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The Batmobile indicator of quality

Here goes a theory that came to me unexpectedly when revisitng the classic Batma
n animated series.
I always loved how iconic and unique the first animated batmobile from the serie
s looked and how no other animated batmobile has managed to look as amazing as t
hat one did.
Then I started realizing that on all of the best batman projects, a rather strik
ing pattern repeated itself.

Batman and Robin gets totally out of control with a weird and souless batmobile
that reflects very well the crapfest that envolved that film.
The original seasons of Batman animated had that amazing Batmobile made by Bruce
Timm by selecting his favorite pieces from more than 50 designs presented to hi
m by artist (fill the name).
It's an amazing work of art for a spectacular series.
On the other hand the one introduced in gotham knights was serviceable and effic
ient, but didn't strike a nerve like the first one did, just like the quality of
that series never managed to equal the original one.
All of the following series (The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman, The Batm
an) had serviceable cars but neither of them had a distinct personality, just li
ke the shows they were in.
That doesn't mean those shows were bad (I rather liked The Brave and the Bold) b
ut they weren't as iconic as the others.
On all of the best series and movies, a rather cool batmobile always had a centr
al role.
Let's start at the beginning, the 1966 tv series.

That one had a batmobile that remains easily recognizable to this day and it man
aged to be a cultural phenomenon.
I won't say it's the darkest or most developed representation of the character,
but it certainly has endured.
The 1989 movie also blew people's mind away with it's spectacular batmobile and
Batman Returns managed to stay afloat by also giving the car some niece moments.
It didn't manage to be as iconic as the first one, but it remains a solid movie
IMO.
Then things get ok with Batman Forever since it has an ok batmobile for an ok mo
vie.

Nolan's first two films also gave the "Tumbler"a significant part and it's disap
pearance in the third movie left a hole that reflects how the film didn't manage
to ground Batman as effectively as the previous films. Yes, the villains used t
umblers but that's Batman's car and despite the symbolism that Nolan was aiming
for with that choice, it just didn't work and deprived the detective of one of h
is greatest assets.
Regarding Batman vs Superman's Batmobile, the car actually was one of the best m
oments of a so-so movie since allowed Batman to do something with effort and bri
ng one of the best action sequences of the film. The other one, in the warehouse
rescuing Martha, was mildy aided by the batwing but only tangetially and Batman
certainly didn't lose anything due to it, since the wing was barely present in
that moment.
One of the things we love about Batman is that he "could be real" and most of th
e stuff he uses, despite going into scifi territory, is plausible up to a point.
The issue is that we know these things, since they're approachable from a mental
POV, like his martial arts, his armor, his gadgets, his car.
But when he ditches the car in favor of the Bat then things get complicated sinc
e he's ditching a part of his conecction with his audience.
Batman videogames don't necesarily apply to this theory for the simple reason th
at it doesn't require him having the Batmobile to offer a compelling experience
which includes a traditional narrative but it's enjoyed mostly from an active pe
rspective rather than a passive one like a movie or a tv series.
Despite that, the first two Arkham games achieved widespread acclaim but offered
only a serviceable Batmobile that wasn't playable.
The prequel game, Arkham Origins, didn't offer one at all (the chasis could be s
een at the Batcave though) and instead had batman relying on a plane to get arou
nd.
That game was the lowest rated of them all, despite enjoying great commercial su
ccess and respectable critical acclaim.
Now, the final game of the saga, Arkham Knight, finally offers a controllable ba
tmobile developed in the vein of the tumbler. It certainly was well-received but
turned out to be a very criticized element since it was overused even in the si
mples moments.
From a completely pesonal POV, I see the Batmobile as the essence of what makes
batman cool.
It takes a common object of daily usage and it improves it both technologicaly a
nd aesthetically to make it an extension of the character's identity.
The car is the blank template that symbolizes the man that can be transformed in
to anything.
The batmobile is the ultimate customization because it's extraordinary and excit
ing, but it remains a car (most of the time).
The same happens for Batman, he can wear special armor, use gadgets and have ext
raordinary training but he's still a man.
Having to depend on a car, shows how the story remembers Batman's limitations an
d will probably be much more interesting for the audience.
But when the car is destroyed or damaged, and replaced with a more powerful vehi
cle, like the Bat, then things tend to go awry since that upgrade rarely results
in a more compelling story.
Batman doesn't need the car to win, he needs it to stay grounded and it's a dece
nt indicator of some of the factors that the story will take into account.
Regarding Batman vs Superman's Batmobile, the car actually was one of the best m
oments of a so-so movie since allowed Batman to do something with effort and bri
ng one of the best action sequences of the film. The other one, in the warehouse
rescuing Martha, was mildy aided by the batwing but only tangetially and Batman
certainly didn't lose anything due to it, since the wing was barely present in
that moment.

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