|Real name:||Bruce Wayne|
|Affiliation:|| Thomas Wayne (Deceased Father)|
Martha Wayne (Deceased Mother)
Alfred Pennyworth (friend/guardian)
Vicki Vale (lover)
Selina Kyle (girlfriend)
|Portrayed by:|| Michael Keaton|
Charles Roskilly (Young Bruce Wayne)
- "I'm Batman."
- ―Batman to Nick[src]
Batman, played by Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns, was an alter-ego and personality deviation of Bruce Wayne, who was formed in response to the sudden and brutal murder of his parents when he was ten years old.
A dark, and brooding specter, Batman saw himself as the protector of Gotham City, who aimed to clean up the city's crime and corruption while he brought its criminals to justice by any means necessary.
Bruce Wayne was born to wealthy, but civic-minded parents. The noble Dr. Thomas Wayne and the philanthropic Martha Wayne worked tirelessly to reverse Gotham's urban decline, and became renown for their glittering charity fundraisers and their support of initiatives to stimulate the city's growth as a place without crime and poverty.
One night, when he was ten years old, Bruce accompanied his parents to see Footlight Frenzy at the Monarch Theatre in downtown Gotham. Following the show, Bruce's father had decided that they should walk for a bit before they took a cab back to Wayne Manor.
It wasn't long before Bruce's mother noticed someone following them. Attempting to evade the followers, who turned out to be two hoodlums, Bruce's parents found themselves cornered in a dead-end alley as the hoods, on orders to kill the Waynes due to their meddling in mafia affairs, confronted them with their guns drawn.
As one of the hoods grabbed for Martha's pearl necklace, Thomas tried to stop him, and was gunned down by the other one; Bruce's mother was also gunned down.
As the first hoodlum started away, the second turned to shoot Bruce, but was dissuaded by his fleeing companion. Bruce never forgot the man's evil grin as he aimed the gun at him, or the cryptic question that he asked: "You ever dance with the devil by the pale moon light?".
The violent deaths of Bruce's parents fractured his psyche. To cope with the trauma, he became obsessed with eradicating crime from Gotham's streets so that no one else would suffer the same pain. He studied combat, science, psychology, and criminology. With the assistance of his butler and guardian, Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce developed new technology and weapons in the "Batcave" beneath Wayne Manor, and a new persona for himself—that of "The Batman", a frightening, and phantom-like vigilante whose self-appointed mission was to lurk the darkened streets of Gotham, and dish out rough justice to criminals.
While Bruce publicly devoted his money and attention to cleaning up Gotham, his forays against the criminal underworld continued; which encouraged rumor and superstition of himself to manifest amongs the populace. As Batman, Bruce became attached to the Gotham Cathedral; that was once the spiritual center of the city, and took to surveying the city from among the cathedral's towers during patrols. It was during one of those surveys that he heard the scream of Harold's Wife as she and her son, were victims of a mugging, lain next their prone husband/father.
After he tracked the two thugs responsible, Batman took the opportunity to use them to spread word of his presence in Gotham. Bruce's attention to being Batman, however, meant that he was unable to attend the celebratory event of Harvey Dent as Gotham's new District Attorney; his seat as one of Dent's prominent electoral supporters was notably empty.
Holding a charity gala at Wayne Manor to help fund the flailing Gotham City 200th Anniversary Parade, Bruce was forced to attend the event due to his duties as a host, however, he ensured that the mansion's surveillance system tracked key guests such as Commissioner James Gordon, Harvey Dent and Mayor Borg, to gather possible intelligence on Gotham's affairs.
While he attended to his duties as host, Bruce was harried by photographer Vicki Vale who, not knowing that he was the one that she was looking for, asked him where she could find "Bruce Wayne" to which Bruce responded seemingly in jest that he did not know. Vicki took him seriously then left to continue looking for him.
Later, after he caught Vicki wandering the mansion along with reporter Alexander Knox, Bruce decided to follow them as they wandered into the mansion's armory, engaged them in conversation, and revealed himself to be the one that Vicki was searching for. However, as Vicki offered that she would like to photograph the mansion, Alfred appeared to alert Bruce of Gordon's sudden compulsion to leave the gala.
