Tim Burton’s Batman celebrates its 25th birthday today.
When Tim Burton’s Batman was released, I stood in line at the Kennett Palace Theater with my niece, to score a ticket to the movie event of my life. I had not seen a superhero on film or on TV since Wonder Woman (which I barely remember as I was so young), and this was my chance to see one of the greatest superheroes ever on the big screen. My Batman experience was limited to the repeats of the 1960s Batman series (which I adored), but Tim Burton was doing something different, something serious.
I did that thing you’re not supposed to do at movies and at concerts: I wore a Batman shirt to the movie (supposedly, that’s uncool, but I didn’t care). I paid my $1 (yes, movies at this theater were just $1) and finally got inside where the lobby was full of people. I can’t even remember if we had popcorn or not, because all I was concerned about was the movie.
Even today, I feel that Tim Burton’s Batman holds up. Yeah, it’s a little campy, especially considering Chris Nolan’s take on the superhero, but it showed us things about Batman that the 1960s show never bothered with. For example, Bruce Wayne was human and had human issues: BIG human issues. The Batman villains had reasons for being villainous. Gotham City was dark and mysterious and riddled with crime. This was something we had never seen before, but it set the tone for every comic book-based movie that followed.
And that is the importance of Tim Burton’s Batman. Because it was so huge and such a commercial success, it paved the way for all the superhero movies we’re seeing today. There would be no The Avengers without Tim Burton’s Batman. There would be no Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Iron Man. Of course, at the time, we’d already seen the Christopher Reeve Superman films, but until Tim Burton gave us Batman, Hollywood wasn’t really interested in superhero franchises. Fast forward to today? And that’s all Hollywood wants to give us. Isn’t it great?
Also, Tim Burton gave us Jack Freaking Nicholson as The Joker. Need I say more?
So thank you, Tim Burton, from a world of geeks who have more choices than they know what to do with when it comes to superhero movies and television series. You started it all, sir, and for that, we applaud you.
Do you have any Tim Burton Batman memories? Share them in the comments below.