Superman Returns (2006) -vs- Batman Begins (2005)
The 70s-80s Christopher Reeve Superman and the 80s-90s Michael Keaton-Val Kilmer-George Clooney Batman were many things, but one of them was not realistic. They were comic book films made by studios that thought superheroes were still best when served up just a little bit silly. This was ironic because the actual comic book adventures of these two heroes were getting grittier every year and the problems and conflicts more and more adult. Still, we had to get to the 00s of the 21st Century to see studios wise up to the idea that audiences wanted more — they didn’t want to escape so much as they wanted to immerse. Batman Begins kick-started an entire new look at the franchise that was wildly successful followed by Superman Returns the next year with a more mixed critical response. Now Batman is nearing the end of its proposed trilogy and Superman is getting a re-re-boot. That’s a story for later; right now, let’s look at these two monster-sized franchises and see which new beginning did the best job.