Tim Burton directs Michael Keaton in the title role (1989). Production designer Anton Furst takes a good stab at making Gotham City seem corroded and oppressive, but all the best scenic and story ideas here come from other films (Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, Dunenot to mention Louis Feuillade’s serials and Fritz Lang’s Mabuse films). The film is watchable enough, and Jack Nicholson has a field day as the sinister Joker. But Keaton and Kim Basinger (as reporter Vicki Vale) register as washouts, and both the narrative line and the action sequences tend to be cumbersome. Still, the conceptual side of the movietwo rather sick two-sided antagonists having it out in a black and sordid contextlingers. PG-13, 126 min. (JR)

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