Lunchtime Movie Review

Batman (1989)

Episode #7

Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger

Batman Movie Summary

The character of Batman is a creation of pre-World War II America.  Conceived in 1939, Batman was originally a “pulp” hero. Also, he cared little for killing or maiming those that he went up against.  However, the character evolved over time, taking on the nobler attributes that many comic fans have come to expect from the character today.

During this metamorphosis, the character morphed from costumed detective, to a campy, cartoonish version to match the Adam West television show, and ultimately to a full blown superhero with the lifestyle to match.  Regardless of the constant reinvention, comic sales continued to drop in the 1970’s and early 80’s, and by 1985, circulation was at an all time low.

Then in 1986, Frank Miller reinvented the character into a much darker, more intense caped crusader in his seminal works The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One.  This Batman was extremely dark, and very grim.  Hell, he didn’t even shave on a daily basis like that puss Superman.

This Dark Knight is bound and determined to root out injustice wherever it maybe.  With this as their template, Warner Brothers decided to launch Batman onto the big screen.  Looking for a director that could properly convey this modern day retelling of the Dark Knight, Warner Brothers quickly settled on the one man that could accomplish this task, the director of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Tim Burton.

Warner felt that only Burton’s vision could shed the campy perception of Batman that was forever stuck in the general public’s view of the hero due to the hit 60’s television show and replace it with the awful late 1980’s campy instead.  Burton set out and cast his vision of the perfect Dark Knight, the one actor who epitomized the brooding, reclusive, athletic super hero.  Of course, that actor was Mr. Mom himself, Michael Keaton.  Apparently Johnny Depp was busy that week.

Our film begins on the streets of Gotham, grim and dirty, and filled with crime.  You can almost smell the poverty coming off the screen.  I imagine it smells like a blend of a nursing home and the sleeping bag of a carny.  The criminal underworld is a flutter with rumors of “The Bat” killing criminals in the city.  Two criminals who just successfully robbed a family who had stumbled into the wrong alley, encounter the Bat.  He beats up both criminals after taking one gunshot to the chest.  He pronounces that he will not kill them, but wants them to send a message for him.  He is Batman.  Apparently, Batman is not into the whole brevity thing…

Read the Full Synopsis

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