Seriously, stop with the fan base warring. It’s ridiculous. Both are brilliant directors who resurrected a twice-cheapened/failed franchise with clever writing, charm, wit, sex appeal, and an edgy exterior. They both presented us with engaging plots, memorable (in pleasing way) casting, and superb direction. It’s absurd to “fight” over which was the “best” for the franchise (neither was particularly keen on comic book canon, so don’t even go there). Burton started the ball making the franchise very “sexy” and “dark” again, taking it from the campy, deplorably written/poorly acted cheese fest that the Adam West tv series had burrowed into the minds of the American public. And then when Burton’s own brilliance was cast aside by production in favor of Schumacher’s on-screen abominations, Nolan appeared to once again give a soul back to the series. They both deserve great credit. Both have provided masterpieces of cinema and comic book lore.
BUT if I had to pick one director over the pack (because I know I would be asked to provide a preference), I would definitely choose Burton’s as my favorite Batman incarnation. Why? Mainly for the simple fact that I feel that Nolan’s real-world based reality makes a grown billionaire leaping about in a bat suit (complete with cape) look more than a tad ridiculous. Burton’s world was extra stylish, and was created during his “darkest” (and much beloved) phase of his career. He successfully combined fantasy and noir into the perfect sleek package. I loved how his “Gotham” could exist either in the 40’s or the 80’s flawlessly. I adored the Red Triangle circus (an extremely creepy bunch whom I wish I could have seen a whole film dedicated to). I loved Michael Keaton as Batman (with his slightly psychotic/maniac side). And Michelle Pffiefer is hands-down my favorite Catwoman (sorry Anne Hathaway and Eartha Kitt) Do I care if it’s canon? Nope, because it’s close enough for me in spirit and I’m not a Batman fan boy (and yes I have read many Batman comics, he was my favorite of the superhero bunch). And also, if Burton hadn’t gotten the ball rolling (and being so damn successful at it) I doubt Nolan’s versions would even exist (and we would have really missed out on Ledger’s top-notch performance as the sadistic Joker).
But again, I don’t waste my time on Youtube and forums flaming others that disagree. Because again, both were a wonderful series of films. I think my generation is so fortunate to have both Burton and Nolan at some point taking control of the franchise. So Burton and Nolan fan bases, give it a rest!