“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

With Ben Affleck driving the Batmobile and a new version of The Joker out to cause mayhem; now is the perfect time to revisit the classic versions of the iconic characters. Before Zack Snyder brought Hollywood gloss to the DC universe it was gothic and macabre under the creative hand of Tim Burton.

From the first few seconds of this late eighties superhero movie, Danny Elfman’s stellar soundtrack embraces the viewer. The incredible orchestral score welcomes you back, or if you are a first time viewer, prepares you for another world that somehow feels like home.

Batman 1989As groundbreaking as Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is, one thing they do not provide you is a version of Gotham that is dramatic and theatrical in itself. Gotham city is like a citadel. Every building, be it an office or a bank, looks like a castle.

If you haven’t guessed already, I adore this movie. It is zany and over-the-top but tremendously well written and genuinely engrossing. For all of it’s silliness, it does not lack high drama.

Similar to the new Killing Joke animated movie and it’s comic book source material, Burton’s Batman provides a glimpse at the origins of The Joker. The contrast being that Tim Burton’s Joker was evil before the accident.

Jack Nicholson plays the vindictive, cold and scheming Jack Napir. Before long, he of course evolves into something much darker. You might say, a clown prince of darkness. As always, Jack Nicholson puts on an absolutely magnetic performance.

Jack Nicholson's the jokerMichael Keaton is also fantastic in the role of Bruce Wayne. Keaton suits the role in an uncanny way. It is a testament to his acting ability that means he can transform like this. However, his side of the story would be nothing without having Michael Gough’s Alfred and Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale to play off.

As for the action, the special effects are very ahead of their time and some of the choreography is superb. Filmmakers should take note when watching the final battle in the clock tower.

Batman and The JokerBatman is a really fun and cosy watch. It is always comforting to jump back into Gotham. This version feels like home. This has been the first instalment in a series of retrospective reviews, in which I revisit the Batman movies of the eighties and nineties.

Next up: Batman Returns featuring Danny DeVito and Christopher Walken. If you enjoyed this article please share it on Facebook. Let me know in the comments section what you think about this idea of a revisited series.  

 

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