Mary Conti’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part of The December Project: FIlm #43
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
While Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy will still rank in the eyes of the majority as the definitive Batman films, I feel as if Tim Burton's first outing with the Caped Crusader is still one of the better comic book outings, and I say that as someone that dislikes Tim Burton a great deal.
While Nolan's films are grounded in a sense of comic book realism, I actually quite like how Burton manages to make a comic book world feel real. What Burton's Batman lacks in character, it more than makes up for in terms of atmosphere and tone. There's this great grittiness to this Gotham that makes it feel as if its jumping right off the page.
The cast is pretty great too, and they play the comic book roles straight. Keaton makes a surprisingly great Wayne/Batman, and revels in the role as if he were playing the straight man in a comedy, and Nicholson seems to be having the time of his life as The Joker, bringing a great sense of humor to his psychopathy, and it's actually all the more frightening because of it.
Burton's Batman is far better than it is given credit for. It fully embodies its comic book roots, and while it doesn't give its character full amount of respect, it certainly is a lot of fun, and more influential than people will ever acknowledge.