Re: The Official Batman (1989) Thread - Part 3
With regards to accuracy compared to the comics, I think that's a moot point since the comics have changed so much over the years.
Burton's Batman lifts from Bob Kane's original vision of a very dark anti-hero, but tones him down slightly to make him more sympathetic. Read a Batman comic lately? The same problems I found with the post-Burton movie Batmen are present in the modern comics as well. Batman often appears ineffective in a medium that is supposed to empower the writers to make him the ultimate outsider... the ultimate doer and bad-ass. But no, even there he always seems stuck between being Alexander the Great and Gandhi. They can't decide what they want him to be. DC wants him to be dark and edgy while still trying to keep his hands clean. That's impossible as far as I'm concerned. He can either be a bright upstanding public hero or a terrifying Dark Knight. They should pick one and stay with it.
There is no such inconsistency in Burton's movies. Burton is crystal clear about his Batman being an anti-hero through and through. He doesn't care about 'image' and 'popularity'. He won't play nice just because a clueless public think he's a bad role model for their little kids. Like I said in my first post, Burton Batman will go all the way to ensure the safety of his city. And that means getting his hands dirty occasionally.
Now, on to Bruce Wayne. In the Burton movies, Bruce Wayne acts as Batman's daylight power player behind the scenes. He gets things done through public proxies like Gordon and the Mayor. He won't draw too much publicity to himself as Bruce Wayne because that will make Wayne a liability instead of an asset to Batman's cause.
Bruce works behind the scenes to make sure the machinery is oiled and that the system doesn't crush the innocent accidentally. Burton Bruce is completely disinterested in playing the wealthy socialite/movie star. He is serious to a fault, and comes across as a good upstanding (private) citizen. He sometimes even drives himself places in a perfectly ordinary sedan. People who meet him think he's quirky, but they forgive him his quirks because he's rich and generous with his money. And you know what? Now that I'm older, I really like this Bruce Wayne. He feels like a real person instead of a worn out trope, and he's a refreshing change from the usual portrayal in the other movies and the comics.
I think Burton made a Bruce Wayne who, frankly, makes a lot more sense than the socialite/movie star type I see in most other versions. The excuse given for him being such a public figure in those versions is that he needs to be seen as a playboy idiot to throw off suspicion, blah-blah-blah. Well, that's just nonsense. Real life rich people who come from old wealth are averse to being in tabloids. They'll threaten litigation against any paparazzi stupid enough to come close, or any news outlet that dares to slander their name. They are private citizens, not actors or public figures.
Knox is a great way to highlight all of this. His lines explain it all. "The rich. You know why they're so odd? Because they can afford to be." "Lieutenant, is there a six foot bat in Gotham city? And if so is he on the police payroll? And if so what's he pulling down after taxes?" So Knox believes Batman is a super cop on the police payroll, and that is a perfectly logical and sound theory for anyone not in the know.
Vicki: There's nothing in these files. No photos , no histories, no nothing. Who is this guy?
Knox: Who cares? Forget Bruce Wayne. I want the Batman...
lol. Poor Knox. Missing Batman's daylight disguise makes him look stupid, right? Wrong. Knox is clearly no dummy, and thus is a great way to show the effectiveness of Bruce's approach.