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  • 1989
  • PG-13
  • 126min
  • 72%
  • 7.5 / 10

An orphaned turned millionaire businessman and philanthropist decides to become a vigilante in his city. Donning a bat-like mask and cape, he becomes the city’s silent guardian named Batman. Meanwhile, a mobster takes over the city’s criminal underworld after falling into a vat of chemicals and imbibes the sociopathic killer clown named The Joker. Batman squares-off with the Joker to not just save the city from Joker’s Smylex but his identity.

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movie facts

The success of Batman prompted its studio, Warner Brothers Animation, to create the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. The series also became a success thus both the movie and the series became the pioneers of the modern-day superhero film genre. Tim Burton refers to the film’s contribution to the genre when he jokingly said, “ever since I did Batman, it was like the first dark comic book movie. Now everyone wants to do a dark and serious superhero movie. I guess I'm the one responsible for that trend.”

Batman movie review

In the 1980s, Batman was generally known as a campy and upbeat TV series from the 1960s. The public's perception of the caped crusader changed when Tim Burton debuted Batman. It was a film inspired by Alan Moore's The Killing Joke and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. It resulted in a darker iteration of the beloved character that almost got Burton and Warner Brothers executives hunted down by a mob of angry parents and Adam West fans.

Tim Burton's Batman opens with a dark and decaying version of Gotham city. All of Gotham - including the Gotham City Police Department - is under the control of a malevolent crime lord. Unbeknownst to the public, a spree killing madman is on the rise and is plotting to kill everyone in Gotham. But the city may have found its saviour in the form of a vigilante.

Batman would come to define not only Tim Burton's films but also superhero films. It is a post-modern fairy tale - a grim portrayal of how good will always triumph over evil. It is the irrepressible trauma from his childhood that pushes Bruce Wayne to become Batman. Other than that, Burton does not go on to explain the vigilante's motives. In contrast, viewers will know everything about the Joker. He is a former mobster turned goofy terrorist who makes his motives clear - he kills because he loves killing. Batman is the first cinematic portrayal of the duality of the caped crusader's relationship with the Joker. For Burton, good will always triumph over evil, but evil cannot and would never be stopped. The two will always co-exist because they create and recreate each other out of necessity.

In the end, Batman will forever be the film that made people realise the depth of tragedy of its characters. It is a complex but timeless tale of good versus evil veiled by two pop culture icons.


about the movie

Batman (1989) is an American superhero film based on the DC Comics character, Batman, and an adaptation of the “Red Hood” origin story of Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker. The tone and themes of this film were also influenced by writer Alan Moore and comic artist Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, and writer/director Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This is the first installment of the initial Batman film series directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier / The Joker. Other cast members include Kim Basinger, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, and Michael Gough. The film was a commercial success – considering it was the 5th highest-grossing film in history upon its release in 1989. It also received numerous nominations from major award-winning bodies, namely the Saturn Awards and the Golden Globe awards. It also won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.