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Site of the Week – Batman on Film

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The Dark Knight is still raking it in at the box office atop a wave of critical acclaim — and maybe a small measure of credit goes to Batman on Film, which Bill Ramey launched way back in 1998 in an effort to lobby for a definitive, quality Batman movie. Ramey’s gotten his wish twice now, with the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Of all six Batman films, these two are the “most respectful toward the Batman mythos and the comic books,” Ramey explains. “They’re very true to the source material, and Christopher Nolan has created the best Batman films that we’ve had ever.” Next on the agenda: Lobbying for a third film from Nolan. “There will be a third one. All of the principal cast is signed for three movies,” he says. “The key is to bring Christopher Nolan back because this is his universe that he’s created.”

Batman on Film gets about a million hits a month on average, though traffic more than doubled in the run-up to The Dark Knight‘s
release. Ramey runs the site himself — he calls it his “second
full-time job” — and is pretty much responsible for all the content.
He says he’s gotten the respect of the filmmakers over time, because of
the way he’s run the site over the last decade and because of his
policy of not publishing spoilers. As a result, the readership knows
the site’s “a conduit for them, not only to give them a voice in terms
of what the fans would like to see in Batman movies, but also
they get some insight. I’ve had a lot of people e-mail me and say, You
made me feel like I was part of the production,” Ramey says.

Ramey grew up on the DC comics, but Batman was his
favorite. The Houston history teacher (who also coached high school
football for 18 years) first encountered the Caped Crusader in the
live-action Batman television show from the ’60’s. What’s the
attraction? “He’s the only comic book character that doesn’t have
superpowers. That’s his main appeal, so people can relate to him,”
Ramey notes. “He’s not fantastical.” As for the movies, Ramey has a
“fondness” for Batman, which starred Michael Keaton and was directed by Tim Burton, because it “started the whole thing. If there hadn’t been a Batman in 1989, there certainly wouldn’t have been Batman Begins in 2005. There wouldn’t have been Spider-Man. There wouldn’t have been any of these movies we’ve seen in the last 10, 12 years.” But Ramey says Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are “why I did the site. If handled properly, I think the Batman series can be like the James Bond
series where if you make quality films, people will go watch them and
it can last for decades.” And he thinks Christian Bale is the best
Batman by far: “He’s the whole package. He’s Bruce Wayne and he’s
Batman.”

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