Tim Burton deserves a lot of credit for tying together the two versions of Batman familiar to 1989 audiences: The campy one from the 1960s TV show and movie, and the gritty, tormented one who had emerged in the masterful 1980s DC Comics work of Frank Miller in The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One.
Jack Nicholson is one of the all-time greatest actors, but his Joker throws off the balance of the movie: He’s too big, too distracting, not at all scary, and not as witty as he should be. We’ll take Heath Ledger’s dark deadpan over Nicholson’s punning.
But look, this is a Batman movie with a killer score and Prince soundtrack, and it proved a fairly serious superhero movie could thrive. We’re fans.