“I’m only laughing on the outside / My smile is just skin deep / If you could see inside I’m really crying / You might join me for a weep.”
— The Joker (Jack Nicholson) recites a poem to Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger).
When director Tim Burton signed on to reintroduce Batman to motion pictures, he came in with three advantages. 1: His own personal predilection for gothic style synced with the big-budget interpretation of the Caped Crusader. 2: He already had fruitful relationships with controversiallycast actor Michael Keaton (from Beetlejuice) and composer Danny Elfman, who would create an indelible heroic theme. 3: He got Jack Nicholson as The Joker at the point in that actor’s career where his sardonic style, shamelessly amplified, lent itself to Joker’s over-the-top villainy. Burton was reportedly inspired by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in adding shades of horror (as in Miller’s comic book, the Joker is nothing less than a mass murderer) but still retained a bit of camp humour from the Adam West incarnation.