Batman (1989) is the 142nd episode of Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr and Andy Signore. It parodies Tim Burton's 1989 superhero film Batman. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy. It was published on March 22, 2016, to coincide with the theatrical release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This video was released at the same time as the Honest Trailer for Superman (1978) as part of a Batman vs Superman popularity contest. It is 5 minutes 57 seconds long. It has been viewed over 4.4 million times.
"The blockbuster that seamlessly blended dark and gritty with camp, that not only created the look, feel, and music that would define Batman for years to come, but would set the pace for every comic book movie to follow, from trailer hype, to merchandising, to angry fanboy backlash before the movie is even released." ~ Honest Trailers - Batman (1989)
Get ready for the biggest Honest Trailer competition of all time: Michael Keaton's Batman vs Christopher Reed's Superman. Two Honest Trailers. One epic showdown. Stay tuned to find out how you can vote for them. Now get ready for Batman.
Before Christopher Nolan saved Batman from nipples, raves, and ice puns (Batman and Robin), Tim Burton had to save him from this. (shows clips from the 1960s Batman TV series) Holy gritty reboot! Quick, to the Rebootmobile!
Tim Burton's Batman
Gear up for a movie that took the "bat" part of Batman pretty literally, as one man wages a war against crime in an awesome-looking bat suit and a severely limited range of motion. (shows clips of Batman moving very little) Wow, that is stiff. Can he even hear in that thing? Say what you want about Adam West, but at least he was able to move.
Witness one of the best superhero castings of all time in Michael Keaton, a man so perfect for the role, his eyebrows are shaped like the logo. He's a reclusive billionaire dressed like your tenth-grade English teacher, who's so unstable (Bruce Wayne: Now you wanna get nuts?! Come on! Let's get nuts.), it actually feels plausible he would pretend to be a bat and beat up poor people.
But the Batman can only be defined by his Joker, and Jack Nicholson is the definitive Joker...except for Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), or if you're a Mark Hamill guy (Batman: The Animated Series), and Leto looks kinda rad in Suicide Squad. You know, now that I think about it, Nicholson is kind of just doing a Cesar Romero impression. (shows clips of Cesar Romero's and Jack Nicholson's Jokers laughing) You know what? Let's back this up.
But the Batman can only be defined by his Joker, and Jack Nicholson is...one of them. Watch as Jack Nicholson plays himself (shows clips of people saying "Jack"), until an accident transforms him into a slightly creepier version of himself who laughs so much, he literally couldn't laugh any more if he tried. (shows clips of The Joker laughing hysterically) I think he ran out of laughing gas.
If you thought Batman had a rule against killing, you were wrong, as this version of the character ditches beating up criminals and opts for straight-up murder. Fans are ticked off he's got a gun in the new trailer? (shows Batman with a gun in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) Tschhh. This Batman's a serial killer. (shows clips of various characters getting murdered)
Nick: Don't kill me, man!
Batman: I'm not going to kill you.
Nah, he probably is.
So suit up for the blockbuster that seamlessly blended dark and gritty with camp, that not only created the look, feel, and music that would define Batman for years to come (shows Michael Keaton's and Christian Bale's Batmans saying "I'm Batman"), but would set the pace for every comic book movie to follow, from trailer hype (Newscaster: The Batman trailer, it may be better than the movie that follows it.) to merchandising (Newscaster: From billboards, to lunchboxes, to frisbees.) to angry fanboy backlash before the movie is even released (Newscaster: There was a controversy when actor Michael Keaton was cast to play Batman./Interviewee: In the comic, he's six foot, 210.). In fact, now that I think about it, this movie checked every box in "Break the Internet Bingo" before there was even an Internet. Let's see here, Change the Origin (box is checked), A Controversial Lead (box is checked), Kill the Hero's Main Villain (box is checked), Completely Change the Costume (box is checked) -- oh, man, I'm on a hot streak -- Cast a Black Guy to Play a White Guy (box is checked). Hey, I got Angry Internet Nerd Bingo! Do I win anything?
Starring Battlejuice (Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman); Heeeere's Joker! (Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/The Joker); Batgirl's Uncle (Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth); You Either Die a Hero or Live Long Enough to Be Recast in the Sequel (Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent); Jack Nicholson's Buddy, Who Nicholson Insisted Be in the Movie or He Wouldn't Do It (Tracey Walter as Bob); and Vicki Vale Screaming. (shows clips of Vicki Vale screaming) Enough already!
Okay, I've been trying to figure out what Joker says here for 26 years. (plays a clip of the Joker saying "I'm of a mind to make some mookie") "Eye of a mime makes a movie"? (replays the clip) "Iodine mines make the moolah"? Ughhh, this is gonna bug me forever.
- This Honest Trailer published on March 22, 2016, on the same date as the Honest Trailer for Superman (1978). This coincided with the theatrical release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and formed a Batman vs. Superman contest. Screen Junkies announced that the two videos were in competition and whichever video got the most views would determine whether an Honest Trailer would be made for Batman Begins or Superman Returns, respectively. Superman Returns won the competition, but Batman Begins was eventually given the Honest Trailers treatment also.
- Honest Trailers have been produced for virtually every other Batman movie, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Batman: The Animated Series, The Killing Joke, Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman, Justice League and even Batman (1966). See list of Honest Trailers for more.
- An Honest Trailer Commentary for this episode was recorded and was available on the Screen Junkies Plus until the website/app was discontinued. Screen Junkies don't currently have any way of releasing the video.
Honest Trailers - Batman (1989) has an 98.8% approval rating from YouTube viewers. Many media sites remarked that the Honest Trailer did a good job of putting Batman (1989) in its proper cultural context. The Nerdist wrote that Screen Junkies went pretty easy on the film and that the Honest Trailer proves "how awesome the movie is (and how much it “saved” Batman from the Adam West version)." Geeks of Doom made a similar comment, noting that the Honest Trailer reminds viewers "how terrible the Batman legacy was in the late 80s." SlashFilm found the Honest Trailer notable for discussing Batman's legacy, writing "Batman certainly has some campy elements of its own, but it’s also a comic book movie that deserves a lot of kudos for paving the way for the kind of comic book movies we have today." IndieWire appreciated the Honest Trailer's commentary on how the fan response to Batman foreshadowed “angry internet nerd" culture.
Production credits Edit
Voiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Title design by Robert Holtby
Edited by Anthony Falleroni and Dan Murrell
- HONEST TRAILERS: BATMAN (1989) V SUPERMAN (1978) - Nerdist article
- Honest Trailer: Batman (1989) vs. Superman (1978) - Geeks of Doom article
- Honest Trailers: 1989’s ‘Batman’ and 1978’s ‘Superman’ Go Head-to-Head - Slash Film article
- Watch: Honest Trailers Pits 1989’s ‘Batman’ vs. 1978’s ‘Superman’ - The Playlist article
- Honest Trailers Sets Up Tim Burton's BATMAN vs. Richard Donner's SUPERMAN - Geek Tyrant article
- Watch: Honest Trailers Pits 1989’s ‘Batman’ vs. 1978’s ‘Superman’ - IndieWire article