I love Nolan’s Batman films, they are truly great films and I think they will stand the test of time; but while everybody is worshiping at the altar, let’s not forget that somebody else did it first: Tim Burton.
In 1989 Batman was released and I remember at the time it was a phenomenon, some complained that it was too dark and took itself too seriously. Looking back at it now, it’s practically a romantic comedy in comparison to The Dark Knight Trilogy.
To me Tim Burton’s Batman feels more like a comic book world though, rather than the whole “realism” of Nolan’s vision.
Jack Nicholson was everything I’d envisioned for The Joker and he managed to be darkly funny and yet really creepy at the same time.
Everything from the Gothic visuals, the amazing score by Danny Elfman and most importantly Michael Keaton’s performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman just gelled together perfectly.
Christian Bale was great as Bruce Wayne but let’s face it, his Batman voice (especially in TDK) was unintentionally funny in places. Michael Keaton was perfect because Batman was more mysterious and monosyllabic. He would only whisper the odd line but was a dark, angry, force of nature. You weren’t entirely sure if he really was the good guy because he was so eccentric.
His Bruce Wayne was weird and came across as someone who isn’t entirely sane and let’s face it, sane people don’t dress up as bats in their spare time, unless they’re going to a Halloween party.
What I loved was the fact that we didn’t know that much about the character and it kept the mystique.
Keaton also still has the coolest Batmobile and Batwing. When he holds up his mouthpiece and says “stop” to the Batmobile, who didn’t go “YES”? It was the very epitome of cool.
The whole final action sequence with the Batwing shooting at the Joker was pure awesomeness and everybody laughed when the Joker pulled out the HUGE gun. He’d casually shoot his own men for no real reason and that just added to his craziness.
Michael Keaton’s Batman costume is also the best as I love how it’s completely black with the yellow Bat Symbol on it. Nolan’s is kinda bland and grey, but admittedly it is probably more functional and he admits that he wanted everything to look like it was created by the military in some way. We don’t know who made Keaton’s Batman costume but we don’t really need to either.
As previously mentioned, Batman has a theme tune this time round and Danny Elfman has never been better before or since; it is the only superhero score to come close to John William’s Superman. It’s heroic, yet dark and embodies everything about the character perfectly.
So there you have it, Nolan’s Batman is great but Michael Keaton will always be the best Batman.