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Batman (Michael Keaton)

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General Information
Real name: Bruce Wayne
Aliases: Batman
The Bat
Alignment: Good
Affiliation: Thomas Wayne (Deceased Father)
Martha Wayne (Deceased Mother)
Alfred Pennyworth (friend/guardian)
Vicki Vale (lover)
Selina Kyle (girlfriend)
Characteristics: Gender - Male
Eyes - Blue
Hair - Dark Brown
Portrayed by: Michael Keaton
Charles Roskilly (Young Bruce Wayne)
Appearances: Batman
Batman Returns
"I'm Batman."

Batman, played by Michael Keaton in the movies Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), is an alter-ego and personality deviation of Bruce Wayne, formed in response to the sudden and brutal murder of his parents when he was ten.

A dark, brooding spectre, Batman sees himself as the protector of Gotham City, aiming to clean up the city's crime and corruption while bringing its criminals to justice by any means necessary.


Bruce Wayne had been born to wealthy but civic-minded parents. The noble Doctor Thomas Wayne and the philanthropic Martha Wayne had worked tirelessly to reverse Gotham City's urban decline, and had become 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 had accompanied his parents to see Footlight Frenzy at the Monarch Theatre in downtown Gotham. Following the show, his father had decided they should walk for a bit before taking a cab back to Wayne Manor.

Batman 1989 (J. Sawyer) - The Waynes

Bruce and his parents at the Monarch Theatre (from by James Sawyer)

It wasn't long before his mother had 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 guns drawn.

As one of the hoods grabbed for Martha's pearl necklace, Thomas tried to stop him only to be gunned down by the other hood; Bruce's mother was then also gunned down.

As the first hoodlum started away, the second turned to shoot Bruce but was dissuaded by his fleeing companion. Bruce would never forget the man's evil grin as he had aimed the gun at him, or the cryptic question he had asked: "Have you ever danced with the devil in 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, he developed new technologies and weapons in the "bat caves" beneath Wayne Manor, and a new persona for himself—that of "The Batman", a frightening, phantom-like vigilante whose self-appointed mission was to lurk the darkened streets of Gotham, meting out rough justice to criminals.


While publicly devoting his money and attention to cleaning up Gotham, his forays against the criminal underworld continued; encouraging rumour and superstition of himself to manifest amongst the populace. As Batman he became attached to the Gotham Cathedral; once the spiritual center of the city, and would take to surveying the city from amongst the cathedral's towers during patrols. It was during one of these surveys that he heard the scream of Harold's wife as she and her son, victims of a mugging, lay next their prone husband/father.

Tracking the two thugs responsible, Batman took the opportunity to use them to spread word of his presence in Gotham. His attention to being Batman, however, meant that he was unable to attend the celebratory event of Harvey Dent being elected as Gotham's new District Attorney; his seat as one of Dent's prominent electoral supporters being 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 James Gordon, Harvey Dent and Mayor Borg, to gather possible intelligence on Gotham's affairs.

While attending to his duties as host, he was harried by photographer Vicki Vale who, not knowing that he was the one she was looking for, asked him where she could find "Bruce Wayne" to which Bruce responded seemingly in jest that he did not know, taking him seriously Vale then left to continue looking for him.

Later catching Vale wandering the mansion along with reporter Alexander Knox, Bruce decided to follow them as they wandered into the mansion's armoury and engaged them in conversation, revealing himself to be the one Vale was searching for, however, as Vale offered that she would like to photograph the mansion, Alfred appeared to alert Bruce of James Gordon's sudden compulsion to leave the gala.

Leaving the two journalists in the armoury, Bruce reviewed the surveillance footage of Gordon and learnt of a pending massing of mafia and police forces gathering at Axis Chemicals.

Learning of Gordon's potential plan to capture Jack Napier in order to get to crime boss Carl Grissom, Bruce decides 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, Grissom's men and Gordon's men. Systematically working his way through Napier's men, Bruce crossed paths with Gordon before managing to catch sight of Napier.


