This week's episode serves as the third part of our shows where we pluck a comic book character and explore the numerous on-screen iterations of them over the years. This episode sees the team place Superman under our proverbial spotlight. We examine which actors and films were able to deliver our favourite versions of the character and perhaps address the broader question of why is there such a problem in delivering on a Superman movie?
This week's episode serves as part 2 in an ongoing series of shows where we pluck a comic book character and explore the numerous on-screen iterations of them over the years. This episode sees the team place Spider-Man under our proverbial spotlight. We examine which actors and films were able to deliver our favourite versions of the character and the difficulty in striking the right tone with our friendly neighbourhood superhero.
Episode #18 of the Close Encounters podcast saw the team (and long time broadcasting buddy) Denis-Jose Francois delve into the many on screen iterations of Batman.
And there sure have been a lot. Like, considerably more than I initially thought.
By my count - and at the time of this writing - Batman has amassed over 14 live action castings (excluding the upcoming Robert Pattinson depiction) with a further seven actors who have portrayed the role through various animated series/movies, TV shows as well as video game roles. And while Adam West may very well be the go-to answer to the question of 'who played the first live action Batman?'... well, as I recently found out, that answer would be very wrong.
Lewis Wilson actually played the first live action iteration of Batman as far back as 1943 for a 15 episode series entitled 'Batman'. This version of Batman pit the Caped Crusader, not against revered enemies like Joker, Penguin or Riddler, but against the "treacherous" Dr Daka who attempted to take over America for Japanese control. Actor Robert Lowery would replace Wilson in the sequel series ('Batman and Robin') which followed in 1949.
Looking back at the YouTube clip here, there really are frightening similarities between this version and the subsequent Adam West depiction which followed fifteen years later. The only difference is that Adam West & co seemed to be completely aware of the show's absurdity while this version perhaps wasn't. "Step up to him... slap his face... hehehe... step back".
That's always been the brilliance of Batman though. The multitude of these intrinsic layers attached to the character that enable storytellers to take Batman in completely new directions: the mildly camp hero, The Dark Knight, the World's Greatest Detective, local billionaire, traumatised youth, etc. Each of these facets have absolutely served as varying inspirations for different filmmakers when bringing to life their vision of Batman over the years and will undoubtedly continue to do so for years to come. Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' (2008) practically reinvented the superhero movie, proving a comic book movie could be included in the same conversation alongside some of the best intelligent and thought-provoking thrillers.
Following the release of Tim Burton's 1989 'Batman', the phenomenal success of the movie spawned a now notorious quote, "Batman wasn't a film, it was a franchise".
I think the word 'franchise' has now evolved since then to refer to the movie series as a whole but back then it was intended to refer to the wave of commercialism attached to the product - toys, clothing, lunch boxes, posters, etc, etc. It was a comment certainly true for Batman and certainly true for the wave of superhero movies that came afterwards.
This week's episode is intended as the first in an ongoing series of shows where we pluck a comic book character and explore the numerous on-screen iterations of them over the years. And first up under our proverbial spotlight is DC Comics' own, Batman. We examine our favourite versions of the character, which actors and directors were able to deliver our favourite versions of the character, what makes a good "Batman" and what are some of our most iconic moments.
And joining Dan Collacott, Tee-J Sutherland and Imran Mirza on this week's excursion is long-time friend and broadcasting companion, Denis-Jose Francois. Harking back to our days on the Liberation Frequency podcast this reunion has been long overdue so we very much hope you enjoy the podcast as much as we did.
Episode #6 of CE4K saw the team discuss the concept of reboots - things we loved, things we didn't and things we'd like to see happen. Due to our masterful editing, you may not have realised that Imran's mic completely dropped out for the middle part of the recording so the episode doesn't get to include the reboot he was most thrilled about so we're including it here for your reading pleasure as opposed to your intended listening one.
In fairness, it was a very brief segment, mainly because the suggestion was unanimously agreed upon by Dan and Tee-J making us all die-hard fans of the MCU's rendition of Spider-Man. While Sony's previous five films (which saw Tobey Macguire and Andrew Garfield don the mask) achieved varying degrees of success and critical acclaim, Tom Holland's casting is widely considered as being the best onscreen iteration of the character. His match-made-in-heaven pairing with Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark, his Stark Technology upgrades and winning charm have not only led to the perfect tone for a Spidey movie but a logical update to the character as well.
At the time of this writing, Spider-Man has featured in six movies within the MCU umbrella and thanks to what's been described as Tom Holland's drunk phone call with Disney Chairman Bob Iger, we're likely to see at least one more. Thankfully.
Check out the Reboot episode in *full* to catch the other reboot suggestions.
Emanating from London, UK, and hosted by Dan Collacott, Tee-J Sutherland and Imran Mirza, our 4ever in Electric Dreams website and accompanying podcasts are designed to help us celebrate the things we loved growing up and the things that continue to excite and inspire us today.