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It doesn't hold up: Batman (1989)

Old 05-03-08, 06:40 PM
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It doesn't hold up: Batman (1989)

I recently rewatched Burton's Batman for the first time in a while and it didn't do much for me. The film just isn't nearly as great as I thought it was when I was a kid. I found it to be hokey, cliched, tacky and dull. I wanted to feel that excitement I did the first time I watched it, but it never got there for me. Keaton plays Bruce Wayne like he's just downed a bottle of Valium, no personality to the character. Jack does a good job with the Joker, but I thought he came off as too goofy. Robert Wuhl was just plain annoying. Maybe it's because comic movies of late have had a harder edge, so this seems so tame. It probably also doesn't help that Batman Begins was so good. Anyone else agree, or am I just nuts for thinking this?

(I'd say this could make for a good series of threads about what isn't holding up well, but I also could easily see everyone creating threads about every film ever made, and why it's no longer good.)
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Old 05-03-08, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by KillerCannibal
Maybe it's because comic movies of late have had a harder edge, so this seems so tame. It probably also doesn't help that Batman Begins was so good.

I somewhat agree. I still feel that Batman is a great, fun movie. On the other hand, it does not hold up as it did when I was younger and I think you stated the reason why.
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Old 05-03-08, 06:53 PM
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That's why I always said that Batman (1989) is overrated.
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Old 05-03-08, 06:56 PM
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I never thought it was a great movie. (three stars at the most) It's not exactly an adrenaline rush that's for sure... I just think of them as "the old movies." I still like the atmosphere, music and characterizations of the Burton films though. Something to put on during a lazy afternoon...

Amazing to think that they used to be the big franchise on the block... we've come a ways that's for sure.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:05 PM
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It's a great movie. It's the only comic book movie that truly creates a unique world where you can believe that characters like Batman and the Joker could really exist in. Yeah, it's not as serious as Batman Begins but it's more believable. I love Batman.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:12 PM
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The only thing that does hold up is Danny Elfman's amazing score.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:30 PM
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I still think it would be bad ass to have keaton come back for the adaptation of the Dark Knight Returns
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Old 05-03-08, 07:38 PM
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I think the score and flow of the movie is well done, but yeah, Batman Begins pretty much makes it look pale in comparison, and The Dark Knight might just make us forget the 1989 film once and for all.

I used to love the first two movies, but now that the action and writing have felt more epic in scope with the new movies (though I'll have to reserve judgement on TDK, since it's not out yet), there's no way I'll look at the earlier films the same again.

Thanks Nolan, you douche.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:43 PM
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It's got a lot of flaws plotwise, like most of Tim Burton's movies. Keaton doesn't quite work (at the time I remember everyone thought he was great simply because he didn't suck). He's way too scrawny a Bruce Wayne. Kim Basinger is bland, and Robert Wuhl makes me want to rinse my eyes out with bleach every time he's on screen. Jack is great, but he's playing Jack, really. I don't much care for the whole climax at all where any attempt at logic does out the window (so Joker was walking around with a 2-meter gun in his pocket for how long? The batplane is that vulnerable?) That said, it's mighty purty to look at, but yeah, not as good as it seemed at the time when we were all starved for ANY kind of comic book movie.

(I also think Batman Begins is rather highly overrated by a lot of people on these boards, but that's another thread entirely )

Last edited by The Antipodean; 05-03-08 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:01 PM
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Batman was a train wreck in production... Burton was in over his head and couldn't navigate the waters under that kind of pressure, studio scrutiny due to budget, and massive scale... i mean the film has holes in it Apophis could fly through... how about when Basinger is in the Batcave, finds out WHO Batman is, and there is absolutely no reaction?... not even a "oh wow you're him"... just OOPS, they forgot to transition from the mystery of who the winged freak was, that is the entire theme of the first 1/3 of the film, to a REPORTER finding out the truth and not even noticing... talk about a loss of control by Burton... Jack was way too over the top... i liked the understated Batman, about the only thing good for me as to individual performances...

supposedly Burton shied away from big-budget 'summer' movies because of this experience, after all Batman was a success i'm sure he got offers... and Burton started the trend of working with people he knew and trusted... you do see a lot of the same people in his work...

