So it is time for our Tim Burton movie!
Batman: I’m not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.
Nic: What are you?
Batman: I’m Batman.
So I was trying to decide which Tim Burton movie to do next, when I saw this at the library and realized this was perfect as it turns 30 this year.
Some of you might not think this counts, as it is a superhero film but I say it does.
Yes, first of all every year on abcFamily, now known as freeform, as part of their 13 Night of Halloween they would always show this. So I always associate this film with Halloween.
The second reason it counts is because the Joker is chemically changed into a monster, but even without that he is a total psycho-killer.
So I grew up watching this film and I just love it. When I think of Batman, to me it is always Michael Keaton or Kevin Conroy. There is no other Batman (although I do recognize Adam West, I just never watched his show until I was older) This is an absolutely amazing film and Keaton is an amazing Batman. So without further ado…
We have an amazing opening with fantastic music…oh yeah, Danny Elfman did the music, Tim Burton just loves him.
Gotham city-I have always loved how it looked as it was a blend of modern with art deco giving it feeling of being both times and not of the time.
So a guy is leaving the theater with his family at night trying to get a taxi. They are tourists and lost. As they walk around the bad side of town, they get mugged, the father getting knocked out. (Although to be honest, it was kind of his fault. Why didn’t he stay in front of the theater?)
So one of the robbers look like Kevin Bacon but it is totally a discount Kevin Bacon.
So the best part is when Batman creeps up behind the two muggers as they are dividing up the spoils. His cape flying out, creepy and cool. Spooky!
He takes them down, so tough and awesome. I know the costume kept him from moving his head right, but it looks so cool. He looks otherworldly.
He was supposed to say something else about being justice in the night or so. But Michael Keaton changed it to “I’m Batman”, and it was awesome!
He takes those muggers down and flies out.
Meanwhile, the mayor is having a news conference with him appointing a new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams)-although why isn’t he in the third film? Why did they replace him with first of all, a white guy, and secondly why Tommy Lee Jones?
Meanwhile Jack (Jack Nicholson) is a thug watching the conference. I can’t stand Jack Nicholson, he just looks creepy in EVERYTHING. That voice, that smile, it creeps me out. And not in a good way like Vincent Price.
He’s talking to his moll, mobster’s gal, about his plans for keeping control of the city.
Meanwhile, on the conference they get questioned about “The Bat”, by reporter Knox. No one believes the reporter, and laugh it off.
I love how they all wear 1940s clothes! Oh, I just love this movie. They have that film noir, Dana Andrews in Laura vibe going on.
It turns out one of the detectives is dirty, on the payroll of Jack. He tells him that D.A. Dent is onto one of their deals, a property, and he needs it to be handled. The cop insults him, but Jack is not having that, he pulls a gun on him. Watch out you are dealing with a psycho.
This is why you don’t become involved with bad guys, they can easily kill you.
The mayor is trying to take done crime and wants Grissom to go on trial. He wants to bring business back and revitalize the town.
Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) meets with Knox, the pressman from earlier. She’s a photojournalist and is interested in this “Bat”. She knows that if they can prove it-it’s pulitzer prize worthy. She wants a piece by trying to get a picture of it. He thinks that he might show up to Bruce Wayne’ social, and she has an invite. Already they are a dynamic duo.
Meanwhile, Grissom and Jack are discussing what to do about this Dent. Grissom wants Jack to take care of him. Grissom’s moll comes, and its the dame that Jack was with. Oh it looks like Jack was a naughty boy.
I love how Jack wears a purple suit. I like when movies do things like that, setting the stage for what is to come. Plus that suit is sharp, I don’t find him attractive-just creepy-but I can see why she might be into him.
Grissom sends Jack out, but I can’t help but feel that there is more to this than mets the eye.
Oh yes, he calls up Lt. Eckhardt and it seems he found out about Jack dating his girl and he is on the way out.
So the big Casino Night Gala has come. All the bigwigs are there and Knox. Vicki Vale has come too, working the room searching for Bruce Wayne. She taps a guy asking for his help and it is Michael Keaton.
Our first look at him. I think I love him as Batman because he is just a regular guy. He’s not ostentatious, he’s not super serious-he’s cool, composed, and just chill. I love it as you don’t realize who he is until later as he is just so normal. Perfect intro and contrast to when we see how awesome he is as Batman.
