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Batman (1989)

Rothe Blog BatmanFour & A Half Stars

The original, and what would be natural to say next, “the best”. But after Batman Begins this summer, this one is a classic, but isn’t necessarily a better story, if you minus any special effects evaluations.

I love this movie. A lot of my childhood and teenage years are tied to it. Superhero movies were not as easy to pull off at this time, and it really needed to be a cool story for it to work. Tim Burton directed the first two, and he did an excellent job. But, one thing that I did notice that he didn’t pull off quite as well as Chris Nolan tonight, a small detail, a large city feel to Gotham. Nolan gave it a modern feel, that isn’t what I am talking about, I am talking about the sheer mass of people in a city that is supposed to be as big as New York. Burton’s Gotham is more like a small city with huge buildings.

I will love Burton’s movie more for the quirkiness and gritty feel it had. From the crazy surgeon who worked on Jack Nicolson’s face, to Michael Keaton’s performance as the true eccentric that is Bruce Wayne. Keaton did place this aspect a little better than Bale, or maybe differently. Thinking that Keaton up to this point had been known as an oft kilter slap stick actor, who then channeled that into Wayne’s personality as well as being convincingly driven and focused, is pretty amazing in itself.

I liked the translation of Jack Napier as figure who killed Bruce’s parents. But looking back, I think maybe it was a touch too easy to kill as many people as Batman did in the first movie, and how much he used guns. That was a huge thing in the comics, and Nolan’s explanation of how Wayne comes into all of his toys is perfect.

I think though, the best part of this movie is, going back to the beginning, is Burton’s twist. Only his direction in color and camera angles made it a perfect fit with the entrance of the Joker. Especially in the utter calm scene where Wayne is shot by Napier in Vicki’s Vale apartment, to the weird painting of the paintings in the museum scene, to the Joker and his men parading with balloons through Gotham.

This seems a little dated to me. But looking through un-biased eyes, this is a great movie, and only falls a half star short of Batman Begins because the newer movie is that much more true to the original story in every detail and a great story at the same time. But this is what kicked it all of, thanks to Burton to a classic that everyone should see.

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