Batman (1989-Tim Burton) by Danny Fastpaws

So I rewatched Tim Burton’s “Batman” for the first time since the 90’s last night. My use of quotation marks here is to be derisive not for punctuation. I didn’t remember it being good, but I also didn’t remember it being so terrible. Has there ever been a worse adaptation of anything?

In Tim Burton’s film:

I. Jim Gordon is rewritten as a Mr. Belvedere looking dude who is in 30 seconds of the film and doesn’t add anything.

II. Billy Dee Williams is Harvey Dent, thus Tim Burton utilizes him (again, Billy Dee Williams) by not really having him do anything and be in about 30 seconds of the film.

III. Alfred, who Tim Burton made just as a boring butler instead of Bruce Wayne’s father figure or symbol of past/familial conflict or anything interesting, just lets Vicki Vale into the Batcave since Bruce Wayne is stupidly considering telling her the truth about himself. This clearly mentally troubled Alfred at least doesn’t speak in a cockney accent.

IV. The Joker, a wanted mass-murderer and terrorist, hijacks the airwaves to announce exactly where he’ll be on the night of Gotham’s bicentennial and that he’ll be giving away 20 million in cash to very suspiciously draw a crowd and very obviously do something terrible to them while a Prince song plays and simultaneously challenges Batman to a murder-off in front of City Hall. Batman responds to this by flying around the sky in the Batwing for an hour while the Joker’s plot is allowed to proceed unhindered. He then intervenes after a street-full of people are already starting to be poisoned, and then helps the situation by shooting bullets and missiles around randomly. The police respond, naturally, by not showing up during all of this until way after when the Batwing crashes into a cathedral.
The Joker announced over a loudspeaker that he’s about to murder all the people in the street and no one panics or even understands that the person who just said he’s going to murder them all is about to attempt to murder them all. Even ace-reporter Vicki Vale apparently only puts two and two together when she notices that there is poison gas spraying from the parade balloons — and, you know, the fact that the Joker just declared he was going to murder them all. Vicki helps out by not warning anyone and getting into a car to ram her way through the confused crowd.

V. Joker’s backstory is clarified. Stupid. The Joker kills Bruce Wayne’s parents instead of Joe Chill to give Batman unnecessary motivation for stopping a psycho-killer. Stupider. Joker claiming Batman made him, then Batman claiming the Joker made him by killing his parents and the Joker knowing what he’s talking about. Stupidest.

VI. Michael Keaton. Probably as bad as Christian Bale as Batman and worse than Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.

VII. Batman barely solves anything and doesn’t prevent any crime apart from figuring out what products the Joker has poisoned with Smilex (Tim Burton dedicates about 10 seconds to all this). Most of his detecting amounts to sitting in a computer chair wearing a turtleneck and playing things back on a VCR. He helps out with the poison balloons, roughs up some petty criminals at the start of the movie, murders the Joker, and that’s about it. Burton’s Batman is too busy boning Vicki Vale to give a shit about Gotham.

VIII. Batman kills people. In fact, I’m pretty sure he kills more people than the Joker. The Joker, according to Action News, kills 13 people with the Smilex chemicals he laces the products of Gotham with, kills a crooked cop, a couple of gangsters, leads his mistress to suicide, and an undetermined small number of idiots probably died from the poison balloons. Batman kills the Joker, throws one of Joker’s goons down like twenty or thirty floors of the cathedral staircase, and blows up an entire factory filled with Joker’s thugs and scientists. Christopher Nolan bungled up Batman’s code a bit — Tim Burton, apparently didn’t even know about it.

I understand why “Ed Wood” was so good now. Who better than Tim Burton to relate the story of a terrible filmmaker?

Rating:

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Reviewed by:Danny Fastpaws 12/23/2013