Today is the release of The Dark Knight, for which I, a diehard DC comics fan, am not waiting in line to see. I was thoroughly underwhelmed with its predecessor, Batman Begins — Christian Bale just isn't the man to portray Gotham's caped crusader.
That opinion is a happy consequence of the fact that there isn't one right way to portray the Dark Knight. There have been many interpretations of the character over the years, and Web 2.0 has allowed fans to put him in their own tales as well. The dark, landmark short "Dead End" is one of my favorites, as it plays on many of the grim aspects of both Batman and the comic book medium that are so appealing.
"Dead End" also provides a sharp contrast from which to create more humorous takes on Batman. Ever since Frank Miller (of 300 and Sin City fame) wrote The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, most incarnations of Batman have depicted him as brooding and violent character. So any return to the campiness with which Adam West first brought Batman to life is a welcome relief, such as shown in this recent release, entitled "Batman's Bad Day":
This film is funny for more than showing how superheroes treat each other when not in crisis management mode. Showbits contributor Hiphopguy23 hates the Man of Steel for having every other character's superpower, usurping any other hero's usefulness. It's past time to see him and his god-like brethren put in their place — and the quintessential Boy Scout's uncharacteristic riposte is a great zinger.
Another recent entry into the Batman fanfilm category is one that doesn't feature Batman at all, and again features a surprising ending. I give you "The Interrogator":
This is just a small sampling of the creative output of the Batman fan community; a more complete index can be found at BatmanFanFilms.com. And if you too are uninterested in today's theatrical release, check out Dayton Ward's Batman gallery, which takes the audio and action of the Dark Knight trailer and recreates it using a variety of media, from animation to LEGOs. Finally, remember that the animated film Batman: Gotham Knight is now available on DVD, serving as a bridge between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.