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Monday, February 4, 2013

73 of 1001 Movies: Batman (1989)

Tim Burton's only movies prior to directing Batman include Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, so he was given his next big opportunity to direct this one, and made quite a wave with it even winning one Oscar. It's a little bit comical, and a little dark, but the movie never takes itself too seriously in it's portrayal of Batman, and seems to want to completely immerse itself in a comic book vibe throughout the movie.

Bruce Wayne is protecting the city by preventing crimes from happening in Gotham, but Jack Napier is growing more dangerous by the day until he meets him face to face in a feud, and leaves Napier scarred. Now he sets out to get revenge against Batman as the Joker, and along the way he plans to torment the ones even closest to Batman like Vicki Vale. The Joker also is set on getting the city of Gotham pitted against Batman in trying to manipulate their perceptions, and he already has ties in the police force to try to corrupt it.


For a guy just getting his career off the ground he makes a strong showing with Batman. While comic fans might have mixed feelings about how the story varies, the movie is well adapted. Tim Burton didn't seem to want to make the movie something serious about itself, so even Batman himself seems like a guy who isn't all emotional about what he is doing. What makes it work is the chemistry that the actors seem to have together, and the balance between the lighter, and darker aspects of the movie.

Michael Keaton sort of portrays Batman in the way you think Batman would be acted. He's sort of a quiet guy, but a normal guy just looking to keep people from experiencing the hardship he has been dealt because of the crime in the city. Kim Basinger also is stand out in her role despite the fact she is surrounded by a strong group of men. What is admirable is that she doesn't ever have to get too revealing, or be too scantily clad to get your attention. She stands out purely because she is good as Vicki Vale.

You also can't forget Jack Nicholson who is the stand out of the whole movie as the Joker. He makes it eerie despite the comical back drop of the movie. The Joker is a creepy character himself, and he captures this very well. A lot of the movie was spent trying to figure who was playing Alexander Knox the reporter, who was Robert Wuhl. While not the main guy there was something that drew you to him on screen.

Burton has all his trademark things he likes to put in movies even early on in this one. From the odd factories,  to the abstract shaped buildings, and the mixture of bright colors with the dark he fuses his own creativity into it so upon watching it you know Burton is directing it. He strings together to something that feels like a cohesive movie on it's own regardless of whether it got another sequel.

Batman is one of those movies that is a comic classic translation to on screen. It never has to get too violent, or revealing to be something that evokes the emotions it is wanting to from the viewer. The atmosphere of Batman is still contained in the movie despite the different variation of it. There are times it ranges from being a fun watch to something that is a little creepy at times, which seems what it was meant to be.

Rating 4 of 5.




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