Batman meets Napier at Axis Chemicals.

About to apprehend him, Bruce was forced to let Napier go when his second, Bob, caught James Gordon at gunpoint. Letting Napier kill 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 the thug 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 attempts to capture the Batman only to have him disappear from his reach; ascending to the factory's roof using his grapple.

The night a failure, Bruce left the plant and returned to the cave.

Managing to gain a dinner date with Vicki Vale, Bruce attempts a formal dinner in one of the manor's formal dinner rooms only to realise her uncomfortability. Deciding to eat in the manor's kitchen instead with Alfred, Alfred begins recounting stories of Bruce's youth and Vicki and Bruce begin to bond.

As Alfred leaves for bed, the pair leave soon after; with Vicki being slightly intoxicated. As she falls asleep in his bed, Bruce stays awake due to his insomnia and conflict over their growing bond; eventually Bruce leaves to exercise until daybreak where he pretends to have fallen asleep on the couch.

"Awoken" by Vicki, he turns down her offer to spend lunch together; saying that he has an "important meeting" to attend, which was the anniversary of his parents' deaths. Fending off her further offers with the lie that he would be out of town, he instead agreed that they would meet when he returned.

Later that day after Vicki had gone to work, Bruce leaves to perform the same ritual he had performed every year since his parent's death; paying his respects at the alley where his parents died.

Having learned of his lie about going out of town that day and having found no information on him at the Gazette, Vicki secretly followed Bruce as he left the manor; following and watching as he enters the alley between Pearl and Phillips street and lays 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 Carl 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.

Recognizing the mime as Jack Napier, a shocked Bruce didn't notice the subsequent gunfight that erupted around him as the other mimes open fire on Ricorso's escorts and the police. While a bullet passes through his jacket, Bruce follows Napier as he escapes in a limousine with the other mimes; shaken out of his psychosis only after Vicki jostles him after the mimes escape.

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 now leading Grissom's men.

While perusing acquired police files on Napier, Bruce caught the Action News television cast as the Joker hijacked the airwaves and announced his poisoning of various consumer products with Smilex.

Learning 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 saying 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 Joker was killing Gotham with, to discover that the Joker was inside museum with his henchmen; destroying the exhibits and harassing Vicki; the apparently sole museum patron still alive.

Changing into his suit and summoning the Batmobile to arrive at the location, Bruce broke into the museum through the skylight; grabbed Vicki and escaped the museum using the Gauntlet grapnel gun.

Instructing Vale to enter the Batmobile, which had pulled up outside the museum's entrance, the pair were pursued by Joker's thugs in their own cars; and the police pursuing 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 run down an alleyway where they are pursued again by the Joker's men.

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; allowing the hoodlums to partially take off his mask, however, as flashes from Vicki's camera taking photos overhead distracted them, Bruce replaced his mask and continued dispatching the hoodlums, momentarily confronting Bob in the process.

Once the hoodlums were dispatched Bruce turned his attention to retrieving Vicki, who had disappeared from the rooftops overlooking the alley and was in the process of hiding her photofilm. Instructing the Batmobile to lead the police, which were currently 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 he ordered the Batmobile to retrieve them and then made their way to the Batcave.

Once in the cave, Bruce proceeds to explain the findings of his chemical investigations with Vicki, handing her the research notes to release to the press. After a brief conversation Bruce knocks Vicki out and takes the role of film she had hidden in her blouse before returning her to her apartment.

While his findings are advertised on the evening addition of the Gotham Globe, Bruce moves on to locating the Joker's hideout.

As Alfred informs him that Vicki had left another message, he advices 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 goes 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 behaviour in the Gotham Square shootout. While managing to calm her down enough to begin attempting to explain who he was he was interrupted as the Joker and his flunkies entered the apartment.

Managing to get to the kitchen as the Joker entered, Bruce intuitively tucked a metal tray under his shirt before entering 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 acting violent. As Joker raised a gun towards Bruce he asked the choice phrase he asked all his victims before killing them; "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?". Disturbed by the familiarity of the phrase, Bruce was shot in the chest; the bullet catching 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 flunkies left the apartment and, while Vicki was distracted, he too escaped; leaving the tray and bullet behind.

