Batman Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 12, 2006
There's a lot to admire about the production design, as well as Keaton's and Nicholson's performances but overall this film did age a lot worse than some that are up to ten years older. That's partially due to sub par special effects but also a pretty odd timing, which makes for quite a few lengths. You still gotta appreciate the film for starting the wave of comic book movies that are on such a high currently, but this film does not exactly look well under some scrutiny.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2013
The creative vision of the Dark Knight is presented in only a way Tim Burton could do it. Batman is a charming and stylized portrayal of the DC-Comic hero. From the layout of the entire city of Gotham to the casts dynamic stamp (Keaton, Nicholson, Basinger) the Caped Crusader emerges victoriously and notoriously. 4/5
michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2010
again its not one of the best superhero movies ive ever seen but its still pretty good for any fan of the comics and or Tim Burton
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2012
An interesting take on Batman, which has a high level of unrecognized faith towards the comics. Michael Keaton only gives a moderate performances as the caped crusader; nothing dire, but nothing superb. However, its really Jack Nicholson's take on the Joker that truly makes this film stand out. Not only does Nicholson give a sophisticated, hysterical and psychotic portrayal, it's one of very few performances that gets very close to the character. Its worth a try if your a comic fan and want to see some loyalty within a film. However, on the bare minimum, it only worth seeing Nicholson being creepy yet wacky.
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2012
I respect this film for the same reason I respect the Sam Raimi's Spiderman trilogy. It brought a respectable version of the character to the big screen and made it enjoyable and grand for it's time. Sure it may be a bit dated and I don't think Bruce Wayne ever had a mullet but I can still watch this film today and love the portrayals of the characters. Nicholson's Joker may not be my favorite but it is a staple in movie history.
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2011
Tim Burton delivers something truly special with his first Batman feature. Burton crafts a film with a dark comic book vision which makes this film one of the best superhero films to ever grace the screen. I say comic book vision because the film has that going for it. The way Burton has his characters portrayed are lifted right off from the pages of the comic, and he keeps the feel of the comics intact. Batman is a phenomenal, thrilling experience and I thoroughly enjoyed viewing this film. Aside from the Nolan Batman films, Burton's two Batman films are the best of the franchise, and it's easy to see why. I love the visual aspect of the picture, the dark, gritty and ugly streets of Gotham City are exactly what it should be. Michael Keaton is a terrific choice to play Batman, and of course he is only matched by Christian Bale. Keaton brings a sad quality to the role of Bruce Wayne. The films high points are its darkly comic situations, which are equally serious as they are darkly humorous. Aside from Michael Keaton, the film boasts a strong cast of actors, including Jack Nicholson as The Joker, Jack Palance as Carl Grissom and Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent. These for me, are the most memorable actors in this film. Batman is a terrific achievement for a superhero film, and it's only recently that this film along with its sequel has been matched. Tim Burton has crafted a memorable, entertaining superhero film that remains one of the best superhero films ever made. If you're looking for a great Batman film aside from Christopher Nolan's Work, check out this film along with its sequel. Brilliant, action packed and lots of fun from start to finish. Batman has the distinction of being one of the finest superhero films ever made, although The Dark Knight will for me be the greatest film in the genre. This film is still a classic in the genre and with a great cast of talented actors and effective direction, this is a unique film that is a must see for fans of Batman. Tim Burton definitely did a good job here, and this is my personal favorite of the two Burton directed films this is a must see and is sure to please genre fans. Batman has lots of style, action and entertainment value. This is a great film that delivers.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2012
This Batman is good because, it brought Batman to the dark setting he was supposed to be in. It also boasted an awesomely lunatic performance from Nicholson as Joker. At times it got to be kind of boring, but it picked up during the scenes with the Joker. Though at times it sort of strays from what Batman is, its still a solid Superhero film.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2010
One thing is definitely for sure before reviewing this film, I felt myself shaking my head at how over-the-top Jack Nicholson's Joker performance was, and the fact that some of the dialogue felt rushed. That being said, the rest of the film surpasses those flaws and makes a great stylistic film of itself. I was not blown away in any aspect, but it is funny, witty, colourful, the characters are loveable, and the effects are pretty good for it's time. The story goes completely against the comics, but on it's own, it can be ignored. "Batman" is the type of film you can watch every now and then and not really have any complaints. It's a great ride!