After he left the two journalists in the armory, Bruce reviewed the surveillance footage of Gordon and learned of a pending massing of mafia and police forces that gathered at Axis Chemicals.
After he learned of Gordon's potential plan to capture Jack Napier in order to get to crime boss Carl Grissom, Bruce decided to also go to Axis Chemicals to assist Gordon's forces in Napier's capture.
Arriving at the chemical plant, Bruce found himself walking into a firefight between Napier's Men and Gordon's Men. After he systematically worked his way through Napier's men, Bruce crossed paths with Gordon before he managed to catch sight of Napier.
About to apprehend him, Bruce was forced to let Napier go when his second, Bob, caught Gordon at gunpoint. After he let Napier kill Lt. Max Eckhardt, Bruce returned to distract Napier before he could escape. However, as a ricocheted bullet that was originally intended for Batman, pierced through Napier's face, Bruce attempted to save him from falling over the railing only to lose his grip and watch as Napier plummeted into the vat of chemicals below.
Having failed in capturing Napier, Gordon attempted to capture Batman only to have him disappear from his reach; and ascend to the factory's roof using his grapple.
The night a failure, Bruce left the plant and returned to the Batcave.
After he managed to gain a dinner date with Vicki, Bruce attempted a formal dinner in one of the manor's formal dinner rooms only to realize her uncomfortability. After Bruce and Vicki decided to eat in the manor's kitchen instead with Alfred, Alfred began to recount stories of Bruce's youth and Vicki and Bruce began to bond.
As Alfred left for bed, the pair left soon after; with Vicki slightly intoxicated. As Vicki fell asleep in his bed, Bruce stayed awake due to his insomnia and conflict over their growing bond; eventually, Bruce left to exercise until daybreak where he pretended to have fallen asleep on the couch.
"Awoken" by Vicki, Bruce turned down her offer to have lunch together; and said that he had an "important meeting" to attend, which was the anniversary of his parents' deaths. Fending off Vicki's further offers with the lie that he would be out of town, Bruce instead agreed that they would meet when he returned.
Later that day after Vicki had gone to work, Bruce left to perform the same ritual that he had performed every year since his parent's death; paying his respects at the alley where they died.
Having learned of his lie about going out of town that day and having found no information on him at the Gotham Gazette, Vicki secretly followed Bruce as he left the manor; she followed and watched as he entered the alley between Pearl and Phillips Street and lain a pair of roses on the pavement.
Not knowing of the significance of the alley, Vicki continued to follow Bruce as he wandered out of the alley into Gotham Square and a public announcement outside City Hall of Vinnie Ricorso taking control of Grissom's businesses.
As Bruce watched the announcement and subsequent interview by Knox, various mimes began to approach and surround the group until one mime interrupted the announcement and killed Ricorso with a quill.
After he recognized the mime as Jack Napier, a shocked Bruce didn't notice the subsequent gunfight that erupted around him as the other mimes opened fire on Ricorso's escorts and the police. While a bullet passed through his jacket, Bruce followed Napier as he escaped in a limousine with the other mimes; and was shaken out of his psychosis only after Vicki jostled him after the mimes escaped.
Bruce returns to the manor only to be confronted by Alfred who had learned about the gunfight from Vicki over the phone. As Bruce sat in the lounge, Alfred questioned him on his treatment of Vicki and his choice to live alone. While momentarily considering the issue, Bruce turned instead to the issue that Napier was still alive and lead Grissom's men.
After he learned of Napier's knowledge of chemistry, Bruce embarked with Alfred to acquire various products to conduct their own investigation into the Joker's poison.
A day and a half later, Bruce received a message from Vicki that said that she would be late going to a date with him at the Flugelheim Museum, even though he himself hadn't set up such a date.
Regardless, Bruce went to the museum, thinking that he had simply forgotten the date due to his fixation with solving the chemical cocktail that Joker was killing Gotham with, to discover that the Joker was inside the museum with his henchmen; destroying the exhibits and harassing Vicki; the apparently sole museum patron who was still alive.
Changing into the Batsuit and summoning the Batmobile to arrive at the location, Bruce broke into the museum through the skylight; grabbed Vicki, and escaped the museum by using the Gauntlet grapnel gun.
After he instructed Vicki to enter the Batmobile, which was parked outside the museum's entrance, the pair were pursued by Joker's Goons in their own cars; and the police pursued both factions soon after.
