Posted: August 30, 2016 in Movies


Tim Burton’s Batman was the biggest comic book movie ever at the time of it’s release. There had not been a similar movie of its kind since the release of Superman The Movie back in the 1970’s. Burton is able to inject the film with a distinct look and tone. Forties America but timeless. Still somehow in the now. The film came out the summer of 1989 and it was a box office smash hit. I can remember my dad telling me we would have to wait to see it due to the insane demand. I was too young to go the cinema to see Batman and we had to wait till the film came out on VHS. Despite not being able to see the film on the big screen I could still feel in awe of it. Which is crazy because back then we all had tiny TV’s, no HD pictures or surround sound. It is a credit to Burton he was able to make such an impactful comic book movie that losses none of its appeal on the small screen.

Michael Keaton is my Batman. Know how people have their own Bond? Well my Batman is Keaton. Always will be. Keaton is very good as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, sure he is not the most intimidating guy when you compare his build to say Affleck in Dawn of Justice or Bale in the Nolan flicks but his acting alone helps to cement him in the dual role. Jack Nicholson took a lot of money to play the Joker and he’s good. It’s a performance that sticks with you and it’s boss seeing Nicholson embrace the crazy and the intimidation. Rounding out the lead cast is Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale. Basinger is good in the role, which on the surface is basically the ‘love interest’ but ’cause she is a good actress Basinger gives Vale a winning personality and she looks incredible. Keaton and Basinger have real good chemistry and work off of one another well.

What I love about the film is the look. As I said above the film has this mix of a noir filled city but manages to feel modern at the same time. More in how the characters interact with one another and the modern (by 1989’s standards 🙂 ) technology. Joker’s designs on bringing down Gotham are well thought out. Poisoning the beauty products is horrific and hysterical. You see the on-going news coverage on the contamination and the news casters looking worse and worse because they aren’t able to look after their appearance! It’s quirky, funny and scary.

Burton made the choice to have the Joker be the guy who is responsible for Bruce’s parents murders. It is a decision that bothered some fans but not me. I think for the film Burton and co. wanted to make the Joker have more of a tie to Bruce to give the Gotham Cathedral showdown a more epic feel. It wasn’t needed but I understand the decision. Batman’s toys have a wicked showcase with the Batmobile and the Batwing on display in stand out action sequences that still play great almost thirty years later. Good filmmaking is good filmmaking regardless of when said film is made. Yeah there is some miniature work on hand but it doesn’t detract from the movie magic of it all and part of me will take that sort of movie magic over CGI nine times out of ten.

I have to mention Danny Elfman’s score is timeless and it would go on to be linked with Batman throughout the 90’s in both film and the brilliant animated series. Neither the Nolan nor Snyder iterations on the Caped Crusader have been able to match the incredible music of Elfman’s theme. It’s epic.

There is no point in recommending this film because it was so big and is regarded so highly. Maybe like me you own it and haven’t watched it in a while? Well if that is the case I can say you’d be doing yourself a favour by taking it off the self and putting the movie on.


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