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises comes out in under 2 weeks and I've decided each major Batman movie needs a review. To kick things off we have Batman, directed by Tim Burton. Batman tells of Bruce Wayne as Batman and his fight against the clown prince of crime, the Joker. Michael Keaton plays Bruce Wayne/Batman and from what I've heard, a lot of people weren't to happy when they first heard he landed the role. I actually thought he was great in the role. He's really good at playing the wealthy Bruce Wayne who appears self-absorbed, yet he's also really good at playing the dark side of Batman who is pretty much the polar opposite of Bruce. Playing the Joker is Jack Nicholson and absolutely steals the show. Nicholson was everything the Joker needed to be: Funny, insane, unpredictable and dangerous. Although I prefer Heath Ledger as the Joker, I still think Nicholson is awesome in the role. The rest of the cast is great too. Kim Basinger is good as love interest Vicki Vale (despite screaming in almost every scene she's in) the late Pat Hingle was good as Commisioner Gordon and even Lando Calrissian makes an appearance in the movie. The thing people remember most about this movie is how dark it was. Tim Burton usually has his own style when it comes to directing and the gothic tone is shown in the movie. Gotham City is the dark and corrupt place it needs to be. Considering that it's the first movie in the series, one would think it focuses on Batman's origin story, but it's really more about the Joker in the movie. We see the story of Bruce Wayne via flashback, but like I said, the Joker steals the show. He has a cool arsenal of weapons that I've always liked. He has an electric hand buzzer that actually fries people, the flower on his lapel shoots acid, it's all great. One thing I wanted to see more of in the movie however was Commisioner Gordon and Batman working together. Gordon is pretty much Batman's unspoken partner in crime (Robin sucks) but the movie doesn't really show the relationship they have in their stand against crime. There's also some really weird scenes in the movie. There's one where Batman is flying in the Batwing and he locks onto the Joker and goes all out, shooting every weapon he has...and he completely misses the Joker. I never understood what happen in that part, but oh well. There are also a couple of songs sung by Prince in the movie and they seemed out of place. Thankfully the entire musical score isn't by Prince. The music is by Danny Elfman and it's fantastic. The Batman theme is an unforgettable piece of music that, once you hear it, won't go away. Tim Burton did his job of making comic book movies popular again and Batman is a fine example of why Batman is an awesome hero. The acting was great, the action scenes are old fashioned entertainment, the visuals are superb, the music is unforgettable and the characters were done justice.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2012
1989's "Batman" was the first cinematic adventure for the superhero. I remember seeing this in the theater as a kid, and loving it. I was completely captivated and even wanted the bat sign shaved into the back of my head(everyone was doing it! but I ended up getting an E.J. instead). Michael Keaton stars as Bruce Wayne the playboy billionaire by day, and Batman by night. Keaton is a great Batman, and until Christian Bale, as my favorite actor to play Batman. He has it all, charm, danger, wit, he really is the total package of an entertaining superhero. Jack Nicholson plays the Joker, and he does good. But, revisiting this, it's more like the Joker doing a Jack Nicholson impersonation. This movie holds up nicely after 20 years and isn't nearly as irrelevant as other movies that have been remade. While the remakes are better films, this original still maintains a certain charm that makes it enjoyable after all these years. I was never much of a Batman comic book fan, but I've always enjoyed the movies, and it started here.
Joel K.
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2011
How much awesomeness can you fit into one film? Well, this one certainly pushes the boundaries. This highly stylised Tim Burton adaptation of one of the most iconic comic characters ever is an exciting and darkly atmospheric adventure story. Michael Keaton plays a very straight and seriousness Bruce Wayne, under acts everything, and does it really well. Jack Nicholson, however, plays the campy and happy Jack Napier, and overacts everything, and does so brilliantly. These 2 are at the centre of the film. All the side characters that are a massive part of the Batman mythology are side tracked for a story about 2 men. Both are responsible for each other's circumstances, both are after the same woman, and they both stand for completely opposite ideologies. The film uses this dynamic very well, and its overall tone is a mix the order and morality of Batman, with the chaos and sick immorality of the Joker. As they both spiral towards the conclusion, we get to take in the heart pounding action, feel the presence of the dark city of Gotham, and meet with Corrupt cops, plucky journalists, and politicians who've lost all control. If 3 years ago you, like me, went to the cinema and enjoyed the Christopher Nolan Batman Film "The Dark Knight" it's imperative that you see, or at least acknowledge, this other superhero masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
½ September 30, 2011
The original is still the best.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2011
Jack Nicholson steals the show as the Joker in the first REAL Batman movie. The film is dark, sad, funny, and has an incredible original soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2011
Did I like this, yes. But I also had many problems with the movie. The cast was good but couldve been better, the production was great, Tim Burton can sure spend money well. The story was okay but it didnt really give me something new. Batman was a fine piece of work, and a must watch for Batman fans.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2011
First movie I saw as a baby (even though I don't remember)! This movie single handedly made me love batman throughout my childhood and even until now. Great for it's time, and still fun to watch. Jack kills as the Joker.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2011
The Joker: Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Bruce Wayne: What?
The Joker: I always ask that of all my prey. I just... like the sound of it.

