The hype over the Batman officially got underway in December of 1988 when the initial trailer hit theaters just in time for Christmas. It was less than two minutes of random scenes seemingly picked haphazardly without any indication of what the plot of the film would be, yet it did the trick. Audiences were beyond hyped. Refresh your memory below:
It’s funny to watch this now because this is an absolutely terrible trailer. It truly seems thrown together (which, by some indications, it was, as rumors abounded that the studio wanted to get footage out there to counteract negative reports about the film’s production) and acts more of a proof-of-concept teaser than anything else. But audiences didn’t care that this was a jumbled mess of random scenes, they were getting a Batman movie, and nothing could take that joy away from them.
My personal feelings on the film is that it is wildly uneven, with a lousy script and a hammy performance by Jack Nicholson — who seems more interesting in riffing and being weird than anything else. (Yes, I acknowledge that this is a wildly unpopular opinion). For his part, Michael Keaton does an excellent job despite having both the Bruce Wayne and Batman characters being severely underwritten.
Ultimately though, Batman was so much more than a movie. It was a pop culture phenomenon unlike anything seen by Gen X other than the original Star Wars films. Being in my early teens during its initial release meant that I was swept up in all things Batman during 1989. While I don’t think much about the movie itself these days, I still have a warm spot in my heart for all of the hype. Batmania ruled the world in 1989, or at least it did mine. It was a fun time, and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of our recollections of the film and its impact with today’s 30th anniversary posts.
Previously on MovieFanFare: Create-A-Caption: Batman