Genre: Action, Adventure
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger
When Superman started to fade in popularity (because of really bad sequels), they brought in the eccentric director that is (was?) Tim Burton to bring Batman to life on the big screen. Batman was a darker figure in the comic books, but the television show starring Adam West was campy (and that’s me being really nice). Someone had to take Batman seriously, but still know that it could be fun, too. Tim Burton was perfect for this.
For starters, Burton convinced people that Michael Keaton could play a decent Batman. (A fine choice. Not the best, but good enough) Then they got Jack Nicholson to play his arch-nemesis, the Joker. Add the wonderful Kim Basinger to play Vicki Vale and put them all together and you have one heck of a movie.
Batman was very different because he had no powers (aside from being very intelligent and super wealthy). A film with him wouldn’t need the same amount of special effects as other superheroes, more practical effects.
In the film they have Bruce Wayne’s classic childhood tragedy of his parents being gunned down on the streets of Gotham. (If you needed a spoiler alert for that one, you need to stop living in that cave.) the scene was tragic, but they don’t dwell on young Bruce Wayne too much, instead they get right to the future. The beautiful thing is that beginning ties in with the ending.
There is a lot to like about this movie. Michael Keaton plays a pretty good Batman and Bruce Wayne. I have no complaints really about him.
Jack Nicholson stole the movie as the Joker; he was psychotic and intelligent, yet with a clearly twisted sense of humor. His actions are fueled by this demented philosophy he’s created over time through his personal life and the tragedy that drove him completely insane. (It‘s why The Joker is maybe the best villain ever.)
The film is very comic book like because it has some humor, but it works because it doesn’t get carried away with it. (Comic book humor, but not especially cartoony.) There are dark, serious tones, and then there are quirky comedic moments.
Really, this film is wonderful from start to finish with a very strong third act.It showcases a newer style of Batman. Suave, intelligent, and dangerous. Keaton was the face of Batman/Bruce Wayne (Should have been for at least four movies).
Though I love the movie, there are a couple of things that I dislike about the film. Perhaps the biggest is that they failed to utilize James Gordon and Harvey Dent who aren’t really important at all. You could completely cut them from the movie and I’d barely notice. There’s little to no edge or depth to these secondary characters. (I give Nolan full credit for doing much better with that.)
Ultimately, Batman was a big hit and Burton and company did a lot of things right to create a new franchise. I feel the goal of a comic book film is to take the characters and stories of the printed series and present them in a whole new medium. Bring them to life and this movie did a superb job at that.
It may not be the divine work of Nolan (according to a many fan boys and girls), but this Batman is a classic that I cherish.
The acting and directing is of good quality. I love the tone, the humor, and the look of the film. Like any film, it has aged some, but it has done so with grace. Batman (1989) remains one of the finest comic book films ever crafted.
What is your favorite version of Batman? (TV/Animated or Movies)
Which was your favorite Batman villain?