Posted on July 21, 2008 at 8:00 am

Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Profanity: Some rude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Social drinking
Violence/ Scariness: Comic book violence and mayhem, some disturbing
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: 1989

The critical and box office success of The Dark Knight is a reminder to take another look at the last re-booted Batman and Joker, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s broody re-imagining of a character then best remembered for the campy 1960’s television series. Ledger is sensational in “The Dark Knight,” but so is Nicholson in a performance included in the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 all-time best movie villains. The visuals, the music, and most of all the performances make this movie a very worthy precursor to the current re-imagining of the enduring story.

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8 Replies to “Batman”

  1. I must confess I couldn’t stand Tim Burton’s first “Batman” movie, and thought that Jack Nicholson’s performance was one of his “over-the-top” ones. (I think he is so much more interesting as an actor when the director reins him in and keeps a lid on his craziness.)
    On the other hand, I loved Tim Burton’s second “Batman” film, which had an excess of villains (Michelle Pfeiffer’s ‘Catwoman,’ Danny DeVito’s ‘Penguin’ and Christopher Walken’s hilarious ‘Max Schrek.’
    I’ll be interested to see the new ‘Batman’ film though I’m not sure playing ‘The Joker’ was worth a man’s life.

  2. Unlike the first commentor. I preferred Tim Burton’s “Batman”. And especially his “over-the top” Joker, as played by Jack Nicholson. I saw “The Dark Knight”, and I would rate it 3 out of four stars. Ledger was good. In fact all three live action “Jokers” retained elements of the various portrayals of the comic-book villain. But Nicholson nailed it spot on as it were. He was “over-the top”.
    That’s the point of the Joker. He’s a showman, flamboyant. Yet more importantly he killed more innocent people than Ledger’s character. He was more of a terrorist because his killings were more random. Yet he treated it all as it were one Galactic joke.

  3. I’m confused. This site is Belief Net – and I guess I had it wrong when I thought that particular chosen name meant positive morals and standards to be focused on. But here we are talking about killing, and about how good an actor was in the film when the media just announced on the star beat his family and had been arrested. I would think Belief Net would be discussing that and perhaps debate that issue.
    Maybe the name should be rethought and Opinion Net should be considered.

  4. Donna,
    There’s considerable discussion of the moral quality of the film at the Idol Chatter link to “Good, Evil, and the Soul of Dark Knight”. There’s even more if you follow the links from that post.
    As to the accusations about Bale’s behavior, there’s evidence coming out that the charges were likely concocted. In any event, his private behavior doesn’t have to affect what we think of the movie.

  5. Donna,
    Perhaps you need a lesson in fiction and fact.
    Fiction – make believe depiction. All the killing in the movie is FICTIONAL. Not like they are praising someone for going off and killing tons of people in real life. They are discussing a movie.
    Fact – Christian Bale plays the star, Batman. Heath Ledger played The Joker. Discussed above is Heath Ledger’s portrayal of a FICTIONAL character. Heath turned in a great performance and unfortunately accidentally ended his life way too soon by taking a few more than his prescription dosing of sleeping pills.
    Fiction – the star of Batman was arrested for beating his family. NEVER ever jump on the bandwagon of a news report until all of the facts have started to funnel in.
    Fact – Christian Bale was detained and released for PUSHING his Mother during a brief argument in the lobby of a hotel in the UK. His Mother and Sister don’t hide the fact that they do not approve of nor like Christian’s wife. Most likely a ploy to gain money from Christian that they believe his wife doesn’t deserve was the reason behind their suit.
    You know what makes this site so wonderful? It’s a wide reaching, non-confrontational system for people to connect and feel like they are family. This site represents almost all aspects of Religion and Beliefs – no longer does everyone have to be Catholic or be beheaded, practitioners of Wicca are no longer burned at the stake and all members are fully allowed to express their beliefs, opinions and learn to accept and appreciate those who believe in other ways than they might.
    You might want to take your blinders off Donna. You expressed your opinion to ignore the and we’ve expressed ours over which Batman we prefer. Nothing deviant or out of the ordinary there. Maybe you should stick to the inspirational and devotional areas of the site so you aren’t offended by the entertainment posts.

  6. Thanks for writing, Donna! A movie review is certainly an opinion, but I try to make my opinion clear in a way that lets readers know what they might think about the film. I evaluate every film in terms of its intended audience and if you read my reviews you will see that I also include my thoughts on the values each movie represents. Remember that even a good “family values” movie like “The Sound of Music” has Nazis and “The Wizard of Oz” has killing. I respect the way that “The Dark Night” is ambitious enough to engage on some very significant moral issues — like whether it is possible to hold on to a moral code while fighting people who do not have one. These are issues that are very present in the real world. Since the beginning of recorded history people have used myth and parable to help them think about the big issues; these days those myths and parables often present themselves in movies, books, and television, even games. That is a large part of what led me to this profession in the first place.
    The issue you raise about the relevance of a star’s off-camera behavior is a good one and I welcome debate about that issue. It has come up on this blog before in connection with Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy and Miley Cyrus’ Vanity Fair pictures among others. But let’s remember that people are innocent until proven guilty and that one value I support is that people should not be the first to cast a stone.

  7. Thanks for a great comment, Rhi. I especially appreciate your description of Beliefnet, which is very true to my best hopes for what we are creating here. Many, many thanks.

  8. It is no ones business what happened between Christian and his family,,this has mothing to do with anything,,the movie was great,,he was great,,Heath was great,,they were all great…it is a comic book story brought to the screen…enjoy it for what it is..and stop nit picking everything,,,Daisey

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