(there will be spoils)
Yes it’s true, comic book super heroes hold too much of a monopoly on movies and television right now. I agree, we get it, but also I enjoy the genre. And of all the ongoing super hero franchises the one I get most excited about is Batman.
Tim Burton’s 1989 BATMAN was a foundational movie for me, and I believe it kicked off the first real era of comic book movies, since SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE didn’t have many riding its coattails. I don’t think it could’ve happened with another character. There was something about the zeitgeist at that time, that the world was ready to see Batman on screen, and the marketing ingeniously took advantage of that. More importantly, the specific psychological and visual qualities of the “dark” Super Friend and his evil clown nemesis attracted Burton and gave him a weirdly perfect canvas on which to fuse his particular talents with blockbuster filmmaking, and create something that felt simultaneously of our past and completely new.
Because that was the first one, a distinct, stylized look was an expected element of comic book movies throughout the ‘90s, paving the way for the likes of DICK TRACY, THE CROW, TANK GIRL… I’d even throw in gaudier digital age ones like SPAWN and THE MASK for at least having their own looks. And Burton’s followup, BATMAN RETURNS, is still one of the most beautiful looking comic book movies to date. It only makes sense, being adaptations of an illustrated medium, but it’s a tradition somewhat neglected in the era of shared universes and realistic CG. I think THE BATMAN is one of the ones that brings it back. It looks stunning, and completely unlike other movies of the same genre, or even about the same character. (read the rest of this shit…)