“You wanna get nuts?! Let’s get nuts!”
An astonishing, lavish production of classic German Expressionist cinema with a blockbuster budget, tied together by Tim Burton’s expressive decorum. Amazing performances that conceal a thudding disappointment when it comes to the action scenes. It also completely bellyflops in the second half, losing any sense of urgency and identity. Batman resolves to merely plot along, struggling to unify its disparate cast of characters for anything more than a fist fight.
I’m really drawn to the *ideas* here about masks and cosmetics, almost like The Joker attempting to reveal the true face of Gotham during his reign of terror. The only problem is it’s never confronted in any meaningful way! Instead, the film pivots the Joker into hijacking the romance between reporter Vicki Vale and the Caped Crusader.
It’s far too energetic up to that halfway point to not recommend, and it truly contains some of the greatest art production committed to celluloid, so it deserves every viewing we have given it. It’s just a big ol’ bummer it turns into a pile of nothing by the finale.
Still, Nicholson does god tier work as the Clown Prince of Crime. “You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would ya?” kills. His Joker still doesn’t get the credit it deserves as someone genuinely funny and frightening in a way that’s difficult to muster. The moment when he walks out of the shadows? Terrifying stuff.
The rest is, again, worth your time. I just wish it was about more. Tim Burton’s Batman is a mixed bag for sure but I still found plenty to talk about over on the Batman Retrospective. Check it out below.