Friday, September 19, 2014

Who's the Best...Batmobile?

Karen: Pictures of the Batmobile leaked from the upcoming "Superman V. Batman" movie show another tank-like vehicle, complete with large-caliber guns. That's right, Batman has guns on the Batmobile. Sigh. It leaves me cold. Certainly not my idea of the Caped Crusader's vehicle of choice. It got me to thinking: of all the live-action Batmobiles, which ones are the best? Here's your choices:

The newest "Batmobile", from Batman v Superman
The Tumbler, from Christopher Nolan's Bat-trilogy

This over-the-top Batmobile, from Batman and Robin
Batman Forever's Batmobile
Michael Keaton drove this in Batman and Batman Returns
The atomic-powered Batmobile from the 1966-68 TV show

Karen: Which one of these would you like to jump behind the wheel of and take out for a spin? Personally, I'm drawn to the classic TV version, although I recognize how dated it is. I don't think any of the movie versions have really worked for me. What about you?

PS -I just learned today is Adam West's 86th birthday! Holy octogenarian!


Humanbelly said...

Oh boy-- the Batmobile, for me, is the perfect example of an element that works MUCH better on the page than it ever does on any screen. (Sort of like capes.)

As soon as it pops up in live-action, in almost any iteration, it takes me out of the moment because a) it always looks more like a CARtoons fanboy project than it does a usable vehicle, and b) they ALL look like they'd handle like a battleship in a high-speed chase through tight urban streets. Even the smaller television version would be hard-pressed to make a simple right turn at an intersection at 20mph w/out careening up onto the sidewalk. . .

That being said, I do prefer the one from the first two films, w/ its stylistic nod to 30's film noir and relative lack of visual gingerbread.

Nolan's "Tumbler" vehicle- while kind of a cool thing itself- obviously is connected far more to a Transformers aesthetic than it is to Batman. It could be from any movie, really. Heck, paint a skull on it and give it to the Punisher.


Edo Bosnar said...

The Batmobile from the TV wins it for me, hands down. I'd love to take a spin in that beauty.
As for the ones that appeared in the movies, I prefer the one from the Burton movies - it comes just short of being over-the-top, and like HB, I like its sort of retro, almost steampunk appearance.

Anonymous said...

I really want to like the Batmobile from the first two Burton movies, yet, I can't figure out what the heck that thing is sticking out from the front!?! Is it a nose? Phallic? A leftover from some other Bat project? I mean, it's just sticking out for no good reason.

So I'd have to go back to the original. I'd drive around in that. All day, delivering fish dinners, hoping Nancy Wilson doesn't pull up next to me at a light.

The Prowler (see the man with the lonely eyes, just take his hand and you'll be surprised).

Humanbelly said...

As I'm looking a little closer at the 90's-era, Liefeld-esque abomination for the next film, there, it does seem like that whole extended front-wheel assembly is something that may have come out of a more neutral, conventional retracted position on the body. Which means that this might be a look at a "transformed" configuration from what we'll see as the basic B'mobile.

I mean, otherwise this behemoth is just too appallingly stupid to have any credibility at all. (But, under what circumstance would you want the front of your assault vehicle to be roughly 12 to 14 feet wide? Where does that suddenly become an advantage??)

HB (avoiding making windowframes out of pink foamboard. . . )

Murray said...

The TV version, no question. The "Michael Keaton" version as a runner-up.

The new "Batmobile" (I can't seriously call it that. Mad Max would think it a bit over the top) shows the movie misery merchants are still fixated on Batman and his Toys. For all their claim to gritty realism, all the movies have done is stopped using labels to identify the "Bat Computer" and "Bat Shark Repellent".

dbutler16 said...

For me, it's a tossup between the Adam West Batmobile and the one from the first Michael Keaton movie. Sure, the more recent ones are more practical for urban warfare, but they sure are ugly.

By the way, I was jogging to the park one day last summer and what should I see pulling out of the park but the Adam West Batmobile! It was an exact replica, anyway. Somebody sure went to a lot of expense for a passion. Think of all the Bronze Age comics that bodywork could have bought!

Anonymous said...

dbutler16: "jogging TO the park"? If you've jogged to the park, what the heck is there to do once you get there? Swing?

Anyhoo, with all this talk of urban assault vehicles, I can't get the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle out of my mind.

The Prowler (does "into" running).

Anonymous said...

The TV show Batmobile wins out because it was a real, driveable vehicle - a customized Chrysler Imperial or was it a Lincoln Continental? All of the movie versions are reliant on special effects to function.

david_b said...

Hands down, the TV version.

