Twenty years after the cancellation of the Adam West Batman TV series, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton got together to reinterpret Batman, giving us two historic bat-bilms. The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch looks at the 1989 Batman and Batman Returns.
I won’t say Jack Nicholson is a total disaster, because his Jack Napier is actually very effective. But once he falls into the vat and becomes the Joker, he’s just mugging for the camera. It’s a surface performance of prancing about and acting doofy and just not being very interesting. Some of his line deliveries are great (the script provides him with some superb one-liners that he nails), but the role is ultimately little more than that. There’s no sense of character, of menace. Cesar Romero before him and Heath Ledger and especially the brilliant Mark Hamill after him did far more, much more effectively with the part.