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Batman: A history of trailers featuring the Caped Crusader

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'The Dark Knight Rises' trailer still
After three-and-a-half years of anticipation, Batman fans finally got their first hint of what the finished cut of The Dark Knight Rises will look like with the release of a full length trailer.

Following the equally breathtaking prologue unveiled last week, the promo clip of Christopher Nolan's final trip to Gotham was a magnificently macabre and genuinely terrifying beast. We here at Digital Spy have even cancelled our bi-weekly five-a-side footie tournament for fear of landmines.

Granted, the whole thing wasn't perfect (Bane and Catwoman are a little less intimidating when you can't understand a word they say), but the trailer more than did its job and frankly, that July 20, 2012 release date can't come fast enough. But how does it compare to the Batman of yore? If we'd never seen the works of West, Keaton and co before, would we be similarly excited to see them as the Caped Crusader based on their trailers? We fired up our Bat-computer to find out.

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Batman (1966)
The Adam West-era of Batman has been parodied and mocked for so long that it almost seems cruel to draw attention to the the utter insanity of this trailer, but when a double exclamatory "POW" is shoved into the audience's face in the very first second, we're really left no choice.

The intricate, ingenious viral marketing campaigns of The Dark Knight are a distant dream, as Batman and Robin absolutely obliterate the fourth wall for the hard sell, promising viewers more "colour" and "space" for their buck. Of course it's campy and hideous, but to give the film credit, there's never been a supervillain line-up that impressive in a modern day Batman.



Batman (1989)
Tim Burton's first flick about the Dark Knight may still be highly rated amongst fans, but dear Lord, this trailer has not stood the test of time. Seriously, it looks like it's been slapped together by an 11-year-old who's just opened Final Cut Pro for the first time.

Luckily, Burton's magic vibe of eccentric gloom, the brief teasers of Jack Nicholson's Joker and Michael Keaton's appropriately understated Batman bring a much needed charm to the clip. Audiences were intrigued enough and a gross of over $400m (£257m) meant the series was reborn...no thanks to the trailer.



Batman Returns (1992)
Kudos to the brains behind the Batman Returns trailer for correctly identifying that the film's strength was in Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, who literally leaps onto the screen to deliver a Batman ass-kicking with a side-order of sass. There's a reason why some fans are still nervy about Anne Hathaway's turn as the villainess in The Dark Knight Rises - with a tongue in her cheek and a taser in the mouth, Pfeiffer absolutely defined the role and she'll be a hard one to beat.

The trailer also does well to hide the most-complained-about elements of this not-entirely-adored film, such as the muddled storyline and the excessively pitiful version of Danny DeVito's Penguin seen in the final product.



Batman Forever (1995)
The Batman Forever trailer - it begins so well as Val Kilmer's caped crusader suits up to a thumping beat and the revelation of the most impressive Batmobile to date gets under way. But then it all gets ruined with a junk food joke.

The signs of Joel Schumacher's ultimately disastrous decision to up Batman's camp factor are all there, but aside from the bright lights there's actually not a lot else here that'll offend your eyes and you'd never guess that Batman Forever marked the beginning of the end. All the most obnoxious moments from Jim Carrey's Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones's Two Face have been trimmed away, while Robin (Chris O'Donnell) actually looks pretty badass in the sneak-peek clipped on in the final moments.



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Batman and Robin (1997)
How did nobody know this was going to flop? All the clues are there in the trailer that Batman and Robin would kill the franchise dead. The hammy acting (go back and compare Uma Thurman's performance as Poison Ivy to Lee Meriwether's Catwoman circa 1966), the ridiculous set pieces, the puns, the fact that George Clooney is blatantly not Batman, everything! To the film's credit, the plot point that sees Poison Ivy use her feminine wiles to turn Batman and Robin against each other at least sounds promising, but, well, you can probably guess how that turned out.



Batman Begins (2005)
It's clear from the second the Warner Bros logo turns into a horde of kamikaze bats that Christopher Nolan's reboot means business. Zipping from the mountain-top lair of Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) to the rotten neighbourhoods of Gotham City, the scope and scale of Batman Begins impresses immediately, while the deliberate scrubbing off of Burton and Schumacher's shine that came to define the new era of Batman is a welcome release. Any memories of Clooney's limp turn as the hero are literally jolted away when Christian Bale crashes into our face in the final seconds.



The Dark Knight (2008)
The trailer for The Dark Knight, of course, belongs to The Joker. All the winning aspects of Heath Ledger's interpretation are pushed forward in the first 40-odd seconds; we get the big reveal of his florid make-up, hear his chilling voice and of course, that laugh, layered over scenes of spine-tingling destruction. Topped off with a bit of left field humour ("Here's my card"), its easy to see why the character became such a phenomenon.

Much like the film itself, the trailer never lets up, relentlessly throwing snippets of explosions, gunfire and general devastation our way. The Dark Knight trailer promised something astonishing and, for most, the final package delivered. Can its successor also live up the hype?



What are you thoughts on the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises? How does it compare to previous Batman promos? Leave your comments below...

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