Batman (1989) Review

Poster image of Michael Keaton's Batman and Jack Nicholson's Joker for the 1989 movie Batman, directed by Tim Burton. For display uses only under the fair use act.

The Dark Knight explodes onto our screens in Tim Burton’s cult classic, Batman.

Directed by:  Tim Burton

Starring: Jack NicholsonMichael KeatonKim BasingerRobert WuhlPat HingleBilly Dee WilliamsMichael Gough, and Jack Palance

Synopsis: After witnessing his parents brutal murder as a child, millionaire-philanthropist Bruce Wayne pledges his life to fighting crime disguised as Batman. His long-time nemesis, The Joker, has sinister plans for the citizens of Gotham City. His greed is matched by his obsession with photojournalist Vicki Vale. But Batman is there to counter the Joker’s every move. With the fate of Gotham and Vicki in the balance, will good or evil prevail?

Image showing Michael Keatons character Batman and Jack Nicholson's Joker from the 1989 Batman movie. For display purposes under the fair use act.

Review: Tim Burton took the reigns and made a Batman that is faithful to the comics, though at the time people doubted Burton’s vision as he had cast Michael Keaton as the Batman. At this point in his career Keaton was known for his roles in comedy and fans speculated this would be another slapstick movie which resembled Adam West’s series Batman from 1966, this wasn’t the case and Batman (89) was a huge success. Some would even say this paved the way for DC and future Batman movies to maintain the dark elements we see in the movies today.

Batman (1989) was the first ‘dark’ outing for the Batman universe and resembled the dark, gritty tones of Batman in the comics books. Michael Keaton was perfectly cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, he had the emotional range to carry the scenes as the charming yet haunted billionaire Bruce Wayne but he also managed to make Batman a physically imposing threat, the things nightmares are made of. Keaton also lowered his voice for Batman which has become a trademark for actors portraying Batman in the current movies to do.

Kim Basinger is perfectly cast as Vikki Vale a reporter who becomes romantically involved with Bruce Wayne and becomes a fascination of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, a role he knocks out the park. Nicholson portrays the Joker as a deadly cunning criminal with a sick sense of humor and ultimately steals every scene he is in.

Another main character of the movie is the Batmobile. The Batmobile from the Tim Burton era is a favourite amongst fans. It’s tough looking exterior and gadget layered inside look incredible, it’s more intimerdating than Batman. Batman’s Bat-plane makes an appearance in the finale, it’s shaped like the Bat symbol and resembles a stealth jet.

The Batman theme composed by Danny Elfman became an instant staple for Batman. Elfman also composed the theme for the Batman: Animated Series in 1992 which was heavily influenced by Burtons, Batman (1989) and the sequel Batman Returns (1992). The music played throughout the movie was done by legendary musician, Prince, the music he made was a perfect fit to the vibes of Tim Burton’s Gotham City.

Overall, Batman (1989) doesn’t disappoint it gives viewers the dark look into Gotham’s seedy underworld and brings us our first look at The Joker in all his villainous glory and Keaton as Batman is perfectly cast. This movie is many fans go-to and it still holds up really well to-date.