Batman (1989)

Batman 1

Director Tim Burton’s relaunch of the superhero franchise.

Well I still can’t understand how Batman disappeared of our screens (big and little) for 20 years before this film appeared.

Even then, the film only proceeded when Burton’s previous film “Beetlejuice” proved successful, though he actually signed up to Batman before that film was made.

Michael Keaton (also from Beetlejuice) caused “purists” concern due to his comedy past, though this turned out to be unfounded.  Solid performance and suitably believable as our (anti) hero.

Jack Nicholson as “The Joker” was the undisputed biggest star in the cast, and probably earned more than everyone else put together.  But boy was he worth it !!

I’m not a big fan of Christian Bale, who wrecked the 3 later “reimaged” films for me, but I also didn’t think that  Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” was a patch on Nicholson in this film, despite the whole world seeming to disagree with me.  Jack was gold here.  His general insanity levels are amazing, his energy, his sheer manic presence are awesome.

Of the other cast, you have last minute stand-in Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, drafted in as original choice Sean Young had been injured in a horse riding accident.  A definite change for the better, if only from an eye-candy perspective !

Conversely, the heinously overrated Jerry Hall features as the mistress of crime boss Carl Grissom, played by Jack Palance.  He’s another cracking character actor in full flow.

Of note is also Michael Gough as Alfred the butler.  The quintessential English actor playing the perfectly mannered English butler.  Excellent.

The plot ?  Does it really matter ?  A fight for supremacy between Bat and Joker.  And a bit of backstory for good measure.

Nearly forgot to add the soundtrack by Prince – certainly very successful here in the UK.  I believe the director was less enamoured than he could’ve been, but mostly it works well.  Actually, it works better as a standalone album.

8/10 – My own personal favourite of the franchise.  Love it.

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