Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger
Director: Tim Burton
Running Time: 126 mins
Batman is an American film about the crime-riddled city of Gotham, and the rise of insane criminal mastermind, The Joker. In order to prevent this foe from taking control of the city, only one man can step in, Batman.
This is a properly gritty, dark and violent reboot of the Batman franchise. It takes an interesting perspective on the Caped Crusader’s adventures, steering clear of the campy style established in the 1960s, and doing the comic books justice with a wholly more dark film.
The main thing to say about this, then, is that it’s not really one that kids will like. Sure, there’s action, cool gadgets and stuff, but that’s by no means the main focus of the story.
Instead, this film looks at the disturbed characters of both Batman and his nemesis, The Joker, therefore being one of the most in-depth character studies you’ll ever see in a superhero film. It does away with baseless motives for keeping the peace or world domination, and tells a very intelligent and intricate story about the backgrounds of these characters, and how they came to be the strange people they are today.
One of the reasons that the character study is so effective is that Batman and The Joker are portrayed excellently by Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson respectively. Keaton plays both a heroic Batman as well as a rather odd and uneasy Bruce Wayne, whilst Nicholson turns the insanity level up to 11 in his performance as The Joker, making him a genuinely scary character more so than a simply comical one.
The main vibe of this film is a very dark one, with the presentation of Gotham City as a crime-infested urban dystopia showing that most clearly. As a result, the majority of the story takes a dark atmosphere, therefore being something that will please die-hard comic book fans who prefer the grittier Batman.
However, that’s not to say that general audiences won’t like this film. Of course, it’s not necessarily a fun, action-packed thrill ride that everyone will love, but for those who aren’t normally into superhero films, this, which is more a drama than a comic book flick, could be a good watch.
The only problem with this film is that it’s just not that exhilarating. Again, the intention wasn’t to make a big, explosion-filled blockbuster, but the pacing of the story and the fact that it is often very quiet means that it’s not something that will grab you and take you on an amazing ride, so it can be hard to get into and keep the focus if you’re not totally engrossed in the characters.
Overall, though, this gets a 7.2, because despite its slowness and potential to be more exclusive to big Batman fans, it’s still a very interesting story which tells the tale of these two comic book legends in great detail.