watched Tim Burton’s films.
There is the film Batman, 1989, and then Batman Returns, 1992. And actually…
Who was Batman in those two?
Michael Keaton. Michael Keaton was Batman and yeah, it was actually controversial that he would be Batman. I mean, I don’t remember, I only watched them afterwards, you know. But when I watched them I was still… Actually there are 15 certificate in the UK, I don’t know about other places.
So I mean technically I shouldn’t have been watching them. But there’s nothing bad or terrible. A little bit more blood than I was used to watching it, cause I didn’t normally watched 15s or 18s as a young boy.
A 12-year-old even. So I was put off a little bit by a little bit of blood which now I would think not enough.
But as a 12-year-old I was like ‘ew, don’t like that’. But I really was hooked from those films. And strangely Batman Returns was less popular, but for me I connected more with that. I don’t know why, but I like it more. Maybe because it’s more, to me it’s more of a Tim Burton film.
I was going to comment about this Tim Burton thing, because he has way of grabbing… Very weird characters and specific types of access he uses. I quite enjoy his films. Maybe I should be… You’re convincing me to watch maybe one or two more Batman films than I have.
I will say this – it’s actually one of my all-time favorite films. But I will also admit it’s not perfect.
It feels very staged in places, like the way the cars move and stuff, the cars chase him and things like that.
Graphics, computer graphics – not quite as well developed back then.
But I’m just thinking what people would criticize for you. It feels a bit staged, it’s not… I mean it’s quite theatrical. But there is a drama in it, and it connected with Batman of all people. But there’s a drama in it between Batman and the Catwoman, and Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. Which to me is… Coupled with the music, to me it’s fine cinematography.
I was going to test your knowledge. Was Michelle Pfeiffer the Catwoman in one of the…
This is too easy! This is something I’ve been watching for over 20 years.
Actually I have seen this movie. Obviously, a very very long time ago, because I do specifically remember Michelle Pfeiffer as the Catwoman.
Dany de Vito was Penguin. Perfect as Penguin. I mean…
Brilliant, brilliant. And Dany de Vito… I’ve started to watch some YouTube clips of him, not in character but as himself, and he’s quite a funny guy.
Humorous and witty I would say.
With your vast experience watching Batman movies and reading Batman graphic novels, who is Batman for you? How is he best represented?
So, for me as a child I thought, well, it’s Batman Returns or Batman… Batman Returns for me was the iconic and the real Batman. But then, before or after, even throughout that time, I was watching the cartoons, the animated series. And they are fantastic.
They are such good quality and for me, Batman is everything he needs to be in those cartoons. He’s strong, he’s intellectual, he’s a detective, but he’s also great with martial arts. He’s imperfect as a human, but at the same time he’s like superior in intellect and skill and agility and all of that.
And very wealthy. He’s represented fantastically well. So, actually, I mean, later on… It wasn’t until later on I watched… I didn’t even watch the Christopher Nolan, the very first one, until after it came out, cause I was focusing on other things at that time in my life.
But again, they’re fantastic films, but to me, they’re kind of modern adaptations of Batman. For me the iconic, the real representation of Batman is maybe what I learned as a youth, it’s from those cartoons, especially the cartoons, the animated series Batman Returns. Fantastic. To me, that’s Batman.
Okay. If you had to choose an actor, which actor represented Batman best for you do you think?
So, we’ve got… We go way back to Adam West, which was just… Can’t be 60s… Tall, in the 60s. That was one aspect about Batman, but it was, to me, it was A Batman, a representation of Batman, but not a good one for me.
So I would say great, loved him, but for me it’s not not Batman, but it’s not my Batman. Michael Keaton – so love Michael Keaton’s Batman, but I would criticize, and he wasn’t very acrobatic, he wasn’t very strong. I mean, I can’t blame him, cause moving in that suit…
Michael Keaton is not very strong, but if you look at Michael Keaton and the roles he’s played…
It is quite unusual for him. So understandably that would’ve been a challenge for him.
Christian Bale. To be honest, the actor himself is not my favorite actor. But I think that he represented, I mean, not represented, cause I’ve said the cartoon, but I think he’s maybe the best Batman actor, because he’s done Bruce Wayne well.