Nicholson made his fortune off that film, set a record for actor earnings on a single film, around 80 million? i think... he was the first to negotiate an actor into the licensing and marketing money in a big way... and he cleaned up with all the toys and lunchboxes and 'Batman" t-shirts... Jack was asked about that in an interview i saw back then and when the question was posed "how has all this money changed your life?" Jack replied " now i can buy the best weed in the world and smoke all i want"...

i think the movie showed promise as to Burton, for the visual approach and dark look of it... and shined in a few scenes... but overall it's not a good film...
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Old 05-03-08, 08:08 PM
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I remember eagerly awaiting the 1989 Batman film like so many others, but left the theatre very disappointed. I thought the big problem was that while the film looked very good stylistically, it left much to be desired in the story department (and this has been Tim Burton's biggest weakness is nearly all of his films). One issue I had was that neither Burton nor his screenwriters handled Batman's legacy and origin correctly. It simply deviated too far away from the Batman I was familiar with. I didn't care for Sam Hamm's "a fait accompli" approach. It didn't work. I remember him talking about throwing in Batman into the film right away and avoiding the approach of the '78 Superman film entirely. Another problem I had that it just wasn't any fun. I was expecting an entertaining, action adventure picture. There was none of that. The movie was quite tedious and uninvolving. Also, killing off the Joker was a big mistake. He was always one of Batman's biggest, longtime adversary and he went out with a fizzle.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:16 PM
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i love it
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Old 05-03-08, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse
Batman was a train wreck in production... Burton was in over his head and couldn't navigate the waters under that kind of pressure, studio scrutiny due to budget, and massive scale... i mean the film has holes in it Apophis could fly through... how about when Basinger is in the Batcave, finds out WHO Batman is, and there is absolutely no reaction?... not even a "oh wow you're him"... just OOPS, they forgot to transition from the mystery of who the winged freak was, that is the entire theme of the first 1/3 of the film, to a REPORTER finding out the truth and not even noticing... talk about a loss of control by Burton... Jack was way too over the top... i liked the understated Batman, about the only thing good for me as to individual performances...

supposedly Burton shied away from big-budget 'summer' movies because of this experience, after all Batman was a success i'm sure he got offers... and Burton started the trend of working with people he knew and trusted... you do see a lot of the same people in his work...

Nicholson made his fortune off that film, set a record for actor earnings on a single film, around 80 million? i think... he was the first to negotiate an actor into the licensing and marketing money in a big way... and he cleaned up with all the toys and lunchboxes and 'Batman" t-shirts... Jack was asked about that in an interview i saw back then and when the question was posed "how has all this money changed your life?" Jack replied " now i can buy the best weed in the world and smoke all i want"...

i think the movie showed promise as to Burton, for the visual approach and dark look of it... and shined in a few scenes... but overall it's not a good film...
I remember reading that Burton wanted a Basinger nude scene in the film. It's interesting thought but hard to imagine full frontal nudity in a comic book film.

Everytime I watch Beetlejuice I can't believe Keaton wasn't picked for the Joker. Beetlejuice is Keaton's best performance! Batman and Batman Returns was almost like the deathknelt of Keaton's career when it should have been his vehicle to super stardom.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:44 PM
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I grew up with it, and was Batman crazy in 1989, but.. after a recent viewing on AMC.. yeah. It doesn't hold it's own any more. I never liked any of the sequels (Forever was ok at best), but after Batman Begins anything before that.. I mean it's hard to rate anything released before 2005 with the same merit.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:08 PM
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This was my reaction, too, after rewatching it a couple of years ago. At one point, I'd thought of Batman as a high-point for comic book films, but it's aged terribly.

