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.
Childhood touchstone...Tim Burton at the top of his game, with a blackly campy Joker (in an inspired turn by Nicholson), the perverse/inspired choice of Prince as soundtrack jockey, and just the right balance between funny and creepy...this (and it's sequel) were the high points for the Batworld before Nolan's "realist" reboot of the franchise...