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Michael Keaton’s Batman Returns

May 19th, 2023Michael Keaton’s Batman Returns

THE FLASH opens June 16th

There is an exceptionally large number of superhero movies coming to AMC Theatres locations this summer blockbuster season, and of the most anticipated is THE FLASH. Andy Muschietti’s anticipated movie based on the iconic DC Comics speedster is set to blast into theatres on June 16th, bringing with it a story about Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen getting trapped in an alternate reality – one where Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is still the Caped Crusader.

For many out there, seeing the man who played the Dark Knight in Tim Burton’s groundbreaking 1989 comic book movie, BATMAN, is a dream come true. And rightfully so, as Keaton was the first Batman many of us saw on the big screen all those years ago.

In anticipation of the actor donning the cowl for the first time in more than 30 years, not to mention getting to see Keaton's Batman in action in a modern-day superhero movie, we’ve put together a quick rundown of some of Michael Keaton’s best Batman moments. Let’s go back to Gotham…

“I’m Batman”

The opening minutes of Tim Burton’s BATMAN features not only one of the biggest swerves in comic book movie history, but also an iconic introduction of the Caped Crusader. Initially, you assume this is Batman’s origin story with the visual of a family being mugged in a Gotham City alley. But that’s not it. Instead, we see Michael Keaton’s Batman rough up the two goons before giving them a simple yet effective message: “I’m Batman.”

The scene plays up the criminals’ fear of Dark Knight, and Burton does a tremendous job of not showing Keaton’s face until he’s up close and personal with his targets, creating a terrifying and exhilarating experience that sets the tone for this version of Bats.

“You Wanna Get Nuts?”

Michael Keaton has always been an actor who can go from idle to fourth gear in a split-second without stripping the transmission, and he does just that in the iconic “You wanna get nuts?” scene in BATMAN. When confronting Jack Nicholson’s Joker at Vicki Vale’s apartment, Keaton’s Bruce Wayne goes on a monologue that’s not all that intense before grabbing the fire poker, swinging it to break a bust, and then yelling out the unforgettable line.

But the scene doesn’t just show the intensity of Keaton’s billionaire and secret superhero, it also helps him figure out that Joker, or the man who became the Clown Prince of Crime, was responsible for his parents’ murder when Nicholson asks “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” before shooting him point-blank.

Flying The Batwing

The final act of BATMAN is as incredible as it is incredibly streamlined, and the action really kicks into a high gear when the Caped Crusader shows up in his Batwing to save the citizens of Gotham City from the Joker’s gas attack. Just when it looks like all hope is lost for the thousands of Gothamites along the Joker’s parade route, up from the sky swoops down the all-black, bat-shaped plane to save the day.

Seriously, the visual of the Batwing flying between buildings to grab the balloons and take them far away from the crowded streets is still exhilarating after all these years. And so is the crash sequence after Jack Nicholson’s character pulls out a comically large gun to shoot Bats, which sends him crashing down to Earth.

The Fight With Joker

The final fight between Batman and the Joker at the top of the Gotham cathedral is still a great showdown of good and evil after all these years, and a Michael Keaton moment worth including. This mano a mano encounter between these two legendary foes is brutal in its execution despite some perfectly-timed jokes by the iconic villain.

What makes this so great is the way it calls back to that “Dance with the devil in the pale moonlight” moment earlier in the movie, which is undoubtedly the fuel to that fire of vengeance deep in Bruce Wayne’s heart. And Keaton also employs a less-is-more approach to the sequence, letting Jack Nicholson do a lot of the heavy-lifting, especially with that fall from grace.

Batman Saves The Christmas Celebration

Michael Keaton made for a great Batman, but his work as Bruce Wayne puts him in legendary status. One of his best moments as the reclusive billionaire/vigilante comes early on in BATMAN RETURNS when he is alerted to the Penguin’s (Danny DeVito) attack on the Gotham Christmas celebration. The way the camera stays focused on Bruce as he rises from his chair with the Bat Signal behind him creates an all-time great moment that still sends a shiver down your spine.

But that’s only part of it, as we soon get to see Batman drive through the streets of Gotham and quickly take care of the Penguin’s assortment of circus clowns and side-show attractions, even if he sets one of them ablaze.

Batman’s First Fight With Catwoman

The complicated relationship between Batman and Catwoman has long been at the center of some of DC Comics’ best storylines, as well as in BATMAN RETURNS. One of the first interactions between the two leads to a great fight that isn’t as hard-hitting as it is psychological. Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) uses Bruce Wayne’s noble nature against him a couple of times, which says as much about his character as it does Catwoman’s.

This cat and mouse, err, cat and bat game, creates a fun dynamic that continues throughout the rest of the movie, which adds another dimension to the 1992 summer blockbuster.

Batman Reveals His Identity

Bruce Wayne has never been the biggest fan of revealing his true identity, and whenever he does, the revelation is typically hidden behind some cryptic message. But that’s not the case during the final act of BATMAN RETURNS where the Caped Crusader gives a passionate plea to Catwoman to let Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) live by saying the hero and anti-hero are actually the same and could be together.

This tense yet somewhat calm scene is another one of those great moments from Michael Keaton’s take on Batman, one that shows the compassion and subtlety of his performance.

Watch THE FLASH trailer to get a glimpse of the return of Michael Keaton in the long-awaited return as Batman, which will be playing in AMC Theatres nationwide this summer.

 THE FLASH opens June 16th

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