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Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A-
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for language and violence)

Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren
Based on the characters by: Bob Kane
Produced by: Peter Guber and Jon Peters
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures

The Batman franchise is one that has had so much attention and money spent on it throughout generations. People (like me) in the 90s grew up with the blockbuster series and merchandise being advertised on every street corner. I remember the times where I would play with the Batman action figures for hours with my friends and eagerly await the latest Batman toy to be released. Today, Batman still remains my favourite superhero and comic-book franchise of all-time. And with 2005's Batman Begins being the finest film of the franchise to date, it has meant that the pathetic mid-90s sequels will slowly become forgotten pieces of money-making cinema. Yet, Tim Burton's Batman still remains a supreme film that still holds itself as one of the best action films ever made.

Batman was the first unadulterated big-screen adaptation; revolving around Batman finding love while having the renowned goon The Joker to deal with and save the town from a perilous face. It's the typical "good vs. evil" battle, but one that remains unique and worthy of praise.

For a film that has not stood the test of time and has become dated, it's amazing just how much of a leap the film was for visual effects in cinema. The famous set-pieces used to create famous fictional dystopias (slightly reminiscent of the almighty Blade Runner or Metropolis) like Gotham City remain influential and ground-breaking. The film is technically superb and with the brilliant costumes, make-up, visual effects, lighting and general eccentric feel the film can be remembered for the trademark "Burton flair". It's a film that manages to create that infamous city with the needed Gothic fantasy feel, which Tim Burton rarely fails to achieve. Though Batman is a film that does not remain true to the original comic-book series, it gains a Burton approach exclusive to its own.

Jack Nicholson's famous role as The Joker is one that remains an exceptionally individual performance, comprising of some of the finest acting you'll ever see. Nicholson pours his own outlandish personality into the role and creates a character that most actors wouldn't be able to pull off and definitely not with the same amazing, carefree ease. He brings the needed dark satire to the role and performs it with a sought of stage presence. Succeeding in stealing every scene he's in and managing to delightfully terrify me as a child, it remains one of the most under looked performances in the history of cinema. Nicholson performs with a distinction and captures the splendour of his nasty character. For what is such a dark and evil villain Nicholson pulls The Joker off as cunningly likable. Nicholson takes the cake for creating some of my favourite characters in cinema.

Michael Keaton famously plays Batman. He doesn't act out his performance with the same ambiguity, charisma and charm as Nicholson, but manages to get into the shoes of Batman fairly well. Christian Bale still holds the crown for managing to perform Batman with wonderful magnitude. Kim Basinger plays Vicki Vale and gives one of her career performances.

Time Burton never fails to manage to make intelligent entertainment and thrives to test the boundaries of visual fantasy entertainment which usually have a brilliant mass-appeal. Batman is entertainment pushed to the max and though the film's retro and somewhat techno look may not appeal to all, it's a must for any for any fans of Nicholson and people who want to study the vast and almost immediate change as cinema entered the 90s. A fascinating film, few superhero films have surpassed it.

Batman and the Joker eye to eye.
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