Adapted Out: The Joker is the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents, rather than Joe Chill, the man who shot them in the original comic books. Though some think Jack's partner in the flashback was Chill (it's probably Bob, given that the guy looks and sounds like him).
Aluminum Christmas Trees: There really have been cases of people being killed by laughter. Perhaps the most well-documented cases are from Papua New Guinea, where until the 1970s a rare disease known as kuru was relatively common. Spread by the consumption of raw brains (certain tribes were cannibalistic), the disease was eradicated by Western missionaries and doctors. The word kuru translated to "laughing sickness", presumably because the victims died laughing. Kuru is now known as a spongiform encephalopathy, a close relative of the Creutzfeld-Jakob disease and the mad cow disease.
Anachronism Stew: Reporters use very old fashioned cameras and a lot of the film's elements seem to be from The Forties, and yet Batman himself has very modern technology; far better than anything that existed when the movie was made!
Batman is not a stranger to this trope, but unlike most other incarnations, Burton's Batman has no problem with killing a mook.
The Joker also comes across as this at first, since his first three victims (four if you count his shooting Lieutenant Eckhardt as Jack Napier) are all unrepentant mobsters or Mob-sympathizers whom nobody is going to miss. If the Joker hadn't poisoned all those innocent people throughout the rest of the film, Gotham's citizens would have had a very good reason to trust him at the anniversary festival.
Armed Legs: Towards the climax Batman faces one of the Joker's mooks, who tries to drop-kick him while blades extend from his boots. Batman instead just punches him in the nuts and moves on.
Art Attacker: The Joker describes himself as this: "I make art until someone dies. I am the world's first fully functioning homicidal artist. "
Attack of the Town Festival: The Gotham 200th Anniversary Festival is in trouble because people are scared of high crime in the city, and the conflict between the Joker and the gangsters and the Joker's poisoning of the population make it worse. Despite all this, the mayor insists that the Festival must occur so businesses will come back to the city.
Eventually, the mayor does give in when it becomes obvious that it's simply too dangerous to hold a festival... which is The Joker's cue to pick up the slack. And he's giving out free money! Why, how could that hurt anyone?
A-Team Firing: When Batman in the Batplane fires More Dakka at the Joker. It strafes the ground up to him and riddles the parade float behind him. It could be Improbable Missing Skills since Bats avoids killing, but the bullets hit spots on the float that would be physically impossible reach without going through the Joker's body first.
Bring It: Batman to Bob, the Joker's chief henchman, and the Joker to Batman while he was about to attack in the Bat Jet.
Broken Heel: Subverted then inverted quite neatly, when the Joker takes Vicki hostage and then takes off her high heels to subvert this as they both ascend to the eventual Climbing Climax at the top of the very, very tall Gotham Cathedral. The inversion is that because her heels were slowing her down until the Joker got rid of them, it allowed the hero (rather than the villain, as usual for this trope) to gain ground. The other reason she's constantly taking off her heels is that Basinger is only 1.5" shorter than Keaton. With the heels on, Vicki is taller than Batman.
Batman:You killed my parents. Joker: What? [chuckles] What are you talking about? Batman:I made you. But you made me first. Joker: I was a kid when I killed your parents. When I said "I made you", you gotta say "you made me"! How childish can you get?
Camera Sniper: When Vicki spots Bruce visiting the spot where his parents died, the camera goes into this style.
Captain Obvious: Vicki Vale. "Bats", she points out, upon seeing the animals in the Batcave, "His parents were murdered in that alley. That's why he went there" while checking Bruce Wayne's newspaper files motivated by having seen him going to the alley, and then when she sees Joker's Smylex gas flowing out of a balloon, she comments "Smylex gas". In the first and third example, the referred items are in plain sight not only to her but to the audience as well.
Celebrity Paradox: Just barely averted in the museum scene, when the Joker and his men are playing Prince's "Partyman" on their boombox. As anyone who saw the music video for that song could tell you, there's a break in the lyrics in which a Kim Basinger lookalike lip-syncs the Vicki Vale line "Oh, Ilovepurple!" The tape player is switched to Percy Faith's "A Summer Place" as the Joker sits down across from Vicki; if it had been left on the Prince song just a few seconds longer, Vicki would have heard herself delivering a line from the movie that (in-universe) she has yet to speak!
Charity Ball: The Casino Night variant to obtain money to bail out the Gotham City Festival.
Chekhov's Gun: The Joker's helicopter, which first appears after Batman uses the Batmobile to blow up Axis Chemicals and again later as the Joker's means of escape from the top of a building.
Climbing Climax: The Joker is savvy enough to call ahead for a helicopter to pick him (and Vicki) up, but his escape fails big time. (The funny thing is that he pretty clearly made it up the cathedral in about five minutes - if he hadn't adjusted the time for when the helicopter should show up, he'd have made a clean getaway.)
