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Comic Vine Question of the Week: Why Do You Love 1989's Batman Movie?

"Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

Tim Burton's first Batman movie turned 25 the other day, and the event is most definitely something worth celebrating. This classic comic book movie brought Gotham City to life and portrayed the Caped Crusader as a dark and formidable figure. The first time he says "I'm Batman" is simply unforgettable. So yes, it's a slight change from Adam West's Batman! Burton's first film immerse viewers in this gritty version of Gotham and boosted the hero's popularity. We all have different reasons for enjoying the movie, and this week, we want to see what those reasons are! Did you love the movie because of the memorable cast? Maybe the dialogue or action won you over? Or perhaps the score is what made you adore the film? And yes, there's an option for the (hopefully very few) people who don't appreciate the movie.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Don't worry, there's no need to vote just yet. The poll will stay open until Thursday morning (ET), so that should give you some time to watch the movie again. And if you haven't seen the movie, hopefully this will motivate you to finally check it out. Now, it's time to enjoy reflecting on this very awesome movie!

Feel free to share future question ideas in the comments below or via Twitter. Love Batman movies? Well, you should also visit our latest edition of "Favorite Animated Movies." It's between Under the Red Hood and Mask of the Phantasm. Click here to check it out!

28 Comments
Posted by Mandrewgora

Edited by longbowhunter

I actually just rewatched this last week. What I really love about the film is the set design and backgrounds. The statues outside city hall, the huge vents in the museum, flying buttresses on every other building. It's like a gothic art deco feast for the eyes. Gotham City is my favorite character in the movie.

Posted by LiveForever

I'm interested in this from another angle: why DO you love Batman '89? It bastardizes the character. I understand times were different then, and standards were different then, but having been born in '86 and seeing it early in life yet not having the reverence for it that some people do, I just don't get the love.

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

Posted by AmazingWebHead

It introduced the grapnel gun

Posted by AmazingWebHead

@liveforever said:

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

Silly. Nobody cares if Batman kills. (like shoving Harvey Dent off a building) Or Iron Man. (All the damn time) Or Captain America, (Hydra agent in the roter blades) or anyone else. People only mind when Superman kills, because they'll look for any excuse to hate that guy.

Posted by Dude4

I'm interested in this from another angle: why DO you love Batman '89? It bastardizes the character. I understand times were different then, and standards were different then, but having been born in '86 and seeing it early in life yet not having the reverence for it that some people do, I just don't get the love.

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

Because it does a lot more right than it does wrong. In general I love the movie for the great atmosphere, the great performances, and the sense of fun about it. The retro 1940's meets 80's urban decay set design and the mysterious light that Bruce Wayne is portrayed in also help.

You can argue about the differences between a movie and comic book all you want but what I'm ultimately looking for is the movie capturing the spirit of the source material instead of using the source material as a simple checklist.

Posted by kennybaese

Yeah, for me it's the aesthetic design. And the fact that it led to The Animated Series.

Posted by bloggerboy

I'm interested in this from another angle: why DO you love Batman '89? It bastardizes the character. I understand times were different then, and standards were different then, but having been born in '86 and seeing it early in life yet not having the reverence for it that some people do, I just don't get the love.

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

It might not be faithful to the comics but it's still an awesome version of Batman but more than that it's a classic movie with memorable scenes, lines, characters and visual look.

Edited by LiveForever

@dude4 said:

@liveforever said:

I'm interested in this from another angle: why DO you love Batman '89? It bastardizes the character. I understand times were different then, and standards were different then, but having been born in '86 and seeing it early in life yet not having the reverence for it that some people do, I just don't get the love.

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

You can argue about the differences between a movie and comic book all you want but what I'm ultimately looking for is the movie capturing the spirit of the source material instead of using the source material as a simple checklist.

Hey, I respect that. But secrecy and not killing are pretty essential to Batman's "spirit" in my opinion.

In fairness, I also had a major problem with Batman "not saving" Ra's a Ghul in Batman Begins. That's basically murder.