He’s very, I mean, the films were so good and such a range of issues and things about Batman, showing Bruce Wayne, showing all kinds of aspects of Bruce Wayne’s life. And all kinds of things that Batman did, all kinds of throughout those three films, so…
I mean, he has had more screen time that the other Batman characters. George Clooney, which was very wacky and funny and nipples on the Batsuit. There was Val Kilmer which only had one film as well as George Clooney.
Christian Bale has had three films whereas the other guys have only had most one or two. Ben Affleck, well, Ben Affleck has had, let me see, Batman, and then Justice League, anything else? That’s all, isn’t it?
I don’t know. You’re educating me today.
So he’s only had two as well, and I like… I must admit I like his aspect of Batman too, cause he’s big and muscly and tall guy. Built like a brick house, you know. What we would say or slightly…
That’s okay, yeah yeah yeah.
And I like that too. And I would say that all of these are good, but for me, because from my childhood, the best actor was Michael Keaton. So, Michael Keaton. To cut the long story short.
In my opinion Christian Bale is a very underrated actor. I remember him clearly from American Psycho which is a very different movie, but so, I have watched Batman the Dark Knight with Christian Bale, a little preparation for today’s podcast.
Actually, to be frank, you know I’m not a fan, but I definitely want to watch the other two movies with him as Batman. I did enjoy the way he portrays. His humans are very human.
True. And he’s got that connection to… Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched them already, but you should’ve, by the way, but he’s got that connection to the Rachel Dawes character, which makes him more human.
Does she follow through? Maggie Gyllenhaal? She’s appearing in the second… She’s dead!
No, she died in this one.
She died… This is the second film you’re talking about. We’re talking about Christopher Nolan film.
Ah, okay. So Christopher Nolan, I need to watch the first one.
He was the director for these three films. And Christian Bale was the actor.
And she… Actually, that character, that actress, not the character, the actress wasn’t in the first one. She was played by…
This is Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal’s sister actually.
She dies, spoiler alert, in the second one. She’s not… The actress isn’t in the first one, but the character is.
But in the third he has another kind of love interest.
I enjoyed it. Heath Ledger is that movie obviously is fantastic. Yes, not being a Batman fan, I definitely actually will search for a movie or two more on your recommendation, which ones I should watch.
You did say this particular one is like the, not the ultimate, but… You actually said the ultimate one, so that’s what I’m gonna watch.
What I don’t want to say is for me it’s not the the best representative, it’s not the Batman, the iconic Batman, or the Batman way I imagine Batman, but nevertheless it is the best, for me it’s the best Batman film.
And I think most people would agree it’s the best. It’s just fantastic plot, fantastic actors. And Heath Ledger’s acting in there – fantastic!
Amazing! That was amazing.
I mean, I saw, prior to watching that film, I saw a lot of Heath Ledger stuff, I felt it was a lot. But you can almost not recognize the guy. None of him is showing there, it’s a Joker, and so believable!
Incredible! It was really really incredible. So for me this would be an embarrassing question, I’m sure for you it won’t be, but, well, have you ever dressed up as Batman and, please, elaborate. I would love to know the circumstances under which this happened.
Yeah, so I was… It wasn’t my choice per se, but the suit was bought for me for my birthday and I…
Sometimes my older brother kind of encourages me in some things that I would not automatically do. But I liked… Honestly, I’m a guy who likes to dress up on occasions, but you will never find me… I would be surprised if you do find me going to a Comic Con.
That or going outside for long distances dressed up. That’s not the kind of person that I am. But I do… I must admit I like dressing up. And it will be kind of close to home, I’m not really go outside or go anywhere.
Obviously we have different definitions of dressing up, because for me dressing up is a suit and tie, and very smart, not in a Batman costume.
No, no. I don’t usually like suit and tie, because I had to wear it for school most of my school years.
And I hated it. And even at work at times I had to wear a suit and tie and I hate it. But if I have to kind of dress up as, you know, unusual clothes, something about that I enjoy. So anyway my brother bought me kind of a muscle suit, foam muscle suit.
It’s all Batman, right? It’s got… It hasn’t got the boots or anything, so I actually wore my own black Welly boots if you like. And this muscle suit, like a grey Batman suit, like a cartoonish one. And it’s got a cap and everything, you pull over your face and cape and everything.
