[Screen It]

 

"BATMAN"
(1989) (Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Heavy Mild Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Mild None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Mild Minor *Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: Batman battles the Joker in this big screen adaption of the comic book and TV series.
PLOT:
In Gotham City, crime is running rampant under the control of mobster Carl Grissom (JACK PALANCE) and his right-hand man, Jack Napier (JACK NICHOLSON). Unknown to D.A. Harvey Dent (BILLY DEE WILLIAMS), even the police, such as Lt. Eckhardt (WILLIAM HOOTKINS), are on Grissom's payroll. Further complicating this is a mysterious crime fighting figure, the "Batman," who just so happens to also be millionaire Bruce Wayne (MICHAEL KEATON). In an encounter with Jack, Batman causes him to fall into a vat of chemical goo, scarring Jack's face into a grotesque grin, and turning him into a homicidal lunatic, a.k.a. "The Joker." As Batman deals with this new menace, he must also put up with Alexander Knox (ROBERT WUHL), a newspaper reporter looking for a scoop, and Vicki Vale (KIM BASINGER), a photographer who Wayne is immediately attracted to. With the help of his butler and trusted confidant, Alfred (MICHAEL GOUGH), Batman must deal with the Joker and his right-hand man, Bob "the Goon" (TRACEY WALTER), as he tries to restore peace to Gotham.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're old enough to know about Batman, they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
The MPAA reason was not available, but we'd guess it was for comic book type violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MICHAEL KEATON plays the brooding millionaire/superhero. He fights crime by night and is philanthropic during the day, so beyond his introspective behavior and sleeping with Vale on their first date, he's a good role model.
  • JACK NICHOLSON plays the villain, a homicidal criminal who gets eccentrically worse as time goes by.
  • KIM BASINGER plays a photographer who gets drunk and sleeps with Wayne on their first date, but otherwise just wants to know more about this man she's fallen for.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    In retrospect, this is the most sophisticated of the first three films in this series, and presents a darker and more introspective view of the Caped Crusader then we were used to (when it was released and especially compared to the campy TV show from the 60's). While many questioned the casting of comic Michael Keaton for the lead, he manages to pull it off, especially in the scenes where he plays Bruce Wayne. While physically small for the role of Batman, the costume department makes up for that with a fabulous rubber suit that shows off the muscular, but fake, frame of Keaton. Nicholson steals the show -- as he does in nearly every movie he's in -- and turns out to have been just the first step in Keaton finally giving up the role for being constantly overshadowed by the villains. While some may say that Nicholson goes over the top in his performance, he's supposed to in the role of the crazed Joker. The rest of the cast is fine with Wuhl and Basinger in the supporting roles, and the ever steady Michael Gouge as the trusted and wise butler. The story could be stronger -- it starts off fine, but degenerates into following the Joker's shenanigans, and stops completely during a museum defacing scene played to the pounding sounds of Prince. The shameless inclusion of this music not only doesn't fit in with the movie, but is blatantly done just to promote that artist and this movies' pop soundtrack. Since Prince was still a rather hot commodity when this was made (1989) it probably seemed like a great way to make some more money, but only weakened the overall project. Likewise, the film gets stupid and sloppy at the end, such as when Batman has the Joker dead set in his target sights but somehow manages to miss him, allowing the Joker to shoot him down with just one shot from a pistol. Still, the film comes of as an enjoyable romp through comic book land, and is certain to entertain both fans and non-fans of Batman alike. While not the best big screen adaption of a comic book hero (the original "Superman" takes that honor), it certainly proves to be adequate. We give it a 6 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Although we gave the "Violence" category an extreme rating, most of it's done in a comic book style with little or no blood. One man, however, is electrocuted by the Joker and his charred skeletal remains are seen and may be upsetting to younger kids. Beyond the violence, and the stereotypical villains' bad attitude (including a museum vandalism scene), there's not a great deal else to object to. Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale sleep together, but nothing is seen and this is only inferred by seeing them the next morning. The worst of the language are a few "s" words and there are only mild amounts of drinking and smoking. If you or you children wish to see this film, you should first read through our scene listings to determine whether it's appropriate or not.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Alfred passes out wine at a reception.