So like I said, it is the perfect intro, but it is weird that these reporters don’t know who he is. He’s a gazillionaire and leading philanthropist in the city. I mean Vale gets a somewhat pass as she has just arrived in the city, but Knox should know!
Knox and Vale notice Commissioner Gordon speaking to a police officer. Sensing a story, they try to track him down, but end up in an armory.
Bruce Wayne comes in as they eviscerating his collection. I love it. Who are you-Bruce Wayne.
He compliments them and I can’t get over it. He’s perfect! You would never ever think a guy like this would dress up as a giant bat and run around the city protecting it.
He starts flirting with Vale but has to run off. The two just can’t get him as he seems so odd? But you know what they say, the rich aren’t odd they are “eccentric.”
Bruce enters his batcave where he goes over the film he shot of the Commissioner, getting the info on what was going on. I like this version because he actually does detective work, rather than in the Christian Bale version when Morgan Freeman solves everything.
Lt. Eckhardt is leading the people who are out to get Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack the first rule of being in a mob, never get with the boss’ gal. Should’ve know.
The police shoot them and gunfire starts between the two in a dangerous warehouse full of chemicals. Gordon shows up with his people as he doesn’t trust Eckhardt. He goes over Eckhardt refusing his order shoot to kill as he wants Jack alive to get the goods.
Jack destroys the warehouse, steam and bullets flying everywhere. But then Batman descends slowly from nowhere. SO COOOL!!!
He uses his batarang to catch one of the criminals. OMG every time I watch this I feel like I go back to the age I was when I first saw this on VHS. I was probably six or seven and after seeing this just thought Batman was SO COOOOL! Still feel this way 20-21 years later.
And that music.
Anyways Jack tried to make enough steam to confuse the cops and get out of there, but he didn’t count on the Batman.
I love how he flies in his cape flowing so cool!
He catches Jack, using his utility belt to get the gun away, but Jack’s man gets Gordon. Jack picks up his gun to shoot Batman, but he’s gone. So COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!
Sorry, I can’t help it, 6-7 year old me just keeps popping out.
Jack shoots Eckhardt and tries to get Batman, but accidentally mars his own face, Then oops Barman accidentally knocks him into vat of chemicals, he tries to save him but oops, Jack falls in.
Batman throws a fogbomb and is gone! Sooooooooooooo cooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vale and Knox are working on the story, but haven’t figured anything out yet. Knox tries to take Vale out, but Wayne asked her first.
He invites her to his home for dinner. It always cracks me up- he’s in this ostentatious and gorgeous house, seated at a giant table that could fit 20 and acts like a regular joe. I love it. I love him. Michael Keaton is one of my favorites.
He takes her from the dining table to eating in the kitchen instead. There Alfred tells stories-good job Alfred. Doing what a parent would do.
Vale shares about herself and her family. Bruce tells her how he doesn’t have any family but Alfred. Vale says this house doesn’t seem him-and she’s right. He’s just too normal, not at all like those typical rich guys. And I love it.
So Jack survived his fall and went to the plastic surgeon. The nerves were messed up so the doctor did the best he could, but Jack isn’t happy with it.
Grissom is getting ready for bed when Jack walks in. He pretends he’s happy to see him, but Jack’s not buying it.
They start him off in the shadows so we don’t see what happened yet. But we know-it’s not going to be good!
Grissom reaches for his gun, but Jack has one on him already. He walks into the light and we see-The Joker. White face, green hair, and permanent grin. I think he looks as creepy as he always does.
Jack Nicholson is perfect. He always creeped me out when he looked his regular self and does it double as the joker.
Vale got drunk and stayed the night. She wakes up and sees Bruce doing upside down exercises? Sleeping like a bat? I’m not sure exactly what he was doing. She takes him to bed, but I personally think I would be weirded out by that.
Joker’s thrilled at the death of Grissom but mad that no one in the paper cares about him, even though he’s been the Joker for one night. But any-who, who cares about that logic, he wants fame, glory, and to enact his psychotic vengeance/reality/crime spree on Gotham.
The next morning Vale wakes up and invites Bruce out for lunch, but he’s too busy running “errands” We know what that means-Batman Business.
Meanwhile, Grissom’s gal gets home and finds Joker, fainting. Joker takes over the mafia. He covers his face with paint and tries to look normal-but still looks creepy. One guy challenges him, and Joker kills him, death by hand buzzer. Wow, love that he stays in theme.