Returning to the cave, Bruce requested the files on his parents to check on something as he returned to locating the Joker's hideout; managing to trace the villain's operations to the Axis Chemicals factory 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 hijacks the airwaves to declare a challenge towards the Batman to be held during the anniversary festival, Bruce recalls the night of his parents' deaths and remembers Jack Napier as the man who killed them; remembering the thug's catch phrase and his grin as he aimed the gun.
As Bruce awakens from his recollection Alfred is revealed to have let Vicki, who had deduced that Bruce was Batman, into the cave. As Alfred leaves, Vicki begins to question Bruce on how he really felt about her and their relationship and admitted herself that she didn't know how to handle his duel persona. Revealing that he, too, did not know what to really think about him being Batman, he admits 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 cave, Bruce then suited up to respond to the Joker's challenge; taking the Batmobile and using it to invade the Axis Chemicals factory and destroy it.

As the Joker manages to escape via a helicopter, Bruce returns to the cave to change vehicles as the Joker begins the parade on Broad Avenue; inciting chaos by throwing money into the crowd. As Bruce returns in the Batwing, Joker then begins releasing Smylex gas from the parade balloons; killing onlookers as they clambered over each other for the money. Quickly using 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, killing many of Joker's men but missing Joker himself until Joker pulled out a modified handgun and shot down the Batwing in one shot.

Crash landing and exploding upon the stairs of the Gotham Cathedral, Bruce survived the Batwing's destruction and followed Joker into the cathedral as the villain abducted Vicki when she had attempted to free Bruce from the wreckage.


Batman confronting the Joker

Doggedly following Joker and Vale up the cathedral tower, dodging aside as Joker sent a cathedral bell free to fall down the tower and block the police from entering, Bruce entered the cathedral belfry and combated the remainder of the Joker's thugs before engaging and beating Joker senseless; revealing how Napier had murdered his parents before knocking 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 Vale over the edge instead; leaving 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 the villain hung onto a rope ladder and attempted to climb. 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 attempting to pull themselves back up onto the ledge, Bruce and Vale also lost their grips and plummeted only to be saved by Bruce's grapnel gun.

In the following days, Bruce sends a letter and a personalized searchlight/signal to Gotham City Hall in the spirit of co-operation with the Gotham City police and the signal is unveiled to the general public during a press conference.

Batman Returns


Bruce Wayne noticing the lit Bat-Signal.

Keeping his promise, Bruce continued his endeavours as the Batman; patrolling Gotham's streets and inflicting terror into the heart of the city's shrinking crime populace. His persistence to this path eventually led to Vicki leaving him; 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, come the arrival of the city'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 eventually deterred by Batman's arrival, the circus 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 to denounce the previous night's attack. While attempting to escape via the sewers, the gang member "encountered" the Penguin who took the baby from the thug and, emerging from the sewers and before the crowd, returned the baby to the mayor.

BatmanReturns snapshot

Watching the reports of the event from Wayne Manor, Bruce initially felt sympathy following the Penguin's speech about finding his parents, however, when observing how calmly Shreck stood next to the deformed creature as the press took photos, Bruce's suspicions were perked.

As the Penguin was admitted private access to the city's Hall of Records to trace the family records for his parents, Bruce began investigating into the Red Triangle Circus gang's past to see if there was a connection between them and the Penguin. Discovering reports of the circus once possessing 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 amongst Gotham's populace; discovering his parents' grave site and publicly declaring 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.


Bruce challenges Shreck on his proposal.

During the meeting, Bruce mentioned suspicions of the Penguin, whom Shreck was now publicly supporting, running the Red Triangle Circus gang. While Bruce expected Shreck's outburst on the accusation, the appearance of Selina Kyle, whom he had saved previously during the first Red Circus Gang riot, was something 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 had been Batman at that time.

