But even if we can’t help but see Batman in the shadow of Nolan’s trilogy these days, it’s still possible to see them as two sides of the same morbid coin—two fascinatingly different interpretations of the same material, drawing strikingly similar conclusions using wholly different means.
Even though the film is composed with objects made from preexisting entities, I wouldn’t permit myself to describe them with the word ‘culture’ (cinephilic or other), since this word here would loose its sense. The ensemble is something that’s unique, a creation of a dream, where the citations, the references, and the winks become sublime.
Michael Keaton is a strange Bruce Wayne. He looks confused and he mumbles. His mind is someplace else. That place else: childhood trauma physically manifested in a doppelgänger called...The Batman. All implied without Chris Nolan having Christian Bale shout it! This is Tim Burton's BATMAN. It is the most iconic reinvention by any director, ever. It's cinéma fantastique: mysterious, beautiful, weird. Also, very funny.
I'm not the biggest Tim Burton fan but his Batman films were on point. With the feeling of a comic book brought to life mixed with dark humor and the exceptional performance from Jack Nicholson as The Joker, this is a solid Batman film.
Burton's series is better than Nolan's. He knew he was making trashy films and played them over-the-top, comical, and fun. Nolan goes for a straight-face, but what's the point of being serious when you aren't a good storyteller? Burton's films had a true auteurist visual style, with more narrative momentum, and aren't distorted by generic drama. Each action scene is more imaginative, nor are they bloated in length.
It's interesting to see this film after the Christopher Nolan reboot, because it's as good, but with a different approach. I just love Gotham City with this gothic weird graphic style, visually more interesting than the post-modern design on Begins and Dark Knight.
Perhaps the most visually stunning of all superhero films, although Tim Burton's complete ineptitude at shooting action scenes is on full display. Keaton is the best Batman. Elfman's score is legendary.The scene where the Batmobile drives through the concrete wall is as good as movies get.
While their films are different, Burton understood the aesthetics of Gotham, the look of Batman and the character of Bruce Wayne alot better than Nolan. Michael Keaton is convincingly scary as the bat and charming as Wayne, Chris Bale is not, Nicholson's joker has light years more character than Heath Ledger's and Michael Gough's Alfred isn't such the insufferable know-it-all that as Caine's character became.
Though noticeably dated compared with his wildly stylized follow-up, Burton’s first bat movie is still among the best the genre has to offer. No director before or since has known how to so deftly walk the lines between cartoon absurdity, dark wonder, and grit. Say what you will about superhero movies before the MCU, but at least they had style. And has there ever been a more perfect match than Jack and Joker?