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Batman (1989)



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It took me two viewings to accept Michael Keaton in the role of Batman, not that I had any sort of loyalty to Adam West in the campy sixties television show, but that I had already had a vision in my mind of how Batman should look and act, and Keaton was not it. Keaton grew on me after a second viewing of Tim Burton's Batman, and watching Val Kilmer in Batman Forever clinched it -- Michael Keaton is the definitive Batman. However, there is more to resolve with this film than my quibbles with the lead actor. Tim Burton paints a grim view of Gotham City to the point where it is grim for no higher goal than being grim -- gratuitous grimness, if you will. Jack Nicholson makes a fantastic Joker, but why did he have to be put in so many weak, unsatisfying scenes such as the art museum massacre and the television commercial? There are some strong scenes to compensate for the poor -- most involving Batman in action -- and the stars and clever camerawork are fun enough to watch. The end result is an uneven movie which is best summed up as "ok."

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