The Official Batman (1989) Thread - Part 3

Discussion in 'Batman World' started by Thread Manager, Aug 21, 2012.

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  1. axecrazy

    axecrazy Member

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    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 *****es. 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." :wow: 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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  2. Travesty

    Travesty Well-Known Member

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  3. Cain

    Cain I Heart Amazons

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    This is why I love how layered this movie is because you can always pick something new up with every rewatch :up:

    When I got older and had seen a lot of expressionistic and noirish films I also had a lot of the themes and concepts in this movie hit me in the face even more clearly.

    Now I'm trying my best to get into viewing operas and other forms of theater since I've never really been into those forms of art and being exposed to that opens up even more chambers of depth within both Burton Bat films. These type of influences give them both a unique way to present familiar tropes of the Batman mythos (duality, obsession, love, vengeance etc.) in a new light.

    For that reason I find them pretty timeless and am grateful for their existence as a fan.
     
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  4. TheWatcher

    TheWatcher Dapper

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    Batman 89 is still the most comic accurate comic book adaption to date IMO.
     
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  5. Mace Dolex

    Mace Dolex Powerful User

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    It truly was a one time event that only comes every generation or so, first with Star Wars in 1977, then Batman in 1989 and The Phantom Menace in 1999. But hopefully there can many other "event" type of movies for other people to experience the hype.
     
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  6. Brain Damage

    Brain Damage Everything Under the Sun

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    Would you care to elaborate?

    Not trying to sound hostile, I'm genuinely curious. I've heard countless complaints about how inaccurate to the comics the film is (some coming from myself as well), but I've never heard someone call it the most comic accurate comic book adaptation to date. So I'm interested to hear your point of view.
     
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  7. Mrs. Sawyer

    Mrs. Sawyer Well-Known Member

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    I don't get that comment either. Burton's movies aren't that comic book accurate.
     
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  8. Anno_Domini

    Anno_Domini Well-Known Member

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    Add me to the list in wondering how '89 Batman is indeed the most comic accurate adaptation.
     
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  9. CConn

    CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Burton's movies are ridiculously accurate to both the timeless thematic elements of Batman, as well as his overall characterization and representation as a literary figure.

    Which, IMO, is what's really important to capture. SOOO many people get so hung up on simple continuity-based errors that they really ignore the most important parts of the character and history.
     
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  10. Mrs. Sawyer

    Mrs. Sawyer Well-Known Member

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    In some ways Burton's Batman is comic accurate, but there some ways Burton isn't. The character has evolved over time, so it also depends on which era for Batman. If we're talking about 30s and 40s Batman, I'd agree to a much larger extent than the contemporary Batman of the era.

    As for most comic accurate, I'd say that Captain America is most comic accurate except for the costume. There's also Hellboy.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  11. TruerToTheCore

    TruerToTheCore Well-Known Member

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    Well, people that grew up with the Burton movies think they are accurate... simply because it shaped their picture of Batman so they see everything from that perspective. They read the old Batman comics are start to twist them to fit their vision. Since I read Batman long before the movie I can assure you that the movie is in no way representative of the comics. You could even start with the look of Gotham City, as great as it is.
     
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  12. axecrazy

    axecrazy Member

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    *nod* I'm getting older now (pushing 33), and the usual action shlock is getting on my nerves more and more. James Bond and his endless variations and clones just don't appeal to me as much they once did. It's pretty much what happened when I outgrew Rambo and his ilk... I moved on to action heroes with more depth. Now even they are beginning to bore me.

    Maybe I'll go on about Batman Returns at some point, but I don't think I have the balls to break that one down. Of all the older bat-movies I watched during my marathon that's the one I had the biggest change of heart about. I went from mildly ambivalent to outright loving it. Quite a turn around for me.

    Back to Batman 89 itself -- one of the other surprises I had during the marathon was Knox's character. When I was a kid, sometimes when I got to his parts, I would fast forwarded the tape a bit. Now I sort of like him. Yes he's obnoxious and pushy, but he's also a diligent and plucky reporter who sticks to his guns in the face of mockery from his colleagues. Knox also has a heroic streak in him which I like a lot. All those personal traits are probably why he was the only one (besides Vicki) who caught on to what was really going on when the Bat Legend began spreading beyond the low lifes of Gotham City.

    Vicki also ends up being very fond of him in spite of all his false bravado. So Knox has gone from seemingly annoying and pointless character to being okay in my book because now I'm older, and thus capable of appreciating his finer points
     
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  13. spidermanJLA!~

    spidermanJLA!~ SUPERHERO

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    Didn't this movie give us the new Joker origin of falling into a vat of toxic waste?
     
    #263
  14. Brain Damage

    Brain Damage Everything Under the Sun

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    That was The Killing Joke.
     
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  15. axecrazy

    axecrazy Member

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    Yes and no. Originally in the comics, a masked criminal called the Red Hood fell into the vat and became the Joker. In Batman 89, a former mob hitman named Jack Napier is set set up by his boss and falls in the vat.

    I don't mind the change. It works for the movie and the particular story that's being told. Movie villains (especially murderous psychotic ones) have to die in the end to bring satisfying closure to a story. The bad guy always goes down... that's just how it is.
     
