Show Business: Murk in The Myth

The familiar blue sky behind the Warner Bros. shield grows dark. The clouds gain some menacing heft. A cumulus of urban steam shrouds the camera as it goes cruising for trouble in Gotham City. Nighttime is the right time for . . . Batman.

Not "Baat-maaaan!" Not the bleating trumpets and Pop art facetiousness of the '60s TV series, which turned Bob Kane's superhero into a camp crusader. Director Tim Burton's approach is dead serious. He renounces the bright palette, the easy thrills, to aim for a psychodrama with the force of myth. He creates a Gotham City that looms like...

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