Classic Cinema: Batman (1989) – By Jason S. Lockard


It seems like every time we turn around there is news of another comic book related show or movie that is production or has been green light. Well, here on Classic Cinema the last several months we have been looking back at some of the earlier attempts at adapting superheroes to the big screen.

In 1989 Tim Burton who is know for his dark nature in filmmaking was brought on board to bring Batman the Dark Knight to life on the big screen. Seemed like the perfect fit. So Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was born.

The film is a type of origin story for both Batman and The Joker. We see iconic scenes of Bruce Wayne’s parents demise, but this film focuses more on Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) a hood who during a raid and shootout at the Axis Chemicals plant, Batman appears. The two struggle, and Napier is accidentally knocked into a vat of chemical waste. This transforms Jack into the psychotic Joker. Now The Batman and The Joker are on a collision course and only one will survive.

Even though this is a dark version of Batman there is a slight sense of humor to the film. Watching it again here recently I thought maybe it was a way of paying homage to the campy 60’s TV show. But it still is the dark Tim Burton style film we have all come to know and love.

If you have never treated yourself to this 80’s classic. I have one statement for you! What are yoiu waiting for! If for nothing else watch the film just to see Jack’s version of The Joker. It is worth it for that alone!

So until next month when we look back at another classic superhero film. This is Jason Lockard reminding you, if you want to see a good movie, check out a classic.
Moral Rating: mild violence, scary images and adult situations
Audience: May not suitable for small children
Genre: action, adventure, comedy
Length: 126 minutes
Year of Release: 1989
Our Rating: A