“Batman” stars Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, and Pat Hingle. Released on June 23, 1989, the film is about a masked hero who must save Gotham City from a criminal mastermind.
The film is directed by Tim Burton, who also directed films such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, and Big Eyes. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name created by Bob Kane, and it is the first installment of the Batman film series. With Burton’s latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, coming up, I thought it would be nice for me to look at one of his earlier works, mostly the one that a lot of people are familiar with in terms of them being introduced to Batman. I really like Batman. He doesn’t have a lot of superhuman abilities, but his detective skills, stealth, and regular crime-fighting techniques are what made him a great DC Comics character, in my opinion. I haven’t really watched this film a lot, but I finally got the chance to see the whole thing of it on the big screen at my nearest cinema. Not only did I had a really nice experience watching it for the first time in theaters, but I happened to find that the film still holds up very well.
The film features a typical good vs evil storyline, with Batman (played by Michael Keaton) taking on a psychotic criminal known as the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson). Sure, it’s pretty basic for a superhero film, but the way they executed it was very engaging and quite dark. Not only that, but the characters have their own way of being just as engaging as the story itself. Michael Keaton did a very good job playing Batman, in my opinion, despite some of his dialogue feeling a bit flat. Now, back then, when Keaton was cast as the title character, it caused some controversy among comic book fans, which is pretty familiar to the recent controversy that happened when Ben Affleck was chosen to portray Batman in Batman V Superman. Let’s just say that I am happy that Keaton managed to prove them wrong. Then there’s Nicholson, who absolutely nailed his performance as the Joker, just like what Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight. When he’s Jack Napier, he’s pretty good, but when he starts becoming the Joker, that’s where things started to get a bit more enticing. His psychotic personality, along with his twisted sense of humor, are what made the Joker the way he is to me, and Nicholson did a fantastic job at portraying that kind of character. What also made the film work for me is Tim Burton’s style. Burton is known for making creepy and imaginative films in his own unique way, so it makes sense that he was chosen to direct this movie. The incredible production design and the film’s tone just screams out “Burton”. I also thought that Danny Elfman’s score still holds up as well, mostly the main theme. I don’t really talk that much about music in film, but in this case, I have to say that it definitely fits what people are expecting out of Batman, exciting and dark. There were a couple of parts that were a bit slow, but it picked itself up right away without losing too much momentum.
Overall, Tim Burton’s “Batman” is a brooding, yet entertaining, superhero film that still remains as a near-perfect Batman experience. The story is well-executed, the main performances are marvelous, and Tim Burton’s direction hits the mark completely. This is definitely one of the better Batman films I’ve seen, in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it yet and you’re a Batman fan, I would strongly recommend this film to you.