Darkness cascades the bat cave as the story opens to the iconic Batman Theme tune we have grown to love, composed by the talented Danny Elfman.
As a couple and their son take a shortcut through the gritty alleyway of the supposed seventh street, they are attacked by two robbers who tell the lady to ” do yourself a favour, don’t scream for your son”.
Meanwhile Gotham City is doing it’s best to stay above ground as corruption level of crime is at an all time high and there’s rumours of a vigilante who roams the street in the shadows. Some say he drinks blood, others say he can’t be killed. But most want to know if he’s the menacing 6ft creature of the night.
Eager to put the theories to paper are Alexander Knox and ‘hello legs’ Vicki Vale, a photojournalist who’s ” looking to see some wildlife”, bats in particular.
Their lead is trusted in following Bruce Wayne to dish up on some stories at his fundraising event, where the pair stumble across his rather exquisite museum where Knox ‘logically’ points out that rich people are so odd because they can afford to be.
Carl Grissom, a big time criminal boss finds himself in trouble, as Harvey Dent and the police force are hot on their trail in finding out about their criminal activities. With his ‘trusted’ guys at hand, he sends his best men which include Jack Napier, ( Jack Nicholson) who has been playing naughty with the bosses mistress Alicia, to clear the evidence at Axis Chemical Industry.
Unknowingly to Jack and his men, Grissom has set them up by calling the corrupt officer- Max Eckhardt and his police force to raid the place, however Comissioner Gordan also arrives causing a frantic Jack to run and find that exit.
With every man at a corner and nowhere to escape, jack meets with the cape crusader within reach and tries to shoot him,which backfires into his face causing him to stumble backwards into a drum of chemical. Jack Napier reaches for one last hand as he sizzles away and is presumed dead.
This is a comic book inspired movie which impressed me for the very first time I watched it and it still holds true. Granted I prefer Batman Returns (1992) a little better but that’s a story for a different era and everyone has to play catch up to eventually..catch on to the bigger picture.
The atmosphere builds up the film’s noir vibe, mixed with the steampunk attitude it strongly visualizes. It can be seen as the birth of the first edgy Batman movie since the 60’s campy tv series which could now see better days.
The audience had never seen such an extravagant Bat attack. I had never seen such a superhero in his six pack armoured outfit and that was ‘very cool’ to the most of us before the dark knight would eventually rise.
Not only is it a great action -packed movie, I admire it for the ideas that Burton had given birth to which I’m sure were later ‘inspired’ to fit the masks of later revisions of the Batman we have today.
For a director who wasn’t so used to taking on such comic styles, he impressed the theatre goers with his thought out armadillio batmobile and batarangs we could only dream of seeing outside the cartoon series.
Tim Burton described his vision of the movie as ” it’s a fight between two disturbed people. Any character who operates on the outside and is deemed an outcast, a freak, then has the freedom to do what they want. Insanity is in some scary way, the most freedom you can have because you’re not bound by laws of society”.
It is impressive not only visually with it’s costumes, where the joker is donning his fedora and purple suit like the comic, but it highlighted the wonderful performance by the eccentric Jack Nicholson as the Joker who may have lost his head but his womanizing heart stays beating, as his interest in a certain miss Vale is enough to ” put steam in a man’s strides”.
Similarity it was a nice touch to see Bruce Wayne portrayed as an awkward everyday man going through his frustrating alter-ego as Batman. The ‘winged freak’ he is so called. Whilst trying to display his demeanor to a crowded party, he seems rather uncomfortable in his own house yet he longs to be loved when he meets the tenacious Vicki Vale. “she is great isn’t she Alfred”, not quite knowing how best and how much he can share with his potential lover.
On the other hand, Jack’s diabolical tendencies give some much deserved credit to the joker I was always excited to see in the cartoon series and this live adaptation was well executed.
His ‘honey i’m home’! Enthusiasm can bee seen as creepy yet fascinating, as his brains have certainly been fried to the extent of his wide spread smile. We see him go from the egotistic and sleazy guy to the ” jack is dead my friend. Call me..Joker. As you can see, I’m a lot happier “.
It is highly worth watching a cape crusader flying into the shadows fighting crime to bring Justice to Gotham while a joker will certainly put a killer smile on your face.
Credits: Movie poster artwork by Mark Welser
Directed by Tim Burton
Story by Sam Hamm
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger and others
Music by Danny Elfman
Other honourable mentions that i love:
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Directed by Steven Spielberg
Dead Poets Society- Directed by Peter Weir
Ghostbusters 2- Directed by Ivan Reitman
(I had to rewrite this again as i lost a chunk of my work! so I apologise to anyone who liked it and commented before).
This concludes the 80’s series from 1980-1989, as we come to the end of an era. I hope you enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane as I have enjoyed writing every one of these movies that I once again discovered a love for.