When addressing the public about Boss Grissom's death: "Yes, he was a thief. And a terrorist. On the other hand, he had a tremendous singing voice." That, and his boast about being a homicidal artist ("I make art until somebody dies.") His conversation with a charcoaled Rotelli is definite proof of Cloud CuckooInsanity:
Joker: Your pals, uh, they're not bad people. Maybe we, uh, outta give them a couple of days to think it over. (shakes head) No? (gasps in shock at the corpse)Grease 'em now? Well... okay. You are a vicious bastard Rotelli. (tightens Rotelli's tie) I'm glad you're dead! (laughs maniacally at own joke) "I'm glad you're dead!" Hee hee hee!
Then there's this exchange, when Vicki asks Joker what he wants. The scariest aspect is that, no, he isn't joking. He even makes reference to it when defacing the famous portrait of George Washington.
Joker: My face on the one dollar bill.
Vicki: You must be joking.
Joker:(absolutely serious) Do I look like I'm joking?
Knox: You know why they're so odd? Because they can afford to be.
Vicki accuses Batman as one.
Vicki: A lot of people think you're as dangerous as the Joker. Batman:He's psychotic. Vicki: Some people say the same thing about you. Batman: What people? Vicki: Well, I mean let's face it, you're not exactly... normal. Are you? Batman:(confronts her) It's not exactly a normal world is it?
Vicki Vale resembles her comic counterpart in name and occupation only, as her characterization is much closer to another of Bruce Wayne's love interests from the comics named Silver St. Cloud, a blonde woman who learns about Bruce's secret identity as Batman. An early draft of the script featured Silver St. Cloud, but the character was renamed since the producers thought the name sounded too cheesy.
The film forgoes Joe Chill and makes a young Jack Napier into the murderer of Bruce Wayne's parents.
The Joker showers $20 million in cash on the people at the parade as poisoned gas-filled balloons loom over their heads - thus trying to lure them into Death by Materialism. While not shown in the film, the comic and novelization show the cash was actually Schmuck Bait. It was not only counterfeit, it had the Joker's face on the bill. It ties in with the foreshadowing when the Joker says he wants his face on the one dollar bill and Jack Napier's aptitude in art (as well as chemistry).
To drive the point home, the crowd is chanting "Money! Money! Money!" - in time with Prince's music, of course.
The Joker also tries to tempt Vicki into becoming his girlfriend on threeoccasions - first appealing to her pride ("We're not like regular people. We're artists."), then using the Wounded Gazelle Gambit in reciting a tragic poem, and finally outright trying to seduce her with a "romantic" waltz. He outright fails on the first two tries, and then seems to have succeeded on the third try when Vicki starts returning his kisses, but it's just a Honey Trap.
Counterfeit Cash: Though it doesn't appear in the film itself, the comic book and novel adaptations of this film have the people of Gotham City find out that the "free cash" that the Joker was giving away at the city's 200th birthday celebration parade he was throwing was all counterfeit bills with the Joker's face on them.
Crapsack World: What Bruce thinks the world is, and its that world that killed his parents and the reason he's Batman.
Bruce: I tried to avoid all this but I can't. This is how it is. It's not a perfect world. Vicki: It doesn't have to be a perfect world.
Create Your Own Villain: Despite changing the Joker into being the mugger who killed the Waynes, a lot of people really enjoyed the exchange Batman and the Joker had at the end where they wonder who really created who.
Creator Cameo: Bob Kane's signature can be seen on the opinion cartoon handed to Knox; Kane himself was originally supposed to play the cartoonist but had to drop out at the last minute. A more literal example is Burton playing one of the Joker's goons during the museum scene (or so rumor has it).
Deadline News: Some news anchors are discussing the Joker's act of chemical terrorism on Gotham, when suddenly a female anchor starts laughing uncontrollably, and then falls over dead with the victims' characteristic grin on her face.
Deadly Gas: This was the Joker's favorite method of killing people. He did it twice, once in the museum where Bruce was supposed to meet Vicki, and once in the big parade scene with big parade-float balloons full of the Deadly Gas. Batman took the balloons away in the Batwing and sent them well away from the city in order to stop him.
Death by Disfigurement: The Joker burns his girlfriend Alicia's face with acid to make her a "work of art". She later commits suicide by throwing herself out a window... or so he says. Knowing the Joker, anything's possible.
Decoy Protagonist: If you're seeing this movie for the first time and are familiar with its comic-book origins, you might be forgiven for thinking that Jimmy (the boy with the map whose parents are mugged in the opening sequence) is the child Bruce Wayne when you first see him. Only when his father calls him by name (telling him to put away the map) is the truth revealed - and then it becomes clear that the scene is not a flashback when Batman swoops down to avenge the mugging.
Happens to one of the Joker's goons during the battle in the top floor of Gotham Cathedral. Batman bangs his head against a giant bell and sends him hurtling to his death down a shaft.
The Joker. We even see exactly how far down he has to fall, as well as a close-up of his crushed corpse.
Disproportionate Retribution: In the opening, the criminal who assaults the father and turns a gun on the mother and child gets a little fright, while the other bum who merely tagged along and chastised the former for turning the gun on the kid gets kicked through a door and has to be taken away on a stretcher.
The Joker of all people calls Grissom out for this, as the entire reason that the Axis Chemical espionage job was botched, was because Carl deliberately set Jack up to be killed over Alicia.
Does Not Like Shoes: Justified, as Vicki is wearing high heels and the situation she was in made ditching them prudent. She also winds up shoeless at the film's climax, and also removes her shoes while on her date with Bruce. The Real Life reason for this was that Kim Basinger is only a little shorter than Michael Keaton. Combined with the fact that her character continually wears high heels throughout the film, Batman would end up looking comically short when standing next to her, hence it was necessary to have her lose the heels in certain scenes. (However, see Theiss Titillation Theory for another take on this.)
The Dog Bites Back: The very first thing Jack Napier does after becoming The Joker was kill Grissom as revenge for setting him up to be killed due to his sleeping with Grissom's girlfriend.
The Dragon: Bob, the Joker's right-hand man, who seldom speaks but is actually quite good at his job. You could say that he's the perfect henchman, which makes the Joker eventually shooting him just plain wrong, even for supervillainy.
Pre-Joker Jack, himself, was this to Carl Grissom.
Dull Surprise: Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, especially when she meets Bruce in the Batcave, and later when the Batplane gets shot down. Roger Ebert chided the former sequence, asking why Vicki's reaction was so mundane. Could be justified if you subscribe to the theory that Vicki had already figured out Bruce Wayne's secret while reading about his parents' murders with Allie at the office, and had obviously given herself time to come to terms with the truth before heading for Wayne Manor. (Indeed, sharp-eyed viewers will notice that Vicki is wearing a different outfit in the Batcave than at the office, proving that she at least took time out to change her clothes.)
Dutch Angle: A few instances. This is Batman, after all.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Anton Furst-designed Gotham City was a city full of these. Carl Grissom's penthouse suite definitely qualifies, though.
Exact Words: The Joker during the climax says to Vicki Vale, while she and Batman are hanging for dear life, "Here: let me lend you a hand.". He really meant lending her a hand. Unfortunately, he meant it literally (as in, supplying her with a fake hand that snaps off upon contact), and only Batman's intervention prevents her from falling to her death.
Expy: The overweight, gruff, corrupt Lt. Eckhardt appears to be based on either Detective Flass or Pre-Crisis Harvey Bullock.
Carl Grissom takes over the role of Carmine Falcone, the crime boss of Gotham before the "freaks" take over.
Failing a Taxi: The tourist family in the opening scene has things especially bad. They had succeeded in hailing a cab, but as the father was giving directions to the hotel they were planning on staying at, someone else butted in and boarded the cab before he could finish, even though they were there first. Gotham, huh?
Fainting: The Joker causes both Alicia Hunt and Vicki Vale to do the Emotional version.
Fake-Out Opening: The movie begins with a guy mugging a couple and their young son and, the parents live? Then Batman shows up and beats up the mugger.
Famous Last Words: When Joker is about to make his escape via the chopper, he says "Sometimes I just kill myself!" A few seconds later, his leg is attached to a Gargoyle, that promptly breaks off, and then he falls to his doom.
Fanfare: A dark one for the opening, and a triumphant one at the end.
Fat Bastard: Lt. Eckhardt. Napier hands him the bribe money in a sandwich!
Flash Mob Coverup: Joker appears among some mimes in order to perform a murder with a deadly quill pen, and he arranges a parade with balloons full of poisonous Smilex gas.
Flat Earth Atheist: It takes a great many characters quite a while to acknowledge that Batman might exist, and they're not willing to say so publicly. Alexander Knox (the only halfway-credible person who believes in Batman from the beginning) points out early on that, for the past month, there has been at least one sighting of Batman every week. But Harvey Dent dismisses the stories of Batman sightings as tales of "ghosts and goblins," and Eckhardt the police lieutenant insists that the slum dwellers who claim to have seen a bat-creature are "drinkin' Drano." Vicki Vale does pretend to believe, but this is only to convince Knox to join her in an official investigation of the sightings, which Vale hopes will advance her career and maybe even win her a Pulitzer Prize. Commissioner Gordon is the second major character to catch a glimpse of Batman...but he'd rather just sweep the truth under the rug, partly because it would embarrass Gotham City's police and partly because, since Batman was directly responsible for Jack Napier's near-death when the police needed Napier alive as a mob informant, Gordon frankly would rather believe that Batman does not exist.
Averted with Jack Napier. Bruce Wayne reviews Napier's personal history and learns that he was a complete psycho even before he made it to junior high. At best, Bruce muses that he might have a Darwinian excuse ("He had a head full of bad wiring, I guess....").
The film is one of the earliest examples of a work that tries to subvert the idea that the Joker is criminally insane and isn't responsible for his actions, an idea that only really emerged in the 70's itself. Like Batman: The Animated Series, it does so by making him a violent criminal even before he had his toxic bath, though in this one he is killed before we find out if he would have been thrown in an insane asylum rather than prison (the animated one gets the asylum, but Word of God is that it's only because he's managed to convince people that he's crazy, rather than actually being as crazy as he pretends).