    #265
  16. Mace Dolex

    Mace Dolex Powerful User

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    Yeah I liked the character of Knox, sure the first impression of him would be of the nosy reporter but he pushed people's buttons because he believed in his cause.

    I'm just upset that Burton discarded Knox and most of the other supporting cast to start over in Batman Returns.
     
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  17. CConn

    CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    I agree with that. Not that it's any condemnation of its quality, but BR was, and always will be, slightly disappointing to me for that reason alone.
     
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  18. CConn

    CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    I more or less agree. I wouldn't necessarily say Burton's Batman is the most accurate overall (Cap, Hellboh, The Avengers, etc. are all pretty spot on too), but I do think, compared to all of the other Batman films - aside from West's, of course - it's the most accurate. As close as they all came to emulating key periods and aspects of the character, Schumacher and Nolan, IMO, didn't come nearly as close to Burton in capturing the core aspects and spirit of the character.

    Although, I am still anxiously awaiting a Batman movie where we have a happy, well-adjusted Batman again. :o
     
    #268
  19. Ponyboy

    Ponyboy Serenity now!

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    It is representative of the comics. We're talking about film and not the printed page. Burton and his team brought an exciting visual aspect to the first Batman film, and to say that it's look or subject matter is so far removed from "the comics" is completely untrue.

    I don't feel your assessment holds any more weight just because you "read comics before anyone else did." I was reading Batman comics from the mid-80s and while the movie wasn't a dear letter representative of the comics, let's say, from the 60's (or even the early 80s books... Doctor Death anyone?)... the movie was a solid representation of the Batman character, what he was about, and the issues he dealt with within himself which motivated him to be a vigilante.
     
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  20. Mister Meddle

    Mister Meddle The Barber of Seville

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    At the time the origin was anything but new. They first introduced the whole falling into chemicals origin in Detective Comics 168 (1951).
     
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  21. shauner111

    shauner111 Well-Known Member

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    It's not the most comic book accurate film. Marvel has more accuracy with some of their movies than Batman 89'.

    Pros? This movie holds up better than any Bat sequel of the 90s or ANY comic book movie of the 90's in my opinion. The set design and score is iconic. Great casting for Joker and Batman (even though Keaton was unusual). The Bat-suit and Batmobile and makeup for the Joker were perfect. It was an original, fresh, fun & entertaining Batman movie. It is VERY Batman in comparison to Returns, which was not a Batman movie at all for me.

    It's dark with a good amount of serious scenes but with some camp to balance it out. I don't like camp with Batman movies but they balanced it nicely here.

    Now for the 'cons'. Gordon was awful in these movies. Kim Basinger was nothing to write home about but i guess it matched the cliche character she played. It's extremely dated. The Prince music doesn't help them get past the 80's vibe. There's a 40's vibe too when you look at the wardrobe of Gothams citizens, it makes the movie stick out like a sore thumb when you put it on today. The screenplay was very average. Lots of cheesy dialogue. Yes there was good dialogue too but only from Keaton and Nicholson. I never liked the last minute/end-of-the-movie twist where Joker is revealed as the killer of Bruce's parents. It felt tacked on just so they had a more emotional reason to fight in the finale. I bet they were struggling to come up with a way for Joker & Batman to keep their rivalry going.

    I can live with some of the negatives because it's the first Batman movie of its kind. Batman killing people didn't bother me in this movie like it did with Returns. Maybe because it wasn't excessive or done with a smile as it was in the sequel, and because Batman killed in 1939. I usually don't like Batman as a killer but it's OK in 89'.

    I prefer the location stuff for Gotham City, not everything so gothic all the time. But the stylized look here reaaaaally screams Gotham and Batman. They did a FANTASTIC job.

    When only rating this continuity i give...
    Batman 6/10
    Batman Returns 4/10 (the score/look/cast save this from a weaker rating)
    Batman Forever 4/10
    Batman & Robin 1/10 (im being nice)
     
    #271
  22. Mrs. Sawyer

    Mrs. Sawyer Well-Known Member

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    :funny:


    In that case, I definitely agree. When it comes to Batman, I definitely think its the most comic accurate. There are some aspects I think others capture better, but overall Batman 89' is most accurate.


    I will give Schumacher credit for one thing though, he nailed the Bruce Wayne aspect of the character in Batman Forever.



    Like that's hard to do. :o
     
    #272
  23. shauner111

    shauner111 Well-Known Member

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    Batman Begins is more accurate.

    I wouldn't say he nailed Bruce Waynes character. Val looked more like Bruce than Keaton or Clooney no doubt, and he had more to do as Wayne than Keaton in Batman Returns. But he didn't nail the playboy billionaire "persona". He also didn't have that darkness that Bale and Keaton had. So i disagree.

    Haha, ya i hear ya.
     
    #273
  24. TruerToTheCore

    TruerToTheCore Well-Known Member

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    Batman's personality is in Batman 89 no way accurate to anything that was before. The Batman of 39 was definitely not some sort of depressed guy suffering from Asperger's syndrome. More like a thrill-loving, trash-talking swashbuckler.

    And that is the truth. Everything else is just conjecture.
     
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  25. TheWatcher

    TheWatcher Dapper

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    I could have found a better way to say that.

    What I meant was that Batman 89 had the most comicbookesque feeling to it. It felt like a comic book come to life.
     
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