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.