Batman: The Animated Series is still far far faaaaaaar and away the best Batman adaptation in another medium.

Posted by Perfect 10

i dont. only batman movie i like/own is batman returns aka catwoman cause i skip all scenes without selena kyle

Posted by Thorverine

Without that Batman, there is no trilogy. Batman with Adam West was an action comedy. This Batman was serious, if not dark. It was a completely new look at the character. The Joker backstory was also excellent.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

You can look at in in these terms. We got Superman and Batman, helping establish the superhero genre. Then X-Men helped bring it back, then Spider-Man, then Iron Man, then the Avengers, etc.

So the Keaton Batman, with all the flaws, did help establish the genre and eventually did lead to the Avengers and those films.

And like @thorverine said, without that film we may not have established Batman as the Dark Knight he is now seen as in everything including the Batman cartoons (which you can see were brought about thanks to the films.)

Edited by RustyRoy

It was the first comic book movie I saw and it was amazing, I loved Batman, I loved Gotham City, I loved how everything looked. I might be in the minority but I liked Keaton's Batman more than Nicholson's Joker. And Vicky Vale was so hot!!

Edited by patrat18
Edited by MrMazz

I don' really love Batman '89. As a piece of narrative it leaves me a tad wanting, Burtons interest in the weird and strange isn't really fixed on Wayne but instead the villians which is a shame. Jack Nicholson essentially plays "Jack Nicholson" in white make-up once again not a terrible thing and a preformance that stood as the bar of quality comic book villian for more than a decade. The set design and overall art direction of Batan '89 is still enjoyable to look at and reminds me of a day when all super hero movies didn't look the same.

What I love Batman '89 for is its totally crass capatilism and sheer amount of corporate synergy Warner Bros. brought forth with it. Fulfilling the prophecy set forth by George Lucas with Star Wars of total brand saturation and maximum anicllary markets. In the end Batman '89 is a small piece in the great Batman brand created by Warner Bros and carred throughf or the better part of a decade. In her book on the films of Tim Burton (up to Big Fish) Alison McMahan has some excellent writing about Batman '89 the film and the greater implcations and its sequel - the crazyness that is that movie.

Also hey the soundtrack is essentially a contractually negotiated Pince album which renforces the above.

Can't find audio but man look at this MV that's some awesome 80's direction.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@perfect_10 said:

i dont. only batman movie i like/own is batman returns aka catwoman cause i skip all scenes without selena kyle

Do you still get to experience rocket penguins that way? I don't remember if she intersects those scenes at all.

Staff
Posted by Perfect 10

@k4tzm4n: no she doesnt. those scenes with the penguins are a little disturbing for me. not into gun like weaponry. just watch it as if it was a catwoman origin. start with the push out the window and go from there. its the first and only movie i can quote lines from verbatim i love catwoman that much. when dawn of justice comes out i have no doubt i will do the same with wonder woman :)

Posted by comicvine_is_jericho529

For me it was the set design, the overall aesthetic, the tone, the acting, the casting, i can go on

i just feel that Batman 89' perfectly captured Batman on screen and not just batman but Gotham itself. And Gotham is a huge part of what makes Batman Comics.

If there is one thing i didn't like about the Nolan flicks were he never really characterized Gotham, i could've mistaken it for Metropolis. there was no tone to it. and then in Dark Knight rises Nolan just got lazy and was not even making an attempt to make Gotham seem like a differnt city he was just taking shots, some shots with famous landmarks from Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and New york. he made no atmept to give the movie a tone. Batman begins at least tried, Hanz Zimmer gets credit for at least giving a more suspenseful tone to the movie with his score. Nolan tries to make everything realistic but people automatically think suspenseful/realistic = DARK
But of course Nolan has admitted and is not shy to say he purposely wanted to make the movie realistic so i guess you can shave points off for the movie he wanted to make but in that it kind of subtracts from having the all around PERFECT batman movie.

