Batman Original and Limited Edition Art (1989)
As a child, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) sees his parents murdered and therefore vows to avenge their deaths in a lifelong battle against crime as the costumed vigilante Batman while concealing his secret identity behind his playboy image. By the time he begins his career as Gotham City's protector, the city is controlled by crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance). Despite the efforts of newly-elected district attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) and police commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle), the police department remains corrupt. Reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and photo-journalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) begin investigating the rumors of a shadowy crimefighter (Batman himself) terrorizing the city's criminals by night. Vicki and Knox attend a benefit at Wayne Manor, where Bruce is taken by Vicki's charms, while Grissom's second in command, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), is sent to raid the Axis Chemicals factory. When the police receive a tip-off and arrive to arrest him, Napier realizes he has been tricked by his boss for his affair with Grissom's mistress. In the midst of the resulting gunfight, Batman arrives and attacks Napier's henchmen. Napier fires at Batman, who deflects the bullet off his steel gauntlet and strikes it into Napier's face; whereupon Napier topples over a platform rail into a large vat of chemicals. Shortly thereafter, he emerges from an adjacent reservoir, his skin bleached white, his hair dyed green, and his lips dyed red. Following a botched attempt at plastic surgery, Napier is left with a permanent rictus grin, similar to the jester on a joker card; wherefore he renames himself "the Joker", kills Grissom, and takes control of his organization. Thereafter the Joker terrifies the city by chemically altering everyday hygiene products, causing those using a certain combination thereof to laugh to death and leaving them with a post-mortem grin resembling his own. Batman, attempting to track down the Joker, realizes that his quarry is the man who murdered his parents. Meanwhile, Bruce's butler and confidante Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough) allows Vicki into the Batcave, where she and Bruce promise to organize their attachment to each other when the Joker is defeated. When Batman destroys the factory the Joker used to make the poisons, the Joker retaliates by holding a parade through Gotham, luring its citizens onto the streets and intending to kill them with lethal gas. Batman foils his plan; but the Joker kidnaps Vicki and takes her to the top of a cathedral, where Batman fights the Joker to save Vicki, and both realize that each is responsible for the other's transformations. As the Joker is about to escape, Batman ties his leg to a gargoyle, and the Joker falls to his death when the statue breaks from its position. Later, Commissioner Gordon reveals the Bat-Signal along with a note from Batman read by Harvey Dent, promising to defend Gotham whenever crime strikes again.
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