There have been five men to portray Batman in the character's eight live-action feature-length films, from Adam West in Batman '66 to Christain Bale in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. All five actors came with their strengths and weaknesses, but the best was Michael Keaton, who played the DC Comics superhero in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns.
In the first major scene of Batman '89, Keaton famously grabs a terrified mugger by the collar, holds him off the side of a building, pulls him close to his face, and hisses, "I'm Batman." As a 12-year old watching that moment on a VHS tape in my living room, I believed Michael Keaton. And I still believe him as a grown man watching it on DVD in my office 25 years later, even after having seen a half-dozen different Batman movies since.
I realize declaring Michael Keaton's performance as Batman to be not only my favorite Batman but the best Batman is a somewhat controversial statement, even (especially?) among my fellow writers at ComicsAlliance, but allow me to make my case.
On the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary, ComicsAlliance represents our in-depth commentary and review of Tim Burton's Batman '89, the father of modern superhero cinema. Originally published in 2011 as part of our exhaustive Cinematic Batmanology series (which also included a massive five-part analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight), this piece by Chris Sims and David Uzumeri strips the fan favorite Batman '89 down to the bone to get at what works, what doesn't work, and what's just plain crazy about Burton's enduringly influential film.
There may be no better proof of just how much pop culture can shift in a quarter century than the above, 20-minute video Warner Bros. produced in 1988 to show ancient movie distributors who were not so sure a film about a dark, intense Batman would be something anybody would want to watch -- which is pretty funny considering just how massive and influential the film turned out to be.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman movie, The Arkham Sessions takes a break from analyzing the psychology of Batman: The Animated Series to pay special tribute to the legendary film that influenced the style, music, and dark themes of the animated show. Consistent with her measured, analytical approach to the characters and stories of BTAS, Dr. Andrea Letamendi offers psychological conceptualizations of Burton's Batman and Joker with the help of co-host Brian Ward.
Is the film, as Burton once described, a story about the intertwined paths of Batman and the Joker, culminating in a "fight between two disturbed people?" Furthermore, how does Keaton's Bruce Wayne compare to Kevin Conroy's version when it comes to the maintenance -- or fusion -- of multiple identities? How is Nicholson's Joker more destructive and dangerous than Hamill's? Listen to this special edition of the The Arkham Sessions and reminisce about Batman '89 in a whole new way.
I'm not a big fan of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but there's definitely one thing that I think it did right. Burton's Gotham City, redesigned for the screen by Anton Furst, is absolutely beautiful. The Academy Award-winning production art direction is stylish, terrifying, visually engaging and arresting on a level that the rest of the movie has a hard time living up to, creating a world that looks like Batman could exist there.
It's also one of the movie's lasting influences on the world of the comics. Ever since Furst and Burton unveiled their version as a backdrop for the Joker blasting Prince from a boombox while trashing an art museum and Batman blowing up a chemical plant with his remote-control car, Gotham has adhered to their vision of the city, transforming from the bustling stand-in for New York that it was before and becoming its own unmistakable entity. And in true comic book fashion, the comics accomplished this by blowing everything up and starting over.
Launched in late 1988 by the B.D. Fox agency -– who had also handled the campaigns for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the one true Robocop movie, and mankind’s crowning cinematic achievement, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – with a poster designed by the film’s production designer Anton Furst, the Batman campaign is a classic example of doing more with less. It’s sexy, sleek, mysterious and new. It’s regarded as one of the best movie campaigns ever, and for good reason. On the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary, let’s talk about why the campaign was so good.
ComicsAlliance's official position on Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie may be a littlemore harsh than other people's, but even I can't deny its importance in bringing superheroes to life in movies. To this day, it remains a pretty fascinating film, and one of the biggest touchstones that comic books have to mass media, even when we're seeing movies like The Dark Knight and Avengers make a billion dollars at the box office.
So if you're holed up avoiding the snow -- or just looking for a way to kill time on your lunch break -- you could do a lot worse than to take 25 minutes and check out The Making of a Hero. Originally produced in the UK during the filming of Batman '89, it's a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made, featuring crew members like Tim Burton himself and designer Anton Furst, along with Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger and Robert Wuhl. Give it a watch below, but be warned: That jerk Bob Kane shows up to ruin everything.
Metalocalypse director Jon Schnepp went well beyond his $98,000 Kickstarter goal earlier this year to produce a movie about the abandoned Tim Burton/Nicolas Cage film Superman Lives. Now, a new teaser trailer for the doc,The Death of Superman Lives, proves that at least the movie about the movie is really happening next summer, and will include interviews with Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, and perhaps even Cage himself. You can see the full video update about the upcoming documentary, after the jump.
The root words of Nintendo's indomitable Pokémon franchise are, as we all know, "pocket" and "monster," and yet there's never really been much monstrous about even the scariest species since its largely meant to appeal to all ages. Takin...
Just when you thought you were going to make it out of 2011 without being reminded that Tim Burton very, very nearly made a Superman movie starring Nicolas Cage as a glow-in-the-dark Kryptoborg, YOU WERE WRONG...
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