Batman ★★★★★

"Tell me something, my friend, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

Batman is dark, foreboding and vastly entertaining, basically changed superhero films forever. Gone are the days of happy-go-lucky heroes arriving just in time to save the day. Director Tim Burton's Caped Crusader is a vengeful creature of the night preying on criminals who would turn his city into their personal playground.

Set in the fictional town of Gotham City, "Batman" tells the story of Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), who is a Billionaire by day, but at night he is Batman, a masked avenger who stalks criminals and bad guys in the night gives them his own brand of justice. Now, Batman must face off against his biggest challenge yet, a psychotic criminal in clown make-up named The Joker (Jack Nicholson), who is terrorizing the city of Gotham. Now, Batman has to stop The Joker and save Gotham at any costs.

Batman is one stylish, thrilling and one helluva ride, while he's not generally associated with action, Tim Burton proves it to be his forte as the Dark Knight Detective swoops out of the shadows, crashes through windows and employs a host of what his nemesis calls "wonderful toys", such as grappling hook guns and the amazingly versatile Batmobile. Man on man, this "Batman" kicks some ass, at one point daring an armed henchman with a "come here" finger gesture.

The film does have an all-star cast: Jack Napier/the Joker (Jack Nicholson), Bruce Wayne/Batman (Michael Keaton), Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger), Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl), Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle), Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams), Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough) and Carl Grissom (Jack Palance).

Batman wouldn't have worked nearly as well as it does without the right casting ingredients. The hiring of Michael Keaton in the lead role drew plenty of snickers, but the underrated actor showed up his detractors with a suitably mysterious performance. We know his heart is in the right place, but we're never quite sure what we should make of him. Jack Nicholson's famous performance as the villainous Joker is every bit as good as they say. Jack Nicholson is equal parts amusing and sadistic beneath the white face paint and green hair. Sexy Kim Basinger, as reporter Vicki Vale, also makes the most out of her screen time.

Overall, Danny Elfman's score is epic, dark, operatic and definitely fits in with the tone of the film, along with the direction by Tim Burton, which is amazing and constantly moving the camera, giving the film a dark, gothic, brooding feel to it and it makes "Batman" one of the finest superhero films of all time.

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