DOESN'T WORK: The Romance
I feel kinda bad for Vicki Vale. She begins the film as a smart, ambitious and apparently fearless photojournalist, and then becomes a pawn in the battle between Batman and the Joker. By the end, she's shrieking at toy guns, waiting to be rescued, after a bevy of romantic scenes with both superhero and supervillain that never quite worked. On the Batman side of things, while there are things that I like (their first dinner date is kind of adorable), it feels forced and a little too easy to turn Vicki from a woman Bruce is dating to one of his two confidantes (seriously, as far as we know, the second person he let into his Batman secret, after the man who'd been his sole parental figure for most of his life, was a woman he'd only just started dating). On the Joker side, it's a bit odd to see that character go from a guy who was so cold to his pre-Joker girlfriend to someone who develops such a fast obsession with Vicki. There could have been interesting parallels to the way Joker treated Alicia before he became the Joker and the way he treated Vicki (after all, they were both women in relationships with someone else), but instead it becomes an odd fixation related to "art," or something. For me, Joker works best when his obsession is Batman, not Vicki. In the end, Kim Basinger is stuck playing a kind of token for the two male leads to argue over, and that's a shame.