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Having witnessed his parents' brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne fights crime in Gotham City disguised as Batman, a costumed hero who strikes fear into the hearts of villains. But when a deformed madman who calls himself "The Joker" seizes control of Gotham's criminal underworld, Batman must face his most ruthless nemesis ever while protecting both his identity and his love interest, reporter Vicki Vale.
With Christopher Nolan currently taking the "Batman" franchise is new and exciting directions, there are many film fans out there who want to start attacking Tim Burton's original two films, when typically we were also just doing the whole Joel Schumacher attack thing. Why has Burton become a target, of late? Sure, Christopher Nolan is a creative filmmaker and he is doing very interesting things with "Batman", but his visual style pales in comparison to that of Tim Burton, who began the franchise and then produced a sequel of equal measure. For me, the original film will always be the best because it captured a unique and insidious style that lent itself to the material.
We all know the story -- Batman is really Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), eccentric billionaire who lives in this huge mansion, which he inherited from his parents, who were killed by a madman. Raised by his butler, Alfred (Michael Dough), he works by day and fights crime by night, as Batman. Jack Nicholson stars as The Joker, the newest villain to infiltrate the streets of Gotham -- and it turns out this is the same guy who murdered Bruce's parents all those years ago, so this time it's personal. Kim Basinger co-stars as Vicki Vale, Bruce's love interest in the film. Hell, even Billy Dee Williams makes a brief appearance as Harvey Dent, though he never had the staying power to ever make it to full Two-Face mode. The primary conflict here is between Batman and The Joker and their cat and mouse game are what make this the best film in the franchise, thus far.
You think Jack Nicholson is over the top? He's Jack Nicholson -- what did you expect? But, he is the perfect actor to play this role, and his character is written so brilliantly -- he is the epitome of what movie villains should be because he's ripped right out of the pages of the comic book. And Michael Keaton will always be Batman for me. Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale have nothing on the original. Keaton was perfect in the role and it was a sad day when he left it. The chemistry between Keaton and Nicholson is what drives the film, and they look like they are having so much fun going at one another. In this world, who wouldn't?
Tim Burton's Gotham City is dark and gritty, but with enough bright and vibrant color to give the hint that something is just not right here. Burton knows how to make something dark and creepy without losing mainstream appeal and this film is the perfect example. He's like a mainstream David Lynch, in some respects, and he knows what the audience can and cannot handle. His Gotham City is what I think of when I think of Gotham City, and this from someone who read the comic a long time before the film was made. Burton made the film fun and exciting and dark and twisted and sardonic and sarcastic. It was everything it needed to be. Christopher Nolan is trying to make the series more realistic, and that's fine -- he's doing a good job thus far -- but at the end of the day, this is a comic book. It relies on classic set-ups and classic resolutions. And when you lose all touch with visual style and stick solely with story -- it kind of defeats the purpose.
- added 09/04/2007, 02:10 AM
I like how Burton made Gotham City old. Building
structures, cars, pedestrian fashion. It just felt
better than the new one. Anyways, still the
greatest Batman movie, although, not by far as it
was before "Begins" was released.
- added 09/04/2007, 08:46 AM
This movie beats Begins, hands down. While I love
that movie, and Bale's Batman is slightly better
in my opinion, Burton had the comic book feel of
the city down, and made it the best looking Gotham
from the 5 films. I'll say 6, because I doubt if
TDK is going to change much from Begins. 10/10
- added 09/22/2007, 02:23 AM
I love the parade at the end. Was the Joker
playing Prince over the PA?
- added 01/21/2008, 10:39 AM
Burton has talent, but his artistic
style DID NOT feel like the comics AT ALL. Keaton
is still weird to watch as Bruce Wayne ( to this
day) because, I don't know, it's mostly his
comedic/sarcastic nature. Even when he's not
trying to be funny I still found him to be alittle
too... I dunno, gleeful. The same goes for "Batman
Returns", but that was a whole step up because,
let's face it, Danny had to be the best Penguin
anyone could have imagined.
The humor in
this one was very unappreciated by yours, truly,
because it all felt out of place when you consider
the actual stories it borrowed most of the script
And, no man. Nicholson wasn't
over-the-top. That's why I thought he was shitty
Joker. Joker is supposed to be scary. Funny, but
far too insane to be taken lightly. Jack didn't
bother with that, he would jump from one end of
the spectrum to the other with NO good result
whatsoever. Maybe it was Burton, but, after
watching "Batman Returns", I really doubt it.
Altough it wasn't perfect,m I did like the look
of this movie, but I didn't care for anything else
about it, at all.
2.8/10 for the most
over-rated Batman movie ever (i.e. the one movie
that did nothing for the Dark Knight at all,
nothing good OR bad... that's just odd...)
- added 07/17/2008, 01:22 AM
Still the best Batman so far, although there's no
doubt in my mind that will change come midnight
when we get to see The Dark Knight!. I love this
movie to death, Keaton is my favorite Batman, but
Bale's Bruce Wayne is a lot better. I like the
comic book feel of this one, although i do
appreciate the realism from Begins and probably
The Dark Knight.
Rest Easy Soul
- added 12/26/2009, 10:11 AM
Great movie. Visually amazing, the direction was
good, the cast was sub par and this will always be
the original Joker for me.
- added 01/11/2010, 01:58 AM
Good review. I was five years old when this came
out and I actually remember watching it. I loved
it then and I love it now. 10/10