[Poster Analysis] Batman (1989)

Batman (1989) – Poster Analysis

Introduction

As the Batrepreneur was the first person to give me a recommendation on what poster I couldn’t resist take a look at the posters that were released at the time. It was a film that took some risks at the time with having a very visionary director with Tim Burton at the helm. Furthermore many believed that Michael Keaton wasn’t worthy to carry the mantle of Batman. We now know that the movie turned into a classic thanks to the performances of these incredible actors and especially Jack Nickolson as the infamous Joker. I am not here to question if the film has stood up the test of time, but rather take a little travel back in time to see how different poster advertisement was at the time especially after taking a look at Batman Begins not too long ago.

Now I do confess this movie came out two years before I even saw the light of the day, but it was one of the first films I ever saw. My father owned a VHS that was in a completely white case. It stuck out like a sore thumb in his collection and when I opened it the inscription on top of the cassette was missing so simply out of curiosity I pushed it into the VHS player to watch the most bizarre movie I ever could have at the time. At a young age I was introduced to Tim Burton’s bizarre mind while also getting to know one of my most looked up to heroes. It wasn’t my first time with the character, but it certainly was the first to leave an impression. So, taking a look back at a milestone in comic book movie history, how did they throw it out towards the public?

Analysis

 I absolutely love this original poster due to its simplicity. Just like Batman – The batmanAnimated Series never required a true title because the character was so iconic this movie used the fact to simply show the classic logo so everyone knows what this movie is about. What I find interesting is the choice of logo used, as it is quite flashy. How come I find that bizarre? Well, consider that this show is a much darker interpretation after Adam West version it is interesting choice. While at the time it could have been the classic logo for the character, which was also used in the animated series. The black background could be a symbol of the more darker tone this movie takes, especially that this time we see Batman in the dark more than in the middle of the day. Is there really much I can say about the poster? It is a great teaser for what is coming, anyone who recognizes the symbol will get pumped up especially at the time it could become a game-changer and even today it is just a beautiful design which probably inspired Christopher Nolan to use the symbol in the first teaser for The Dark Knight. I am curios in what direction they went after this.

batman_ver2What? They just took the same poster and slapped the name on it? I know I said I loved the first poster but a little bit more creativity isn’t too much to ask for? I should calm down as this was a very different time period and it may be that not a lot of hope was thrown into the movie. Like I mentioned it was quite a risk at the time, especially as some people couldn’t imagine Keaton in the main role, but it would have been nice to at least feature them on the posters, especially someone as recognizable like Nickolson. Am I missing something?

batman-movie-poster-1989-1I guess I was! Have to confess that these probably worked at the time when they were published more than how I look at them at the moment. The designs are quite simple which is quite effective and does exactly that what I complained before. Personally I do like the usage of the characters as first of all it is trying to sell us on Keaton being the new Batman while also allowing us to see how the suit looks like. My only complaint is that due to how dark the suit is that it blends strongly into the background. On the other side, I love the poster used for Joker as it is simply Nicholson from a scene straight out of the film. This actual states my only problem with these. They aren’t really posters but stills from the movie. This may be the problem as I speak from today’s standards of posters, especially after looking at Batman Begins.

Conclusion

It may seem strange to say this, but the original Batman has one of the most iconic posters released yet also some of the blandest. Most of them serve their purpose, but don’t truly feel like posters than production stills. Like I stated before it is difficult to truly say if it is actual a bad decision from the studio as this is around 20 years old and at that time the money put into this was nowhere close as it is today. This is quite reflected in the production budget difference from films of that year and today. My overall opinion is that it isn’t terrible at all, they are certainly classic and worked at the time. I absolutely love the first teaser poster used for the film, which I believe to be iconic in on its self. Just wished they went a step further after that initial teaser.

So, what do you think? Have I missed anything? Am I wrong? Discuss below!

requested by Batpreneur, Check his site out here: http://batrepreneur.com/

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2 responses to “[Poster Analysis] Batman (1989)

  1. First of all I very much appreciate that you did the poster review of the Burton Batman. Actually you did again a very good job – your analytical abilities defenitely shine through. I also like the pure Batman poster the most but as you said it was quite surprisingly that it was very flashy designed compared to the actual emotion of the movie. Therefore a greedy joker smile could have been a nice option for a poster. For one point I have to slightly disagree. Surely they were curious about Burton on a big movie as well as Keaten as Batman but the movie was highly anticipated by the audience. Just give a look at the last 10.minutes of the making of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKjra8i2XTw
    Keep going the good work mate!

    • Thank you! I am giving it my best. It was an interesting choice, especially the lack of Joker pushes surprised me personally. I sadly missed out on everything that involved the advertising for the movie, I had to read up some articles on the subject. Thanks for the video!

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