10 ways in which Tim Burton's Batman changed comic-book movies ... and Hollywood

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Apr 29, 2019, 7:22 AM EDT (Updated)

Today (June 23) is the 25th anniversary of the release of Batman, the 1989 film directed by Tim Burton that arguably paved the way for the modern era of comic-book movies. Starring Michael Keaton (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Jack Nicholson (the Joker), Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale), Michael Gough (Alfred) and Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon), the movie was a blockbuster success that changed the way both Hollywood and the general public viewed superheroes and movies based on their comic-book exploits.

Batman was the first movie to be based on a popular comic-book superhero since the Superman series petered out in 1987 with the all-but-unwatchable Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and the first to become a monster hit since the first two entries in that series, Superman (1978) and Superman II (1981). But whereas even those two films tended to veer a little more toward camp -- a hangover from the days of the Batman TV series that ran for three years on ABC -- Burton's Batman was the first film to take its hero seriously and attempt to portray his twisted, obsessive psychology. It also presented the Caped Crusader's iconic nemesis, the Joker, as something deadlier than a buffoon, and made Gotham City itself into a character of sorts.

Batman was far from a perfect film -- it has major script problems, for one thing -- but its effect on Hollywood and the way that movies based on comic books were made was profound. Although it would take a decade-plus before those effects were fully felt -- with the arrival of films like X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) -- Batman was a turning point in many ways. Here are 10 of them (complete with memorable lines from the film) ...