  • Bruce and Vicki have wine with dinner, and after drinking more, Vicki says that she feels "a little drunk." The next morning she and Bruce are seen in bed, somewhat implying that she slept with him partially because of being drunk.
  • Grissom has a late night drink.
  • The Joker drinks a martini.
  • People out on the street as well as in a bar are seen drinking.
  • Alfred offers champagne to Vicki in a limo.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Jack's face is a little bloody after being scratched by a ricocheting bullet.
  • The Joker smears blood that was splattered onto a newspaper.
  • The Joker shakes a man's hand with some sort of electric buzzer that not only shocks the man, but fries him to a charred crisp. The blackened, skeletal corpse is then seen for quite some time as the Joker talks to it.
  • The Joker looks at several black and white photos of dead people in Vicki's portfolio.
  • A woman accompanying the Joker has a scarred face.
  • Batman's face is a little bloody after fighting with the Joker's men, and the Joker has a bloody nose.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of the bad guys have both, especially Jack/the Joker who gets pleasure from people dying. He also has an affair with his boss' wife, but nothing is seen. He also proudly claims to be the first fully functional homicidal artist.
  • Several thugs have both as they assault and rob a family.
  • Police officer Eckhardt is on the take from Grissom's men.
  • The Joker and his men deface and break many pieces of art in a museum (knocking over statues, spraying and throwing paint onto art pieces, etc...).
  • To protect his secret identity (and perhaps because he feels awkward about having slept with Vicki), Bruce lies to her about going out of town when she asks if he's busy, and he doesn't return any of her phone calls.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some scenes listed under "Violence" may be seen by some viewers as suspenseful.
  • The Joker's appearance -- with his exaggerated grotesque grin -- may be unsettling to very young viewers, as will a woman with a similar look and another with a scarred face.
  • The Joker shakes a man's hand with some sort of electric buzzer that not only shocks the man, but fries him to a charred crisp. The blackened, skeletal corpse is then seen for quite some time as the Joker talks to it.
  • The Joker screams and writhes in agony after Vicki throws water in his face, but it's all just an act.
  • The ending, where Batman and Vicki hang from the top of a cathedral tower while the Joker tries to make them fall might be tense to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Guns: Used to threaten, injure or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Ninja swords/knives: Used by a man to attack Batman who wards off the attack.
  • Bombs: Used by Batman to blow up a chemical plant used by the Joker.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "Bastard," "Jerk," "Screwed up," and "Idiot."
  • Batman holds a thief over the edge of a tall building threatening to drop him.
  • Eckhardt flicks his lit cigar at Knox.
  • The Joker repeatedly, and playfully, shoots Grissom until he's out of bullets (played to circus-type music).
  • The Joker and his men deface and break many pieces of art in a museum (knocking over statues, spraying and throwing paint onto art pieces, etc...).
  • The Joker shoots a TV set.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a mild amount of suspenseful music throughout the movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 3 "s" words, 6 craps, 2 S.O.B.'s, 2 hells, 1 damn, and 8 uses of "Oh my God," 2 uses of "Christ," and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Jesus," "Good Lord," "Oh God," and "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Knox tells Vicki (the photographer) that if she wants him to pose nude, she'll need a long lens.
  • There's some very minor innuendo when Knox and Vicki talk about Wayne by saying, "The chicks like him for his big charity balls." She replies, "And don't leave out his very large bankroll."
  • Bruce and Vicki are seen in bed together the next morning, implying they had sex, but nothing is seen.
  • SMOKING
  • A thief smokes a cigarette.
  • People smoke both cigarettes and cigars during one of Dent's speeches.
  • Eckhardt smokes a cigar.
  • Dent smokes a cigar in several scenes.
  • People smoke at a Wayne manor reception.
