Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Here are our top ten Batman fan films! To qualify, Bruce Wayne had to be the main hero of the film, and fan-made trailers didn’t count. Batman is one of those characters that has transcended the pages of his original medium and become a pop-culture icon. Between comics, books, movies, and TV shows, creators have always treated Batman’s character extremely well. They carefully cultivated a character loved across generations by men and women alike. Standing for what is right and setting firm moral limits, Batman is a character who inspires people all over the world. There are documentaries devoted to this very thing, and does anyone remember the Batboy story of last year which is soon to be made into a full-length movie? Yes, Batman’s creators have molded, shaped, designed, and redesigned Batman and his allies throughout 75 years of history to get to where they are today. Still, the folks at DC aren’t the only ones trying to take a crack at telling tales of the Dark Knight. Collected here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of the best Batman fan films: films created by fans for free, with no monetary gain (which is how they’re allowed to use such an iconic character in the first place). Click the title of the film to watch on Youtube, and enjoy! #10- Batman: Reborn Of out of all Batman fan films, this makes the list for many reasons. Many who begin watching this film might feel immediately put off by the film quality; this is understandable, as the movie is quite obviously an amateur film made on a home video camera. The editing and lighting are poor. The fight choreography is slow and blocky. It was obviously filmed in a garage. All of that said, I don’t mean to bash this film. This is clearly some fans of Batman having fun creating an homage to one of their favorite heroes, and really, this film is more of an homage to some classic Batman comic scenes than it is an original work. I say this because the film opens and closes the same way as “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth”- with quotes from Alice and Wonderland. While this worked thematically for the graphic novel, the film doesn’t share the same major themes, so this seems somewhat tacked on. A similar thematic complaint comes to mind due to the title- I don’t know when, how, or why Batman is “Reborn” in this film. Thematic problems and film quality aside, there are many things that worked quite well. Joker in Batman: Reborn The Joker is the most important part of this because most of the 22-minute runtime of this film focuses on a very long Joker monologue. At times, I thought this scene had been filmed as one long running take (which would have been impressive), but the slow fade cuts would break up the flow and continuity now and then. Joker’s lines and jokes are taken from a number of sources, some of which are Grant Morrison (as cited in the credits), but one very iconic Joker/Batman exchange comes directly from the pages of “Joker”, a graphic novel by Brian Azzarello, who gets no listing of his own in the credits. This is my biggest problem as a Batman fan, but I’m trying to assume this was a poorly cited homage, rather than a blatant steal from Azzarello. For other reviews, including weekly video reviews, click here! If you enjoy the film, there is a sequel, which is teased in a post-credits scene featuring Hush. To be honest, this post-credits scene might have been the best-filmed part of this feature. It made me interested enough to see if there was a sequel, which there is. It is called Batman Reborn 2: The Darkness Within. Since I can’t figure out how Batman was supposed to have been reborn in the first chapter of this series, my hope is that part 2 explores this idea a little further. If you’re looking for fantastic filmmaking, give this one a skip. If you’re a huge fan of Joker, you may want to watch this. For Hardcore Batman fans, this is probably worth watching, if only to play the game of “find the references” throughout the film. #9- Batman: The Line This Batman fan film also appears filmed in a basement for the extended Joker monologue. However, it works a bit better in this case. Batman: The Line has its share of problems, again mostly due to film quality, but where Batman: Reborn succeeded in acting, this one doesn’t follow suit. The Joker is represented pretty well, as a combination of the appearance of Jack Nicholson’s Joker combined with the Jigsaw clown doll from Saw. The mannerisms are almost completely Heath Ledger, but the Joker entertains me in this video, so I can’t complain about that. The main detractors for me in this film are Batman and Robin. Robin’s acting is subpar at best, and he’s the heart of the conflict of this film. Joker exists in a flashback during a conversation between Batman and Robin. Batman, a convincing Val Kilmer lookalike, doesn’t work as Bruce or Batman. Because of this, the beginning and ending of this film can be hard to get through. The Joker stuff is worth it, though. This film connects to actual comic book issues and tells you what to read before watching (if you’re concerned with that kind of thing). To those who cannot procure the issues cited, you can watch it without losing much continuity. To those who want to watch Jason Todd and Bruce Wayne argue over why they don’t cross “the line” and kill criminals, you’ll see a bit of that, but the conversation plays out between Batman and just about every character in Gotham. If you’re watching this film, you’re watching for the Joker bits, which are the highlight of this film for me. Want to brush up on your comic book history? Click here for articles and blog posts! #8- Batman: Night’s End Batman fan film Night’s End takes an often-repeated plot (Riddler has a hostage, Batman has to rescue them) and spices it up with a little Scarecrow. The film has its pros and cons but is enjoyable throughout. The film quality and camerawork made it feel like a home movie at times, and the effects were cool but were a bit obvious at times. That said, this version represented the Riddler well. The fight scenes aren’t too bad, either. The only major detractor in this film is the camerawork, which is extremely shaky, especially during the fight scenes. If you can get past that, then you’ll enjoy the story. The writing is pretty strong and helps carry you through the movie. If you’re a fan of Riddler, then you should watch this. The creator also has a video called Batman: Vendetta, if you enjoyed this one! Check out our podcasts to learn more! #7- Batman: Death Wish “Batman: Death Wish” is one of those Batman fan films that goes above and beyond with Batman characters. Packed into this 12-minute film are Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, Cassandra