Easily outmaneuvering its pursuers, the Batmobile was forced to stop when it ran up against a construction project for the Anniversary Festival. Evacuating the vehicle, Bruce and Vicki ran down an alleyway where they were pursued again by the Joker's henchmen.
Attempting to escape by grappling them both to an overhead catwalk, Bruce was forced detach himself from the device after it couldn't handle the weight of two people. As Vicki was catapulted to the catwalk, Bruce fell back into the alley with the Joker's thugs. Shot point blank in the chest, Bruce was momentarily incapacitated; which allowed the Goons to partially take off his mask, however, as flashes from Vicki's camera took photos overhead distracted them, Bruce replaced his mask, dispatched them, and momentarily confronted Bob in the process.
Once the Goons were dispatched, Bruce turned his attention to retrieving Vicki, who disappeared from the rooftops that overlooked the alley and was in the process of hiding her photofilm. After he instructed the Batmobile to lead the police, who were surrounding the parked vehicle, on a chase through the streets as a diversion, Bruce managed to catch Vicki as she was descending a fire escape three buildings away. With Vicki in hand, Bruce ordered the Batmobile to retrieve them and then made their way back to the Batcave.
Once in the Batcave, Bruce explained the findings of his chemical investigations with Vicki, and handed her the research notes to release to the press. After a brief conversation, Bruce knocked Vicki out and took the role of film that she had hidden in her blouse before he returned her to her apartment.
While his findings were advertised on the evening addition of the Gotham Globe, Bruce moved on to locating the Joker's hideout.
As Alfred informed Bruce that Vicki had left another message, he advised that perhaps, due to her tenacity, it would be better if Bruce told her that he was Batman.
Taking Alfred's advice to heart, Bruce went over to Vicki's Apartment to confess his identity only to run up against her outrage over the one night stand, his refusal to answer her calls, and her concern over his behavior at the Gotham Square Shootout. While Bruce managed to calm Vicki down enough to begin to attempt to explain who he was, he was interrupted as the Joker and his Goons entered the apartment.
After he managed to get to the kitchen as the Joker entered, Bruce intuitively tucked a silver metal serving tray under his shirt before he entered the living room before Joker could further harass Vicki.
Perturbed by the presence of another man in the apartment, the Joker and Bruce exchanged small talk before Bruce himself hinted that he knew who Joker was previously and began to act violent. As Joker raised a gun towards Bruce, he asked the choice phrase that he asked all of his victims before he killed them; "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?". Disturbed by the familiarity of the phrase, Bruce was shot in the chest; and the bullet was caught in the metal tray. Pushed into a corner by the impact Bruce opted to slump to the ground and play dead until the Joker and his Goons left the apartment and, while Vicki was distracted, he too escaped; and left the tray and the bullet behind.
After he returned to the Batcave, Bruce requested the files on his parents to check on something as he returned to locating the Joker's hideout; he managed to trace the Joker's operations to Axis Chemicals as Alfred delivered the files with a stern admission of his wariness of Bruce's obsession with his parents' deaths.
After the Joker once again hijacked the airwaves to declare a challenge towards Batman to be held during the anniversary festival, Bruce recalled the night of his parents' deaths and remembered Jack Napier as the man who killed them; he remembered Napier's catch phrase and his grin as he aimed his gun. As Bruce awoke from his recollection, Alfred revealed that he let Vicki, who had deduced that Bruce was Batman, into the Batcave. As Alfred left, Vicki began to question Bruce on how he really felt about her and their relationship and admitted that she didn't know how to handle his duel persona. After he revealed that he, too, did not know what to really think about being Batman, Bruce admitted that he would have liked to form a relationship with her, but that as long as threats like the Joker were in Gotham, he wouldn't be able to. Leaving Vicki in the Batcave, Bruce then suited up to respond to the Joker's challenge; he took the Batmobile, used it to invade Axis Chemicals, and destroyed it.
