Inspired by Christopher Reeve’s “Superman,” a film adaptation of “Batman” was in development during The 1980s. Warner Bros. (WB for short) hired several screenwriters to write a screenplay. At first, a script was supposed to be a revival of the campy 60’s Batman starring Adam West with Bill Murray & Eddie Murphy who were originally gonna portray Batman & Robin as a tribute to the 60’s show. Plans however, were scrapped. One day, Frank Miller published a gritty graphic novel titled, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” which paved a movement of dark comic book stories for mature readers including “Watchmen,” “V For Vendetta,” “Batman: Year One” & “Batman: The Killing Joke.”
Fresh from his film debut, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” Tim Burton was Recruited by WB to direct Batman, he admitted that he never read a comic book in his life, until he was given a copy of The Killing Joke. After reading the graphic novel, Tim was motivated to direct Batman, due to Batman & Joker’s chemistry as arch enemies and their complex backgrounds involving the theme of duality. Tim recruited a comic book expert named, Sam Hamm to write the screenplay.
Before Jack Nicholson signed on to play Joker, notable celebrities such as Robin Williams, John Lithgow, Brad Dourif & Tim Curry were all considered to portray The Clown Prince Of Crime. After Jack was casted, he demanded a hefty worth $6 million plus a huge percentage of the gross and merchandise. When the film earned a grand total of $411,500,000 worldwide, Jack earned $60 million dollars. He knew the film was gonna be a huge success.
Prior to Michael Keaton handpicked by Tim, many actors such as Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner & Ray Liotta were considered to play the titular character. When Michael was officially casted by Tim to portray Batman, fans were shocked to learn that a comedic actor can’t take a brooding superhero very seriously. In response to the upset fans, Michael prepared his role by reading The Dark Knight Returns to get in to the edgy mood. The negative reactions by fans was like an early version of people on The Internet dropping their jaws that Heath Ledger was casted as Joker. After Heath’s untimely death and “The Dark Knight” came out he ultimately earned massive praise which earned him an Oscar.
After several months of filming, production, post-production, editing & marketing based on merchandise, Tim Burton’s Batman was officially distributed worldwide.
Batman was released in 1989. (same year Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade came out) It received positive reviews from critics and it managed to make a lot of money at the box office. Although it was a decent movie, Batman fans were divided over changes to the source material. Especially two controversial moments.
Regardless of the controversial changes, Batman paved the wave of superhero films, until “Spawn” and that butt ugly “Batman & Robin” nearly destroyed the superhero genre. Thank god “Blade” encouraged legit future entries. Let’s pretend Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” never happened. Tim Burton’s Batman inspired Bruce Timm’s “Batman: The Animated Series.” Batman spawned a follow up titled, Batman Returns as the last movie to star Michael Keaton as The Caped Crusader. Due to complaints from parents over the gritty deception of Batman, WB changed the tone to a lighter atmosphere for families to see “Batman Forever ” and that god awful “Batman & Robin” movie.
Doug Walker/Nostalgia Critic lists Tim Burton’s Batman as his favorite adaptation of The Dark Knight. He even selected it as his fourth favorite movie of all time.
With the highly anticipated Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as The Clown Prince Of Crime, I’d like to share what’s good or bad about the film that brought Batman on the big screen. Margot Robbie will reprise her role as Harley Quinn in “Birds Of Prey” & “Suicide Squad 2.” Robert Pattinson will portray Batman in a stand-alone film with Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, War Of The Planet Of The Apes) directing.
The following review doesn’t contain no very important SPOILERS. If you’ve never ever ever seen Tim Burton’s Batman, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Michael Keaton & Jack Nicholson both did an amazing job for their respective performances as Batman & Joker.
Other Cast Members such as Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Billy Dee Williams & Pat Hingle all did a great job for their respective performances.
Tim Burton did an amazing job directing the film.
Action Sequences were pretty good showcasing Batman’s skills to fight to a couple of Joker’s thugs, using his gadgets to face difficult obstacles & finally confronts The Clown Prince Of Crime.
Sam Hamm wrote the screenplay containing memorable dialogue from both the hero & villain. Tim needed some help by a longtime comic book fan to write the script.
Like the upcoming Joker film, Joker’s name is Jack Napier. Joaquin Phoenix’s version is named, Arthur Fleck. Unlike the aforementioned adaptations, Joker’s true identity is never revealed.
Tim’s longtime collaborator, Danny Elfman composed notable tracks. Most notably, Batman’s instrumental theme. His music inspired the opening theme from Batman: The Animated Series & music from the movie was included in “The Lego Batman” video games.
Late musician Prince contributed to the soundtrack. He wrote “Partyman,” “Scandalous,” “The Future” & “Batdance.” The songs minus Batdance are used effectively in the film.
Cinematography never had any technical difficulties throughout.
Costume Designs for Batman & Joker’s iconic outfits reflected their personalities. Batman’s batsuit is black, minus the bat emblem and yellow utility belt. Michael felt uncomfortable wearing the batsuit, because the mask doesn’t allow him to turn his head. This was before the suit was upgraded in “The Dark Knight” allowing Christian Bale feel comfortable. Michael wearing the suit is basically similar to an astronaut suit, as its hard to turn your head.
Practical Effects were heavily used to bring many things to life such as The Batmobile, The Batwing, Batman’s gadgets, Joker’s gadgets among many other sources.
Prosthetic Makeup was applied to Jack Nicholson to transform him as Joker.
Even though Tim never read a Batman comic, (except in The Killing Joke) Sam Hamm borrowed elements from Batman storylines including Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” & “Red Hood” with the latter loosely based on Joker’s origin story alongside The Killing Joke.
The Tone has a dark feel to the movie with a touch of Black Comedy to reflect Joker’s psychopathic behavior.
Joker has a dance scene. I don’t think it’s filler, I find it hilarious to see Joker going on a rampage listening to music. Won’t be long til’ Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker busts a move on the long staircase.
In a few scenes, Joker has a blonde girlfriend. Four Years Later, Harley Quinn made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series.
Joker has a sidekick named, Bob. This inspired Kevin Smith, a lifelong comic book fan to create his character Silent Bob.
My favorite line is, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” It deserves an Extra Point as one of Joker’s lines next to Heath Ledger’s “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.”
Negative: If you’re a Batman fan like me, a controversial flashback scene reveals the identity of Bruce Wayne’s parents’ killer.
Without giving too much away, another controversial moment has something to do with Batman’s “morality.” I can’t tell you, because you will be shocked.
The Final Verdict B, FOR BREATHTAKING!
In my opinion, Tim Burton’s Batman is one of the best Batman adaptations next to “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” “Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm,” “Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker” & “Batman Returns.” If it weren’t for two controversial things listed on the negative section, I would’ve given Tim’s iteration an A, FOR APEX, which is my highest grade. If you’re very excited to see Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, I highly recommend Michael Keaton’s version.
Sorry Doug Walker/Nostalgia Critic, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is a much better movie than Tim Burton’s Batman. No offense Mr. Burton.