Batman

Batman ★★★★

78/100

Remarkably atmospheric and playful in regards to its (at the time) comic-book freedom, Tim Burton's Batman opened the superhero floodgates and ever since, the mark of this adaptation has cast a long shadow on the genre that it unleashed. I haven't seen Batman in years and man does it offer a thrilling collection of delights. Gorgeous lighting, set design, and direction sets the tone for a lushly Gothic and Noir influenced Batman installment, favoring shadows and over-the-top caricatures instead of realistic brooding and modern blockbuster pacing. Everything in Tim Burton's film is theme-based, tackling issues of identity and past nightmares in a way that reeks of 1940s sizzlers.

Random Prince songs and giant balloons aside, Batman works because of its exceedingly horrific and eerie moments, all of which are layered with a cynically comic allure. Michael Keaton is a fantastic Batman/Bruce Wayne combo, and along with Jack Nicholson, the hero/villain dynamic is really interesting and fascinatingly explored. Too bad Kim Basinger has almost nothing to do, but she works well with what she was given.

Any flaws that appear because of the screenwriting basically dissipate because of the encompassing vision and imagination on display. Burton creates a world that is both similar and different to our own, showcasing strange differences while still making sure the environment feels familiar enough to be invested in. Burton digs deep into a comic-book circus of immense detail, using bold sets and tangible matte paintings to sell a twisted universe of tragedy and comedy intertwined. Burton's film is definitely a visual feast, but he evokes true pain and suffering along with the uproarious anarchy, and that's why it works.

Overall, Tim Burton's Batman is an elegant and mysterious film that still has a grotesque power over the viewer. It's a visual and stimulating experience, and while its characters are lacking, the world that Burton crafted is nothing less than serenely enveloping. Take all of that and add Danny Elfman's score to it and BAM, you have a truly amazing slice of blockbuster entertainment.

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