Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review : Batman (1989)

Batman (1989) : The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his battle against crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.

So this is the 1989 Batman film, directed By Tim Burton. Starring Jack Nicholson as 'The Joker' and Michael Keaton as 'Bruce Wayne/ Batman'. I really like the film. It's got the dark, gruesome, gothic edge to it which is what 'The Dark Knight' also had, although this came out before 'The Dark Knight'. It's a good point of reference for that future film.

It has your typical Burton spin on things, in the way the film is choreographed down to the last detail. The Gotham City which Burton creates in “Batman” is one of a distinctive and atmospheric place to be, as I say dark and gothic attire really extenuates mood and tone to the surrounding environment. It dictates so much to the viewer as to what they are seeing on screen, it is a little bit of a shame however that, something more memorable doesn’t happen there.

I think that Tim Burton's directing and the design of the film helps it a lot. For instance, the style and over substance - a great-looking film with a care free plot, which you don't have to worry too much about in order to understand the film, to it's full capacity. I think that this is a film, which you're allowed to make up your own mind about what is is, there are some films which are more of 'this is that, and that means that'. But not in the case of 'Batman'.

All of the big moments in the film are pounded home with ear-shattering sound effects and a jackhammer cutting style, but that just serves to underline the movie’s problem, which is a curious lack of suspense and intrinsic interest.


'Batman' I think tends to discard the recent cultural history of the Batman character, which was so brilliantly portrayed by Adam West - the camp 1960's TV series, the in-joke comic books and returns to the mood of the 1940's, the decade of film noir and fascism. In this film we get a more butch, fisty coughs Batman, who's not afraid to shy away from giving a Joker a bunch of fives. Michael Keaton plays the part a lot more straighter than Adam West, I think he's a lot more contained.

The film is set at the present moment, more or less, but looks into a little about what has happened in architecture since the classic DC comic books created that architectural style you could call Comic Book Moderne. The streets of Gotham City are lined with bizarre skyscrapers that climb cancerously toward the sky, held up by sky bridges and stresswork that look like webs against the night sky. However, there is good color control to set up mood and control all of that.

Devising a plot summery of what the story is about, In Gotham City, a dark knight known as The Batman crusades the streets of Gothan, in aid to defeat evil and keep the city's citizens safe. When Jack Napier is transformed into the evil, Joker, he promises to take over Gotham City it is up to Batman to stop him in his tracks before it is too late.

Nicholson’s Joker is the most important character in the film. He is the one that Burton wants the audience to concentrate on the most, within the impact of presence and in screen time. I think that Keaton plays off Nicholson's Joker very well. Though my favouirte Joker is 'Heath Ledger' Nicholson creates good impact on Keaton’s Batman and Bruce Wayne characters. It's so monosyllabic and impenetrable that we have to remind ourselves to cheer on for Batman, It's a crime thriller, the audience are always on the side of the hero.

Looking back on this film, It is good. There is no question about it. I wouldn't highly rate it, but I would say that without Tim Burton's directing, good cast and design. This film would of ended up with a far more poor result. 7/10

NEXT : The Nightmare Before Christmas

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