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Ultimate Movie Showdowns: Batman (1989)

Updated on November 30, 2011

This series is a tribute to the most epic showdowns in motion picture history. Be warned, there are obviously spoilers as a good portion of the movie has to be recapped and the best confrontations usually occur at a film's climax.

"I made you, you made me first."
"I made you, you made me first." | Source

Batman vs. the Joker

When it comes to the Dark Knight, his final showdowns on the big screen usually seem to get short changed. However, this is not the case in Tim Burton's stylish imagining and it only seems fitting, as the Joker is arguably the Caped Crusader's greatest adversary. While Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight possesses a small showdown between the two, the confrontation in Batman (1989) is more epic.

The tension steadily mounts between the two characters throughout the entire movie and only adds to the satisfaction as Batman kicks the clown prince's ass. So before we discuss the actual confrontation, let's recap.


First of all, the two titan’s initial altercation takes place at Axis Chemical Plant, where Batman intervenes in a shootout between Jack Napier’s goons and the police. After incapacitating the thugs, Batman confronts the mobster. In turn he is partially responsible for Jack's plunge and bath in the toxic chemicals, which disfigures him and causes the gangster to adopt the infamous clown alias.

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
"Where does he get those wonderful toys?" | Source

Then the mad clown goes after Bruce Wayne's love interest, Vicki Vale. During a deceitful arrangement at a museum restaurant, the Joker makes his move and attempts to charm Vicki in his own twisted, demented way. However, Batman breaks up the date and rescues the damsel in distress. After a hide speed chase and fight with the Joker’s henchmen, Vicki and Batman return to his cave.

"Tell me kid, did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?"
"Tell me kid, did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?" | Source

However, if all that's not enough, it’s revealed that a young Jack Napier (now the Joker) murdered Bruce's parents when the vigilante was a mere child and thus created Batman. So, essentially both are responsible for the other half's dual identity and out of acts of violence that started small, but escalated to life changing events (simple pearl heist resulting in duel homicide and blocking a bullet causing Jack to fall over the railing). All of these factors just build to the final showdown between the pair at the top of the massive, gothic, cathedral.


After pursuing the clown and now captive Vicky up the bell tower, Batman mops up Joker's remaining henchmen before confronting the mad man in person. Now nearly defenseless, the Joker is punished as Bruce faces the psychopath who’s responsible for all his inner demons. After exchanging some dialogue, both are now fully aware of each other’s duel identities and it’s satisfying as hell to watch Batman deliver blows of justice to the delusional clown.

Although the Joker is able to regain the upper hand for a moment, it is Batman who obtains victory. Using one of his grapple attachments, Batman ensnares the Joker's leg to a heavy gargoyle statue, which results in the clown falling to his death. With the deranged mobster's reign of terror now over as he's flattened on the pavement, Batman is commended by Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon, who unveils the batsignal. Finally, the film concludes with Batman overlooking Gotham City, as the silent guardian he has become.



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    • Geekdom profile image


      6 years ago

      I also enjoyed the 1989 Batman by Tim Burton. Who would of thought Micheal Keaton would of done such a great job. The showdown was amazing but I did not like that they had the Joker be the one who killed his parents. There is something about having no named robbers shattering Bruce Wayne's life and creating Batman.

    • Movie Arbiter profile imageAUTHOR

      Movie Arbiter 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks rjbatty for the compliment and I couldn't agree with you more.

    • rjbatty profile image


      6 years ago from Irvine

      I thought the whole climax at the impossibly tall church top was extraordinary. For me, this was as serious as one need to go to make a comic book fiction realistic yet still part of pure fantasy. Very nice hub, and much appreciated.

    • Movie Arbiter profile imageAUTHOR

      Movie Arbiter 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks icountthetimes. While I do like Nolan's franchise as well, Batman (1989) will always possess that nostalgic value and have a special place in my heart. It's a masterpiece.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Hub. It reminded me of how much I loved the original Batman movie. I agree about the Showdown. It was nothing short of epic.


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