This is the movie that first introduced me to Batman and probably to superhero movies of any kind. I've seen it many times, but my love for it went down a lot after the last two Batman films. Nolan's films are far superior to any of Burton's or Shumacher's. After recently giving Batman another viewing I still find very entertaining and just an overall great movie. My love for it is back.

Jack Nicholson is great as The Joker. Anyone who saw The Dark Knight before ever seeing this probably won't give Nicholson the respect he deserves for his Joker. His character is much different then Ledger's so I don't believe they should be compared. They were both great. Michael Keaton is a really good Bruce Wayne/Batman as well. He fits the part really well. Elfman's score is good and the settings are really cool as well.

There are some negative aspects I feel the need to point out though. I hate the Prince music. When The Joker dances to Prince, I just find it weird and really out of place. Also I don't think they made good enough use of Comissiomer Gordon. He's not really at all important to this movie. I also wish Robert Wuhl wasn't in this movie. I find him to be a horrible actor. He single handedly destroyed Cobb for me.

Overall Burton's vision of Gotham City is really exciting and entertaining and the movie is no different.

The Joker: Gotham City. Always brings a smile to my face.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ June 26, 2011
At a time when the default way of putting comics on screen is to 'go dark', it's easy to forget how radical Tim Burton's Batman would have seemed to 1980s audiences. The only previous attempt at a 'serious' superhero movie had been Richard Donner's Superman, which in itself was compromised by its heavy-handed producers. More than 20 years on, Batman remains an ambitious and entertaining attempt to bring Bob Kane's vision to the big screen, and while not all of it works, there is much to enjoy and appreciate.

Both at the time and in light of his subsequent output, Burton was an interesting choice to direct. He admitted to having little interest in the comics before he was offered the project - a revelation that led to a clash with Kevin Smith in the late-1990s when both were developing a Superman project. On the other hand, Burton's background in animation gave him an understanding of characters' physicality, and of the way in which their surroundings could be employed to reflect or express their emotions in a fantastical away.

Burton's vision for Gotham City stems from the expressionist traditions of German cinema. The architecture, with its dizzying skyscrapers and bustling streets, tips its hat lovingly to Metropolis and thereafter to Blade Runner. The latter is particularly evident in the rooftop scenes, where Burton contrasts light and shadow very effectively to show the fractured nature of both heroes and villains. This and the recurring image of smoke rising from the streets give things a film noir feel which plays into the hands of the source material.

Whereas Christopher Nolan's 'Gotham trilogy' is set in an alternative version of the present, Burton's vision finds the 1940s and the 1980s living side by side, like a lighter version of Blade Runner's retrofitted future. This hybrid reflects the comics' desire to stay with the times while keeping the characters timeless, and can be seen in every aspect of the art direction. Robert Wuhl's reporter is a 1940s flatfoot with a contemporary tape recorder, and at every press conference there is a mixture of old and new microphones. All the men wear classic suits while Jerry Hall and Kim Basinger flaunt the height of 1980s fashion. Even the Batmobile is part of this admixture, mixing fastback and hot-rod styling under a Chevrolet soundtrack.

But although the film captures the marriage of old and new reflected in the comics, there is a conflict between Burton's imagination and the extent to which this can be conveyed through the special effects. Even if we make allowances for model shots and moving backdrops (like the dated sequence of Batman and Vicki Vale falling off the cathedral), some of the action sequences look as though they were constrained, not for budgetary but for creative reasons. In his later films Burton would bring more of his vision to the screen thanks to carefully controlled digital effects, but no matter how many effects there are on the Batmobile, only a small amount ends up in plain sight.

