Kicking off Batweek with a little review of a little film that some of you might have seen. It’s this small time movie about a guy who dresses up as a Bat, sounds crazy, but he also just so happens to beat people up. Punching people in the face every night, dressed in a Bat costume… sounds a little weird, but bare with me. This whole ‘weird-fest’ is directed by Tim Burton, ever heard of him? Neither have I. Well, what is this whole little film called you wonder? What is the whole adventure of this man called? ‘Man Dressed as A Bat’? ‘Manbat’? No, it’s Batman.
So what can I say about the actual movie. It’s just an amazing feat to completely revolutionize Batman as a character. He was somewhat dark in the comic-books, but there wasn’t any style or darkness in them. When Burton came along, that’s when everything Batman you see today, that’s when it was born. He gives this movie a golden touch that no one else could master, it’s amazing to just pick out the shy details of Gotham City. The lighting, the bat-suit and even the grooves in the pavement, the love and care of Burton shines through this film.
Batman tells the tale of Bruce Wayne, a billionaire who decides one day to become an uber-superhero. It’s not all as simple as that though, his parents were killed as a child and he’s looked for a way to vent his anger ever since. He beefs up to mental and physical perfection, and beats the crap out of criminals alike at night. It all goes well, Batman even gets a love interest (yay) but eventually a new maniac comes into town (boo). He’s not actually a NEW maniac, he’s a blast from Manbat’s past. The Joker. The killer of Batman’s parents, twisted and turned into a demonic clown.
The story is lovingly told, richly written. Every ounce of dialogue almost leaks perfection, and everyone handles their role with the same love and care that Burton does to the film. Michael Keaton just seems to grasp the character so perfectly that you’re left wondering if he actually is Batman outside of production. Jack Nicholson as the Joker, god what can I say, he nails it. It’s not the Ledger joker, I consider them both unique portrayals of the character and Nicholson handles this Joker with perfection. Not one movement is out place. It baffles me how he can be so demonic but entertaining at the same time, that’s a hard thing to do.
There’s so much good stuff in this film that it baffles me even more how they fit it all in. The acting, the details, the sub-plots, the emotional tone, the themes, the music. Oh god, the music. Elfman is a god, a genius. You just don’t get any more Batman than the theme of this film. Go listen to it on Youtube or something, but you’ll just see Gotham City right before you. Batman grappling building to building, taking down thugs against the night horizon. It’s a special thing to pull of, to get a visual representation from just listening to a film score. I don’t know how he did it.
Complaints? There’s some silly scenes. Near the end, Joker shoots down the Batwing with just one shot, from a long pistol. Before that, Batman locks on with a billion missiles and twenty gating guns, fires and misses. I do also have some gripes with some of the motivation that the Joker has, other than insanity there’s not much else that he’s driven by. But aside from those small nitpicks, there’s nothing else I can really say. It’s one of the best Batman films, even by today’s standards. Watch it. Now. Now. Now. Now. Or whenever possible I guess…