Batman ★★★★

Curious that director Tim Burton deemed this as a "mainly boring...cultural phenomenon" to Empire back in 1992. While likely speaking to the production's difficulty, if meaning it's not in his preferred style, this might be the film's strongest positive. His work is like a homogenized, commercially-viable John Waters that's only grown more gaudy with time, tainting Dark Shadows and Willy Wonka in the process. Tendencies tempered here by decades of source material and a mindful Warner.

An example being the gothic industrialism of its sets owing more to the era the character was birthed from than Burton's obsession with golden age horror. Popular expectation also flowed into Michael Keaton's portrayal of the crime fighter. Strong-willed and capable behind the mask, but missing the Bruce Wayne pathos of Christopher Nolan's approach of chaos increasing hopelessness in both lives of the Bat. Kim Basinger doesn't do much except scream beautifully, but then maybe she wasn't allowed to do much. Robert Wuhl's clingy Knox is forced upon her Vicki Vale, acting as a crutch to fill in the character's shortcomings, aspects that should've been written for her instead.

Jack Nicholson, with free rein to say or do whatever, laps around everyone both as gangster Napier and the acid-washed Joker. Absolutely in his right to demand top billing. The supporting cast is fantastic, Batmobile iconic, and thankfully Prince's spastic soundtrack album doesn't intrude upon Danny Elfman's living masterpiece. Watched via Warner's Special Edition DVD.

Jayson liked this review