Sunday, July 15, 2012

Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) Review

Every great film franchise has to start from somewhere, right? You all know Batman, I'm sure (and if you don't...where the hell have you been?) but this was actually the first time Batman went truly dark. Sure there were times before but I'm certain more people watch the films than read the comics (I started at New 52...bad mistake) but this was when Batman got dark. Considering that this is from the brain of Tim Burton, I'm not really surprised. Let's take a look at the film that started it all: Batman.

Criminals fear the night as this is when the masked vigilante Batman (Michael Keaton) a.k.a Bruce Wayne strikes to protect Gotham City from crime. Batman's most recent case takes him to Axis Chemicals (I assume that's supposed to be Ace Chemicals) where a group of criminals are planning to steal files that could soil the career of District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams). In the police raid, one of the criminals, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) falls into a vat of chemicals. Assuming he is dead, Batman and the police clean up and leave. What they didn't know is that Jack is very much alive but leaves the planet with white skin, green hair and red lips becoming the insane criminal genius known as the Joker. Now Batman has to stop the Joker and also try to balance his life as Bruce Wayne so he can win over photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger).

I'm not going to compare this to The Dark Knight. Just getting that out now. The casting for this film is almost perfect. It really is! When I think the Joker (before that other film) I think Jack Nicholson. He steals the show and is very memorable. After The Shining, Jack Nicholson managed to create the perfect role for insane people who can still have a good laugh, that sums up the Joker! Michael Keaton is fantastic as Batman. He might just be the best Batman to hit the big screen. His Bruce Wayne isn't the best but this is overshadowed by Batman. My only problem with the cast is Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon since he isn't the Gordon I imagine but this was fixed by that other film. Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent isn't bad but I'm sure he would have been a better Two-Face (yeah, he isn't in this one) than a certain Two-Face on the horizon...oohhhh noooo....

I can't really think of any problems with this film. It's hard. There are some great moments and it doesn't seem TOO dark like Nolan's ones (I'll get one those though). It seems like what Batman should be somewhat like the animated series or the Arkham games. Batman's origin is recreated very well (even though the shooter isn't Joe Chill for some reason...don't worry the change is relevant to the plot) and everything comes full circle by the climax (by the EPIC climax) which means that everything is tied up well. It's like it didn't need a sequel...but it did anyway! YEAH!

Batman was a great way to start the Batman film franchise off. The cast is great, there are some epic moments and the blend of action, darkness and humour make for some memorable scenes. Yeah, this is a funny film mainly due to the inclusion of the Joker (put him in and you're bound for some laughs). This film is a must see especially if you've seen the Nolan films. You can clearly see where Nolan got inspiration from (there are scenes recreated in The Dark Knight) and it's good to make connections. It doesn't distance too far from the source material (one or two changes were made but that's it). WATCH IT NOW!

A fantastic adaptation of the famous comic series. A great blend of action and humour accompanied by great casting.

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