Bruce Wayne: (reading profile) "Jack Napier, assault with a deadly weapon, age fifteen. Results of psychological profile: Violent mood swings, highly intelligent, emotionally unstable. Aptitudes include science, chemistry, and art."
Finally, there's the climactic (pun sort of intended) scene involving Vicki slutting it up for the Joker on the cathedral roof to distract him from Batman sneaking up behind him. Right after "I looove purple", she sinks to her knees directly facing the Joker...and the only possible explanation is that she's trying to make him think she's about to pull down his pants and blow him. The look of what can only be called pre-coital ecstasy on the Joker's face all but confirms this.
Good Is Not Nice: Batman, natch. He kills henchmen left and right, sends Vicki mixed signals about what's going to become of their relationship , and overall, seems to be more obsessed with enforcing the law and getting vengeance on The Joker than actually doing good.
With Vicki, though, it's not so much him being a dick, it's that he himself is unsure exactly where their relationship might go, or if it has a future at all, and he does, in the end, try to tell her the truth about him after decided they just might have a chance.
Go Out with a Smile: The Joker's Smilex poison is all about this, and as the trope entry reminds us, he goes out this way himself. (Though considering his smile is a scar, he didn't have any real choice in the matter.)
Groin Attack: When Batman makes his way into the cathedral, the first of the Joker's goons tries a flying jump kick attack with spikes attached to his boots, but Batman subdues the goon by shooting something that vaguely resembles a spatula out of his gauntlet which strikes the goon right in his groin, causing him to let out an audible "Uh!" just before he falls and grimaces. Later when the giant mook who resembles Ray Charles is giving Batman a humiliating beating, his last two moves appear to be punching Batman in the groin and then shoving his knee into his groin. Right before Batman kills him. Shortly after that when Batman is beating up the Joker the Dark Knight apparently goes for a nut shot as he seemingly hits the Joker right in the groin (closely resembling a panel from Alan Moore's The Killing Joke wherein Batman punched Joker in the groin during the climactic fist fight).
Heroic BSOD: During Joker's "pen is mightier" scene, Bruce is so shocked to see Jack Napier is still alive he even gets winged by a bullet in the suit and does not even notice it. (To make matters worse, during the massacre he is standing directly behind one of the assassins and does nothing to stop him.)
High-Altitude Interrogation: Batman does this to a Bit Part Bad Guy at the beginning of the film. Interestingly for a trope that's generally used as a death threat, just before Batman holds the guy over the edge of the building, he tells the mook, "I'm not going to kill you."
Batman: 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.
Horrifying Hero: This film is the first (and only) one to truly invoke this trope: A flawless combination of Bob Ringwood's theatrical costume design, Michael Keaton's performance and the visceral musical score of Danny Elfman, Bruce Wayne becomes a mythical, demonic figure that struck such raw terror into the heart of evil that the average petty thug could only incoherently scream to the police: "I'm telling ya man: A Giant Bat!"
Humanoid Abomination / Monstrous Humanoid: Jack Napier is something like this in Bruce Wayne's imagination, if his Satanic tone of voice during Wayne's reminiscence about his parents' murders is anything to go by. Ironically, averted when he becomes the Joker, since he's not excessivelydisfigured and just looks like a guy in clown makeup (and the people of Gotham City believe him to be exactly that).
Impossibly Cool Weapon: In the fight at the cathedral, Batman apparently has a gadget that was designed for the sole-purpose of crushing an opponents nuts. And he does that to one of the Joker's mooks.
The previously mentioned five foot revolver probably counts too, not least of which for the barrel's apparent collapsibility.
Instant Armor: A push of a button on the Batmobile covers it in armor.
Losing your balloons is a sad thing. We'll give you that, Joker, but shooting Bob afterwards was still a dick move. It was also an Ironic Echo. Joker gave Bob a warning/death sentence earlier in the film when he imitated his own treacherous boss, calling Bob his "Number one guy". Now that's the Joker's kind of punchline.
It could be argued that Joker wasn't without regret over it, as he somberly told his remaining mooks that he needed some time alone, walking sadly away from the loud gunshots and yelling to get the crowd away.
Back in the beginning of the movie, Nic, one of the two Bit Part Bad Guys that get their asses kicked by Batman, turns his gun on little Jimmy to intimidate the others into silence, a move that disturbs his partner.
Kitschy Local Commercial: The Joker makes one of these to announce "Joker Brand Cosmetics, with Smilex", complete with him posing with carboard cutout models, shopping in a fake grocery store, and doing a side-by-side comparison with a "Brand-X".
Kung-Fu Proof Mook: One of the Joker's mooks actually gives as good as he gets from Batman. Then Batman kills him.
Lack of Empathy: When Batman revealed to The Joker that he murdered his parents, thus meaning that The Joker made him first, The Joker mocks Batman for the way he explained it, culminating in "How childish can you get!?"
Left the Background Music On: In several scenes, what appeared to be background music turns out to be emanating from a boombox that the Joker has a mook follow him around with.
