Today we are going to look at Tim Burton’s Batman and some of the Batman Tattoo’s that have been inspired by his films. Modern superhero movie’s are almost a guaranteed box office success which in no small part is due to the ground breaking work of the 1989 Batman film which launched a new era of Comic book based blockbusters. Today we are used to our superhero films having a dark, violent and serious dramatic tone but thirty years ago all superhero films were child friendly feel good films which is what made the Batman franchise at the time so unique.
Batman as a film defined culture at the time, in no small part due to the calibre of the cast attached such as Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholsan, Kim Basinger and a soundtrack provided by Prince.
Today you would find it difficult to find anyone who doesn’t know Batman’s backstory but in 1989 only hardcore fans would know how or why Batman took up the mantle to fight crime in Gotham city. Batman essentially was an origin story which setup the motivations behind the caped crusader as a mystery to be investigated and solved by journalist/photographer/love interest Vicki Vale played by Kim Basinger.
Batman/Bruce Wayne is played by Michael Keaton and he kills it as the slightly weird and reclusive Bruce Wayne. He captures the psyche perfectly of someone so effected and haunted by trauma that they would become a masked vigilante to avenge their slain parents and fight crime in Gotham city.
Jack Napier/Joker is played by Jack Nicholsan. We are introduced to the Joker as Napier a career criminal who works for Mob boss Carl Grissom. Unlike the comic books in the film it shows that Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by younger Napier in a stickup. The Joker is born after Napier is setup by Grissom for a police raid and falls into a vat full of chemicals. The Joker then proceeds to seek revenge on Grissom, take control of the criminal underworld and hold Gotham to ransom.
The film concludes the Jokers reign of terror when he is cornered on the rooftop of a cathedral after kidnapping Batman’s love interest Vicki Vale. The Joker and Batman tussle as the Joker tries to throw Vicki Vale over the edge but ultimately it is he who goes over the edge and falls to his death.
The film ends with Gothams acceptance of Batman as a protector of the city and with the introduction of the Bat Signal. The use of the Bat Signal at the end suggests there will be more crimes and villans for Batman to solve and capture in future feature films.
Following the success of Batman, Tim Burton was asked to return and continue his vision for the character. For the follow up he decided to expand the Batman universe and introduce some familiar characters in the form of Penguin as the primary big villain and Catwoman as his love interest/sometimes foe. The story is again an origin story but with a slight difference as it focuses more on the origins of Batman’s enemies. The story tells of the rise of Penguin from the sewers after 33 years to enact his revenge on Gotham by slaughtering the first born children of parents just as his parents had abandoned him, their first born child so many years ago.
Penguin was played by Danny DeVito. When we are introduced to Penguins story we are shown that the penguin is a horrible and irredeemable monster from birth. His birth is shown as something like an exorcism and he goes on to devour the family cat as a small child. After this incident his parents decided to abandon him in a river where he is eventually adopted by a group of penguins. Some 33 years later he comes out of the sewers as a saviour in a staged kidnapping which he organised to endear himself to the Gotham public. Using his new found popularity he runs for mayor but his campaign is killed after Batman plays a recording of him belittling the people of Gotham. The Penguin then decides to enact his plan to kill the first born sons of Gotham but again is foiled by Batman and retreats to his lair. Batman follows him to his lair and eventually Penguin is killed by toxic sewage after attempting to kill Batman.
Catwoman begins life as Selina Kyle the downtrodden secretary of Max Schrek, an unscrupulous business mogul who is hoping to build a power plant to milk the city of Gotham and bring it to it’s knees. When Selina accidently discovers Max’s secret he pushes her out a window in a deathly fall but Selina didn’t die and was revived by a bunch of cats. The traumatic experience of the attempted murder broke Selina’s psyche and she proceeds back to her old apartment and destroys the trappings of her old life and begins to stich a suit for her new alter ego Catwoman. After her transformation she aligns herself with the Penguin. In her interactions with Batman, they see reflections of each other in their alteregos and develop an attraction. The same occurs in their normal life and they eventually discover each others dual identities at Masquerade Ball. She goes on to electrocute Shreck using Penguin’s generator, which causes an explosion. She appears to kiss Shreck with a stun gun placed under his chin before vanishing in a poof of smoke during the aftermath of the explosion. Batman never found her body.
Other Batman Tattoos
Below are further examples of tattoos inspired by Tim Burtons vision for the Gotham world of Batman: