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Road to The Batman - Batman (Quick Review)

Only one will claim the night.

Batman is a 1989 superhero film directed by Tim Burton, written Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren, produced by Guber-Peters Company, and distributed by Warner Bros.. It is based on various Batman comics by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. The film stars Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It was nominated for and won Best Production Design. This is the second film in the Batman franchise, but the first in the Burton/Schumacher quadrilogy. It was preceded by Batman: The Movie and followed by Batman Returns.

"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" - The Joker


After swearing an oath to protect the city of Gotham, Bruce Wayne must face his first real test as the Batman when a maniacal psychopath called the Joker threatens to massacre Gotham's citizens with a dangerous gas.

My Favorite Thing About Batman

This movie is the true silver screen debut of Batman. Instead of the cheese that is Adam West's iteration, this Batman is dark. He's broken. He has taken up this mantle as a symbol of fear for criminals so that nobody ever has to go through what he went through as a child. It also really shows us a great conflict between Batman and Joker. Their origins are interwoven. In this version, Joker kills Batman's parents, which adds a personal vendetta on top of the danger that the Joker already poses. It makes for a great back-and-forth between the Joker and Batman, which I really, really enjoy.

My Least Favorite Thing About Batman

This is going to be a problem you see in a lot of these reviews...but this movie is called Batman. And Joker is in way more of this movie than Batman is. They give the villain the spotlight instead of focusing on the hero. It's not terrible here, because Joker is a great villain, but I pressed play on this movie because I wanted to see Batman. Not Joker. I want to see Batman. And this movie does not give me enough Batman. He is sidelined in his own movie, which is extremely frustrating. It's a problem that is repeated in other Batman movies, and I really hope The Batman gives Bruce the spotlight instead of giving it to Riddler or Penguin.

Why Batman Works Overall

Batman works because it's a true adaptation of the comics. It's a dark film that has a great conflict between Batman and Joker. Even though I hate that they sideline the Dark Knight, the Clown Prince of Crime is a fabulous villain. This film captures the spirit of Gotham and of the comics. It's brooding and gritty but also still has that element of fantasy that a superhero movie usually brings. I appreciate that aspect. I think that this film serves as a great, warm welcome for Batman to the film industry.

Final Score

This movie is good. It's an enjoyable watch that has a great villain, a great rivalry, and a great overall debut for Batman, even if he isn't in as much of the film as he should be.

I will go Savory here. Age range is 9+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Story: 7/10

Quality: 7.5/10

Directed by Tim Burton

Rated PG-13 for superhero violence and action, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements, language

Released on June 23, 1989

2 hours and 6 minutes

Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman

Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier / The Joker

Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale

Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth

Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon

Jack Palance as Carl Grissom

Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent

Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox

Jerry Hall as Alicia Hunt

Tracey Walter as Bob the Goon


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