As the Joker managed to escape via his Helicopter, Bruce returned to the Batcave to change vehicles as the Joker began the parade on Broad Avenue; and incited chaos by throwing money into the crowd. As Bruce returned in the Batwing, Joker then began to release Smylex from his parade balloons; which killed onlookers as they clambered over each other for the money. After he quickly used the Batwing to acquire and drag the balloons into open air away from the city, Bruce turned back and began strafing the avenue with guns and missiles, which killing many of Joker's men but missed Joker himself until Joker pulled out a long and modified handgun and shot down the Batwing in one shot.
After he crash-landed and exploded upon the stairs of the Gotham Cathedral, Bruce survived the Batwing's destruction and followed Joker into the cathedral as he abducted Vicki when she had attempted to free Bruce from the wreckage.
Doggedly following Joker and Vicki up the cathedral tower, and quickly moving aside as Joker sent the cathedral bell falling down from the Bell Tower and blocking the police from entering, Bruce entered the Bell Tower and fought the remainder of the Joker's Goons before he engaged and beat Joker senseless; he revealed how Napier had murdered his parents before he punched him over the edge of the cathedral.
The Joker, however, managed to stay up thanks to the building's gargoyles and attempted to drag both Batman and Vicki over the edge instead; and left them hanging over the edge as his helicopter arrived to collect him.
However, Bruce used a bolo launcher to tie one of the gargoyles to Joker's leg as Joker hung onto his helicopter's rope ladder and attempted to climb up. Weighed down by the statue, Joker was unable to ascend, and, as the gargoyle broke free from its foundations, his grip on the ladder faltered and he plummeted to the streets below to his death.
While they attempted to pull themselves back up onto the ledge, Bruce and Vicki also lost their grips and plummeted only to be saved by Bruce's Grapple Gun.
In the following days, Bruce sent a letter and a personalized searchlight/signal to Gotham City Hall in the spirit of cooperation with the GCPD and the Batsignal was unveiled to the general public during a press conference.
Bruce kept his promise, and continued his endeavours as Batman; he patrolled Gotham's streets and inflicted terror into the heart of the city's shrinking crime populace. Bruce's persistence to that path eventually led to Vicki leaving him; which was alienated by Bruce's inability to resolve his duality as Batman and Bruce Wayne.
As time went by, Bruce began to notice the power grabs by commercial mogul Max Shreck into many of Gotham's commercial and industrial districts and moved to position himself as a competitor in Schreck's bid to run the city. However, the arrival of Gotham's Christmas celebrations, a new threat announced itself as the Red Triangle Circus Gang publicly invaded and destroyed the celebrations in Gotham Plaza for the purpose of capturing Shreck for unknown reasons.
While they were eventually deterred by Batman's arrival, the Red Triangle Gang remained a threat and, the following morning, a member of the gang publicly attempted to kidnap the Mayor's baby during a public presentation by the Mayor that was going denounce the previous night's attack. While he attempted to escape via the sewers, the gang member "encountered" the Penguin who took the baby from the thug, emerged from the sewers, and before the crowd, returned the baby to the Mayor.
Watching the reports of the event from Wayne Manor, Bruce initially felt sympathy following the Penguin's speech about finding his parents, however, when he observed how calmly Shreck stood next to the deformed creature as the press took photos, Bruce's suspicions increased.
As the Penguin was admitted private access to Gotham's Hall of Records to trace the family records for his parents, Bruce began to investigate into the Red Triangle Gang's past to see if there was a connection between them and the Penguin. After he discovered reports of the circus that once possessed an "aquatic birdboy" as part of its freakshow performers, Bruce found adequate cause to suspect the Penguin of ulterior motives in his "return" to Gotham.
As the Penguin grew in popularity among Gotham's populace; he discovered his parents' grave site and publicly declared his forgiveness for what they did to him, Bruce attended a meeting with Shreck the following day to contest his latest venture to build a new powerplant to supplant Gotham's power reserves.
During the meeting, Bruce mentioned suspicions of the Penguin, whom Shreck publicly supported, and who ran the Red Triangle Gang. While Bruce expected Shreck's outburst on the accusation, the appearance of Selina Kyle, whom he had saved previously during the first Red Triangle Gang riot, was something that he was unprepared for. Immediately smitten with the secretary, Bruce momentarily forgot where he was and let slip knowledge of the encounter even though he was Batman at the time.
