starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci
screenplay by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
directed by Tom McCarthy
by Walter Chaw Michael Keaton's a handsome guy. Not movie-star handsome in the traditional sense but, you know, not a dog. Everyday-guy handsome. Like Gene Hackman or Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino. I think fans responded the way they did when Keaton was cast in Tim Burton's Batman (i.e., violently) because Keaton doesn't look like a superhero. He has an attractively average physique. His chin is soft and that's the bit you see under the mask. But then he puts on the suit and plays the role and you understand that Keaton is who he is for the chaos of his energy. Burton used him as muse before turning to Johnny Depp, I think, because of the mania of his persona. There is no other actor the equal of Beetlejuice. He replaced Pee-Wee Herman in Burton's progression through men-children. He's doomed to eternally be smarter than the characters he plays, and more interesting. He's the boy version of Illeana Douglas. Keaton in motion is a thing of wonder and danger. He's a perfect Batman because Batman's story arc inevitably leads to the place where he's seen as the Superego to Joker's Id--as the opposite side of the same Arkham coin. Keaton is Grant Morrison's Batman. He is the average-looking Warren Beatty. If he were making movies in the '70s, he would be Robert De Niro. There aren't a lot of movie stars I like better than Michael Keaton. He is the embodiment of aspiration and stick-to-it-iveness.