Just noticed this boardroom has weird artwork. A lady naked but tied up, her nipples covered by the tie. Then it looks like a nude man’s chest on another wall. Weird art choices.
Oh Jack Nicholson is so creepy with that extra creepy laugh and creepiness on the side.
Knox is jealous that Vale was with Bruce, while she’s mad because she thinks Bruce just slept with her and then is going to ignore her. She finds nothing in the newspaper files as to who he is-weird as a gazillionaire there should be a gazillion clips- and then she decides to sneak over to his house and follow him.
He is walking down the street, bringing two roses outside an old hotel building. Aw. I know why he does it, but Vale is confused. Who is this guy? What is he doing? Why toss out expensive roses.
Meanwhile, the court trial of Grissom has stalled as no one can find him. Bruce goes to the courthouse when a guy announces he’ll be taking over his business. As he watches the exchange a mime shows up, then another one. Odd. But are they just mimes?
Never trust a mime. They are evil.
Then the Joker shows up and challenges the guy trying to take over Grissom’s business. He has a feather pen and uses it to stab and kill him He walks down the stairs in a top hat, spats, and shiny shoes. Man, I love that this joker has style. I like this better than today’s constant brooding , chaos, evil blah blah blah.
I just love how he acts.
Meanwhile, Bruce spots Vale and storms off angry that she followed him.
The Joker’s angry that after his big show stopper number no one cares about him, they just care about the bat. I love it. I love him as the Joker. He is so evil and fun. They don’t make villains like that now. They are all so serious, brooding, and stiff.
OMG, Bruce has an amazing library! It’s going on my next library list!
Alfred tries to get Bruce to call Vale as she lifts his spirits, but Bruce is all business. He needs to take this joker down!
Vale calls Knox and gets him to check out the alley Bruce laid the roses on. She know it has to mean something but what?
Meanwhile, the Joker starts checking out the photos from the guy he had follow the reporters and falls for Vicki Vale. He wants her as his new gal.
Mh my goodness, I love his one liners.
Back at the Chemical factory, Joker starts working on his master evil plan.
We switch to the news, Action News, who bring up a story of models dying. They became allergic to something? But what? Three more mysterious deaths at a beauty parlor? Then the female news anchor starts going crazy laughing. She faints and is dead too.
Meanwhile, Joker cuts in to the broadcast. He reveals that he has poisoned all the makeup. and he doesn’t just reveal his plan on TV. He does his own infomercial.
THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He does an infomercial about his evil plan of poisoning makeup.
Bruce looks into Jack Napier, the Joker. He has an interesting backstory, since 25 his rap sheet has started but he also has studied art, art history, and chemistry.
The next day we see the news anchors with no makeup. Its hilarious! They look tired and haggard a major difference from the day before.
The mayor still wants to celebrate the city’s bicentennial, even though there is a mad man and batman. Crazy mayor.
Ah, Bruce is wearing a cable knit sweater. I love men in sweaters.
So Vale goes to meet Bruce at the art museum, but it was actually a set up so the Joker could get to her. Bruce only found out when Vale called to let him know she would be running late.
She waits, and waits but no Bruce shows up. However, a package does saying urgent in child’s scrawl.
I know Jack probably wasn’t the best student but he really needs to work on an adult handwriting. It is a gas mask and she quickly puts it on as the museum is filled with noxious gas that knocks everyone out.
Joker shows up in a purple coat, purple chef hat, a posse, one dude with a boombox playing music as he robs the museum. I LOVE IT! This film. I can’t get over it!
This Joker is awesome and the kind of crazy, illogical, chaos that I love.
They don’t steal the art but destroy it.
He switches his dance music to “romance”. He looks at her portfolio and call it crap. Wow, you sure know how to romance a lady.
The only one he does like is of the dead body. He knows real art as he is:
“Joker: I am the world’s fully functional homicidal artist.”
Can you imagine if you had the Joker, Norman Bates as his mother, Jason, Michael Myers, and the other psychos all stuck together in a therapy group. Someone needs to make this into a film or short.
Joker’s former girlfriend comes wearing her mask, her face marred from the Joker as “a living piece of art”. Jack questions Vale about Batman.
I can’t get over his one liners!
“Vicki Vale: You’re crazy.
Joker: I thouht I was a pisces.”
