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Reviews Comments: 89 Movie Batman film/book review by uncannybeetle

I've decided to review each of the 'modern' Batman movies, starting with the Tim Burton legend.

The film opens with one of the best themes of all time, a Danny Elfman masterpiece that would make the movie good by itself even if everything else was terrible. Thankfully, we are treated to a unique treat of the sort only Tim Butron could deliver.

The film is beautifully shot and well acted. The writing of so many scenes is just incredible. But it is the look of Batman that stands out. Burton has a mind like no other, and when he is on his game, his movies are moving works of art.

But Burton's weaknesses shine through as much as his strengths. While is is, as mentioned, an artist with a great visual flare, he is not known for his movies having good plots. At first glance one may wonder what the problem is. It's good vs evil. Batman vs the Joker. That's a plot in and of itself.

No, it is not a plot in and of itself. All we know of Bruce Wayne is that he is a recluse who hasn't got over his parents' death and is beating up and even killing criminals at night. There is no attempt to explore his character or give him proper motivation for his crusade. With the Joker, as well, we are given both too much and too little. Jack Nicholson does a good job, but besides for being too old for the role his performance is hampered by the fact that the movie makes the Joker too human. By showing as much of the Joker's backstory and making his first act as the Joker one of revenge it makes him human enough that I cannot help but ask why he is doing what he is doing, a question that does not need to be asked of other versions of the Joker. With neither side having their actions or motivations explored almost at all there is only a series of events, not an actual plot.

There are two hackneyed attempts to make a plot with the fight over the boring Vicky Vale and the revelation that Joker killed Bruce Wayne's parents. Both are terribly forced. I guess because Batman is a sociopath dropping Joker into the acid would not make him feel guilty and make the conflict personal.

Yes. Batman is a sociopath, waiting until after crimes are commited to punish the criminals and even killing many in cold blood. The character dresses like Batman, but he isn't Batman. In a movie with the name 'Batman,' that is very unfortunate.

Comments

  • terlwyth
  • 28th Feb 13
No Batman is a sociopath and does kill all the time,Cracked did a friggin article on that and you should be ashamed of yourself for that part!. DO the research Beetle. Besides even if you didn't,it's far more realistic than all the Ass Pulls given to ensure he doesn't "kill in cold blood"

I can mostly get over the fact that you have to everything spelled out for rather leave some aura of mystery concerning Bruce Wayne and The Joker. I can forgive you for wanting some kind of Ass Pull ling invincible force that makes Anton Chigurgh blush instead of a simple villain that does evil stuff for the lulz (which is what The Joker has always been). And if you criticized Alfred. I can even forgive you for that to

But I cannot forgive you perpetuating this "Batman never kills" bullshit,that's an important part of the mythos,especially the original material from the 30's. Because of this you come to the most erroneous conclusion of all.

  • doctrainAUM
  • 28th Feb 13
^I'm confused. Is Batman Never Kills an important part of his character or not? My copy of Batman Archives Vol. 1 (collecting the first four issues of Batman) flat-out says at one point that Batman never kills.

Also, you talked of "forgiving" someone for preferring explanation to mystery, a stylistic choice. And who's talking about invincibility?
  • son
  • 28th Feb 13
Batman did kill in the 1930s/1940s when he first came out. In the 1950s, Batman stopped killing in order to satisfy the comics code of authority. Since then Batman has mostly been against killing (and using guns). The "no killing" policy has been around for about 6 decades of Batman's publication history. So terlwyth is wrong, Batman use to kill but that was a long time ago.
  • doctrainAUM
  • 28th Feb 13
As I said, my book reprinting material from the forties says that Batman never kills. So it was in effect even before the fifties.
  • uncannybeetle
  • 28th Feb 13
In his very early appearences Batman would kill without remorse. By the time you get to any of the all time great Batman stories, even the ones that predate the movie like Dark Knight Returns and Year One, no killing was not only a defining character trait of Batman, but taken to an extreme it wasn't taken to with practically any other superhero.
  • fenrisulfur
  • 28th Feb 13
I was intrigued by the "do your research" from terlwyth, so I have done so and have found this:

That cracked article (I am assuming the "six murders") one is not good evidence for Batman killing people. If /you/ had done the research, of the six murders: 3 were 1940s batman, before they established his "no kill" character, one was the fact that in the eighties writers ran out of ideas and so villains kept dying in junk yards, one is an elseworld's story that isn't canon (All Star Batman and Robin). That leaves one death (The KG Beast) and that was retconned almost immediately. Cracked is not a good resource for the history of a figure who has been around since the 1940s. If you watch ANY batman film based on a canon story line (Under the Red Hood in Particular) they hammer the point home that batman doesn't (or doesn't want to) kill. As for the sociopath thing...A sociopath is a person with no conscience or sense of morals...so not someone who is out for justice. Revenge maybe, but not justice in the way batman is.

