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According to Burton, the complexity of the characters adds substance to what could be standard comic book fodder. ''To me, the interest in the world of Batman is that it's not as simplistically good-versus-evil as a lot of the comics. There are a lot of gray areas within these characters, like Batman, who is basically good, but is also very screwed up. I find there's something quite appealing about a bunch of screwed up characters. It's more twisted in a way. That's what's hard about it, but that's also what's fun about the material. It's all these characters who are very serious, but who are also completely absurd.''

''I've always liked the freakish nature of the Batman material,'' he adds. ''The biggest problem is that we were trying to make a big movie that had to satisfy on a certain popular level, yet we were dealing with what I consider somewhat subversive material that isn't really cut and dry. It's not exactly the kind of material that lends itself to an expensive movie, and I think it's what tends to make the studio nervous.''