He tries to get her to spill on batman and almost sprays acid on her face. Just when all hope seems lost, Batman comes crashing through and swings Vale to safety, crashing out the doors. SOO COOOL!
OMG, that Batmobile! Sigh. SOOOOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!
I got to see it person at the Ca State fair once. It’s Amazing!
The Joker’s people drive a purple car with a green top. I just love how committed he is to his theme. I miss stuff like that in modern superhero films.
Vale and Batman ditch the car, shield coming up it as he can’t drive through the street. Vale tosses her shoes and they run for it.
Batman and Vale face an alley with no way out. He asks her how much she weighs, not cool batman.
He sends her up to safety and stays behind to fight the guys. They shoot him, and one guy says “Who’s this guy?” The one guy says to check his wallet. Like Batman is really going to by carrying a wallet or a credit card or something.
Flashes to Batman and Robin I know I made that joke on purpose.
Anyways, his body armor protects him and he take these goons out. AWESOME fight scene!!!!! Vale photographs the whole thing, although where was she carrying her camera. Her bag was tiny, but whatever.
Batman calls his ride and Batman tells her she weighs more than 108 lbs, Haha. That makes me laugh.
They car picks them up and they drive out to the Nightmare Before Christmas wood Seriously with the Elfman soundtrack I expect to see the gate to Halloween land.
Batman drives off in silence, leaves flying as he races down the highway. SOO COOOOOL!!!!!!
I love how Vale is totally creeped out. Like adrenaline and fear kept her going, but now she’s like I don’t know this dude he could be taking me to his torture cave. She’s seriously freaked out.
Batman takes her to the batcave which is a dumb idea. You don’t take a reporter to your secret cave. In fact as a superhero you shouldn’t date a reporter! Especially one who is investigating both of you-superhero and secret identity. Batman’s Achilles heel.
He reveals what he knows as he wants her to print it. I love how he hides in the shadows. I love how Vicky is curious but uncertain.
The screen fades to black and bats and Vale wakes up passed out on her bed. Did he drug her?
Not cool bats.
She gives the newspaper what Batman gave her and its printed. Deodorants with baby powder, lipstick, and hairspray are all infected.
Joker is not so angry but hurt that Batman figured it out. I love it!
I love this movie. Sorry Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, Zach Synder, and others. This movie is better than yours.
Bruce goes to see Vale who gives him a cool reception. She was saved by Batman and you didn’t call after your night. She’s kinda over you.
This sucks for superheroes they are always competing with themselves for a girl.
Bruce tries to tell Vale about his “secret life” but it sounds like he is a creep or bipolar or has a weird love/torture room thing.
This scene is so funny. He is speaking gibberish and just sounds crazy . I love it. You know Vale is really nice, I would just been like you’re crazy get your butt outta here.
But before he can make any sense, someone rings the doorbell.
The Joker shows up and is angry that she has a “boyfriend”.
He tells Joker off and insulting him, egging him on, distracts him and pulls the fireplace poker out.
The Joker: Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Bruce Wayne: What?
The Joker: I always ask that of all my prey. I just… like the sound of it. [shoots him]
And the Joker shoots him. Bruce is dead!
Joker says goodbye and Vale cries, she dressed appropriately in black. How did she know a death would come?
But when she turns around Bruce is gone, her silver tray on the ground. He put it under his shirt and used it as armor.
SOOOO COOOL! And definitely a nod to the 39 Steps.
Vale opens the box and there is a Jack in the box hand with dead flowers. She goes to the newspaper office and Knox reveals Bruce’s sad backstory to Vale.
Meanwhile, Bruce is in he batcave. That saying that the Joker told him rally shook him up. He starts looking through the file on his parents. Hmm…how does this connect? (I know how I just like asking rhetorical questions)
Joker cuts into the broadcast again. “You guys have said some really mean things, some of which are true.” He has the best one liners.
He announces that a midnight he will dump $20 million on the city. He announces this in PBS Masterpiece Theater style in a fancy old fashioned armchair and sweater vest. This guy. He calls out Batman to meet him and basically challenges him to a duel.
We then see a flashback of Bruce and his parents coming home from the theater. Why they are walking and don’t have a car waiting when they are uber rich I don’t know. That makes the least bit of sense actually in all of this. Why walk down an alley. Why not have a car waiting?