Cain, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Riddler, Poison Ivy… it’s something else. Watching it feels like reading a comic book, which was very entertaining. The acting may be a bit hammy at times, but the overall film is enjoyable, and some of the characters are spot on. The direction was strong, visuals are great, and the writing and pacing kept things moving well. Definitely, give this one a watch if you’re a Batman fan! #6- Batman: Dead End Among the Batman fan films, there are many different categories, interpretations, and universes. Since nothing is canon, anything goes. “Dead End” takes this idea to a whole new level. Beginning with an eerie new take on the Joker, the fan-film quickly jumps into the realm of science fiction, as Batman encounters some sci-fi classics: Aliens and Predators. Beyond mere entertainment value, which this film is full of, is the artful choreography. It’s dark, it’s brooding, and it captures Batman very well. The cliffhanger ending is intense and leaves me wanting more. Kevin Smith called it “possibly the truest, best Batman movie ever made.” That’s high praise coming from a big name. Whether you agree or not, “Batman: Dead End” is one film that will leave you wanting more. For more about Batman, click here! #5- Batman: The Kill In this Batman fan-film, we get to see more Bruce than in the previously mentioned videos. Hugo Strange is the mastermind behind a scheme to reveal Batman’s identity, and uses Scarecrow to do so. Because of a prevalence of Scarecrow, we also get to see inside Bruce’s head during some Fear-induced hallucinations. Black Mask and Zsasz show up in here as well, though Black Mask’s mask looks pretty cheap, and I couldn’t have guessed that Zsasz was in the movie if he hadn’t been specifically named. Though not heavy on combat, what we do see is true to Batman- quick, efficient, methodical. The use of so many villains is a lot of fun, too, and trying to develop Bruce’s mind, rather than simply tell a fun Batman adventure, is very admirable. Out of all Batman fan films, this gets a lot of details right, and for that, I’d say it’s worth checking out. #4- Batman: Evolution If you like your Batman fan films zany, then look no further. “Batman: Evolution” takes the best of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight and connects it to Adam West’s campy TV character. In what begins as a spectacular comedy, we end up seeing some incredible action. The fight choreography might be the best that shows up on this list. This is a clever movie that has so much going on, there’s sure to be something you’ll love. The humor mocking the 60’s show pulls you in from the beginning, and though one would think connecting two vastly different characters would be difficult, this fan-film presents one possible explanation for how the two different eras belong to the same person. With Black Mask as the main villain, this Batman fan-film will keep you on the edge of your seat, and then make you laugh. Check it out for yourself; it’s totally worth it! #3- Wayne Though light on Batman, this Batman fan film is still pretty cool. While the rest of this list focuses on Batman’s villains and the way the Dark Knight stops their schemes, this one focuses on Bruce before he becomes Batman or, rather, as he becomes Batman. There are no fight scenes or villains. What there is, though, is some awesome character development, and a side of Bruce that we haven’t seen before. What if the basement of the Monarch theater was the first Batcave? Did Bruce talk with his psychiatrists after the murder of his parents? When did Bruce first don the Batmantle? Wayne wonderfully explores these ideas. While not what most would call “exciting”, this film is definitely interesting. As for character development, this film contributes the most to the idea of what Bruce stands for. For that alone, this film is worth watching for any Batfan. I, for one, love the idea that he took the site of his parents’ murder and turned it into his first base of operations. That is an idea that I applaud. #2- Batman: Seeds of Arkham “Seeds of Arkham” was made by Bat in the Sun production, who has made a number of Batman fan films, including one called City of Scars which, at a half-hour runtime, gets to really explore the Batman universe. Each video by Bat in the Sun is impressively high quality, pulling no stops with gadgets and vehicles. The acting is superb. The direction is great. In Batman: Seeds of Arkham, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc give stellar performances that feel true to the characters. It was tough to choose only one video from Bat in the Sun’s list of films. I have to recommend watching a couple of them, if not all of them. They’re high quality, and you won’t be disappointed! Check out our podcasts to learn more! #1- Batman: Puppet Master This Batman fan film is easily my favorite. If you’ve been watching Batman fan films at any point in the last five years, you’ve probably already seen this one (which means you probably agree that it should be #1). Batman: Puppet Master serves as a pseudo-sequel to Nolan’s Dark Knight. The action within occurs before The Dark Knight Rises. Featured are realistic, grounded, gritty versions of Scarface (an underused favorite of mine), Riddler (those of you who like Gotham‘s version of Riddler will see an origin story somewhat similar), and Zsasz (complete with a body covered in tally-scars). The editing is perfect. The acting is spot-on. The special effects are fluid and don’t distract. It works. This is one of the Batman fan films that got it all right. It functions on its own. It functions as part of the Dark Knight trilogy. Best of all, it shows a prime example of how classic characters might have appeared in Nolan’s universe.Seriously, watching this film will make you go “man, Nolan, you really missed out on a great opportunity here. To me, The Dark Knight series feels incomplete without a chapter like this in between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The only downside, though, is that there is no sequel to this story. A lot gets set up. However, we don’t see the results. Though this fan film came out years ago, I’m still hoping for a sequel. I want to see how Scarface, Riddler, and Zsasz continue to fare against Batman. I would love to see how Batman defeats these enemies and finally feels safe leaving the city without its watchful protector. If you like Batman, The Dark Knight series, or comics in general, you should watch this movie. It’s spectacular. Batman Fan Films: The Bottom Line There are a ton of Batman fan films out there, and these ten are only scratching the surface. If you know of any that we missed, let us know in the comments! We’re always looking for more superhero action!