Batman -  1989

Happy Batman Day! Siskel And Ebert’s 1989 Review

You probably have already noticed from various online sources that today is in fact National Batman Day. So why not join us on the The Retroist as we dance with the Devil by the pale moonlight and see what the late great Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel felt about Tim Burton’s Batman?

[Via] 1989 Batman Movie

Was Ebert being fair in his criticism with Batman?

Yes and no. My takeaway is that Ebert didn’t hate the movie. He just couldn’t get past some of the story elements like Vicki Vale, played by Kim Basinger, not kind of freaking out more when she discovers that Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) is Batman. Not enough at least to enjoy it as much as Gene Siskel did in this case.

Here though is why I respectfully disagree with Ebert’s argument:

  • Early on in the movie, Bruce demonstrates some rather odd behavior, right? After spending the night together Vicki wakes up to see Bruce “exercising” and looking very much like a hanging bat.
    batman-1989
  • Vicki also spots Bruce on the streets of Gotham visiting the spot where his parents were murdered in crime alley. Something that causes her to research what happened to him as a kid – to which even the character of Knox mentions that he thinks Bruce is messed up in the head.
  • Then of course there is Bruce’s confrontation with the Joker in Vicki’s apartment. Which results in Vicki losing a perfectly good vase and watching Bruce get gunned down by the jealous Joker. Then he ends up literally leaving the apartment without her seeing him…probably climb out the window.
    batman-1989-bruce-and-the-joker
  • Vicki is a reporter besides being a well known photographer – she is not stupid. It only makes sense that she would put all of those pieces together and come to the conclusion Bruce is also Batman.
    batman-1989-vicki-and-batman
  • Plus I bet there was a scene before Alfred escorts her down to the Batcave where she grills him about knowing Batman’s true identity. Probably a threat about revealing who Wayne really is if Alfred doesn’t let her see him.

So today why not take a moment and join in on the celebration of National Batman Day? Re-watch 1989’s Batman or one of the other films – or better yet pick up and spend some time reading some Batman comics?

Who knows…maybe you should keep an eye on the night sky?

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required