Burton's interest in the characters lies less in what the comics lay out as to the split personalities and motivations of Batman and the Joker. Batman examines the psychology of individuals who choose to live separate lives and hold separate identities, whether out of moral conviction or because of some hideous accident. In the climactic "duel of the freaks" in the cathedral belfry, Batman and the Joker emerge as being formed from both aspects, with their worldviews being shaped by their attitudes to the accidents. The murder of Bruce Wayne's parents leads him to strive for justice, while Jack Napier's cruel accident drives him to revenge through creating chaos.

Confrontations like this exist outside Batman's relationship with the Joker, and tie in with Burton's running theme of outsiders. Michael Keaton plays Bruce Wayne as the awkward billionaire who has everything he wants but yearns to be accepted rather than just admired. He is torn between his desire for a normal life, embodied by his relationship with Vicki Vale, and his urge to fight injustice by becoming a monster. As in the sequel, some of the best moments in Batman find Keaton struggling over whether or not he should reveal his true identity to the woman he loves.

Because of the balance between Batman and the Joker in terms of character study, the Joker is naturally on screen for a large amount of time. But Jack Nicholson, who is clearly having fun, almost walks off with the whole film, leaving just the awkward silences between the two lovers and the bluster of Robert Wuhl to fill in the time. Ever since The Shining, Nicholson had been playing the over-the-top card to his advantage, and had been rewarded in this field with an Oscar for Terms of Endearment.

There have been many comparisons made between Nicholson's Joker and Heath Ledger's, with fanboys seething long into the night over which version is best. Suffice to say, they're two completely different styles, for completely different stories, in completely different universes. But if one were to draw a comparison, we could say there has been a steady progression from light to dark, beginning with Cesar Romero, moving through Nicholson and Mark Hamill and finishing with Ledger.

Much of Nicholson's performance finds him clowning around, with most of the Joker's stuff being more funny than scary. This is not entirely a bad thing; the Joker wouldn't be the Joker without a sense of humour, however dark. In certain sections the balance of humour and horror is well-judged, like the Joker electrocuting a rival gangster while dancing around, saying he's "got a live one here". But after a while Nicholson's shtick begins to get tiresome and you yearn for the straight-ahead sliminess that he exhibited as Jack Napier.

Character development is one of the big problems with Batman, with Sam Hamm's script making a number of odd detours and U-turns which jar with its opening act. Vicki Vale begins as a resourceful photojournalist straight out of the present day - but somehow, about halfway through, she turns into a damsel in distress, frequently screaming and having to be rescued. Jerry Hall exists only to swoon and pose on cue - although considering her background in modelling, this is arguably perfect casting. The peripheral characters come and go with little new to stimulate them, with Billy Dee Williams being very underused as Harvey Dent.

The story of Batman itself is much of a muchness. It takes a good 15 minutes to separately introduce us to all the different groups, before we get to Axis Chemicals and the origins of the Joker. When you get down to it, the plot is just about enough to fill an episode of the TV series - the Joker taints make-up products, Batman stops him, and they have a big showdown. Burton was still developing his craft as a storyteller and would not reach a good balance until Edward Scissorhands a year later.

There are also a number of incongruent elements which keep tripping the film up. The Prince songs in the soundtrack don't work; in fact the whole art gallery scene brings the film to a grinding halt, so Jack can show off and the studio can flog records. An earlier sequence, of the Joker cutting up photos in his lair, is never incorporated meaningfully into the plot. And then there are the usual contrivances surrounding gadgets - not only does Batman always have the gizmo he needs, but he can blow up an entire factory without leaving so much as a scratch on his car.

Batman is a flawed but thoroughly entertaining attempt to put the comic books on the big screen. Burton was still finding his feet as a director, and his work on Edward Scissorhands would ensure that the sequel was more focussed and substantial. Whole sections of Batman feel out of place, or ill-disciplined, or just plain odd. But in the end the whole just about works, and as a piece of entertainment it still holds up.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
I remember the long, long line outside the theatre. Tim, Jack and Michael didn't disappointed.
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