Okay, I just watched Batman (like you’ve never seen him before) from 1989 and that is NOT an A movie. This throws my entire Warner Bros. DC list into doubt. I first saw this movie when I was 10 and loved it so hard I had sex with it. I’ve seen it many times but I guess maybe not for several years before tonight. I’m thinking I either watched it with a really critical eye for the first time or maybe The Dark Knight is just so good that this movie looks silly but whatever! The point is – this movie ain’t that great.
I can tell you what I loved about this movie when I was 10 – the Batsuit, the (few) hand-to-hand fight scenes, and Joker’s kewl one-liners. Well, now I realize that this batsuit is kinda clunky. For one thing, the head is really big. In the few shots where you can see Batman from the feet up, it’s pretty obvious as the head and shoulder pads are huge and then you look down and see Michael Keaton’s cute little chicken legs poking out from underneath the cape. The fights are pretty short and not as cool as they could be but they’re still okay. I’ll describe them now: 1) A swordsman swings his swords all over the place and Batman kicks him in the face. 2) In a cathedral, this dude does 30 backhandsprings before flying toward Batman with blades protruding from his boots (which is pretty cool) but Batman gets him in the nuts with his EXTENDING PALM . 3) A guy jumps at Batman and falls through the floor (pretty funny). 4) A big guy beats the shit out of Batman and then Batman’s Batchickenlegs pull him down a staircaise to his death.
The biggest issue with this movie is that it has no plot. I’ll sum it up for you: Gotham is turning 200 years old. There’s gonna be a party. Crime Boss’s Henchman is humping Crime Boss’s lady so Crime Boss sets up Henchman. Henchman becomes Joker, takes over crime and randomly does stuff that is bad. Batman randomly opposes him. Police do FUCKING NOTHING EVER. There’s a scene where Joker kills a dude on the courthouse steps and in the background you can see 2 cops just standing there doing NOTHING (and then they get shooted). Wait, is that part of the plot? In the newest movie, Joker basically does bad stuff randomly but at least he explains that he just thinks it’s fun. In this old movie, Joker seems half-crazy and half-just like any other crime boss.
This movie is campy, too, just like the old Batman TV show. When I was a kid I thought that the “new” 1989 Batman was dead serious and grim and awesome and the old show was silly but no, the 1989 movie is just silly in an ’80s way. I already mentioned the silly EXTENDING PALM on Batman’s glove. PS – Why did he implement such a feature? Was he really expecting to have to whack a guy in the nuts to avoid boot blades at some point? There’s a part where Batman flies in his Batwing jet and uses SCISSORS on the front of the jet to collect some parade balloons. ARGH! What was he planning for when designing the jet that he decided it should have scissors?
I dunno, man. This movie is a C.