  • People smoke during a meeting with the Joker.
  • People in a bar smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There is a flashback scene where Bruce's parents are murdered. Two thugs steal his mother's pearls, and when his dad tries to stop him, both are shot and killed in front of a young Bruce.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • There is a flashback scene where Bruce's parents are murdered. Two thugs steal his mother's pearls, and when his dad tries to stop him, both are shot and killed in front of a young Bruce.
  • VIOLENCE
  • While a great deal of violence is listed, the majority of it is non-graphic and bloodless, unless otherwise noted.
  • Two thugs accost a lost family. The husband is hit on the back of the head while the other thug holds his gun on the wife and son. The two then steal her purse and take his wallet and flee only to encounter Batman. One of them shoots Batman several times, knocking him to the ground, but he then gets up. Batman then kicks one of them through a door, and holds the other over the edge of a tall building and then tosses him back onto the roof.
  • Jack pushes Eckhardt back against a wall, causing the cop to pull his gun on Jack. Bob "the goon, however, pulls his gun on Eckhardt causing the cop to back down.
  • The police storm a chemical plant and many shots are fired back and forth between them and the bad guys. Several people are hit, but none of it's graphic or bloody. The bad guys then shoot at Batman who dispatches them with punches and kicks.
  • Batman picks up Jack, but Bob "the goon" holds a gun to the police commissioner's head, causing Batman to let go of Jack. Jack then shoots and kills Lt. Eckhardt (not graphic or bloody), and moments later is scratched across the face by a bullet ricochet.
  • Jack falls into a vat of green chemical goo that we later see permanently changed his appearance.
  • Jack breaks a hand mirror and a hanging lightbulb after looking at himself.
  • The Joker repeatedly, and playfully, shoots Grissom until he's out of bullets.
  • The Joker shakes a man's hand with some sort of electric buzzer that not only shocks the man, but also fries him to a charred crisp.
  • The Joker throws a feathered ink pen that lands in a man's throat, killing him. His men then open fire on the public and several people are hit and killed.
  • A boxing glove apparatus smashes a TV set and later the Joker shoots another set.
  • There's talk of many people dying from the Joker's tampering with make up products which when combined, turn deadly.
  • Gas pours into a museum and the patrons fall over dead or unconscious.
  • The Joker and his men deface and break many pieces of art in a museum.
  • The Joker's men shoot at the batmobile during a car chase that includes many cars smashing into others.
  • Batman fights with the Joker's men. They shoot him several times and fire at Vicki. He then beats them up with punches and kicks.
  • The Joker mentions that his girlfriend tossed herself out a window (presumably to her death).
  • After Bruce smashes a sculpture with a fire poker and threatens the Joker, he's shot and knocked to the floor (but is okay).
  • There is a flashback scene where Bruce's parents are murdered. Two thugs steal his mother's pearls, and when his dad tries to stop him, both are shot and killed in front of a young Bruce.
  • Bullets fire from the batmobile, cutting out a hole for it to enter into a chemical plant. The bad guys inside shoot at it, and Batman drops off several bombs that then blow up the entire plant, presumably killing those inside.
  • The Joker unleashes deadly gasses from float balloons during a parade and many people begin to keel over from the gas until Batman saves the day. As he whisks away the balloons, several of the Joker's men fall from them, presumably to their deaths.
  • The Joker shoots Bob "the goon" and kills him.
  • Batman fires missiles and bullets at the Joker's men, blowing them into the air, and at Jack who then shoots down Batman's craft with one shot sending it crashing to the street.
  • The Joker takes Vicki hostage at gunpoint, and Batman fights with several more of the Joker's men. One of them beats him up, but is later tossed down a cathedral's stairwell to his death.
  • Batman then beats up the Joker with many punches. The Joker later falls to his death from a helicopter ladder.



  • Reviewed June 14, 1997

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [American Made] [Battle of the Sexes] [Flatliners] [A Question of Faith] [Stronger]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.