Movies & TV / Columns

Man Movie Encyclopedia: Batman

October 14, 2019 | Posted by Caliber Winfield

Greetings, all.

This week, before we settle into the spirit of October with some horror reviews, we’re gonna take a look at one of the greatest comic book movies of all time, that is currently celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. So, who better than Caliber to celebrate it, here, at the Hall of Burly? So, put the map away [we look like tourists!], don’t mix your lip-stick and deoderant, hang-up side down, and let’s enjoy some Batman….


We open up with a gorgeous matte painting of Gotham, which is essentially New York in the 70s in terms of how shitty it looks, and how ridden with societal cancer. We meet a family with the worst father ever, as he drags his family through the alleys of Gotham, trying to get some where. And we’ve got a hooker that’s mad a mom won’t let her proposition the child. The husband is knocked out, and they’re robbed. One of them, and I thought this since child hood, is Bruce Willis. The two junkies then discuss Johnny Gobbs, who got ripped and took a walk of f a building. 5 stories down, there wasn’t no blood in the body. Well, no shit, it was all over the pavement! Seriously, I can’t talk highly enough about this opening. Batman then shows up and caves in one dude’s chest with a side-kick, before using the other as a message service to the other bad cats out there that Batman is here.


From there, we meet one of the coolest fucking villians ever, Jack Napier. Dude is confidence personified, and ain’t no bitch better put their hand on his shoulder! He’s the 2nd in command to a guy named Carl Grisom, a crime lord in Gotham. He’s also sleeping with Grisom’s woman. Else where, we meet Lt Eckard, a grumpy cop with an awesome voice. As well as Knox, a local reporter hot on the story of the Batman. All of which Eckard denies. We also see Eckard is in bed with Jack and Grisom.
Back at the newspaper, Knox meets Vicky Vale, a photographer who believes in the Batman and wants to team up.
Grisom is on to Jack and his ladyfriend, so he sets him up. Harvey Dent is close to exposing that Grisom has ties with AXIS Chemicals, which is a front, so he sends Jack to make it look like a break in and industrial espionage, and make off with the records that prove of their connection.
Over at stately Wayne Manor, Bruce is having a party to raise funds for Gotham’s 200 Year Anniversary Festival. He’s got a room dedicated to armor and such, where Knox & Vale are hanging out, and finally meet Bruce. While he’s chatting them up, Alfred comes in and is all “Uh, Gordon left” to which Wayne says “OK….”, and Alfred puts some emphasis on it, being SUPER obvious that Wayne has some interest in this for whatever reason, in front of a very aggressive, nosey reporter. Alfred and I would have had a talk afterward.

BatCaliber: Hey, Alfred, can we talk…
Alfred: But of course, sir.
BatCaliber: Bruh…what the fuck? Remember that time I was chatting it up, impressing that chick with my King of the Wicker-People armor, and you parachuted in with a fucking mega-phone attached to a PA system and started screaming “HEY BATMAN, THERE’S BATMAN STUFF TO GO DO AS BATMAN. BATMAN.” Holy shit, man, I almost put you in a sleeper hold just to shut you the hell up! You could have said “Hey, mang, we got an emergency with the staff, needs your attention”. Just say that. I know you. Don’t try and over compensate and come in next time like “Hey, NOT BATMAN, you’re needed for NOT BATMAN STUFF CAUSE YOU AREN’T BATMAN”. Thank you.

We head to AXIS Chemicals where Ackard is, looking to ice Jack. Lots of shooting and fighting and the such, when Batman shows up to add to the mix. He confronts Jack, but when Bob, Jack’s right-hand-man puts a gun to Gordon, he has to let him go. Only for Jack to just straight up kill Eckard right in front of everyone. Bold. Batman is back, prompting Jack to try and shoot him but he reflects the bullet, causing it to graze Jack’s fauce and sending him falling into the chemicals. He soon emerges, and after some surgery to put a smile on his face, he smokes Grisom, and takes his seat as the head crime-kingpin of Gotham.

Else where, at Stately Wayne Manor, Bruce has a date with Vicky, and naturally ends up giving her the BatD. Later when he wakes up, she says lets go to my place for lunch, and Bruce, sensing a clinger, tells her he has to go out of town for a few days. So, naturally, it takes about FIVE SECONDS before Alfred blows all that with his big mouth. Jesus Christ. Lenme tell you how things would then go from then on out any time I had a guest over:

Bat Guest: Um…why does your butler have ducttape around his mouth?
BatCaliber: Oh, that’s because he’s a big freaking gossip queen who can’t shut his damn mouth for nothing! Fighting crime, ducking bitches, not paying your taxes, don’t worry, ol’ Gossip over here can spoil all of it!

Joker then has a meeting with the other crime lords and tells them how things are going to be. One of them doesn’t seem to be having it, so Joker kills him with his sweet hand-buzzer deal. Then Joker’s henchemen storm the room, all rocking Joker jackets and shit, and as a kid you think nothing of it. But as an adult, I keep thinking “Where’d he get this stuff made? Who drew up the logo? Was Joker shopping around for the best deals on bulk clothing?”. Anyway, he gives the leaders a few days to decide, but just ends up deciding to kill them seconds later anyway.