And for some reason, I don’t know if it was a dare, but about ten years ago or so I ran around the block near my house…
Dressed up as Batman. I don’t know why, but that’s what I ended up doing.
Maybe our listeners or BigApple students will look at you a bit different after this podcast.
I’m Batman, swear to me! Learn English! It’s not something I normally do, but it’s not something I am against either.
Okay. Excellent, excellent.
So there you go. I’m not particularly embarrassed to be honest. Maybe I should be.
You shouldn’t be. I would be, but you shouldn’t. Why do you think dear Batman is so popular?
Because, you mentioned it earlier, he is human. For me, I gotta be honest, I like Superman, the 70s films when I was a kid, the music, and it was great. It got your blood going, it was exciting and wow! What a guy!
But the problem, I think for me personally, the problem with Superman was that he’s too invincible. The other thing is Kryptonite. Well, green Kryptonite or red or whatever, different versions.
I think there is red that does something else. Green weakens him and the red does something else. But the fact that they had to invent something to defeat him because he was so invincible and for me that detracts from him. He’s not as interesting to me personally.
But whereas Batman is so defeatable, so he has to overcome all of the stuff that is thrown at him. He has to overcome it. And the thing is – he does. He always ends up having a plan beforehand or a plan during, and he always ends up figuring out the way to defeat his enemies, so he’s kind of…
He has to think ahead often, he has to overcome all of his problems, and he has so many different villains to defeat and different ways of being defeated. And so for me he is much more human as I alluded to it. For me, I wouldn’t call him a superhero. A superhero is someone with superpowers.
Batman does not have superpowers. He is not a superhero in my opinion. He is a hero. But that does not detract from him, that makes him more interesting for me. Also the fact that he is gothic, or often depicted as gothic – to me only makes him even more interesting a superhero. Sorry, hero. He’s hero for the night. He’s hero for the shadow.
… and I don’t know much, but from what I’ve seen, he reminds me of antihero.
He can be an antihero. I mean, think about him… Yes, and he can make mistakes, and he can be overly zealous. But he’s so passionate, he’s so driven, he’s so good at what he does. And yes, he can be an antihero.
The other heroes, or superheroes hate him, because he does stuff that they don’t agree with sometimes. And in some comics that’s taken a little further. But in the best depictions he never kills.
He’s always got that thing, although to be honest, in almost all the films he kills someone, which I don’t particularly agree with, but don’t hate it at the same time. But in almost all of the films he ends up killing someone actually.
But he shouldn’t kill because that’s his one rule. At least, he’s got that rule and so it’s so important to him, because the motivation is to avoid people being killed because of… He became Batman because his parents were killed in front of him. So….
The tragedy of this as well.
The gothicness, the tragedy of it – for me he’s the most human of all the heroes or superheroes.
He’s human, but also the fact that he abides in the shadows makes him a little bit more mythic.
A little bit dark. It was going through my mind when I watched the movie yesterday – I did a lot of homework for the podcast this time. I thought about this a little bit too, because I thought he’s a bit dark, he’s very human, he makes mistakes, he tries very hard to stick to his own rules.
He has to work hard at times. The villain like the Joker – the Joker pushes Batman to kill.
There’s that struggle with him, you know, that he always wants to kill the Joker, because the Joker is killing other people. And he thinks – well maybe I’m breaking my rule inadvertently by not killing the Joker I’m killing other people. So there’s that scar as well.
He thinks a lot, sometimes too much. Jeez, dude, relax a little bit, you don’t have to be this serious all the time. Cause that is typically…
If I actually met a man like Bruce Wayne or Batman in real life, I would be like woah! He’s very intense, I’m not sure I’m keen on him. But the representation for me is great.
Doubt that I would meet the likes of Bruce Wayne, but people usually float around in social circles I don’t know.
Absolutely. Not so likely to meet him, not so much. So, question and I think we alluded to this in one of the previous podcasts as well when we spoke about X-Men. Do we love to have our superheroes suffer?
Right. So, some of my favorite…
Sorry, let me rephrase – heroes.
Heroes or superheroes. So, Wolverine suffers a lot because of the pain and the surgery.
Physically and mentally actually.
