Batman (a 1989 movie review)

I know, the trailer is kinda stark, but Batman kinda changed everything. I hate to use a cliche, but it’s true. Before this flick, comic book movies rarely happened, and when they did, they were under budgeted punch lines. Now that we live in the golden age of comic book movies, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the movie that helped make this era possible.

First, I think it’s fair to point out that the first X-Men movie is the flick that really send the studios into a comic book movie making frenzy. Sure, it took a while to get the operation running properly, and now we’re enjoying the benefits, but there’d be X-Men no if there wasn’t a Batman.

If you’re not familiar with my opinions on Tim Burton… well, let’s just say that I don’t care for his body of work. However, I am an unapologetic Batman fan. I had this movie on a VHS cassette and I ran it right into the ground. There are three movies that got my attention as a kid: Amadeus, Falling Down and Batman. These movies began (are to blame for) my life long obsession with movies – let that set the tone for what follows.

As soon as the movie starts, you’ll note that Jack Nicholson as Jack/The Joker gets top billing. Michael Keaton portrays the Dark Knight (much to many fans objection to the tune of petitioning the studio to get someone else because people didn’t want Mr. Mom to be Batman) perfectly and set the standard that everyone has followed since… well, maybe not George Clooney, who just barely acts in the film. Kim Basinger plays Vicki Vale, a reporter who never reports anything and is the movie’s go to love interest/damsel in distress and rounding out the cast is Michael Gough as Alfred J. Pennyworth (sorta doing a wise old mentor thing) and Robert Wuhl (the comic relief). I know it sounds like a typical screenplay (Sam Hamm, Warren Skaaren), and it is, but somehow, everything came together perfectly. Sure, some of the sets look like crap and there’s some terrible animation and special effects, but it’s all so wonderful – this is mostly because the directing, editing, music and performances work in concert for the entire movie.

Batman doesn’t do very Batman-esque things in the movie – his appreciation for human life seems kidna low, what with his machine guns, missiles, throwing people to their death and what not, but whatever, it all works – probably because the movie doesn’t have any blood. This movie’s version of Batman solving a mystery is to say, "Chemistry… Alfred, let’s go shopping," and BOOM – mystery solved. It’s just that easy – he’s Batman.

Enough of my yacking. If you’ve already seen this flick it’s always worth a re watch, but if not, definitely put this at the top of your list. I’m giving 1989’s Batman a 9 out of 10 – a comic book movie classic to say the least.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on August 8, 2014, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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