June 23, 1989 was a huge day for me: Tim Burton’s Batman opened in the cinema. I had been waiting years for this movie, having followed the various rumors and stories from magazines and comic book store employees. The months leading up to June were painfully slow, especially when I finally saw the first trailer for the film in January. Watching the trailer over and over again on VHS wasn’t enough.
I lived and breathed Batman during this time. I remember meeting with my friends in our 9th grade biology class and sharing our comics and any new information we might have heard about the movie. My friend Sean was as excited about the movie as I was, and every day we’d predict what would happen in the movie based on the pictures we saw.
In early June, not being able to take the suspense any longer, I bought the novelization of the movie. I read it in a day. The movie in my head based on the book was epic and insane. And unsurprisingly, the novel only made me want to see the movie even more. Though, I’d learn later that a lot of the book’s best parts weren’t even in the movie.
On Friday, June 23, my father and I went to the first screening of the film, a 1:15 showing. Surprisingly, the cinema was empty, which had me feeling a little disappointed. When the lights went out and Danny Elfman’s music kicked in, I was the happiest 14 year old boy in the whole world. And when the credits ended and we were given that first shot of Gotham City, my head was ready to explode.
I would end up seeing the movie five times that summer, and I would have a different Batman t-shirt for every day of the week. Pretty much every fifth word out of my mouth was “Batman”. If I wasn’t talking about Batman, it was because I was too busy reading my Batman comic books.
It was a beautiful summer.
I’m not suggesting the movie was the best movie ever. If you’ve seen the movie as many times as I have, you can’t help but notice the film’s flaws, and the fact that Batman is made a secondary character in his first movie is more than a little disconcerting. And the movie hasn’t aged all that well.
Still though, I’ll never forget the anticipation of the event, the magnitude of it.
20 years later, I’m still waiting for a movie to come along to affect me like Batman did.