The Batman Review: The Batman vs. Dracula

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Release Date: October 18, 2005
Writer: Duane Capizzi
Directors: Michael Goguen, Seung Eun Kim, Sam Liu, and Brandon Vietti

(Thank you for being so patient, everyone. Your wait has not been in vain.)

Welp. I’ve done it. Seventeen reviews, and I’m finally ready to rip off Mouse even more than I usually do for my first movie critique. Whoopee!

So… Batman versus Dracula. As a kid I bought it instantly, but as a full-grown geek I have to admit it’s a tougher sell. The purist in me can rarely stand Batman mixing it up with magic & monsters (okay, sure, he was doing just that literally five issues into his debut, but I like to think there’s a reason the Monk has gotten about three stories in seventy-five-odd years) and this particular monster is such a genre icon that he’s nigh-impossible to fudge into “our” history for the purposes of Like Reality Unless Noted. That’s not an instant dealbreaker, but it does leave a weird taste in my mouth, akin to the time Batman ran into a 120-year-old Sherlock Holmes.

Bee jelly was involved. Seriously.

In any case, DC only trots out the Count on very rare occasions, and pretty much never with fanfare. Which isn’t to say this movie has no lead to follow, because one of those occasions just happened to be…

Some number Red Rain among the best of Elseworlds – one that doesn’t just go “What if our hero grew up in X time and Y place?” but actively, permanently disrupts a status quo we all know and love, in this case making Batman fight and eventually replace the King of Vampires. Others call it a misguided, misshapen mess, crammed with cheap stakes, cheaper gore, and prose purple enough to make Anne Rice wince – all trying and utterly failing to hide all the goofiness in-between-

(Let’s not get started on the art. We’ll literally be here all day.)

-and I can’t really disagree with either. It’s always struck me as a very unbalanced comic, with just as many lows as highs and not much in the way of reread value. Still, there’s no arguing its legacy: sequels, toys, the all-important Lego game cameo

And maybe, just maybe, a flick that can boil it down for twelve-year-olds and still have something to be proud of.

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