Batman ★★★½

A pop culture icon brought back to gritty life with little reason to exist besides Tim Burton admittedly being fascinated by just the image of Batman and Joker dueling.

There are good elements like the decision to present Bruce Wayne and his persona through a shroud of mystery (aided with Keaton's charming and meticulous performance) in contrast to Christopher Nolan's psychological approach; Jack Nicholson's intimidating performance is outstanding, and Anton Furst's amazingly gothic and moody production design keeping Gotham City firmly in the realm of fantasy.

Otherwise, the story's a pretty basic example of Batman's crime-fighting modus operandi. Except for when Keaton straight-up kills in cold blood, but with the DC Multiverse established in retrospect and the film excelling its dark noirish tone, we can let it slide here. Not a lot of intrigue or thematic substance to make the story more interesting and one baffling creative decision (you know the one).

Later incarnations flesh out the Batman mythos and logistics much better, so I can't fault this movie that much for being a product of its era. Despite significant pacing issues and a barebones plot, it's still a good time if you're interested in where superhero cinema was firmly established.

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