The first Batman movie ever made, well, not counting the 1966 theatrical circus act based off the television series ineptly called Batman: The movie which contained so much color and ridiculous outfits it looked like a dinner party for homosexuals … so … the very first serious Batman movie ever made is still in many ways a true classic.
The directing of Tim Burton and the way he dressed up his movie is wonderfully done. Being a filmmaker who frequently uses dark elements and creepy creatures in a spooky fairytale atmosphere, he was the perfect choice to tell the story of DC Comics’ most famous vigilante.
Visually it’s not Tim Burton‘s strongest movie, meaning, he kept a low profile on freaky puppets and bizarre freaks. That’s because he’s not creating a story of his own, but rather telling a story that already existed for many centuries in old comic books. Still, his artful way of creating Gotham city is wonderfully done … and far better than any other director ever did!
He does a great job however at showing us the old town Gotham, and the bleakness that resides within. Gotham is an old city that was once charming, but is now drenched in fear, doubt and above all things: crime and corruption on every corner of the street.
At the center of all things dark and dreary stand two men, both mortal though watching the movie you’d think otherwise.
The first one is our beloved hero, the Batman. Over the years many different actors would suit up, but none were more epic than Michael Keaton. He plays his part with such easy-going charm you immediately fall for the duality of Bruce Wayne being Batman.
Michael Keaton, ever being the actor who’s just as comfortable in drama as comedy, feels right at home on all ends:
* As the billionaire industrialist and handsome playboy who can get his hands on virtually every woman he lays his eyes on.
* As the powerful man, both financially and economically, who hates to see his city wither away in a decaying sickness.
* And as the mysterious shadowy figure who strikes at the heart of criminality in his hometown, dressed up as a bat, so as to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
On the opposite side, we find a performance that’s probably the best thing about Batman.
Not necessarily a greater actor than Michael Keaton on a whole, though definitely the colorful wild card of the movie, Jack Nicholson revels in one of his most fascinating roles ever … and that’s saying something! He is simply perfect as The Joker!
It’s not just his outfit which is both hilarious yet a tiny bit creepy, what not with all the purple.
It’s not necessarily his abstract face with the green hair and white sickly skin.
No, Jack Nicholson‘s performance is nothing short of brilliant, because he’s in complete control of just how crazy and unpredictable this character really is.
And back then in 1989, there wasn’t a better actor to fill the pointy shoes of this creepy clown …
In short, Batman is a classic in more ways than one, and will forever be watched and enjoyed by children and free-thinking adults across the globe …
Did you know?
Michael Keaton, who called himself a “logic freak”, was concerned that Batman’s secret identity would in reality be fairly easy to uncover, and discussed ideas with Tim Burton to better disguise the character, including the use of contact lenses. Ultimately, Keaton decided to perform Batman’s voice at a lower register than when he was portraying Bruce Wayne.
Give it to me short:
People always talk of how the new Batman-movies by Christopher Nolan are better … but little do they know that these movies were built onto the success and great ideas of their worthy predecessors. The old Batman-movie was the first one to construct the world of the dark knight and the crazy clown … and the job is done with near-perfection!
Truthfully, as a movie on a whole, Batman isn’t the strongest comic-book translation to the silver screen. Many characters, important in the original storyline, have been reduced to mere cameo performances whereas they should’ve played a bigger part, such as commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent.
But in spite of these few weaknesses, the movie is still an otherwise very fine, superbly piece of entertainment.
The performances of both Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, though the latter one gets a bigger space to play in, are equally well played.
Michael Keaton uses a charming craftiness for the duality of the rich humanitarian who becomes the dark knight. Jack Nicholson does the opposite: he lets it all out! he operates without boundaries and the crazier he goes, the better he becomes!
Last but not least: there’s visionary director Tim Burton who breathes life into this old tale of good vs. bad, and he does it with great anticipation!
Batman isn’t just a good movie … it’s the reason why there are so many superhero-movies today!