They get approached by a thug who steals his mother’s pearls and another who shoots them dead. The shooter asks Bruce:
“The Joker: You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
It was him, it was Jack. That guy looks just like that guy.
Vale storms to the batcave. How she figured it out when she is like the worst reporter, I don’t know. And like I said THIS IS WHY YOU DO’T DATE REPORTERS INVESTIGATING YOU OR BRING THEM TO YOUR SECRET HIDEOUT!!!
This was always my least favorite part. I love you stop doing this blah, blah. Vale you hardly know him.
He dresses in epic fashion. Gets going in his batmoblie, and speeds down to the warehouse, shoot the door down SOOOO COOOOOOOOL!!!!
Batmobile drops a bomb, and all are taken out at the factory. Batmobile continues down the fire and smoke. The factoy is destroyed, but the Joker is in a helocopter.
The Joker holds his own parade with ’80s music blasting. He dances on his float, OMG I love how the Joker has style. I love this movie.
Like seriously, he is Ferris Buellering it up, while his minions toss money int the street. But it isn’t real money, it is bills with his face on them. Which means, he must have some kind of evil plan, but what?
Joker says he giving money but where is Batman, and boom here he comes, flying overhead. Everyone puts masks on releasing noxious fumes from one of his balloons.
Vicky gets good pics While everyone is going crazy. Luckily Knox has a mask in his trunk and a baseball bat as he goes after the minions. He puts Vicky in the car, but that can’t really help her as air gets in the car. She should be going crazy too. It’s not like a car is air proof.
She realizes this and drives off, hitting Knox and knocking him onto the hood, and into trash cans. Knox gets a cut on the side of his face. Ouch. Dang Vale.
Batman goes flying into the parade taking the balloons with him. Joker is seriously hurt that he stole his balloons. This cracks me up. I love this movie.
He so upset after Batman shoots his “number one guy” he needs a minute or two alone. OMG he cracks me up.
Batman goes flying down, missiles launched taking out the float. He launches it into Joker then misses because he has honor.
Joker pulls a gun out and shoots Batman from the sky with his giant gun.
His plan crashes and Vale goes charging after him. The plane is destroyed and Joker takes his giant shotgun, and Vale up into the church.
But Batman is alive, it takes more than bullets, crashed plane, fire, and a possible concussion to stop him (just kidding about concussion, he wears a helmet.)
Batman goes after them and knocks all the pews down in the church. Like this does nothing to help Vicky and to be honest it is kinda a jerky thing to do as the ushers are going to have to pick them all up next church service.
The joker forces Vicky up the staircase, like out of Vertigo, Batman follows, the police behind him.
Joker has her in the belltower, and shoots acid at the bell causing it to crash down and destroy the stairs. The police won’t save her, but Batman isn’t going to let a thing like no stairs stop him.
The police shine their searchlights at the top of the old church. Now it is time for the final showdown between Joker and Batman.
One minion really gets the punches in there and throws him over, but he’s batman, he uses his utility belt to get up and knock that guy over.
Joker continues dancing while batman stalks by. Vale spots him and distracts the Joker by kissing him.
You’re so powrful and purple, I love purple. She ducks down and is she…? But Batman comes storming in.
Joker says you made me, but Batman counters with you made me.
He pits glasses on and says you wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses. He manages to push both Vale and batman over the edge. They are hanging on the side of the building.
Is this he end?
Joker steps on the church’s old bricks trying to get it come crashing down on the two. His helicopter comes and it looks like it is the end.
Batman has one more thing, he shoots a batarang that gets the joker caught on a gargoyle. They can’t pull him up and when they pull the gargoyle out, ouch as it is pulling down on is leg.
Joker can’t hold the weight, slips, and goes crashing down. So does the church roof, but Batman and Vale are saved.
The police gather around Joker’s body and that’s his end of the reign of terror.
At the next press conference, thy reveal Batman gave them the bat signal to call him if they were ever in need. Vale walks off and looks up to the sky, then sees her man’s butler in his fancy car. And that is the amazing Batman (1989)
And just cause:
To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)
For more Batman, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series (1992)
For more Tim Burton films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
For more film-noir, go to This Is Fate We’re Talking About, and If Fate Works At All, It Works Because People Think That THIS TIME, It Isn’t Going to Happen!: Dead Again (1991)
For more Nostalgia Critic, go to Ever Heard of the Tommyknockers?: The Tommyknockers (1993)