Burton's reinvention of the Batman franchise returned the caped crusader to the moody, noirish, 1940s roots of the original comic while also delivering Warner Bros. a blockbuster series that has yielded five sequels to date. Batman tells the origin story of the costumed crime-fighter (Keaton), revealing how billionaire Bruce Wayne, scarred by childhood trauma, becomes a nocturnal vigilante. With his skin-tight latex suit, cave full of gadgets, and terse speech, Burton's belongs among the director's many orphaned anti-heroes. Burton's Gotham is an urban dystopia cluttered with clashing architectural styles and steamy, darkened alleys swarming with criminals. Chief among the crooks is the bleach-faced, flame-haired Joker (Nicholson, full of winner-takes-all gusto). Using Wayne's love-interest—brassy, tousled photographer Vicky Vale (Basinger)—as bait, The Joker lures Batman into a cataclysmic battle to save his beloved city and its inhabitants. Inspired in part by Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, which delved into The Joker's deep-seeded psychosis, Burton's Batman smashed box-office records in the summer of 1989 and remains a darkly-exhilarating thrill ride.
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.