Tim Burton's Oscar winning film Batman was released 25 years ago and actor Michael Keaton forever changed how we viewed the Dark Knight.
In August of 1989 we were all introduced to a brand new look at what Gotham City had become due to chaotic criminal activity and police collusion. Tim Burton made Gotham dark, the city and it's people had a feeling of hopelessness. "The" Batman was considered more of a nuisance dressed as bat and Jack the Joker still had an even complexion before dropping into a vat of toxic goo.
Michael Keaton, best known for his work in Beetlejuice (also directed by Tim Burton), Gung Ho and Mr. Mom, filled the shoes of Bruce Wayne aka Batman. Jack Nicholson, with allot of pampering, played the clownishly homicidal Joker - Batman's ever-recurring archenemy. They were opposites and two of the most unlikely actors to don those rolls but Tim Burton had a vision.
Up until BATMAN's release in 1989 any incarnation of the Dark Knight was more Bat than Bruce and the Joker would just jump around and laugh manically while his henchman did the dirty work. Not this time! In Burton's interpretation the movie starts with a long look at the decaying city of Gotham - followed by foreshadowing when Batman deals out justice to a couple of crooks repeating the same type of crime situation that killed his parents. Tim Burton is a great story teller through film and this movie was no exception. The Joker and Batman storyline depicts both characters creating each other's alter ego. How awesome is that?
The success of the movie was partially due to composer Danny Elfman's musical touch, merchandising and a soundtrack completely recorded by Prince that included the Billboard number one hit Batdance. Batman was finally taken seriously and since has developed a franchise partnership with Warner Brothers. The movie single handedly paved the way for comic book character based films and grossed an astounding $251,188,924 in the US alone.
Here's to you Batman (1989). Happy 25th Anniversary.