Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BATMAN (1989) & BATMAN RETURNS (1992) - Tim Burton

Though highly sought after, the Batman role is a mostly thankless affair for the serious actor. You end up doing much of your work under a rubber mask (or satiny cloth, if you're Adam West), sometimes rubber nipples (if you're George Clooney). You're forced to affect an absurd gravelly voice (Christian Bale) or have your performance lost in the mix with a bad script/bad director (Kilmer/Schumacher) and a surplus of colorful villain characters.

Tim Burton's Batman may not be the best of the many Dark Knight iterations, and Keaton's performance in it is certainly not my favorite thing he's done. But of all the modern Batmen I think Keaton ably survived the rubber cape and codpiece better than the rest and not just once but twice. How? For the most part, he just kinda breeeezes through it. He doesn't make fun of the character exactly but doesn't take him deathly serious either. Still, sweating it out under all that angst and latex is going to make a man throw at least one temper tantrum, no matter how breezy his take on the classic comic book hero. And, yes of course, my favorite Keaton moment from Batman is said temper tantrum...

As for the sequel, juicy Keaton pickins' are slim. Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman really steals the show. The one Keaton moment that stuck was when she asked Bruce Wayne if he had a problem with his "duality." Given the unaffected way Keaton answers, you might think he's not even in character but actually questioning whether it was a smart career choice to  give Gotham's caped crusader a second go.

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