Batman (1989) Poster


Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Despite the best efforts of District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) and police commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle), Gotham City has become synonymous with "crime". One of the worst criminals is the Joker (Jack Nicholson), real name Jack Napier, once the enforcer for crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), and now horribly disfigured after a firefight in a chemical factory. Enter the Bat-Man (Michael Keaton) whose concealed identity is that of mild-mannered billionaire Bruce Wayne. With newspaper reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and photo journalist Vicky Vale (Kim Basinger) on his tail, it is up to Batman to stop the maniacal Joker before he takes over Gotham City's underworld.

  • The movie is based on characters—created by American comic book artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger for DC Comics—first appearing in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939. The screenplay was written by American screenwriters Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren. It was the first installment in Warner Bros.' Batman film series, followed by Batman Returns (1992) (1992), Batman Forever (1995) (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997) (1997). The film series was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins (2005).

  • Gotham City is a fictional U.S. port city located on the north-eastern Atlantic coast. It was originally a stand-in for New York City but has also resembled other crime-ridden, highly-populated urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit. Some sources, including Mayfair Games' authorized (but now out-of-print) Atlas of the DC Universe, have placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey. Christopher Nolan (director of Batman Begins and its sequels, The Dark Knight (2008) (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (2012)) locates Gotham City in the middle of the estuary of the Liberty River where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates most of Gotham from the mainland. The River Merchant divides Uptown from Midtown, while Midtown is separated from Downtown by the Gotham River. The Narrows is a small island in the Gotham River. A creek divides the district of South Hinkley from the rest of Gotham City. Gotham International Airport is in Pettsburg, to the north of the Liberty River estuary. The current DC Universe version of Gotham City is separated from the mainland by the Gotham River, bridged by a series of bridges and tunnels. The east and south sides of Gotham face the Atlantic Ocean. The city is further divided by the Sprang River (named for Dick Sprang) on the northern end and the Finger River (for Bill Finger) to the south. Tiny Blackgate Isle to the south-east is home to Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. (Blackgate is replaced by Stonegate Penitentiary in the animated series Batman (1992-1995) and its spin-offs.)

  • Because in the comics, Batman started out solo.

  • How the young Bruce Wayne grew up into a martial artist vigilante named Batman is explained more clearly in Batman Begins (2005), the series reboot. His anger clearly drives his obsession to prevent such an event from happening to anyone else. Based on his own scarred psyche, he pledges to stop what happened to him from repeating. In the comics, Bruce swore an oath over his parents' grave to avenge their deaths. Bruce studied hard, graduated from high school early, and traveled around the world studying various subjects and disciplines such as forensics, martial arts, criminal psychiatry, etc. to return to Gotham City as a young adult. While musing on how to begin his war on crime, Bruce was inspired by a bat flying through the window of his father's study.

  • This is the question that, oddly enough, doesn't get answered until Batman Forever (1995). The source of Bruce choosing to become a 6-foot bat comes from his fear of bats when he was younger and his decision to use that fear against his enemies. This is also discussed in the comic version, in Detective Comics #33, and further evolved in Batman #47, where Bruce was sitting in his den, trying to figure out what symbol he could take. "Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot," Wayne remarks, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to assume the persona of Batman. This scene also occurs in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One.

  • The front cover of the DVD case, the Batwing, and the Bat Signal all have an image of the traditional Bat insignia. However, on his chest, it looks different because there are two additional spikes at the bottom.

  • While Batman and Vicki dangle by their fingers from the ledge of the cathedral tower, the Joker starts kicking at the bricks in order to break them free. His helicopter flies in and sends down a ladder, but Batman snares the Joker's leg with a wire lasso and then tethers it to a stone gargoyle. The gargoyle breaks free under the pull, weighting down the Joker, and sending him to his death. Suddenly, the ledge breaks, and Batman and Vicki begin to plummet, too. Fortunately, Batman is able to use a grappling hook to suspend them in the air. Later, in an address to the city, Commissioner Gordon assures the public that all of the Joker's men have been rounded up and that Gotham is now crime-free. Harvey Dent reads a letter from Batman promising that he is available should crime rise again. They then unveil the new bat signal. Vicki says goodbye to Knox and walks toward a limousine where Alfred (Michael Gough) is waiting to drive her to Wayne Mayor even though Bruce might be a bit late.

  • Technically no. Batman is one of the few mortal humans that have no actual "superpowers" that is considered the mark of a superhero. Due to his cunning ingenuity, detective skills, stealth, and martial arts skill, Batman is actually able to contend with most super-villains and even some superheroes such as Superman.

  • She screamed a total of 22 times.

  • Warner Brothers originally intended to use the Joker in Batman sequels. One original script for Batman Returns involved a newspaper story claiming the Joker's body had mysteriously disappeared. Later, when producers believed George Clooney would return as Batman in the 5th movie, ideas were generated involving Scarecrow applying his hallucinatory formula to Batman, who would see Nicholson as the Joker in his nightmarish visions. After Batman & Robin did poorly at the box office, and George Clooney vowed never to wear the cape and cowl again, those plans were scrapped, though Scarecrow and his hallucinogen were eventually used in Batman Begins. Prior to the Batman Begins reboot, Warner Brothers considered doing a Batman Beyond live action film. Nicholson was in talks to reprise his role as the Joker.

  • Yes and quite deliberately so. One of the unwritten rules of the Batman mythology is that whilst he is a vigilante, he goes to great lengths to avoid killing and does not use firearms. While he never uses firearms (handheld "cannons") in this film, he does use military-grade vehicles (complete with mounted machine guns and missile launchers), and he premeditatively kills many of the Joker's henchmen (an unknown number) by blowing up their chemical plant with explosive ordinances delivered from the Batmobile. (Since the release of this film, Batman's use of war weaponry has become a definitive characteristic of his across multiple franchises, but in most stories, he doesn't use these things to kill people.) Another example of him killing a criminal in this film is when he uses his legs to grip one the the Joker's henchmen by the neck and flings the henchman into the open shaft of a very tall stairwell, although this may have been more of a reflex on Batman's part.


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