Alternately, I think Batman Returns is absolutely dazzling and a far, far better piece of work than I previously gave it credit for.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:09 PM
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I still love Batman and Batman Returns beyond belief. Absolutely fun films, and arguably has more rewatchability than Batman Begins despite not being better.

And it's sad how many times I will quote "Gentlemen! Let's broaden our minds! Lawrence?"

P.S.: I lol'd at that Nicholson quote about marijuana. He may be an asshole, but he's such a luminary and a legend it's not against him. I read in this book I have he once smoked 155 joints filming the campfire scene in Easy Rider.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
It's a great movie. It's the only comic book movie that truly creates a unique world where you can believe that characters like Batman and the Joker could really exist in. Yeah, it's not as serious as Batman Begins but it's more believable. I love Batman.
i agree that it created a very unique world. Tim Burton's vision of Gotham really made it seem like a completely different city, almost isolated in a world somewhere. it wasn't New York City, masked with another name like Metropolis. i think Nolan tried to create a unique Gotham City, but it still felt and looked similar in some aspects to NYC.
Burton's city was one unto itself and the following director's also used this vision and it made it completely different.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:28 PM
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Burton's Batman is totally overrated, even before the existance of Nolan's Batman Begins. The movie's great scenes are all Jack Nicholson's, but then again, any of his scenes in any other movie are great too. So of course Jack Nicholson made the movie something interesting.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert
The only thing that does hold up is Danny Elfman's amazing score.
Amazing?! If anybody can hum a few bars maybe. Unlike the score for SUPERMAN which sports arenas use the BATMAN score blows.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by KillerCannibal
I recently rewatched Burton's Batman for the first time in a while and it didn't do much for me. The film just isn't nearly as great as I thought it was when I was a kid. I found it to be hokey, cliched, tacky and dull. I wanted to feel that excitement I did the first time I watched it, but it never got there for me. Keaton plays Bruce Wayne like he's just downed a bottle of Valium, no personality to the character. Jack does a good job with the Joker, but I thought he came off as too goofy. Robert Wuhl was just plain annoying. Maybe it's because comic movies of late have had a harder edge, so this seems so tame. It probably also doesn't help that Batman Begins was so good. Anyone else agree, or am I just nuts for thinking this?

(I'd say this could make for a good series of threads about what isn't holding up well, but I also could easily see everyone creating threads about every film ever made, and why it's no longer good.)
I thought what you wrote back in 1989. Nobody in print or anywhere else would even mention SUPERMAN 2 back then as to compare the best comic book movie of the 80's. It was like BATMAN is the best comic book period. Glad to see many see the light now.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I remember reading that Burton wanted a Basinger nude scene in the film. It's interesting thought but hard to imagine full frontal nudity in a comic book film.

Everytime I watch Beetlejuice I can't believe Keaton wasn't picked for the Joker. Beetlejuice is Keaton's best performance! Batman and Batman Returns was almost like the deathknelt of Keaton's career when it should have been his vehicle to super stardom.
Thought so too.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Burton's Batman is totally overrated, even before the existance of Nolan's Batman Begins. The movie's great scenes are all Jack Nicholson's, but then again, any of his scenes in any other movie are great too. So of course Jack Nicholson made the movie something interesting.
I was expecting more from Jack. Maybe the writing wasn't there for him.
And I hated the make-up grin which now many Hollywood female stars have like Meg Ryan and Joan Rivers.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:10 PM
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...and Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz...I call it the Devil's Advocate grin (the scary scenes from that movie)
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Old 05-03-08, 10:22 PM
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I said six or seven years ago that it should have been called 'The Joker.'
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Old 05-03-08, 10:37 PM
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I still dig it, but i'd say it probably doesn't have the mystique that it did when it came out or during the 90's. Still, it's more fun for me to watch now then Superman and technically and visually holds up a lot better for me.

I agree about Wuhl's character though. I don't get why so many Superhero movie have that type of ridiculous character that stands out.
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