Page 1 of 1

Batman 1989

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:23 am
by 60s TV Fan
Just watched about the last 3/4 of the 1989 Batman. Its been a very long time since I've seen it. The '66 Batman and the Golden and Silver age comic book versions of Batman will always be my favorites, but it was nice to see this again. I've kind of gotten the feeling that Nicholson's Joker isn't a popular one, but I find him to be pretty close to the '70s comic version (Joker toxin, boxing glove punching the tv, Joker insignia on the helicopter, etc.) There are some aspects of the film that I didn't care for in 89 or now, of course, but still would say I prefer it to the more recent movies. I did enjoy Batman Begins for the most part, but never saw the final two films of the trilogy, and quite frankly don't care to. By what I've seen in previews, I really dislike the notion of Ledger's version of the Joker. Also, watching this brought back fond memories of 1989's version of Batmania that swept the country... I was 18 years old at the time.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:12 am
by SprangFan
It's interesting you feel Nicholson's Joker isn't popular. I seem to remember him being hugely popular at the time, in fact eclipsing Batman himself in some ways (certainly Burton seemed much more fascinated with the Joker than Batman, judged on how the film was directed and edited). All the best catch phrases and shots used to promote the film seemed to come from that character ("Wait'll they get a load of me," "Where does he get those wonderful toys," etc) and when you talk to people about the film today, they often remember him better than they do Keaton. 1989 was the first time I remember seeing t-shirts with the Joker's image on them (a common thing now), and he got a couple of books devoted to him as well; I have to believe that was largely due to Nicholson's star power.

It does seem Heath Ledger's version has become a much more powerful and iconic figure in recent times, and maybe there's been some backlash against Nicholson's take as a result (just as Romero was criticized as "too silly" when compared to Nicholson's version). If so, however, I haven't heard it.

I liked what Nicholson did in the context of the film, but I had two problems; one, he wasn't physically right, being too heavy and too old (the latter of which, unfortunately, allowed them to throw in the "Joker killed the Waynes" plot twist, which is daft), and two, his casting was a bit TOO obvious. 1989 Joker is more or less just a caricature of Nicholson's patented "crazy guy" persona. Also, since he's so over-the-top and colorful, he's much more of a "Burton character" in the mold of Beetlejuice, etc, so he ends up getting all the attention. At the time I complained they should rename it "Joker: The Movie, With Special Guest-Star Batman."

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:16 am
by elmrgraham
I thought that "Batman Returns" and the "Batman And Robin" were the best.P.S.:Also,the 1966 "Batman" movie.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:42 am
by 60s TV Fan
SprangFan, my Joker theory wasn't a very scientific one, I was basing it on an older thread that I seem to remember here placing Nicholson behind Romero and Ledger (and possibly behind cartoon versions such as Mark Hamill... but my memory is a little fuzzy.) Granted, it would make sense that among fans of the '66 Batman that Romero would be first (and that includes my vote), and Ledger's version did seem to be popular, and is perhaps "fresher" in many people's memories, so maybe Nicholson finished lower more by default than anything. Like you, I remember how wildly popular the character of the Joker (and Nicholson's portrayal of him) was in 1989. I think in some ways this mirrors 1966, as sometimes the over- the- top villains seemed to overshadow even Batman, and there were celebrities seemingly standing in line to portray villains on the show (or so I've read, anyway.)

And I agree, one of my biggest complaints about the film (in '89 as well as now) was the "Joker killed the Waynes" thing; I always figured that Batman and the Joker should be about the same age. I just figured that Burton thought it made a tidy way to make it a more "personal" fight for Bruce/ Batman.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:46 am
by SprangFan
Aha, I didn't realize you meant "not popular HERE." That would make sense.

My problem with the Joker killing the Waynes is this: it changes Batman from a figure devoted to warring on crime in all its forms to just another revenge story. It makes "Batman" into "Death Wish." Revenge, while a dramatically rich subject, is in no way heroic, and ultimately it makes the whole story smaller and less powerful. Once Bruce finds Napier and kills him (!), there's really no need for him to ever put on the cape and cowl again.

