Batmania Part 3: ‘Batman’ – My biased, biased review

If you read my last post, you know how much Batman means to me. I debated writing an actual review for the film, seeing how I spilled my guts about the profound impact the film had (has?) on me.  But, in keeping with my original idea of reviewing the Batman films before The Dark Knight hits theaters, I’m doing it anyway.

Batman was the #1 movie of 1989, grossing $251 million (adjusted for inflation, that’s $434 million).  It put Tim Burton on the map (it was only his third feature film) and spawned three sequels (more on that sore subject later).  So basically, in 1989, Batman was the shiz, even though it had a terrible trailer.

What’s it about?  Millionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) moonlights as Batman, a vigilante whose sole mission is to clean up the streets of Gotham City.  When  Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson)–the mafia’s second-in-command–falls into a vat of toxic chemicals during a botched job, the police blame Batman.  Jack doesn’t die, however, and now as the Joker he’s about to let all hell loose in Gotham town.

Meanwhile, photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) has a thing for Bruce Wayne, and while the feeling’s mutual, Bruce can’t fully commit (that whole super hero thing keeps getting in the way).

Real trouble starts when the Joker develops a little crush on Vicki, which means Batman has to save her a little more frequently than the average citizen of Gotham.  More stuff happens, of course, but if you haven’t seen the movie by now (you’ve had nineteen years to do so), you won’t want me to go any further, anyway.

What’s good about it?  It’s a feast for the eyes.  The fight sequences are well-shot.  Michael Keaton IS Batman (prior to the film he was seen as a comedic actor and much skepticism surrounded his casting).  Jack Nicholson IS the Joker (he chews the scenery and the audience loves him for it).  Danny Elfman’s score is amazing.

What’s bad about it?  There are a couple of plot problems (like Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred letting Vicki in the Batcave), but in my biased opinion, that’s it.

Perfect for: me.


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