Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Batman Week: Batman (1989) Review
As you may know The Dark Knight Rises is coming out in two days. To get myself in the right mind set I've been watching some of older movies as well as the other two Christopher Nolan movies. While watching them I decided to review one of them. I skipped over the obvious choices, being "Batman Returns" and "Batman and Robin." I eventually decided to review the very first movie in the Burton/Schumacher Batman series.
This is the one most people really like. I decided to do this because this is wildly regarded as one of if not the best Batman movie, and I have a very different opinion then most people. This is probably due to the fact I don't have that big of a nostalgic connection to this movie. The two Batman movies I watched the most were Batman Returns and Batman Forever. As such I can review this with a more critical mind. So let's begin.
The story of this movie isn't too deep or eventful. Most of the movie is the Joker trying to get in the spotlight instead of Batman, and trying to have sex with Vicki Vale. The Joker hates Batman because if it wasn't for him his skin wouldn't of got bleached. After some shenanigans and two scenes of the Joker dancing to the music of Prince, Batman uses the Batplane to try to stop the Joker from using his Joker venom to kill everyone. Joker destroys the plane, and it crashes outside a Cathedral. Batman chases the Joker up the Cathedral, in order to save Vicki Vale. They get to the roof, Batman and Vicki were holding on for dear life when the Joker tries to escape by helicopter. Batman prevents him from leaving by wrapping his leg to a gargoyle and the movie end with Joker falling to his death after the Gargoyle comes lose and weights him down.
So let's get the good out of the way first. The cinematography and mood is really good. Tim Burton does a great job with this. It captures the mood of Batman even more then the Nolan movies. The costume's for Batman and Joker are great. The musical score by Danny Elfman is amazing, and memorable. Also Billy Dee Williams does a great job as Harvey Dent which makes me wish they kept him around to be Two-Face in Batman Forever, and Jack Nicholson is fun as the Joker but his characterization is a bit off.
Which brings me to some of the bad points. The Joker doesn't really act insane, his sanity seems to be more bent then broken. Sure he's a complete Psychopath but he doesn't really seem that different then when he was Jack Napier, except he laughs a lot more and act's a bit more demented.Then there's the fact we know who he is before he became the Joker, but in the comics it's more of a mystery. Plus why would any one work for him when they know at any time he could ask for there gun and shoot them.
Then we get to my biggest problem, Batman kill's in this movie. That goes completely against his character, yeah I know he killed in the original comics but that character has evolved over the years, and now Batman doesn't kill. He's also very inconsistent about it. He try's to save Jack Napier but he also drops a guy down the Cathedral and blows up a factory full of people. Batman just act's really out of character. I don't blame Michael Keaton, but this Bruce Wayne is a social invert to the point people don't even know what he looks like. People would suspect him, especially when he sleeps with Vicki Vale, and after she fall's asleep he goes and sleeps like a bat.
This is why I chose to review this. A good movie versus a good adaptation, because this is not a good adaptation. But is it a good movie? The answer is yes and no. It has plot holes sure, and they had to work on the story a bit but It's still an enjoyable movie. The cinematography is great, and despite getting the characters wrong it still retains the feel of the comics. Which is a very important thing. Plus if it wasn't for this we probably would never of got Batman the Animated series. I recommend this if your a fan of Batman but never read a lot of the comics. This movie will probably be much worse for you if you have a working knowledge of them.