Batman is an example of a comic book movie done right. Tim Burton is able to balance his style with the style of the Batman comic books in order to create a unique and entertaining film. Burton creates a dark and Gothic world for Batman to operate in, and as a result makes the character darker, as he should be. Everything Tim Burton has done with this film fits so well. The way Gotham City looks is genius. The buildings are warped and decaying, and the weather is almost always gloomy, as if the city is reflecting the criminal element within. Bruce Wayne is a brooding and serious man, though he does show glimmers of a lighter side. Michael Keaton, though not really looking the part, plays the part very well, creating a menacing, gravelly voice for the Batman persona that would come to be used by most actors to play Batman in the future. Jack Nicholson's performance as the Joker is a fine piece of acting. He plays the character as a mix between the sadistic and murderous Joker of the 70s and 80s and the goofy prankster of the 50s and 60s. Danny Elfman's score is perfect for the tone of the film and gives the movie an epic quality. I really enjoyed some of the story elements such as starting the film a month into Batman's crime fighting career, before anyone knows he really exists. It's really interesting to hear the criminals and police force of Gotham talking about Batman as a supernatural urban myth.
Despite all the great qualities this film has, it does leave some things to be desired. When it comes to the character of the Joker, there were things I felt could have been done better. I felt that even though Jack Nicholson gave a great performance, there was too much of Jack Nicholson in the Joker. He didn't really change himself all that much. The Joker in the comics has no name, no identity, and can't remember who he was before he was the Joker. In this film he is just a mobster with a disfigurement, and he knows exactly who he is, and he doesn't really change from before his origin to after. I felt that the flashback showing the Joker as the man who killed Bruce Wayne's parents was an unnecessary change from the comics that was just thrown in to make the final fight more personal. I felt that the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon could have been explored more. Commissioner Gordon barely had anything to do in this film, and he's supposed to be a big part of the Batman mythology.
Overall, this is a vastly entertaining comic book film, and is a great movie in itself as well.