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Old 11-21-2012, 02:30 PM   #11
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 14
Default Re: The Official Batman (1989) Thread - Part 3

I had this movie memorized when I was a kid but hadn't watched it for over a decade. With the recent end to the Nolan trilogy, I decided to have a bat-movie marathon. Of course, there are a lot more superhero movies now, and I was really surprised at how well this movie still holds its own. There's still nothing else like it, even now that just about every tired superhero trope has been put to film.

First of all, Tim Burton's Batman is one badass mutha. He makes all subsequent versions look like pussies. I mean if you're a super villain and you threaten his city, he will ****ing end you. No speeches, no pining for what could have been, no debating the whys and the wherefores of non-violence vs kicking ass, and no doubt about who exactly is the real boss of Gotham City. Nope, he will just break out the heavy artilliry and machine gun your sorry ass; maybe swing by police headquarters to get a pat on the back from Gordon, and then head back to Wayne Manor for some good old fashioned brooding. The End.

And I don't mean any of that in sarcastic way. There's a certain satisfaction in knowing that he has the balls and the conviction to go all the way in Burton's movies; to do what needs to be done if Gotham's enemies show no mercy or compassion. Burton's Batman is the only version (besides the very first comics) that truly lives up to the label 'Dark Knight'. TDK Joker, and Ras Al Ghul's psycho posse have no chance against Keaton's Batman. He'll blow them all to hell and skip merrily home without a second thought. Gotham saved, job finished. Merry Christmas, *****es, and to all a good night! Heh.

Anyway, I think may absolute favourite bit is right at the beginning where the family is ambushed and Batman avenges them. The music, the lighting, the whole atmosphere is creepy and perfect. I got the chills when I saw that distinctive shadow descending while the two goons yak away. Hot damn, I'd almost forgotten what subtle looks like in a superhero movie.

Then Batman explodes on screen. The terror the thugs feel is palpable... it seeps through the screen and threatens to infect the viewer. "What are you?!" "I'm Batman." Now, having seen a lot more superhero movies that came after, I can safely say its the single most bad-ass introductory scene in all superhero movies... in all action movies, in fact. With the only possible exception being Blade's stunning entrance in Blade (1998). And yeah, it's way better than the similar scene in Batman Begins because Keaton has a much better Batman voice and really does look like a Man-Bat...

Also love the look of everything in this movie. You really feel like Gotham is a real, organic place despite all the bizarre things happening on screen. The Batmobile is boss. By far the best looking batmobile ever conceived. It's so macho and imposing, but at the same time sleek and sexy. I wanna have its babies. Same with the Batplane.

Another thing that really stands out to me is how Keaton's Batman is so effortlessly intimidating. He can just stand there and be unnerving. His silence has weight... and when he says something you immediately pay attention. This is in sharp contrast to every subsequent live action Batman. I hadn't really picked up on the fact that they all talk too much, and it takes away from their fear factor and mystique. For this reason I think the Keaton Batman/Bruce Wayne is still the best film version there is.... maybe even the best version full stop. He exhibits all the traits of a classic anti-hero, and fits perfectly with the whole look of the Batman persona and the facts of his origin. Like I said at the start, he is one bad mutha!

Nicholson's Joker is great as well. Funny and scary at the same time. What more can you ask for? i especially like teh scene where he talks to the corpse. Really funny stuff. Also, the epic showdown at midnight! "C'mon, you gruesome son of *****. Come to me!" I've seen this scene derided by lots of people, and I think they're missing the point. There's a slightly supernatural element to this Joker. "I've been dead once already." So I have no real problem with him having the luck of the devil. In any case, it's a great scene. I love pure showmanship of it all.

And to top it all off, Danny Elfman's score is glorious. Probably the best work he's ever done.

There was so much I didn't pick up on when I was younger. I mean I mainly loved the snappy dialogue and visuals back then, but now... I feel as though the movie has grown with me. Keaton's little nuances really hit home now. He sorta makes all his successors look childish and overblown in comparison. Well.... maybe Val Kilmer was okay as well. Maybe.

So what's the verdict? Batman 89 is still a great movie after all these years. And I mean it's a great movie, not just a nostalgia trip. It has a identity all its own... an overpowering atmosphere that I strongly suspect will never be equalled again. It has character and style, as well as depth for the more discerning viewer. Don't be afraid to say it's still your favourite Batman movie. It deserves that sort of admiration.

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