by December Lambeth on July 15, 2008

in Home Video, Theme Week

  • Title: Batman
  • IMDB: link

Vicki Vale: “I just gotta know, are we gonna try to love each other?”
Bruce Wayne: “I’d like to. But he’s out there right now. And I’ve gotta go to work.”

Tim Burton is obviously one of our greats in concerns to innovation, style and creativity towards filmmaking. His vision for Batman was dark and brooding, just like Keaton played him. Gotham City was dark and corrupt, it had dirty streets and always foreboding and controlled by mob boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) until the sadistic and charismatic Joker (Jack Nicholson) appeared and took over not only Grissom’s control of the city, but his gal Alicia (Jerry Hall). The Joker owned the streets and controlled the crime in Gotham with a “smile”, the Caped Crusader (Michael Keaton) created this monster and realized he was the only one who could put him down.

As I see it I must have always been meant to be a film critic. Do you know where I was at 11:00 PM the evening before Batman was released? I was sitting in a theater watching the film before anybody else (as far as I was concerned) got to view this masterpiece. Yes back then I would have considered Batman a masterpiece. If you were to compare it to today’s Batman Begins it would have been considerably dark for it’s time.

In 1989 Batman was dark and brooding and Michael Keaton was the perfect actor. He set the bar for the following Batman actors to follow, which many failed until Christian Bale. Bale fills those shoes to a “T”; he’s handsome, mysterious, and beautiful and has that whole mouth thing that works with the mask. I would have to say that Keaton was more charismatic and human as Bruce Wayne than Bale and that Keaton had the whole intimacy thing down pat, Bale doesn’t pull that off with Bruce Wayne.

Until now, I never thought anybody could pull off the Joker as well as the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Nicholson, but I’ve been proven wrong. I see Oscar possibilities for Ledger’s portrayal of this psychopathic and deranged killer. Jack Nicholson also added a little humanity to the Joker where as Ledger left any human resemblance void and distant. Burton’s Joker wanted revenge, wanted control where as the new improved Joker is just crazy and has no plan.

As far as leading ladies go, I’ve never been a big fan of any of them with the exception of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, the rest I could leave or take. I’m certainly no fan of the infamous Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) more over cause I can’t stomach Basinger as an actress. And she played such a mili-mouse female in need. It would have been nice to see Vicki played with a little more backbone; she was a war photographer for crying out loud.

Like I said previously, many assume that this new genre of Batman is darker and better and maybe it is, but for 1989 comparison Tim Burton’s Batman was pretty dark and serious. Let’s face it Michael Keaton is Batman all the rest are only trying to be what he created for the big screen and even though Bale is coming close to it, the change in his voice and the void of humanity sometimes makes it really rough to acknowledge his talent over Keaton.

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