And he’s lost a lot of people cause he’s an old guy actually, he’s been around a couple hundred years maybe in some versions at least. Batman’s lost his parents. Spiderman has lost his uncle. I mean, they’ve been killed in front of him. And even Superman – I mean, Superman lost his family too. So, I mean, in some versions, even his adopted father has died.
Small world of tv series.
So, and that’s only a few, I mean, there are many many more examples where all this appears. And I don’t know if that was just the writers creating the characters were okay, how do we make a superhero?
Okay, there’s gotta be something tragic like Daredevil lost his sight, … chemicals, the Flash lost his…
Getting back to… or Greek mythology where we had lots of tragedies.
So I think it’s kind of… A lot of them were created in sort of maybe all at once, or in one period or periods, and maybe, if I admit, with not a huge amount of imagination, cause some of the… I mean, some of the names are not actually that imaginative.
Flash – he moves really fast. That’s not super imaginative. Spiderman. Not that that’s a bad thing, but when you think about that, it’s not so imaginative. Batman is a man who’s dressed as a bat. But maybe that’s a thing that they created, but it does draw us to the main thing.
We’re drawn to, because the more a person suffers, the stronger they show. Unless they are defeated by that suffering. So my point would be that in a sense we do want our heroes or superheroes to suffer. Because that shows the strength of character.
And we want a strong hero or superhero. We want them to be strong in character. And also the more villainess, the more evil or villainess, the more good a hero or superhero can be shown to be. The more powerful they can be shown to be.
So I think there’s that side of it. We need them to suffer to show us how amazing they are. And to inspire us.
Maybe I had a slightly different take on this, because I think, for me, it’s that part that makes them human, that suffering. Because there is a lot of that in the world. And maybe for me that’s the hook.
I can relate to it, because this superhero or the hero stuff we cannot really relate to, because most of us don’t live lives like that.
But the pain and suffering we can relate to, often. People can relate to that.
Yeah, everyone can relate to that in some way, in some shape or form, even if it’s not to the extreme that these guys or girls have suffered.
Go through. Okay. So, let’s make maybe a little bit less serious note. What kind of Batman would you like to see in future films?
Right. So there are many aspects to Batman. And I haven’t talked a lot about the comics, but there are some fantastic comics. I absolutely haven’t read all of them, I’m gonna admit, there must a bigger Batman fan out there. But I’ve read some, and there are some very different styles of Batman.
In one place he’s more of a ninja, more martial arts, in another place he’s more of a detective. In another place he’s a lot of difficult issues to deal with, he’s very emotional, he’s very erratic. In some… There’s a comic called Batman R.I.P. – Rest in Peace – and he’s actually gone…
He goes crazy in this comic. And his villains actually make him think or become crazy with drugs and stuff like that. And he has… That is so interesting because he comes back from craziness by…
He has already prepared for this eventuality as unreal as it is, he’s prepared for that by having in his subconscious another Batman, who is kind of a crazy Batman. It’s called Batman of… Now I’m gonna test my memory.
I don’t remember exactly, but it’s a Batman from another kind of dimension, and he’s got an imaginary friend, and his suit is colorful, and he’s a weirdo. But he’s still Batman. And he’s still fighting. And he ends up winning that battle. Spoiler alert. You might’ve guessed.
So, there are lots of versions, but for me, I think what hasn’t been done and which is quite similar to the cartoon that I love so much is the detective side. Cause the cartoon focused on…. It had Batman with ninja skills and fighting, but most of all he was a good good good detective.
World class detective. So I think that hasn’t been done enough of, and that should be… IT was touched on in films, but I think that needs to be focused on more.
That sounds very interesting. So, this is news to me of course, strange, but apparently Robert Pattinson is to be a new Batman. Is this true or is this rumor?
So, as I understand, as far as I know, this is a real thing. He’s been cast in a film that will be released in 2021 if all goes to plan. And it’s just called The Batman, at least for a moment. Who knows? As far as I understand it’s still in the early stages, and so…
And actually I’ve heard, and I mean this could change, I don’t know, but I’ve heard that it might show Batman more of a detective, so I’m keen on that. But Robert Pattinson if you don’t know is the guy from Twilight.
I mean, most people think of him as the guy from Twilight. But he was also in Harry Potter, he’s been in lots of indie films, and he is a good actor.