Let's Get Dangerous: Two examples, one right after the other, during the scene in Vicki's apartment. The first is when Bruce, challenging the Joker, picks up a poker and bellows "COME ON! LET'S GET NUTS!" Then, after a long stretch of acting like a deluded fool following his transformation, the Joker retaliates by unexpectedly switching back to the persona of Jack Napier for an in-universe Call Back, in a refreshingly chilling moment that contrasts how he (as the Joker) has been acting for much of the film. Then blam.
The Joker: Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance will the devil in the pale moonlight? Bruce: [beat] What? The Joker: I always ask that of all my prey. [beat] I just like the sound of it. [shoots him as Vicki screams]
When the Smilex gas is released in the streets of Gotham City, Alexander Knox immediately grabs a mask and baseball bat from the trunk of his car and goes after the Joker's goons, managing to scatter away one of the balloons.
Little "No": Batman said it after Vicki Vale asked that all products are poisoned.
Lured Into a Trap: Boss Grissom sends Jack Napier to retrieve the incriminating information from Axis Chemical so Lieutenant Eckhardt and his team of corrupt cops can kill him.
Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Happens to Vicki while being forced to climb the the bell tower of Gotham Cathedral by her captor the Joker. She falls and loses one of her high heels. The Joker then throws away the offending shoe, seemingly to taunt the pursuing Batman and/or make Vicki move faster. Her other shoe is later seen discarded further up the stairs.
Mad Artist: The Joker describes himself as "the worlds first, fully functioning homicidal artist", he disfigured his girlfriend Alicia Hunt and failed in his attempt to disfigure Vicki Vale.
Mad Scientist: The Joker has shades of this as it is implied that he created the binary compound (CIA files on a nerve agent classified DDID) for the Smilex poison.
Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The Ur Example, if not, the Trope Maker. This movie was perhaps the first to turn superhero costumes black. Batman started off with a black and grey costume but quickly switched to blue and grey in the 40's and remained that way until this movie. Eventually, Batman began wearing an all-black costume to match the films.
Mythology Gag: In the first film, Vicki Vale had covered a conflict in Corto Maltese, the name of the disputed territory in The Dark Knight Returns. The Joker card in Jack Napier's "lucky deck" is patterned after the card the villain left to mark his crimes in his first comic book appearance.
The Joker's real surname, "Napier," is a reference to the late Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the 1960s Batman series.
Neutral Female: Played with Vicki Vale. She does manage to save Batman from getting unmasked in the alley, and successfully distracts Joker while Batman is sneaking up on him. In all other cases, though, she's as useless as a snorkel in the Sahara.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Batman dishes a pretty brutal one to the Joker in the final climax, complete with Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... from the latter. However, Joker manages to escape further wrath by using his own Playing Possum technique against him (which Batman had used only two minutes ago to evade a similarly nasty beatdown from one of his goons).
Vicki: You lied to me about leaving town! Bruce: Let me tell you why! Vicki: LET ME TELL YOU!!
Noodle Incident: During Bruce and Vicki's first date, Alfred entertains them with a tale about when he gave Bruce a horseback riding lesson and ends up injuring his ankle and getting covered in mud.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Averted. When Batman takes on half-a-dozen of the Joker's goons in the alley, a sequence was filmed where Bob is actually able to hold his own in a knife-fight one-on-one with the Bat. For whatever reason, this was cut to Bob just abandoning the others and running.
Those two muggers in the opening sequence, when they realize that Batman is, to say the least, Not Quite Dead.
Jack Napier, when he finds himself in Batman's clutches at the factory.
Jack Napier: "Jesus!"
Vinnie Ricorso on the steps of the courthouse. ("Hello, Vinnie. It's your Uncle Bingo. Time to pay the check!")
Bob, when Batman calls him out with a "come here" finger-wiggle beckoning.
Gordon gets two. The first is when he realises there's going to be a shootout at Axis.
Roberts Anonymous tip: Napier's cleaning out Axis chemicals.
Gordan Why wasn't I told about this? Who's in charge?
Roberts Eckhardt, Sir.
Gordan Oh, my God...
In the second one it becomes clear the shit's really hit the fan, as Gordan's seeing Batman in the flesh for the first time, on the scene of an already dangerous situation, and had until now, believed him to be a rumor.
Gordan Oh... My... God!
Joker himself though does not really express his fear, this little dialogue, sums it all up when he finds out who Batman is.
Batman: You killed my parents.
Joker: *confused* Heh? What are you talking about?
Batman: I made you, but you made me first.
Joker: *scared* Come on Bat-brain, I was a kid when I killed your parents. When I say I made you, you gotta say you made me! How childish can you get? [puts on glasses] You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would ya? Huh?
Ominous Latin Chanting: Some of this can be heard a little more than midway through the film, as the Batmobile is speeding away from the city and toward the Batcave, as part of Danny Elfman's "Descent Into Mystery" suite. It is very hard to make out what is being chanted, but one of the first words heard sounds a bit like sanctus - a common enough term heard in Catholic Church music, as it means "holy." (A Mythology Gag, perhaps?)
