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Gotham City citizens are terrified as their town is becoming overrun with gangsters and criminals causing havoc of all kinds. Just when things look like they couldn't get any worse, along comes the Joker. The Batman looks to be the only one who can save the day.
The role of the "bad cop" in the film played by William Hootkins is named Lt. Eckhardt. While this character was created for the movie and never appears in the Batman comics, the name was taken from the plastic surgeon who failed to fix Two Face / Harvey Dent's face. It just so happens that the role of Two face / Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight is played by Aaron Eckhart.
Gotham City is being over run by gangsters and criminals looking to control the city by any means necessary. District attorney Harvey Dent and police commissioner Jim Gordon are trying to keep the city under control, but they have too much on their hands with the criminals alone, not to mention the corrupt cops in their own office. Rumors are beginning to circulate among the petty thugs of Gotham that there is a giant Bat on the loose and that he is looking to rid the city of crime. Police deny the rumors, but that doesn't stop Alexander Knox or Vicki Vale from trying to uncover the truth.
Meanwhile, the crime boss Carl Grissom is having troubles among the ranks when he discovers that his second in command, Jack Napier, is having an affair with his mistress. He develops a plan to setup Jack by sending him to a chemical facility to retrieve incriminating files and make it look like corporate espionage. However, he tips the police off to Jack's whereabouts and they arrive just in time to stop Jack and his thugs from leaving the building. Batman shows up at the chemical plant to try and aid the police in capturing the men. In the process he runs into Jack who ends up shooting himself with a ricocheted bullet and falling into a vat of chemicals. The chemical mix ruins Jack's face, bleaches his skin, and makes him go crazy and turn into the Joker.
After the Joker kills Grissom, he begins adding chemical solutions to various self care products sold through out Gotham. No one product will kill by itself, but the right mixture of products will turn the victim into a laughing fiend, kill them, and leave them with a huge grin on their face. Both Bruce Wayne and the Joker begin taking an interest in Vicki Vale. The Joker's interest in Vale is what leads Batman to begin tracking the Joker. Eventually it is revealed that the Joker, or Jack Napier, is the criminal who shot down Bruce's parents when he was a child. Vick and Alex start looking through old newspapers and discover Bruce's haunted past.
The city council decides that "200th Anniversary Birthday Gala" will be canceled because the police cannot guarantee public safety. The joker, however, decides to throw his own parade and promises that he will drop $20 million in cash to the crowd.
Batman ends up finding out where the Joker is processing all of his chemicals and destroys the plant, thus saving Gotham from the Joker's poisonous cocktail of self health care products. Despite the destruction of his plant, the Joker follows through with his promise to have a parade and begins throwing money to the streets. This causes a riot where people clog the roadways and trample all over each other in order to grab as much cash as possible. Soon enough, the Joker's parade balloons begin leaking toxic fumes onto the crowd which will lead to their deaths. Batman arrives in his Batwing and collects all of the balloons and destroys them.
The Final Showdown
Eventually, Batman and the Joker end up meeting on the top of a church in the middle of the city. A fight ensues and the Joker eventually ends up falling off the side of the building, killing him in the process. The film ends with commissioner Gordon unveiling the Bat Signal, which will be used in later films to contact Batman when ever the city needs him.
Reception to the film was mainly positive with many praising Michael Keaton's performance despite that when he was announced to have been casted as Batman many thought he was a terrible choice due to him starring in mainly comedies before hand. There was also much negative reception before the film was released due to many fearing it would be like the campy television series from the 60's starring Adam West.