July 9, 2014

Looking back at Batman (1989)

I have noticed what I consider to be an annoying trend in celebrating pretty much every film's every five-year anniversary via news article posts of 'twenty-five facts you didn't know about StepMom (or whatever crappy movie)!'

Yes, I love Big Trouble in Little China, but I don't need Buzzfeed providing me with thirty-seven new facts about it (or about The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai) in honor of thirtieth anniversary just because your website is trying to get me to click through a few more times.

That being said, I have no problems with the recent celebrations of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Batman (1989). Whether it's Wired's argument that the tug of war between Tim Burton's and the studio's visions of the film made it fascinating or Comics Alliance's multi-part, week-long celebration of the film, I'm down with it all because - for me - Batman is where comic books hit the big screen.

Yeah, I remember Superman and even saw Superman II and III on the big screen, but I was eight when III dropped a Richard Pryor bomb into the middle of a comic book movie.

I was fourteen when Batman hit the screen. I was a teenager deep into my comic-book buying trend. Probably seventy-five cents of every dollar I got in allowance went to filling my next long box from the Great Escape whenever I could get my parents (or Wayne's, let's be honest) to drive me over there.

Batman was gorgeous and stylish, dark and colorful at the same time. It had Michael Keaton stumbling in trying to reveal his other side to Vicki Vale (a low spot in Keaton's portrayal). It had Prince's very-Prince'ish soundtrack (high point)...

It mashed the origin of the Joker into Joe Chill's killing of Thomas and Martha Wayne (another low point). It gave us brilliant scenes like these...

Batman was THE movie of 1989. 1989 was the summer of Batman - not Batman but rather Batman. It wasn't the best movie of the year (that was either Field of Dreams or Born on the Fourth of July). It wasn't the biggest world-wide earner that year (Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade was that). It was, however, the biggest hype machine of the year, the movie that had been coming and Coming and COMING for a year. Batman was finally here!

It's far from a perfect film (Chris Sims even wrote, "This is a pretty good Tim Burton movie. It’s an awful Batman movie. It misunderstands basically every aspect of the character.") - and in a radically different direction, the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman films are much much better, but I do love it so. 

PS: Oh, and if you the chance, check out these two things...the video for Prince's "Partyman" song from the Batman soundtrack (sadly un-embedable because it's Prince)...and this synopsis of the plot of Batman based only on a listen to the soundtrack.

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