JT Film Review

21 – Batman (1989)


3/5 stars

Director – Tim Burton

Cast – Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger


— followed by Batman Returns


original-batman-posterTim Burton’s Batman is often cited as the start of the “comic book era” in recent years. Yes, nowadays we can’t turn around without getting a new comic book movie shoved in our face (most of dubious quality, i.e. The Fantastic Four and sequel, Catwoman, any Punisher movie ever made, and millions more.) Thanks Tim…

Before Batman there weren’t really any superhero movies of note except the Superman franchise, also a Warner Bros. property. Batman, as a movie and a character, is much different than Superman. He’s darker, lonelier, and in my opinion, a better, more rounded character; and Tim Burton sure brings us that. Michael Keaton as Batman is pretty much an inspired choice, he brings a strange loneliness vibe to him that is well, refreshing. Jack Nicholson as the Joker is a bit “on the nose” so to say, he doesn’t act in the role so much as play-act. He’s playing himself and he knows it. Nonetheless he still fits in the character. The supporting cast are good as well.

The problem with this movie however, is that for everything that Burton andbat crew does well (the casting, the atmosphere, the production design, Danny Elfman’s music), he does another thing poorly or even awfully. Examples of this would be the pace of the movie (extremely draggy and unfocused, by the climax I just didn’t care anymore), and the music by Prince (when the Joker and henchman start dancing it almost turns into a ridiculous musical number, awful stuff). Also, the last third of the movie is pretty formulaic, so while it brings the story to a close, it doesn’t do anything with the potential accumulated in the first two-thirds. The tension builds up and up and then… just action. And poorly done action at that.


The production design is great (except for the Joker’s awfully dated goons), the music is “note-perfect”, and the characters are done well. However, the movie is dragged down by the pace, the general unfocused feel of the script, and Burton’s inexperience with directing action scenes. Worth a watch if you like Batman, but probably not otherwise.



“Batman” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



July 7, 2009 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Year - 1980-1989 | , , , ,

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