The Joker: Now you fellows have said some pretty mean things, some of which were true, under that fiend Boss Grissom. He was a thief and a terrorist. But on the other hand, he had a tremendous singing voice. He's dead now, and he's left me in charge.
Alicia (the Joker's moll) is played by Jerry Hall, whose natural accent is an unlikely mixture of Texas (where she was born) and British. She skews toward "educated Texan" as Alicia until her very last scene, when she shifts into British for no particular reason ("Jack, you said you'd let me watch you improve the paintings"). Could be justified in-story by the fact that Alicia (as the script makes clear) is heavily into drugs by this point, and British accents can sometimes sound stereotypically narcoleptic to American ears.
Parody Commercial: After the Deadline News incident listed above, the Joker hijacks the airwaves with this to reveal himself as responsible for the Smilex deaths, and to cheerily inform Gotham that more people are doomed because they're already unknowingly using the tainted products. ("And hair color so natural only your undertaker knows for sure!") He even spoofs the Brand X trope to prove his point.
Plummet Perspective: Used to horrifying effect, with the Joker's point of view shot of how far he has to fall to his bone-shattering death on the pavement of Gotham in the first film. His blood-chilling scream made it all the more nightmarish. Almost makes you feel sorry for the bastard. And it was also used when the Joker and Vicki are climbing up the bell-towers interior: Joker throws one of Vicki's high heels over the side, and we get a shot showing it plummeting down the tower.
Pocket Protector: The metal tray Bruce Wayne puts under his coat before confronting the Joker at Vicki Vale's apartment, which ends up saving him when the Joker shoots him.
Police Are Useless: Despite Joker being a known murderer and psychopath, and publicly broadcasting the time and place of his whereabouts for the evening, the police force take absolutely no measures to respond to this until after he has already killed dozens of Gothamites and proceeded with his escape plan. Sure certain Gotham police are corrupt, but surely that can't mean the entire force is so incompetent? This was explained in the shooting script and the novelization, both of which make clear that Joker had laced the police department's coffee with a paralytic (but non-lethal) toxin that physically incapacitated most of Gotham's finest.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Having The Joker (rather than Joe Chill) kill Batman's parents arguably makes this the most personal the grudge between the two has ever been. Also, Batman uses much more violent methods, and doesn't hew to the comic version's Thou Shalt Not Kill stance - but come Batman Forever, and he gives Dick Grayson a powerful yet understated speech about why using lethal force on villains is morally wrong, speaking from experience.
Railing Kill: Jack Napier fires at Batman, who is intervening in the botched Axis Chemicals job. Batman deflects the bullet with his armored gloves; Napier gets hit by the deflected bullet (which goes through his face and ostensibly results in the nerve damage to his mouth that causes his permanent "smile"), tumbles over the railing in the typical way (taking a lot of steps to do so), and falls into a vat of acid (which permanently bleaches his skin). One quick trip to a back-alley plastic surgeon later, and Jack's dead...but The Joker lives.
Real Time: The climax. The Joker tells his crew to meet him with their helicopter on the top of the cathedral in ten minutes. They arrive during the fight in the bell tower, which is almost exactly ten minutes later.
Recycled Set: The alien nest and colony from Aliens was reused as the set for the Axis Chemicals facility.
Recycled Soundtrack: The music cue that plays when Bruce Wayne sets the roses down at the street his parents were shot had previously been used in Tim Burton/Danny Elfman's previous collaboration Beetlejuice when The Maitlands realize they're dead.
Red Herring: At the beginning, we see a couple of crooks mugging a couple and their child. We're led to think this is the young Bruce Wayne and his parents Thomas and Martha, and we're about to see the murder of his parents, but suddenly, Batman swoops in and beats up the crooks.
The Reveal Prompts Romance: There was an exchange like this between Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale towards the end, when Vale is shown into the Batcave.
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: While touring Bruce Wayne's mansion with Vicki during a charity party, Alexander Knox voices his opinion that Wayne is nothing but a vain, pompous fool. He does not know that at that very moment, Bruce is preparing to transform into Batman in order to go stop the mob from sanitizing its front company paper trail.
Running Gag: A minor one: the news reporters look increasingly unkempt as the plot with the poisoned hygiene products unravels.
Scary Black Man: The last of the goons Batman has to fight before getting to Joker himself. He actually manages to beat the living piss out of Bats at first, although to be fair our hero had already been seriously injured.
It went a step further when a visiting Bob Kane remarked that Furst had built Gotham City.
Schizo Tech: Photographers rely on flash-bulb cameras, while Batman has a jet plane and a rocket car. Though this might explain why the Bat-Plane couldn't hit an unmoving target with no obstacles in between from about 500 meters away in ideal conditions with automatic fire.
Screaming Warrior: Joker has 2-4 guys like this. One of them fights Batman in an alley with dual swords, and the other three fight in succession in the belfry scene at the end. The last guy, a Scary Black Man, provides the only real threat.
