Though Christopher Nolan, Frank Miller and others have taken the once camper-than-camp Batman and dragged him growling into the darkness, there remains something inherently silly about a man pretending to be a bat, flapping about in a big black cape. Ever observant, the internet has noticed this, and for the past seven years has poked fun at The Caped Crusader and his villainous adversaries. As The Dark Knight Rises winds up its stay at cinemas (and beats The Avengers at the UK box office, to boot) we thought it was high time we paid our respects to the web’s best efforts. Here, then, are 13 of the funniest Bat-parodies; add your own favourites in the comments box below…
This isn’t the first Batman / Carly Rae Jepsen mash-up to hit the web – the DegaBros got there first – which perhaps isn’t surprising given the song’s massive web footprint and insane catchiness. Still, this is definitely the better of the two, with the Batman here actually looking quite a bit like Christian Bale’s goateed, hollow-faced Bruce Wayne. Their Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be more Michael Peña than John Blake, but he’s not altogether terrible – and he can carry the tune.
Best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, Chris Kattan has never really made it in the feature film Hollywood scene, with his talent for impressions languishing in the likes of Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters and a deleted scene in Superbad (where he dresses up in a squirrel suit). Thanks to Funny Or Die, however, Kattan has a new lease of life, playing everyone’s favourite asthmatic terrorist with a gusto not seen since, well, Tom Hardy did it.
Living up to their name, Above Average productions effort sees The Dark Knight Rises meet Burt Ward’s Robin in a mickey-take that boasts production qualities far superior to most other online Batman buffoonery. Luke Scholl’s Bane deserves particular praise on that front, even if his inevitable beat down on the hapless Robin does descend into the rather-too-bloody-to-be-funny-anymore category by the end of the skit.
Where Above Average productions reveled in their top-notch production values, The Robson Experience – Robson Thomson, Will Tiddy and Tony Stephens – does exactly the opposite, embracing their sticky-back-plastic shonkiness with glee. In the clip, Robson is seen dashing about the centre of Cambridge, knocking Professor Stephen Hawking off his wheelchair shouting at passers-by and making “Neeoooow” noises as he ‘drives’ through a park. You know, just like in the movies.
Years before the world said with one voice, “Were those even words coming out of Bane’s mask?”, many cinemagoers were scratching their heads over the World’s Greatest Detective’s own dialogue in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Sure, we could at least lip-read Batman as necessary, whereas Bane had a spider made of tubes covering his alimentary canal, but he still mumbled quite a bit. Here, The Joker takes on Bats’ poor diction with giddy aplomb – to the extent that we’d like to see a sequel where he tackles Bane…
Though not technically anything to do with Nolan’s Dark Knight universe – and not, strictly speaking, a sketch – this on-the-street quiz is remarkably illuminating. The question was this: can the average American Joe work whether an out of context quote was spoken by George W. Bush or 1960s Batman? The answer: not always. “Whether we bring our enemies to justice or justice to our enemies, justice will be done…” is one such contentious quote – which was definitely said by Batman. Or Bush. Wait, Batman. No, Bush. One of the two, anyway.
If you’ve ever wondered how Bruce Wayne happened upon his particular Batman cough-slash-drawl, this video contains all the answers. It turns out that before he ended up speaking like a woodbine smoker after a particularly heavy night at his local Working Men’s Club, Batman tried out Christopher Walken, Dustin Hoffman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many, many more. Shame the Dick Van Dyke “cock-er-nee” edition didn’t make the cut, really – that would have brought a whole to twist to proceedings: “WHERE IS HE, ME OLD CHINA!?”
The How It Should Have Ended gang have a running gag that sees Superman having a cup of coffee with Batman, normally resulting in Supes bragging about something awesome he’s done and/or Bats saying “…because /I’m Batman!/” Once they got around to covering on The Dark Knight – releasing their skit as late as February 2011 – it didn’t disappoint, delivering both much-loved jokes alongside a clumsy magic trick, a road traffic accident and a plot hole so egregious it really is a wonder Nolan didn’t spot it himself.
Just a month or so after The Dark Knight Rises arrived in cinemas, the How It Should Have Ended team butts heads with Gotham’s Reckoning™ and identifies a few significant plot holes. Their baldy baddie’s voice is perhaps the best impression on this list – though it hasn’t got anything on our Nick’s take, of course – and their Morgan Freeman ain’t too shabby either. Elsewhere, their Commissioner Gordon delivers the line “Oh poop” so well, it’s a wonder it wasn’t in the actual film itself. One for the Blu-ray director’s cut, perhaps.
Eagle-eyed fans of The Dark Knight trilogy will have noticed that The Riddler does not appear in any way, shape or form, such was Nolan’s darker take on the comic book hero and/or the fallout of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever. But that didn’t stop CollegeHumor from taking the time to imagine what it would be like if he had. The resulting YouTube video manages to be both highly silly and prove a point: The Riddler just doesn’t work in this world, although that question mark scar on his forehead is a nice touch…
If you were Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s regular vanishing act would get pretty old, pretty fast. One moment he’s there, growling sweet plot points at you, the next, he’s off. At least The Joker was kind enough to leave a card. Of course, in The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman shows Bats what it feels like, but here in his CollegeHumor video, Gordon fails to give The Dark Knight enough time to swoop away, resulting in some beautifully awkward moments.
Batman has no superpowers. Superman, on the other hand, has all the superpowers. In the grand scheme of DC superheroes, Superman should clearly be top dog, with only kryptonite and daddy issues standing in his way, whereas Batman is chock full of emotional angst and seemingly indefatigable enemies – which makes it faintly dishonest that any face-off between the two in the comics has (as is traditional) ended up in more-or-less a stand-off or a Batman victory. So it redresses the balance when CollegeHumor’s cartoon comedy department square off Supes against Bats in a fight to save Gotham, The Last Son of Krypton kicks pretty much everyone’s arse – including Batman’s. God knows how The Justice League is going to work out that power dynamic…
This sketch by sketch troupe Totally Sketch, although not totally sketch, is still somewhat sketch. It all depends on whether you mind graphic descriptions of dark and twisted sexual acts as part of your daily intake of Batman-related funnies, really. If you are OK with it, this one’s a cracker, revealing a previously-unguessed-at weakness in Batman’s Bat-armour: homosexual men and references to homosexual men. Now we know.
It turns out that Sam Rockwell does good Batman and Justin Long does even better Robin. Neither of them do good dates - not when they're in costume, anyway. This we now know, all thanks to the internet. Thanks, internet. Thinternet.