Leaving the meeting, Bruce returned to monitoring Gotham's streets for signs of the Red Triangle Gang's movements, and so was ready when the gang emerged to cause more public damage. While he worked his way through the gang members, and lost one of his Batarangs during an encounter, Bruce managed to personally confront the Penguin as he stood observing the gang's progress through the streets from Gotham Plaza.
After he learned of the Penguin's intention to become Mayor, Bruce attempted to interrogate him further but was interrupted when a "cat-woman" appeared before them moments before the destruction of Shreck's.
As the Penguin used the opportunity to escape via a helicopter-umbrella, Bruce turned to pursue the "cat-woman" only to be ambushed by her, became momentarily perplexed by her alternating passive/aggressive attacks; and ultimately became seduced enough for her to get in close enough to stab him through the weakest portions of the Batsuit's armor with her claw.
After he returned to the Batcave to attend to his wounds, Bruce observed the Penguin's official challenge against the Mayor for Mayorship of the city on the television the following day; and noted that the challenge was also aimed at Batman himself.
Bruce went to Gotham Plaza during the day as a precaution; he observed the preparation for the night's ceremony but became distracted when he encountered Selina window shopping. After a short conversation that uncannidedly led to their discussing the public opinions of their alter egos, Bruce invited Selina to spend the night at Wayne Manor. After a brief reluctance due to her own plans that night, Selina accepted.
That night, following dinner, the pair reclined to the watch the lighting of the tree ceremony, but became more interested in each other instead. However, their attempts to get more intimate were deterred by the prospect of having to explain the injuries they each had received during their forays as Batman and Catwoman respectively.
Eventually jarred out of their intimacy by a news report that announced the kidnapping of the ceremony's Ice Princess and Batman's suspected involvement due to the discovery of the Batarang that Bruce had lost the previous night.
Making an excuse to leave, Bruce left Selina in the lounge while he entered the Batcave, donned a Batsuit, and investigated the kidnapping personally. While Bruce did so, Selina also excused herself from the manor and rushed to Gotham to do her part in the Penguin's plot against Batman.
Entering Gotham, Bruce parked the Batmobile in an alleyway close to Gotham Plaza as he used his Grapnel Gun to ascend the buildings to get a prospective of the Christmas ceremony and unintentionally spied the Ice Princess tied to a chair in an adjacent building. Making his way to her, Bruce attempted to free her only to run up against Catwoman who, after a brief engagement, took the Ice Princess hostage and ascended the building.
As Bruce followed, he once again discovered the Ice Princess alone, that time standing on the edge of the building's roof. However, before he could bring her to safety, the Penguin appeared and threw an umbrella before the princess that released bats. Startled by the flying creatures, the Ice Princess toppled over the edge of the building, plummeted to her death, and uncannily landed on the switch that she had to press to light the tree. However as the tree was lit, the sudden eruption of light startled a massive flock of bats that were stowed among the tree's branches. The bats erupted from the Christmas Tree, flew into the crowd, and caused mass hysteria in the gathered populace.
Accused of pushing the Ice Princess off the edge and for planting the bats within the tree, Batman tried to apprehend the Penguin but he was interrupted by the sudden arrival of the GCPD, who, due to Batman's reputation and tactics that made him an intimidating specter, shot at him on sight.
The force of the bullets on his body armor forced Bruce over the edge of the building only to land on another one where Catwoman waited for him. After she easily pinned Batman down in his weakened condition, Catwoman attempted to seduce him again; she licked his face under mistletoe that was conveniently above them. However, when Catwoman tried to stab Batman again with her claw, it only punctured his armor. Fully recovered and throwing her off, Bruce moved to the edge of the building and converted his cape into a glider; he glided his way to where he parked the Batmobile only to find that the Penguin had gained control of it and, while he was in it, sent the car on a destruction joy-ride through Gotham's streets.
While Batman managed to regain control of the Batmobile, the Penguin's plan had worked and Batman's reputation as a hero was debunked in the eyes of the Gotham public.
The following day, Bruce formed his own plan in retaliation and waited for the Penguin's public address; he hacked into Gotham Plaza's speakers and replayed the two quotes that the Penguin had spat at him the previous night during the Batmobile's joy-ride. The ploy had the intended effect; it effectively turned the Penguin's supporters and public opinion against him.
Penguin's reaction turned violent as his supporters and Shreck abandoned him. Firing into the crowd, the Penguin fled to the park where he returned to his lair beneath the city.
