Yojimbo's Movie Review of Batman (1989)

Rating of

Batman (1989)

"Batman" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 04/09/12

Following the cult success of 60s kitsch campfest Batman the TV series which was a million miles from the original comic book, the character became something of a joke. Tim Burton reinvented Batman far more in the mould of the creator's original intent; as a brooding, brutal vigilante who stalked criminals through the twilight underbelly of a corrupt and decaying city. It was a brilliant idea that faltered somewhat in the execution however. Michael Keaton doesn't really have the charisma and physical stature to carry off the role, and with the exception of Jack Nicholson and Michael Gough, who brings a humble nobility and pathos to the role of Alfred, the supporting cast are all lacklustre. Jack Palance over-acts to an amusing degree (even by his standards!), Jerry Hall is a plank and Kim Basinger is just plain awful. But the film belongs lock, stock and barrel to Nicholson who has great fun as the psychotic practical joker and the film is always entertaining when he is on the screen. But only then. Burton's forte is atmosphere, not action (as he went on to demonstrate in his disappointing remake of Planet Of The Apes), Prince's soundtrack has dated badly and some of the dialogue is decidedly suspect. On the plus side it does have atmosphere in spades and the production design is excellent (albeit a little overly dispensible) but as a whole the film is something of a heroic failure. Fortunately Burton went on the correct every one of these faults in the sequel, Batman Returns, which is far, far superior.

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