What would have been awesome (albeit in a very warped way) is if, in the sequel, Batman had grabbed The Penguin and hissed, "You killed my parents!" while the look in the Penguin's eyes, said, "This guy's nuts!" And then he could've done the same with the Riddler...and Two-Face.

Hey what the heck, they ruined it all anyway with the redone origin and making Batman a killer. Why not go all the way and have the hero be completely unhinged? At least that way it makes sense for him to keep going out in that suit...he thinks EVERY crook is the one who killed his parents.

Don't forget the only way we "know" Napier is the killer is because Bruce "remembers" it after hearing him say his "dance with the devil" phrase. We could just as easily show him "remembering" Cobblepot doing it, or a toddler Edward Nigma.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:13 pm
by Batman1962
Each of the Batman movies that featured the Joker tweaked the character's origin in a different way - Nicholson's Joker was said to have killed Batman's parents, while Heath Ledger's Joker's face was that way because he applied makeup to it, rather than as the result of a chemical bath. Both movies were good, but for those reasons rubbed me the wrong way.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:36 pm
by SemoRedhawkDan
I enjoyed Batman and Batman Returns. I was not a fan of Batman Forever or Batman and Robin.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:10 am
by Yellow Oval
I enjoy the '89 version very much along with 'Batman Returns' after it with Penguin and Catwoman. What I always wondered since the first time I caught it in the theater back in its intial run was one glaring thing. At then end in the cathedral tower when Batman is slapping around Joker he says Joker killed his parents. Joker than says "Look, I was a kid when I killed your parents.." How did he know who Batman was talking about? Obviously he remembered and would have known through the news who they were, ergo, Batman just gave up his secret identity. Did this doom the Joker to his fate? :shock: I have to admit I always had a problem with Burton having Batman kill off the villains.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:25 am
by SprangFan
Maybe Napier hasn't killed *anyone* since he was a kid. No, that's not it. But maybe when he thinks back, he can only recall killing one husband and wife together.

Wow, I can't believe I'm making excuses for that lousy script.

It's not clear (to me anyway) whether Batman intentionally killed the Joker, but he does kill others in the film, so it's not unreasonable to assume he'd have done the same to the Joker. So yes, revealing his identity is no "security risk" if the intent is to follow up with murder. Indeed, as I said above, it feels very much as if Keaton's Batman is all about finding his parent's killers and exacting revenge, which means after he's done with Napier there's no reason to keep putting on the suit. So it REALLY doesn't matter if he knows.

Of course, he does put the suit back on for the next film. So he can kill more villains. And because he has psychological issues. Penguin says, "You're just jealous because I'm a real freak and you have to wear a suit," and Batman says, "You may be right." (!!!!!)

What a train wreck those scripts were.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:35 am
by Catfan
This movie was definitely an acquired taste for me, and I will admit my favourite Jokers are Cesar Romero, Mark Hamill and the one in The Brave And The Bold. Even today, I would much rather see Jack Nicholson in Hoffa than this, but the movie overall is OK. It strays a little too far from the comic book continuity.

Batman Returns was a delight, because it had Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, of course!! Danny DeVito was a little grotesque as Penguin, but that's me.

Re: Batman 1989

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:34 pm
by mattman
Im gonna stick up for Arnie and Uma, just deviating slightly.
The script was dire but they hammed up Freeze and Ivy fantastically and the film was clearly a homage to the 60s show.
Jack was the obvious choice for the Joker (Robin Williams would have been more a Romero type )

Even though theJoker falls to his apparent death (dies in the cartoons then returns like Moriarty or the Master)and De Vito's Penguin dies too, you can see in ghe next 2 films that the villains survive as if the makers realise that killing off ths bad guys is not good for the franchise