Shoot The Television: Done twice by the Joker. The first is when he takes a boxing glove gun to the TV for mention of Batman in connection to an assassination that Joker pulled off on one of Grissom's underbosses, demanding to know, "What kind of a world we live in where a man dressed up as a bat gets all of my press?!" The second time, Joker shoots the television screen with a real gun after learning on the news that his poisoning scheme involving beauty products has been foiled by the Batman.
The Corto Maltese War, mentioned here as being Vicki's last big photography project, is the name of the conflict Superman puts an end to in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (which was, in tun, a shout out to the Corto Maltese comic book).
Something Only They Would Say: This is how Bruce realizes the Joker is the thug who killed his parents. He repeats the phrase to Joker at the beginning of their final confrontation just before decking him.
Jack Napier/Joker: You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Batman: You killed my parents.
Joker: What are you talking about?
Batman: I made you, but you made me first.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Happens in a strange way with this series; the first movie was a dark, serious gothic film that featured a Prince pop number as its' soundtrack's main single, apparently because it was the song the executives wanted. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, on the other hand, are much, much Lighter and Softer but have songs like U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" and Smashing Pumpkins' "The End is the Beginning is the End" as the major soundtrack songs, both of which sound like they should be on the soundtrack of much darker, deeper, better movies. Indeed, a remixed version of the latter song was on the soundtrack of the Watchmen movie. (Batman Returns averts this; see the page for more information.)
The Starscream: Ostensibly Jack Napier, though it's hard to tell if it's a straight example or a subversion. While he was the one who killed Carl Grissom, he did not do so as part of a plot to take over. He killed Grissom out of revenge, and then decided to take over his empire as an afterthought. Then again, comments Napier made in passing to both Alicia and Lieutenant Eckhardt suggest that he may have been plotting Grissom's murder sometime in the future, or at the very least was waiting for the old man to die.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Batman does the Bye and Hi a few seconds apart while facing Jack Napier (before he became the Joker).
Synchro-Vox: Used to mask the lips of the recent victims of Joker's toxin in order to "advertise" his Brand X. Which, in turn, was the Joker toxin that he was going to release at the Bicentennial celebration of Gotham City's foundation.
Table Space: The dinner scene between Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale provide the image and quote line for this trope
Talking to the Dead: The Joker does this to Antoine Rotelli's fried corpse shortly after dismissing the mob summit (He was the one who murdered Rotelli with a joy buzzer.), and he apparently is "told" by Rotellei's corpse to "grease" the mob bosses immediately, to which Joker complies and responds "You are such a vicious bastard, Rotelli, and I'm glad you're dead" before laughing hysterically.
Technically a Smile: Batman smiles a couple of times. It's easily the scariest expression he's got.
Tempting Fate: A crooked police lieutenant to Jack Napier near the film's beginning: "The future? You mean when you run the show? You ain't got no future, Jack!" (This culminates in an Ironic Echo at the factory, when Napier kills the lieutenant with a single shot.)
That Man Is Dead: Used in the reveal of the Joker's face. "Jack is dead, my friend. You can call me... Joker. And as you can see, I'm a whole lot happier." The original line was a lot more blunt and angrier, with the Joker stepping out of the shadows and shouting, "DO I LOOK LIKE FUCKING JACK?!"
This Just In: Said when the Joker's tainted products come to light (just before the female reporter signs off).
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted, which may come as quite a shock to younger tropers more used to the modern Batman films where this trope is enforced. In fact, this movie is an attempt to return to the earliest version of Batman's character, where he did kill.
He didn't start killing until after he found out the Joker killed his Parents. His first scene plays the trope straight. Any mentions of him killing prior, borderlined on Urban Legend.
Mook: DON'T KILL ME MAN!!!
Batman: I'm not gonna kill you, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.
Half of Gotham seems to be this way. It was already common knowledge that the Joker had murdered many people, but that didn't stop them from diving at the cash he offered in public. He even said into a microphone, "Now comes the part where I relieve you, the little people, of the burden of your failed and useless lives," but they're too engrossed to listen. A minute later, many are dead. And some who aren't dead yet still grab for cash.
Also, poor Bob, after Joker has just been decisively pissed off and now wants to blow off some steam. He's had his little outburst, but there's a Tranquil Fury brewing under his crackpot exterior — something his loyal lackey fails to notice.
Joker: Bob? Gun.
Bob:(unquestioningly hands his boss his gun, not realizing Joker's in a killing mood; Joker coldly pops a bullet in his chest)
The Ray Charles thug who thoroughly kicked Batman's ass was actually dumb enough to look down into the tower shaft after sending the Dark Knight presumably falling to his death with what may have been a Groin Attack - only to have Batman throw his legs around his neck and, somehow suddenly too weak to break free, the Ray Charles thug is suddenly helpless as Batman pulls him forward, bangs his head into the bell and then sends him falling to his well deserved to death.
Took a Level in Badass: While working for decayed old-fogey crime boss Carl Grissom, Jack Napier's colleagues are forced to dress in the kind of extremely frumpy "old-man" clothes that even your grandfather wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Once Napier becomes the Joker and assumes control, they undergo a startling sartorial metamorphosis: everything form-fitting and in a sexy dark shade, including dark purple leather jackets, tight black pants, stylish black hats, and the Cool Shades. Oh, and some of them have apparently learned kung fu.
