The original "Batman" movie was released in 1966, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, who portrayed the dynamic duo in the early television series. However, the contemporary updated "Batman" movie, which sparked a run of several new films for Warner Bros. Pictures, was released in theaters in 1989 and starred Michael Keaton as the caped crusader.
The 1989 "Batman" movie briefly tells of the traumatic childhood of Bruce Wayne, during which he witnessed his parents' murder. One of the main nemeses of the superhero serves as the villain in the film, when organized crime leader Jack Napier is badly burned in a chemical accident and transforms into the role of The Joker, played by Jack Nicholson. With a newly discovered fondness for chemistry, The Joker sets out to destroy Gotham's citizens and take over the city. Along with a budding romance with news reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger), the movie Batman features the superhero's heroic attempts to stop The Joker and save the city.
Fictitious Gotham City provides the backdrop for the superhero story based on the popular character first introduced by DC Comics in 1939's "Detective Comics #27," according to Comic Vine (www.comicvine.com). Bearing a striking resemblance to New York City in terms of size and layout, Gotham is depicted as a major metropolis overrun by corrupt politicians and mobsters.
Batman scours the dark alleys at night searching for the unjust and attempts to bring them to justice in a way that law enforcement cannot. The Bruce Wayne character is portrayed as confident and mysterious, but still deeply affected by witnessing the murder of his parents as a kid. While he cannot change what happened, he tries to distract himself from the past by using his own unique form of vigilante justice to fight organized crime in a crime-ridden city.
Vicki Vale gives the superhero film its necessary romantic element. Initially introduced as a reporter covering a noneventful story about Bruce Wayne, she becomes intrigued about the suspicious connection between Bruce, Batman and the evil Joker. As Bruce and Vicki build their romance, he has to work harder to protect his identity as Batman from Vicki and Gotham. Along with his frustration that Batman gets in the way of his dirty deeds, The Joker sets his eyes on Vale and is disappointed when she spurns his advances.
Batman had a successful box office performance, which helped launch a run of Marvel Comics film adaptations, beginning in the 1990s and continuing into the 21st century. With a modest budget estimated at $35 million, the film has earned $251,185,407 in the United States as of June 2011, according to The Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). Worldwide gross earnings are $411,348,924 and $150,500,000 has been collected in movie rental revenue.
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