Repairing the Batmobile, Bruce made plans to attend Shreck's Masquerade Ball in order to see Selina again.
Attending the party, Bruce momentarily confronted Shreck once again before he found Selina who, like him, did not wear a mask. While the pair quickly started where they left off romantically, Selina eventually broke down; and revealed to Bruce that she had come to kill Shreck for what he did to her. Furthermore, an off-hand quote about mistletoe that the pair had spoken to each other previously as their alter egos caused Bruce to realize that Selina was Catwoman, and Selina realized that Bruce was Batman.
Intending to work things out, the pair left the dance floor just as the Penguin blew the floor apart and appeared from beneath it to announce his intention to kidnap and murder all of Gotham's first-born sons as retribution for what his parents had done to him.
After leaving the party, Bruce immediately set out to stop the Red Triangle gang members as they gathered the children into the Red Triangle Circus Train. As Batman, he snuck up on the Organ Grinder and pulled him up on top of the locomotive's cab to interrogate him. After capturing the thugs, he left the Monkey with a note to deliver to the Penguin.
As the Penguin enacted his second plan to use his radio controlled penguins armed with missiles to destroy all inhabitants of downtown Gotham, Bruce used the Batskiboat to enter the city sewers and hone in on the signal's origin; he simultaneously worked with Alfred in the Batcave to block Cobblepot's control signal and turned the penguin army back to the zoo.
After cutting off the Penguin's escape route by using a tunnel that led to the Old Zoo above, Bruce confronted and once again tricked the Penguin into releasing the penguins' missiles within the zoo; which caused large explosions across the park. Simultaneously a compartment on the Batskiboat released a flock of bats attracted to the frequency coming from the remote, causing the Penguin to fall through the skylight of Arctic World and land among glass shards, toxic waste and sewerage of the lagoon below.
Batman rushed toward the broken skylight, peering through he caught sight of Selina, who had also made her way to the old zoo, stalking Shreck, who had been captured by the Penguin to die with the first-born children.
Using the Line Launcher, Bruce moved to stop Selina from killing Shreck; he pleaded with her stop her vendetta before it destroyed her. Bruce even went so far and removed his mask for her in front of Shreck. His pleas fell on deaf ears, however, and as Shreck pulled a gun and shot Bruce in the chest, Selina cornered him and used a taser that she had acquired from a Red Triangle gang member to personally electrocute the corrupt mogul; which caused the Penguin's power generator to explode as she did.
After he recovered from the attack, Bruce began to search for Selina among the wreckage only to find the charred remains of Shreck. His search was further interrupted when the Penguin, who slowly bled to death, attempted one last time to kill Batman, picked up the wrong umbrella. Bruce stopped and watched as Oswald's emperor penguins dragged him to the water's edge and let him sink beneath the surface.
After he did not find her body, Bruce kept the hope that Selina was still alive, drove around Gotham's streets with Alfred, and hoped to find some sign of her.
During one night, as they passed an alleyway, Bruce thought that he had seen Selena's silhouette and urged Alfred to stop the car. However, when he entered the alley, Bruce only found a black cat which he picked up, took into the car with him, and returned home as the Batsignal was lit again.
After he lost another love, Bruce vowed to heed what the path of vengeance had done to Selina and opted to never again outright kill criminals less he too lost the battle with his inner darkness.
- Taco Bell, Diet Coke and Batman Cereal commercials
- Batman Returns
- McDonald's and Diet Coke commercials
- Tiny Toons (Return of Batduck) cameo
- Animaniacs (Garage Sale of the Century) cameo
- Animaniacs (Twas the Day Before Christmas) cameo
- Animaniacs (A Midsummer Night's Dream) cameo
- See: Batman (Michael Keaton)/Gallery for additional images
Behind the Scenes
- "He looks like a guy who needs to dress up like a bat for effect."
- ―Tim Burton
Rights holder/producer Michael Uslan claimed that he only let Tim Burton see the original year of Bob Kane/Bill Finger's comic run, up until the time that Robin was introduced. Yet people like Janette Khan have remarked that Burton looked at Dark Knight, Killing Joke and Steve Englehart's run. Sam Hamm quoted: "Our guy is basically insane and Batman is a manifestation of his insanity.".