Trashcan Bonfire: One in two different scenes of people watching the Joker's TV broadcast outdoors. The first was members of a motorcycle gang, the other was a construction site.
Trope Codifier: This was not the first Superhero Movie, but it was the one that showed that superheroes were very profitable. It also altered the archetype of the Summer Blockbuster: changed it "huge mass-marketing machines that were as much made to sell merchandise as they were to sell tickets" to "huge mass-marketing machines that were as much made to sell merchandise as they were to sell tickets, and are based on an existing property that the audience already has an attachment to".
Twinkle Smile: In the Joker's first broadcast warning about his Smylex products there are cut-outs of the two models he murdered. Each cut-out has a twinkle appear on its mouth.
Un-Confession: Bruce Wayne tries to tell Vicki Vale that he's Batman, but he's interrupted by the arrival of the Joker.
When Jack Napier first looks into the plastic surgeon's mirror and sees his "clown face," for a brief moment we hear - very softly - the sound of his sobbing. A moment later, he goes into hysterical denial, starts laughing.... and doesn't ever stop.
Joker: That wasn't easy to get over! And don't think I didn't try.
He also has another one at the near end when Batman steals his gas balloons that have been unleashed on Gotham.
Wicked Cultured: The Joker enjoys classical (or at least orchestral) music, and he plays it on three "romantic" occasions: Percy Faith's "A Summer Place" while meeting Vicki in a museum café; Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer" while bringing some flowers (which, in a vile twist, are already wilted) to Vicki's apartment; and a sentimental waltz while he is, uh, ravishing Vicki on the roof of the city's Gothic cathedral. Interestingly, the latter piece - Danny Elfman's "Waltz to the Death" - is actually quite beautiful and grand, and would be completely innocent were it not exclusively associated with a disfigured mass murderer. He also quotes Edgar Allan Poe to Vicki in one scene - and, fittingly, it is a line from "The Raven," which is about a deceased sweetheart (Joker had murdered his previous love interest, Alicia, in order to free himself up for Vicki). He's also a fan of Francis Bacon, it seems. He is also mentioned in his police file as having an apititude for art, which puts an interesting perspective when he and his goons vandalise most of the works at the Gotham Museum of Art (or when he dismisses most of Vicki's photography... except the ones of war and death). Presumably, he fully appreciates and understands all of this stuff on an artistic level, but still felt like smashing it up to bring it up to his own twisted sense of aesthetic standard. When he brings Alicia in, she says "Jack, you said I could watch you improve the paintings."
Then there's Jack/The Joker's fashion sense. The first thing he does on seeing Knox is critique his tie.
Alicia: You look fine.
Jack:(Death Glare) I didn't ask. (glances at her hand on his shoulder as if to say, "Hands off the merchandise!")
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: While the location of Burton's (and Schumacher's) Gotham City is never provided, it is obviously in the United States (note the American flag in Harvey Dent's office), and is almost certainly a fantasy version of New York, given all the No Communities Were Harmed references: Flugelheim Museum (Guggenheim Museum), Gotham Plaza (Rockefeller Plaza), Lady Gotham (Statue of Liberty), and (in the screenplay only) Broad Avenue (Broadway).
Woman in White: Vicki wears a white dress, jacket and shoes at the climax of the 1989 film. By the end of the scene, she's lost the jacket and the shoes, and the dress is noticeably dirtied. Coincidence? The white dress also makes sense if you interpret the climactic cathedral scene from a religious perspective. In the dress, Vicki looks a lot like a bride - an association that is only strengthened when the Joker tells her, "I've got to get you to the church on time." Some sects of Christianity refer to the human race as the "Bride of Christ." Could Vicki Vale represent all of us, and are Batman and the Joker fighting for her soul? Almost certainly, if you take into account the excellent Prince song, "Dance With the Devil", that was (unfortunately) cut from one of the movie's two soundtracks ("Dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight... He wants your soul and he wants it tonight").
Would Hurt a Child: Jack Napier attempted to murder Bruce Wayne shortly after he murdered his parents. Although he ultimately didn't go through with it due to his accomplice, the mere fact that he attempted to do so, and gave a nightmarish grin while doing so indicates that Jack Napier had absolutely no problem hurting or murdering children.
You Have Failed Me: After Batman foils the Joker's balloon plan with his Bat Jet, the Joker kills Bob because Bob didn't tell him that Batman had it (as if he could have possibly known!).
He probably just shot him out of anger.
You Killed My Parents: The Joker, while he was still Jack Napier, murdered young Bruce Wayne's parents while he was a child, and came very close to murdering Bruce Wayne himself as well that same time. The experience, just like in the comics (minus the Joker's involvement), turned Bruce Wayne into Batman, and during the final confrontation between himself and the Joker, he flat out tells Joker that Joker murdered his parents, meaning they created each other.