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Logine: Batman must put a stop to the Joker’s reign of terror on Gotham City.

Review: “Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale of moonlight?”  Tim Burton’s Batman was the first time the Dark Knight appeared on the silver screen since the 1966 follow-up film to the campy television series.  Burton’s film has received a considerable amount of negative backlash since the release of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.  While Nolan’s films are far superior and more faithful to the Batman mythology, Batman is still a very good blockbuster with a tremendous visual design and a great performance from Jack Nicholson as the Joker.

A lot of liberties are taken with Batman’s mythology in this film.  Two details that have outraged Batman fans are Vicky Vale’s entry into the Batcave and the fact that the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents is changed to the Joker.  I am not too bothered by these details, though.  Every filmmaker has the right to bring their own interpretation of Batman to the screen.   The one thing that does bother me, though is that Batman kills people in this movie, which is very out of character.

Another complaint against this film and the 90s sequels is that there is too much focus on the villains rather than Batman.  It is true.  In terms of screentime and impact, the Joker is the most important character in the film.  Michael Keaton is very good as Batman but Jack Nicholson steals the show.  Nicholson has always shown a talent for villainous roles and I cannot imagine anyone else at that time playing the Joker.  In supporting roles, Kim Basinger does a fine job as love interest Vicky Vale and Michael Gough is wonderful as Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Danny Elfman provides an excellent score that is operatic and befits this dark film.  The theme is a rousing, exciting tune that works extremely well.  The soundtrack also features songs by Prince.  I love Prince but these songs are not among his best work and are either hit or miss.

Burton’s expressionistic influences are evident all over Batman.  The film may show its age in some areas but overall, it is a polished, well made film.  Its huge success guaranteed that the Caped Crusader would return to the silver screen.

Rating (out of ****): ***1/2

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