He’s a good actor, it’s just I sometimes feel that people struggle if someone was cast as he was in Twilight, he is the vampire.
But that was a long time ago.
That’s not… That’s still very popular. That was very popular set of films. And it’s still being watched.
Well, I would argue that the kind of people that love those most – maybe young teenage girls…
Either have moved on or they’re not the biggest Batman fans, I don’t know.
Him in Batman as Batman, you won’t really recognize him as Robert Pattinson.
He might do well. He’s a tall guy…
He’s cool, his personality is cool, calm, aloof. A little bit like Christian Bale actually.
Interestingly… I think Christian Bale… By the way, he’s from England which is convincing as an American guy, but also Robert Pattinson too. So I didn’t know that until earlier today, when I was doing a research.
I also did some homework.
I’m a good student. And he’s actually been born in London. I was watching him in an interview – he was of course speaking with an English accent, and I thought whaaaaat.
English with an English accent. English English. Something that even I don’t have, and I’m from the UK. English English, I’m Northern Irish. But he’s convincing. Do you know what? I think it doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day he’s not Batman, he’s a representation of Batman.
Like Michael Keaton did it, the other actors did it, even, like, Michael Keaton was controversial, Ben Affleck was controversial, and to me they were good Batmen. I like Ben Affleck, I like the style of Ben Affleck’s Batman.
Although I don’t like the films that they produced. I like the style, I like the bulkiness – he was a big muscular tough Batman, different style of Batman. And I think there’s room for another type of Batman too.
Okay. Question. Plural of Batman – Batmen and Batmans?
Okay. Just checking. Interesting.
Gotta keep that. Batpeople.
Crazy. Last question, Sam.
Well, you know, Michael Keaton I haven’t noticed huge difference in his voice. I mean, he made his voice deeper, but it wasn’t such a huge difference compared to Christian Bale’s. I mean, to me, when I first heard that, I was like Whaaat? That’s too much, but it’s become iconic.
People have got used to it I think.
Okay. Last question. If Batman comics, films and other media were no longer made, would it affect you? I think we all know the answer to this, but would it affect you?
Absolutely not, I wouldn’t mind it at all.
No. So, as I mentioned earlier, I’m kind of shocked they’re making so many Spiderman films. But while I like Spiderman, I don’t love Spiderman. So I’m sure there are people out there who are like Great! We love Spiderman, we want more more more.
And that’s fine. And it’s not that I dislike it, I just think there’s no need for so many. Whereas if they were making, and they probably are gonna make as many Batman films, I can lap them all up, I’ll watch them all.
I’ll watch them all. But I don’t want, what I don’t want is more poor Batman films. Cause let’s be honest some of them aren’t good, and I will admit it. Batman and Robin I think… I actually quite enjoyed Batman and Robin with George Clooney – it’s so wacky, it’s stupid, but I do actually like watching it.
It’s kind of funny. Whereas Batman Forever is not as wacky, I’m not as big a fan of that. I do not like just at all, at all, at all, at all. Not impressed with it at the slightest. I rewatched it recently and I dislike it even more. I think there’s very little substance to it.
I know it was a difficult film for those involved, there were a couple of different directors involved, a tragedy involved in that. I want more Batman films, but I want them right. And for me, if it’s good stuff…
There’s a lot of good Batman stuff out there, and that’s the main thing. And I will always rewatch and even re-read Batman comics and films.
As long as it’s the right stuff.
So there you go. Do you want to say it?
No. That was the craic about why Sam loves Batman so much.
Yeah and I say I really like it, so I don’t want my wife to be jealous. But I really like Batman.
I think if your wife listens to this podcast, she’s gonna ask if you know as much about her as you do about Batman.
So, moving swiftly on. So, I talked about, we talked about the films, little bit about the different media that there are. Why and how I became interested in Batman, when I became interested in Batman. What I think is the best representation of Batman, the best actor and so on.
Have I ever dressed up as Batman. Well, if you’re only listening now, go back and find out. Why we think Batman is so popular and do we want our heroes or superheroes to suffer. And about the future Batman – what we expect in films especially, and Robert Pattinson. I think it’s gonna be interesting.
That was the craic about why I really like Batman.