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In the 1989 movie Batman, the Joker goes up the cathedral with Vicki Vale, soon to be followed by Batman. Once Batman is up, some henchmen of the Joker are there to fight him.

How did they get up there? At no point do we see anyone get up there.

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This is explained in the 1989 novelisation of the film. In short, they were up there to get a "better view" of the fight happening below (e.g. they were hiding)

He reached past Vicki and pushed open the trapdoor. There!
“Upsy-daisy,” he said to Vicki as he gave her a final shove up into the belfry. As the Joker followed her up, someone said, “Hiya boss.”
Three men were waiting for them—the three bozos he had hired from that Kung Fu studio. He had never learned their names, so that’s how he thought of them—as Bozo One, Bozo Two and Bozo Three.
“What brings you here?” the Joker asked the bozos. “Getting religion?”
Bozo One, a lithe, medium-size man who wore trick boots, said, “I was getting confused down there.”
“We come up to get a bird’s eye view of what was goin’ down,” said Bozo Two, a slightly larger, heavier man.
Bozo Three, a huge black man whose face was covered with tribal scars, said nothing. The Joker thought of Bozo Three as the most dangerous of the lot.

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Maybe the henchmen were hiding up there according to some devious plan concocted by the Joker. The Joker might have wanted Batman to follow him into a trap.

Batman survives the trap.

  • Thanks. The Joker is seen calling the helicopter on the walkie talkie, but no one gets in the cathedral between the moment the Joker climbs it and the moment Batman Climbs it. And right after Batman climbs it, the police tries to climb it but is slowed down because of the bell that fell. – MicroMachine Oct 18 '15 at 10:05

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