BATMAN

a film by Tim Burton released through Warner Brothers Pictures in 1989

Blessed by a great score, great sets, permeated with a sense of dread without ever becoming depressing, Batman should work.  But Michael Keaton is underwhelming, and Jack Nicholson is overwhelming.  And it's hard to accept the characters' choices: Bruce Wayne threatens the Joker's life, armed only with a silver tray and a poker?  If he really is crazy, this kind of works.  But why would Alfred allow an outsider to violate the sanctity of the Batcave (surprisingly, the best scene in the film)?  And why does the Joker need to ascend the tower of Gotham Cathedral just to catch a helicopter ride (allowing a dramatic belfry showdown between him and Batman)?  And though it's hardly crazy, it's disappointing (both dramatically and morally) how quickly Bruce Wayne and Vikki Vail end up in bed together.

Still, this was the movie that confirmed the value of super-hero franchises.  And it's full of chilling, thrilling moments that inspired a generation of impressionable youngsters.  But the message of the movie seems to be that in the battle of Good vs. Evil, Good isn't all that good, that it can't hope to win, but with luck, it will endure.

 

★★★☆☆

Best for ages 16+

 

 

FEATURING

JACK NICHOLSON, MICHAEL KEATON, KIM BASINGER, ROBERT WUHL, PAT HINGLE, JACK PALANCE, BILLY DEE WILLIAMS, AND MICHAEL GOUGH

2023 Ian C. Bloom