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As far as the National Film Registry goes, Batman is a film the deserves consideration on a couple of levels. As far as a film for comic book geeks, it's easily the most comic book-like post-Superman comic book movie other than Dick Tracy (which deserves serious re-consideration). The follow-on Batman movies lost sight of what the comic books meant, and that was a bad bad thing. Batman and Robin is in the running for the worst comic book movie ever.
Tim Burton managed to do something incredibly artistic with a massively commercial property. In a way, he took the image of Batman from the 1960s TV show and burnt it to the ground (and that's what Shumacher tried to re-ignite in Batman and Robin and also EXACTLY why he failed so hard). He created a serious Batman, a dark Batman, but one who lived in a world that was timeless, where clothes and technology and cars and language exist in timestreams that seem independent of one another. That aspect makes Batman a post-modernist gem, doing what the 1960s Batman had done, that is bringing Batman from the pages of a comic and washing it in an artistic tone. For the 1960s Batman, it was Pop Art, and for Burton it was PoMo. Go figure.
The music is phenomenal, and while composer Danny Elfman was already established, here he stakes his claim as something more than quirky, and at the same time, quirky as all hell. Add to that the soundtrack done by Prince. His song Batdance is still one of my fave tracks, and is the perfect combination of timelessness while being decidedly of the late 1980s.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.