Burton's 89 batman captured Gotham perfectly from it's set design to it's tone. and in that the characters within the realm of Gotham reflected more of that which made Batman and joker more plausible for it's world. which is where you get the ridiculous arguments like
"who was the better Joker?" well that's unfair seeing as how Heath had to work around a realistic direction and interpret Joker more realistically and modern because of it, where as Jack had only take the basics of what made the Joker what he was while being within a more typical batman setting which of course is still within the world of disbelief so Jack need only interpret Joker as he was presented in comics and still was able to freely act like crazy Jack to give his character substance, and in such not making his character as dated.

Posted by tuckboarder

Jack Nicholson enough said

Posted by Dude4

@dude4 said:

@liveforever said:

I'm interested in this from another angle: why DO you love Batman '89? It bastardizes the character. I understand times were different then, and standards were different then, but having been born in '86 and seeing it early in life yet not having the reverence for it that some people do, I just don't get the love.

Batman kills! Alfred lets a JOURNALIST into the batcave! Joker kills Bruce's parents! I believe Bruce's dad is not named Thomas, if I recall correctly?

You can argue about the differences between a movie and comic book all you want but what I'm ultimately looking for is the movie capturing the spirit of the source material instead of using the source material as a simple checklist.

Hey, I respect that. But secrecy and not killing are pretty essential to Batman's "spirit" in my opinion.

In fairness, I also had a major problem with Batman "not saving" Ra's a Ghul in Batman Begins. That's basically murder.

Batman: The Animated Series is still far far faaaaaaar and away the best Batman adaptation in another medium.

I respect your opinion as well and agree that Batman: TAS is the definitive adaptation.

But ultimately Batman '89 still maintained the spirit of the character in my eyes. Alfred always seemed somewhat reluctant with letting Bruce be Batman, especially during the beginning. He wanted Bruce to have a chance to live a normal life and he saw Vicki as a means to that end. So it makes sense to me that Alfred would let her in to the Batcave to force Bruce's hand in to seeing her and possibly giving up on being Batman. Also, count the number of people in the current comic continuity that knows his "secret."

As for the killing aspect, it is hard to defend Batman committing a terrorist act on the Axis Chemical plant and the Joker's henchman inside but I do feel that Batman as a character is someone that could cross the line and kill someone if push came to shove. I'm not in the "Batman must never ever kill" camp as much as I'm in the "Batman would kill if the situation forced him to" camp.

It's not perfect, but I still maintain that they did capture the spirit of the character.

Edited by dreamfall31

The Prince soundtrack.

Posted by Quickfingers26

Whats not to love?

  • Prince soundtrack - Bat Dance!!
  • Captured the mood perfectly
  • Gothic + Urban decay
  • Batman's absolute disinterest in anything Bruce Wayne oriented.
  • And he said "I'm Batman" and we... we believed.
Edited by cdw101

Because it was the first comic book I ever saw, n jack is one of my favourite actors of all time. Also, I enjoyed Michael Keatons adaptation of batman- yeah yeah I know-he hasn't got the build, moodiness etc etc but I still think he's the best batman so far- he just has the crazy edginess in his eyes when he's bruce! oh n who can forget the - " im batman" line!

Posted by SlamAdams

I love it because it was made during a time when they thought special effects weren't sophisticated enough, and it looks great. It helps that Batman has no powers, but they never feel limited. He's got his plane and his car and his suit and number of gadgets. All that stuff got better obviously as special effects did get more sophisticated, but I still think this one mostly holds up.

I also really love Michael Keaton's interpretation of Batman and Bruce Wayne. Bale had probably the most accurate one, the most appropriate one. Bruce Wayne is an act. Batman is an act, and the man who plays both parts, who pretty much was only known by Alfred in those movies, is the real Bruce Wayne. Keaton's version was more psychological. He seemed to actually be the socially awkward playboy when he was out of the suit, and the suit actually brought something out of him. The mask freed him to be more confident and more competent. I always loved that.

Edited by Knightsofdarkness2

Almost everything in the movie was awesome.