I hate to admit but I’ve had a cultural blind spot when it comes to Tim Burton’s “Batman.” I saw it as a child several times and thought it was pretty good, but I was much more interested in “Batman Returns” (hello, Catwoman)… Now as an adult, I saw it for the first time in decades and I was absolutely blown away by it: It’s easily one of the most distinctive, stylized and perfectly constructed mainstream blockbusters I’ve ever seen. From the “Metropolis”-inspired sets to Danny Elfman’s striking, downright oppressive score, it’s one of those movies that’s the perfect sum of its parts: Everything comes together extraordinarily nicely, and editor Ray Lovejoy knows exactly how to weave the movie’s various elements into a sonically, visually and dramatically unified whole that’s unlike anything that’s come before it. Michael Keaton makes a solid Bruce Wayne here, bringing a touch of levity to an otherwise dour role, while Jack Nicholson camps it up as the Joker like he’s been waiting to play this part his whole career, and both share believable chemistry with the charming Kim Basinger. With touches of everything from the aforementioned “Metropolis” to the 1930s Universal monster movies (in particular “The Invisible Man”), “Batman” fills the screen with inspiration and imagination, and it’s a wonder to behold.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)