Sunday, February 28, 2010

Michael Keaton's Batman

Michael Keaton's Batman (1989), directed by Tim Burton, is now playing on Spike.

It's many years since I've seen it, and I'd forgotten how star-studded it was, with cameos by Billy Dee Williams and Jack Palance to name a few. (Although one would never forget that Jack Nicholson played the Joker.)

I never had a problem with Keaton's Batman - I rather enjoyed it as a matter of fact. This is because I'd never seen him in anything else, and didn't know he was known primarily as a comedian.

I didn't get the sense that Jack Nicholson's Joker stole the show, either - I just found him extremely annoying - and way to tubby to play the Joker!

Unfortunately, Keaton's second foray, with Danny DeVito as the Penguin, was much less successful, and kind of soured me on the project. The Penguin, as played by Burgess Meredith in the TV series, had been one of my favorite characters, but DeVito's Penguin was just a grotesquerie, as was the general plot of the movie.

What really ruined the series, in the subsequent outings, was their instance on having two villains at the same time, so we got Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, The Riddler and Two-Face (disliked the portrayals by both the actors) and so on. Why not spend some time with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson as themselves, and as super heroes, etc.

And I was totally uninterested in seeing Christian Bale's Batman, or Dark Knight as I think it should be more properly called, all angsty and monotone, and the Joker in that movie was just too creepy for words.

Give me Adam West and Burt Ward any day of the week. Yeah...some of the later episodes in that series were even campier than camp, but overall it was a great series. After that, Michael Keaton's Batman - the best of the lot.

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