For our generation, nothing spurs the imagination, the excitement, the hip coolness like the Barris masterpiece.

For contemporaries, it just screams 'ROCK STAR'.

I was going to say 'Barris original', but keep in mind there was a batmobile for the '40s Batman serial as well.., we're missing one here.

It was more or less a standard car (not stylized..), but it was used as such.

Karen said...

David, that's why I left the serial version off -it had no pizzazz!

One thing I really can't get about the latest two versions: if Batman is a creature of the night, supposedly sneaking around -why in the world would he want to drive huge, lumbering tanks? Makes no sense. Then again, Nolan's Batman was never the cool detective I wanted to see.

Anonymous said...

Definitely go with the general consensus for the original TV Batmobile. True style is timeless.

Going a bit off topic... looking at that picture of an older Adam West, I'd love to see him cast as a Batman coming out of retirement in a film adaptation of Dark Knight Returns. Seems a shame that won't happen.


david_b said...

Totally agreed Karen.

To me, Nolan's Batman franchise as a whole was never 'Batman' to me.

Just a vigilante with a cape and cowl.

Oh, and he growls...

Humanbelly said...

I don't want to disrespect beloved Adam West, buuuuuuut I believe he really may not be mentally sharp enough or physically adept enough to carry that assignment off anymore. He IS Batman, in many ways, for a lot of us. . . but I don't think he could ever be THAT (DKR) Batman, y'know? There's a certain degree of core gravitas that he doesn't seem to possess.

But you know who I WOULD be interested to see giving that role a shot? Ol' Burt Reynolds! The right age; legitimate actor/action-hero (sort of) chops; former absolute ALPHA cinematic leading-man. And he has an innate comic touch that I think would be most welcome in that dark, dystopian tale in its imagined transferal to the big screen.

Hmm. Or Clint Eastwood. Or, hey, Tommy Lee Jones, maybe?

I did look some images of that convertible coupe from the 40's movie serial, and that was certainly a nice, standard vehicle of its own. What's hilarious is that it served as both the Batmobile (w/ the top up) AND as Bruce Wayne's stylish town car (w/ the top down).
"What an extraordinary coincidence-- Bruce Wayne and the Batman are never, ever seen together, AND they drive identical cars! What are the odds??" It's like the automotive equivalent of Clark's glasses. . .


J.A. Morris said...

The classic is still the best,one and only real Batmobile as far as I'm concerned. The Burtonmobile is a distant second.

On a related note, I met Adam West at the (first ever) Richmond Wizard Con last weekend. I'd often heard that he was generally a not very nice guy. But he was very friendly to us, I wish I'd known his birthday was coming up, I would've wished him early birthday wishes!

Anonymous said...

Adam West might lack the necessary gravitas, but his iconic resonance makes up for that (particularly with a Lee Merriwether cameo as Selina!) A Batmobile that looks like a tank bristling with weapons becomes instantly more acceptable if it has an Adam West Batman inside.

Holy Bat-Shark Repellent spray!


Anonymous said...

Holy Batmobiles Batman! Happy Birthday Adam West!

While most people here seem to favour the TV Batmobile I've always liked the one from the Michael Keaton movies. It looks cool but not over the top like later versions. I agree with my old buddy HB when he says the recent versions are too tank-like, practical but somehow don't seem to fit the Batman persona.

Prowler, I read somewhere once where the designers for the Tim Burton era Batmobile were inspired by a jet engine. I'm guessing that's why the front end of this version has such a noticeable protuberance.

- Mike 'lemonmobile' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Wow, Mike-from-TNT, I have to say that that's EXACTLY what the front of the Burton Batmobile made me think of! An early-ish jet engine design! The little protuberance and body shape and everything. My Dad built a lot of model airplanes in his youth, and it's a shape that was very visually familiar to me. Glad to see it wasn't just my imagination-!

I also meant to mention that NPR mentioned Adam West's birthday on Morning Edition this morning, which was nicely heartwarming.


William said...

I like the original Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series. I also like the later sportier version as well.

As for live action, I have to go with the one from the 60's TV show. It's a classic.

I'm not really all that wild about any of the movie cars. They all look too much like urban tanks, with all the guns and rocket launchers and such. Very UN-Batman like.

Rip Jagger said...

"Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!"

There's only one real choice, the absolutely smashing 1960's George Barris creation is absolutely cool, impractical but cool.

The other Batmobiles are urban assault vehicles, fun in movies with their gimmicks, but not cars really.

In a zombie apocalypse I might like the tank, but for getting the groceries, I'll take the two-seat wonder.

Rip Off

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