But yeah, I'd use Wikipedia before I use a humor site as "research."
  • terlwyth
  • 28th Feb 13
And that's what '89 seemed to be going for,it was emulating the 30's/40's,...everything about it except for The Joker screams back to that era. Therefore to get the Adaptation Distillation in tact,that was very much necessary.

And besides '89 Batman killed only necessary,he didn't kill that crook at the beginning (sure it was for a message),and even in the Axis Chemicals he made sure not kill anyone. At the end he had to blow it up to stop the gas from spreading,there was no choice there.

I'll concede he went off the deep end in Returns
  • NozzDogg
  • 27th Jan 16
I agree with the 1930s-40s approach. I just wish they'd kept Joker a bit more mysterious and even though I think he's okay, I'd prefer someone other than Keaton as Batman.
  • MiinU
  • 28th Jan 16
"All we know of Bruce Wayne is he is a recluse who hasn't gotten over his parents' deaths and is beating up and even killing criminals at night. There is no attempt to explore his character or give him proper motivation for his crusade."

I highlighted the last sentence, 'cuz they actually did. That was the point of the flashback that showd the murder of Tom and Martha Wayne and the scene later in the film where Knox and Viki are going through the archives and find the story about it. Knox even asks:

"What do you suppose something like that does to a kid?"

The scene immediately cuts to Bruce going over that same headline, in the Batcave - and there's our answer, even though the audience already knows before Knox even asks. Alfred also lampshades the fact when he pointedly tells Bruce:

I've no intention of spending my remaining years grieving the loss of dead friends... or their sons."''

The '89 film justified his motivation and established it well in advance of its climax.

As for him killing people, the only two he killed were the Joker and the henchman he fought near the top of the clocktower. Otherwise, he spared everyone else he fought.

He left one guy dangling from the railing at the Axis Chemical plant, knocked another one out with an Offhand Backhand, and plainly told the one on the roof that he wasn't going to kill him. Then tossed him aside and vanished. He didn't even bother with anyone at the art museum. Bruce swooped in, grabbed Viki and fled. And those goons he fought in the alley were all still breathing by time he was done with 'em.

Joker/Jack Napier was the killer, not Bruce.

  • maninahat
  • 29th Jan 16
Does it even matter that Batman kills in this movie? I mean, outside of trying to stay true to the comic, what is the importance of keeping the "no killing" trait? If most of the other big character traits (the costume, the cave, the crime fighting, the villains, gotham etc.) are still there, isn't he still Batman? Superman has a flying dog called Krypto and once nearly married a Mermaid, but I am pretty sure all the movies miss these (fairly significant) details out without any real loss. I mean, most of those movies are crap, but it isn't because of the lack of a flying dog or mermaid love story.
  • SpectralTime
  • 29th Jan 16
It's not just the "Batman kills people" thing that gets my goat. Batman kills innocent people in this movie. With machine guns. Right before blowing even more innocent people up by bombing a building.

There are other, more-obvious problems with this film, but that's the one I personally find most disagreeable. It's already a plotless mess. You could chop out that bit of unnecessary, mean-spirited nastiness and lose nothing. It's just there to be "edgy."
  • MiinU
  • 29th Jan 16
"Batman kills innocent people in this movie. With machine guns. Right before blowing even more innocent people up by bombing a building."

What? I take it you're referring to the scene where he blew up the Axis Chemical plant. In which case, no he didn't.

The building was emptynote . The only ones there were the Joker's henchmen, who're hardly "innocent". But, if you have the DVD, there's a part of the behind-the-scenes footage that explains none of them died in the explosion.

So the fact remains that he only killed two people in the entire film. One in self-defense (the black guy he fought in the belltower), and the other out of revenge (Jack Napier).
  • SpectralTime
  • 29th Jan 16
Joker owned the plant, but that doesn't mean everyone who worked there was a hench. They weren't for instance, wearing the clown makeup all the other henchmen did.

If that was the intent of the filmmakers, good on them. I find my opinion of the piece slightly improved from a fanboy perspective. But that the film itself never explains that is a serious flaw. Just as Nero from the Star Trek reboot doesn't get credit for the comic-only backstory that never made it into the film, so does Batman not get credit for something entirely localized to a behind-the-scenes feature.
  • MiinU
  • 29th Jan 16
"They weren't for instance, wearing the clown makeup all the other henchmen did."

They were armed and wearing Joker jackets (you can see the logo on their shoulders).

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