Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na BURTON!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

I'm back! After my unsuccessful attempt at NaNoWriMo, I'm back to my old ways of watching and reviewing movies. This week, I'm reviewing Tim Burton's 'Batman'!

 Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story of the 1989 adaptation of Batman centers around the Joker. Weird, right? Okay, 'centers around' may be a bit of a stretch. Let me put it this way. In this story we don't find out much about Batman himself, or even Bruce Wayne. Not until later in the movie, anyway. Rather, we see the evolution of Jack Napier, a higher-up in a gang, into the Joker, when he falls into a vat of toxic waste during a confrontation with Batman. This was a really interesting way to format the story, focusing more on the creation of the villain, and leaving the back story of the main hero a mystery until near the end.  This is very different from Christopher Nolan's movie, 'The Dark Knight', where we know everything about Batman's back story, and know nothing about the Joker.

The story follows a photographer named Vicki Vale, as she and a reporter, named Alexander Knox, try to prove that Batman is real. Meanwhile, a mob boss, named Grissom sets up his second in command, a man by the name of Jack Napier, who has been seeing his boss's mistress. Grissom tells Jack to go to a chemical plant, to remove some evidence which connects the plant to the mob. Grissom tips off the police, and they show up to take on Jack's men. A large figure, dressed in a black costume swoops in; Batman has come to save the day! Jack tries to escape but he ends up falling into a vat of toxic waste, and gets flushed out into a river. Napier's face is dyed white, his lips are dyed cherry red, and his hair is dyed green. He goes insane, and kills Grissom.

Okay, I just tried to type out a short synopsis of the story, and it took up two more paragraphs, so, I'll try again. Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale start dating. Jack Napier takes the name 'The Joker'. The Joker "falls in love" with Vicki, and sets up a trap, which Batman saves her from. Vicki Vale releases a list of beauty products that the Joker had infected with his 'Joker Venom', which makes people die laughing. Bruce tries to tell Vicki that he's Batman, but is stopped by the Joker. Bruce realizes that Jack Napier was the one who killed his parents. Bruce tells Vicki that he's Batman.  The Joker entices the public out of their homes in order to kill them off with Joker Venom in gas form, by offering $20 million in cash. Batman stops him. The Joker takes Vicki Vale up to the top of a clock tower, and has a confrontation with Batman, which ends when the Joker falls to his death from his escape helicopter. 

The cast is pretty good. Michael Keaton's portrayal of the caped crusader is classic, and is very well done. I really enjoy the mysterious vibe he lets off. Jack Nicholson plays the Joker, the best known Batman villain. His performance is of a very cheesy Joker. I really enjoy it, but at times he seems more like a cheesy cartoon-ish version of the Joker, like Cesar Romero's Joker. I may be a bit colored, considering that my first Joker was Heath Ledger. who played the Joker in a very dark and gritty way, leaving an impact on many, including me. The supporting cast is fine, but they're not really anything to hoot at. Vicki Vale is played by Kim Bassinger, and Alexander Knox is played by Robert Wuhl. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent are played by Pat Hingle and Billy Dee Williams respectively. 

The action is fun and cheesy, and that's about it. It reminds me of the 1960s Batman action scenes, in the complexity of the action. It's fairly simple. Punch, kick, throw, choke, etc. Really nothing special about it.

TIm Burton's 'Batman' has an interesting take on Batman and the Joker. It's much grittier than the Adam West Batman, but still has the cheesy comic book-y feel to it. And I think that that's fine. I enjoy the Christopher Nolan film more, mainly because of Heath Ledger's amazing performance as the Joker. He provides what I consider a much more "realistic" Joker, with a more psychotic and frightening feeling. Nicholson's Joker felt funny. He wasn't intimidating, but he was fun. And that's mainly my opinion. It's a damn fun movie to watch and enjoy, with plenty of cool visuals and interesting portrayals of classic characters. 

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

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