Burton remarked: "This guy wants to remain as hidden as possible, and in the shadows as possible, and unrevealing about himself as possible, so all of those things - you know, he’s not gonna eat up screen time by these big speeches and doing dancing around the Batcave. Again, I felt less is more with him in the sense of who he is. (…) Michael’s eyes - it goes back to kind of like silent movie acting. I like when people sort of just look. It’s a movie so you kinda get more between the lines then you do [from] the actual lines (…) There's a loneliness to that character and witheldness. He’s a character that is sad and is private. Even when he's standing there looking there's an electricity about him. Again this is why I wanted him (Keaton) for Batman because its all about that."
Keaton remarked on Batman: "What makes it doubly interesting is that he's kind of psychotic. At first, I wasn't willing to take it that far, but Tim was more than willing to take it that far. I read the script thinking, 'This guy's really angry and depressed and dark."
It was implied in the film that being Batman wasn't Bruce's choice. It was as if there was a reckoning, that he was summoned to be Batman which added to his over the edge nature of almost snapping at any point (You wanna get nuts!?). He was compelled to become Batman, and it was something that consumed him. He almost had no life outside of the suit.
Commenting on Keaton's performance, Dan Didio, head editor of DC comics, remarked: "Batman's the real identity. Bruce Wayne is the secret identity, Bruce Wayne is who he is but it's just a shell. Bruce Wayne is just passing time until Batman can take over and Batman can be who he is. The wonderful aspect of Michael Keaton's portrayal is that you felt almost sad for him, the fact that he looked so uncomfortable in his own skin, in his own house, talking to people who were suppose to be his best friends. You wonder where does he fit in in the world, thus when you see him sitting in the batcave in front of the console you realize this is where he belongs, this is where he should be."
While fans liked to individualize them due to their differing depictions and actors, the Batman who appeared in Burton's films and Joel Schumacher's films, were actually intended to be the same Batman, who's continuity stretched across the four films. Three different actors played the role: Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns, Val Kilmer in Batman Forever, and George Clooney in Batman & Robin.
It was also Tim Burton who originated the idea of Batman changing his voice while in the costume for the first film. The staple action was previously never mentioned in the comic books and wasn't used in any of the serials or the TV Show before that time.
When questioned on which of the previous Batmans did he think had added the most credibility to the role, Christian Bale replied: "I would say Michael Keaton because of Tim Burton and the way that he approached the movie."
- In preparation for his role, Michael Keaton went under extensive kick-boxing training for Batman. Keaton was not permitted to gain too much weight for the role due to concerns about the costume.
- Keaton initially wanted to do as much of his own stunts as possible, but it became obvious once principal photography commenced that this would be impossible. The Batsuit turned out to be far more restrictive than intended, which meant doubles would have to be used for the more difficult stunt work and fight scenes.
- Contrary to modern depictions of Bruce Wayne, in Burton's Films, Bruce Wayne was not a socialite. While he sometimes hosted a gala (as seen in Batman), Bruce tried to hide among the crowd and refused to even answer to Bruce Wayne. Even members of the press had no idea what he looked like. Most people in Gotham were only vaguely familiar with the name Bruce Wayne. In addition, in the two Burton Films, there was no Wayne Enterprises mentioned and it seemed like Bruce's money just came from old family wealth, which allowed him to be a hermit who was stuck in Wayne Manor instead of a socialite that the newspapers wanted to print about. This was one of the many changes that was made to the films after Joel Schumacher replaced Tim Burton as the director for Batman Forever, where Bruce Wayne was a media celebrity and the active head of Wayne Enterprises.
- One of the greatest outcries by fans against Michael Keaton's Batman was that Burton's films depicted him as an occasional killer. Commenting on that, Daniel Waters quoted: "We live in dark times. You can't just drop bad guys off in a spider web in front of city hall." That portrayal harked back to Batman's original template in Detective Comics # 27 where Batman used deadly weapons and didn't think twice about killing his enemies and criminals in order to serve justice. "He was a grim figure in his first years, casually killing criminals, and Bob Kane liked this dark version best."
- Orignally Jon Peters considered making a comedic version with Bill Murray, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson were all considered for the part. Michael Keaton's casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy among comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters that were sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.