Meanwhile, Vicky, who, again, as an adult I see things differently, is being a complete stalker and creep. Bruce wants some privacy, and she’s trying to dig through files to find out about him, and even waits outside his house to follow him. Bruce ends up outside a courthouse, where Joker shows up and smokes all the gang leaders, before speeding off. Which is funny, because at this juncture, Bob is following Knox, and Vale is following Bruce. The end result is Joker finding out who Vale is, and falling in love.

During a news broadcast about 2 models who’ve died as a result of an allergic reaction due to mixing household chemicals, one of the anchors dies from laughter, and has a perma-Joker smile. We then get a commercial of Joker shopping for Joker products, which is awesome. Meanwhile, Vicky shows up at the museum for a date with Bruce, but it’s actually a set up for a meeting with Joker. He gasses everyone, leaving only her. He then comes in with the most romantic shit ever, bumping tunes, painting , and even had candles. The best part is where she asks him what he wants, and he thinks about it before saying “my face, on the one dollar bill”. I love that she was asking “what do you want with me?” and he felt she was just making convo, and what were his biggest desires.


Batman then shows up. They give chase to the couple, and Batman handles them pretty easy before taking Vicky back to the Batcave. He gives her the code to Joker’s chemical poisoning, and she gives it to the press. The next day, Wayne shows up at Vicky’s house to tell her who he was. But before he can, Joker shows up. Bruce, who could have easily pieced these people up, goads the Joker into shooting him, because he had a silver tray under his shirt. However, it was a stupid plan, because as Lloyd once said “What if he shot you in the face?”.


Joker makes a big announcement, saying he’s gonna hand out $20 million to the crowd that comes to see him fight the Batman. Bruce, watching this in the cave, realizes that Jack is the one who killed his parents. While he’s absorbing these things, the WORLD’S WORST BUTLER EVER shows up, with fucking VICKY! You know, you just fucking KNOW that Batman had a convo that went…

Batman: OK, look, loudmouth, if I’m gonna do this, I need to know you’ve got a lid on it.
Alfred: Of course, sir!
Batman: OK, so what if someone says “Alfred, have you ever heard of Batma—
Batman: NO! Goddammit. Man, I didn’t even finish saying the word “Batma—

Anyway, Vicky does what all women do, and tries to get him to quit dressing up and fighting crime. Yeah, sorry, lady, if you wanna date a punk look else where. Batman first heads to AXIS and blows the hell out of the factor. Afterward, Joker shows up and has an awesome parade where he throws out cash, as well as poison gas. Hey, no free lunches, baby. Batman eventually shows up and takes the balloons, which really pisses Joker off. He shoots down Batman’s Batwing with an awesome super barrel gun. He then climbs to the top of the Gotham cathedral with Vicky, as Batman gives chase, beating up peeps left and right. Batman & Joker finally have their fight, and it’s basically Batman just beating the shit out of the Joker, while making jokes, and it actually works, because you know he’s no match for Batman, but him fucking around is awesome.

They battle to the ledge, in which Joker gets one up on Bats & Vicky, and leaves them hanging while he flies away in his Jokercopter. However, Batman is loaded with a bolo-gun, and attaches Joker to gargoyle statue, sending him plummeting to his death.


1-Liners: 2
Guys Beat Up: 2
Guys Killed: 23
Swear Words: 3
Boobies: 0
Explosions: 2
Chase: 1
Broken Bones: 0
Fight/Shoot-Out At Motel?: No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy/Girl Smoke?: No

When Nicholson was asked to do the role, he hesitated, so the studio asked Robin Williams, who agreed. They then went to Jack and told them what was up, which was enough to convince him for some reason to do the role. This pissed off Williams, and not only did he turn down the role of Riddler in Batman Forever, but wouldn’t work with Warner Brothers until they apologized.

Billy Dee, who plays Harvey Dent, actually had it in his contract that the role is reserved for him when it’s time to play Two-Face. When they decided on Tommy Lee, they had to buy out Billy Dee’s contract. I find it funny that they replaced a three-named actor to play Two-Face, with another three name actor.

Part of Jack’s contract was that he had top billing, and got a percentage of the profits, which meant he ended up getting around $60 million for the role. Not bad, I guess.

Jack also said he loved the role, and loved how Joker’s humor was completely tasteless.

Batman’s original line was “I am the night”, and Keaton said “Why don’t I just say I’m Batman?”.

Comic book fans have always been touchy about their shit. When it came out Keaton was cast as Batman, they received over 50,000 letters as well as petitions, all sorts of bitching. Which is crazy, but I get it. Watching the movie, I had real issue with how small and non-threatening he looked.

In the script, the money that the Joker hands out is counterfit, with his face on it.

Man, what is there to say about this movie? For me, this movie, and Jurassic Park are what I point to and say “THIS is why movies are made”. It’s fantastic, and really just a feast for the eyes. The beautiful matte paintings, the sets, the wardrobe, the overall aesthetic, it’s just a gorgeous movie. The performances are all great, from Eckard, to Knox, Bruce, and of course The Joker. Everyone carries their own weight. I could spend all damn day talking about this movie. I remember in 1989 my step-dad taking me to go see it during a drive-in showing, but it was at 12am. I BEGGED him, but fell asleep 10 minutes in. I begged him again, and promised I wouldn’t fall asleep again. I fell asleep again. Really, my only complaint is I wish Keaton would just put on some fucking muscle. He’s so damn tinny.
***** Head-Butts out of 5

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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