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Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 211 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Tim Burton's 1989 Blockbuster introduces us to the origins of Gotham City's fearless crimestopper Batman (Keaton) and his arch-enemy The Joker (Nicholson).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. It's a rare, beautifully made movie that offers you another world. [23 June 1989, Daily Datebook, p.E1]
  2. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    100
    The movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It's an enveloping, walk-in vision... As rich and satisfying a movie as you're likely to see all year.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    80
    Nicholson embellishes fascinatingly baroque designs with his twisted features, lavish verbal pirouettes and inspired excursions into the outer limits of psychosis. It's a masterpiece of sinister comic acting.
  4. 70
    It has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. The images sing. [10 July 1989]
  5. It would be a lot better if it didn't lean exclusively on bone-crunching action for its climactic thrills, and the story continues long after its ideas have started to sag. [29 June 1989, Arts, p.10]
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Non Credited)
    60
    Despite its interesting, grim tone and undeniably striking visuals from director Burton and production designer Furst, the film fails to synthesize its strengths into a compelling whole.
  7. The Joker has been demoted into a broad-scale sociopath, without a tempter's power or a mythic villain's complexity. And that's the movie's real undoing. [23 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 59
  2. Negative: 8 out of 59
  1. Oct 30, 2010
    10
    best Michael Keaton movie ever!
  2. Feb 6, 2011
    10
    I watched this movie a couple of days ago after so many years and while Batman's stiffness in his movements kind of gets in the way, the movie is still as spectacular as ever, specially the musical score. Expand
  3. Apr 1, 2011
    9
    The most successful outing of the Caped Crusader before the 2007 smash hit Dark Knight, the 1989 Tim Burton version offers a straight up comic book movie with a crap load of action, explosions and overall mayhem. Michael Keaton stars as Bruce Wayne, a sly and unassuming businessman who by day deals with documents and contracts and who by night is a one man army, stopping crimes all over Gotham City. He forms a relationship with photojournalist Vicki Vale, played sexily by Kim Basinger, who wants to write a story about the Batman legend and crack the truth once and for all. Meanwhile, a citywide spree of madness and murder is being perpetrated by The Joker, played excellently by Jack Nicholson who is perfect for the role. Quite simply, when it comes to portraying crazy people, he is THE best. As mentioned before, the movie was in the hands of extraordinary artist Tim Burton, four years after his big screen debut with the 1985 comedy Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. The movie looks great, and the DVD quality is top-notch for a movie that is nearly 25 years old. I have to say, this movie in particular is the best looking action movie I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. However, the film does have some flaws, my biggest complaint being a sometimes cheesy soundtrack (Prince). In sum, a truly great film experience that all fans of the genre should check it out. Expand
  4. Aug 29, 2012
    8
    The blockbuster that started it all. It may not be the first superhero film, but it sure was the first that was a genuine phenomenon. So much so that it eclipsed the movie itself. The T Shirt with the BAT symbol...the Prince soundtrack...the endless merchandise. How about the movie itself? It always was an unconventional film, from its choice of male cast (comedian Michael Keaton) to its Blade Runner influenced Art Design.Yes.. the narrative took strange turns, the fighting scene looked really stiff. But the spectacle is still present, two decades after its release. While the Nolan trilogy brought the Dark Knight to the 21st century, Tim Burton's version was the first super hero film that showed the true potential of the genre. Not the best, but still pretty great stuff. Expand
  5. May 15, 2013
    7
    Probably one of my most nostalgic movie franchise was the batman series, from Tim Burton's original to even Batman and Robin. With that said, this one was one I never watched as much compared to the sequal. I just didn't get into it. Watching it now I realize it's probably one of the best ones, in my opinion I like Batman returns more. I got this movie along with the next three in what's probably now called a box set, I watched all of them multiple times; I didn't know how bad the last one was, and enjoyed watching most of them. I guess I should start talking abut the movie now instead of how I got it, the best things in this movie are shown right in the opening. The score to this is now iconic, I think it's better than Nolan's score. It sets the mood, it gets exciting, and just feels so triumphant. The actors are a good choice as well. Michael Keaton is now famous for his role as Batman, giving a settle Bruce Wayne character and the bruting Batman. Jack Nicolson; I'm a big fan of his now, he gives a sorta hoakey performance. I mean, he's not at all scary, more funny in fact, but he does what he wants and we love him for it. The supporting cast from Bruce's butler Alfred are good, and the reporter is...okay. Okay so she isn't anything great, if anything she's annoying. I think the plot is interesting; being Tim Burton he gives a shot at 60's culture, satire of how people fancy themselves with make-up and other products, and decide to use it against the populous. The sleek and dark look of gotham is forever remembered in the eyes of filmmakers, having essence of Chicago and other crime driven cities. Also this film was I believe criticised for its dark tone; when that would come full bloom in the next installment, and in all honesty it's not that dark, it's darkly shot if that's what they meant. Now my final verdict for this film is what it is because it holds good nostalgia; even if it's not my favorite in the series, some good performances, and it's just to see the caped crusader on the big screen done right. Expand
  6. Aug 5, 2012
    7
    Tim Burton's Batman might not pack the epic punch of the later Nolan incarnation of the dark knight, but it still stands as a thoroughly enjoyable Bat-romp. Silly and gothic in equal measure, the movie is buoyed by a charismatic performance from jack Nicholson, a rousing classic theme tune and the coolest batmobile to ever grace the screen. Expand
  7. Jan 22, 2012
    0
    What do people see in this movie? I saw it when it came out when I was a little kid and hated it. Now that I'm an adult, I thought that perhaps I didn't have the ability to appreciate whatever it was that people loved about this movie, so I watched it again. And I still hate it, LOL. I don't know where to begin, frankly, because every aspect of this movie, from the completely unfaithful representation of the comic book characters to the cringingly awkward dialogue and perplexing moment to moment decisions to the stiff and contrived flow of action, made this one of the biggest wastes of time I've spent in a while. I just finished watching the scene where Bruce Wayne confronts the joker in Vicki Vale's apartment. Oh yeah, you fanboys know what I'm talking about and every one of you knows when you saw that scene even your reaction was, "And Bruce Wayne did that because....?". That reaction pretty much sums up my sentiments for almost every character in every scene in the entire movie. Don't waste your time with this movie. The new Chris Nolan ones are at least compelling and rational, even if they aren't completely adherent to the comic book themes. Stick with them and may this movie be buried for eternity at the bottom of the $5 DVD bin at your local Walmart! Expand

See all 59 User Reviews

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