Batman Returns - The Batman 6

Batman prepares the Batarang.

Leaving the meeting, Bruce returned to monitoring Gotham's streets for signs of the Red Triangle Circus gang's movements, and so was ready when the gang emerged to cause more public damage. While working his way through the gang members, losing 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.

Learning of the Penguin's intention to become the city's mayor, Bruce attempted to interrogate the creature further but was interrupted when a "cat-woman" appeared before them moments before the destruction of Shreck's store.

As the Penguin used the opportunity to escape via a helicopter-umbrella, Bruce turned to pursue the "cat-woman" only to be ambushed by the villainess and become momentarily perplexed by her alternating passive/aggressive attacks; ultimately becoming seduced enough for her to get in close enough to stab him through the weakest portions of the Batsuits armor.

Returning to the cave to attend to his wounds, Bruce observes the Penguin's official challenge against the Gotham mayor for mayorship of the city on the television the following day; noting that the challenge was also aimed at Batman himself.

Bruce goes to the Gotham Plaza during the day as a precaution; observing the preparation for the night's ceremony but becoming distracted when he encounters 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 the 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 announcing 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 leaves Selina in the lounge while he enters the Batcave to don a Batsuit and investigate the kidnapping personally. While he does so, Selina also excuses herself from the manor and rushes to Gotham to do her part in the Penguin's plot against Batman.

Entering Gotham, Bruce parks the Batmobile in an alleyway close to the Plaza as he uses his grapnels to ascend the buildings to get a prospective of the Christmas ceremony and unintentionally spies the Ice Princess tied to a chair in an adjacent building. Making his way to her he attempts to free her only to run up against Catwoman who, after a brief engagement, takes the princess hostage and ascends the building.

As Bruce follows, he once again discovers the princess alone, this time standing on the edge of the building's roof, however, before he could bring her to safety, the Penguin appears and throws an umbrella before the princess that releases bats. Startled by the flying creatures, the princess topples over the edge of the building, plummeting to her death and uncannily landing on the switch 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 had been stowed amongst the tree's branches. The bats erupted from the Christmas tree and flew into the crowd, causing mass hysteria in the gathered populace.

Accused of pushing the 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 Gotham's police who, due to Batman's reputation and tactics making him an intimidating spectre, shot at him on sight.

The force of the bullets on his body armour forced him over the edge of the building only to land on another one where the Catwoman was waiting for him. Easily pinning him down in his weakened condition, she again attempted to seduce him; licking his face under a mistletoe that was conveniently above them. However, when she tried to stab him again her claw only punctured armour. Fully recovered and throwing her off, Bruce moved to the edge of the building and converted his cape into a glider; gliding his way to where he stowed the Batmobile only to find that the Penguin had gained control of the car and, while he was in it, sent the car on a destruction joy-ride through the Gotham streets.

While managing to regain control of the car, 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; hacking into the plaza speakers and replaying various quotes the Penguin had spat at him the previous night during the Batmobile's joy-ride. The ploy had the intended effect; effectively turning the Penguin's supporters and public opinion against him.

Penguin's reaction turned violent as his supporters and Max Shreck abandoned him. Firing into the crowd, the creature fled to the park where he returned to his lair beneath the city.

Repairing the Batmobile, Bruce makes plans to attend Shreck's costume party to see Selina again.

Batman Returns - Wayne and Shreck

Bruce at the Shreck's costume party.

Attending the party he momentarily confronts Shreck once again before finding Selina who, like him, was not wearing a mask. While the pair quickly start where they left off romantically, Selina eventually breaks down; revealing to Bruce that she had come to kill Shreck for what he had done 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 realise she was Catwoman, and her to realise he 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.

Leaving the party, Bruce immediately set out to stop the Red Triangle Circus gang members as they gathered babies into a circus train. Capturing the gang members, he left the Organ Grinder's monkey with a note to deliver to the Penguin; using the monkey to carry a transmitter to find the Penguin's hideout.

As the Penguin enacted his second plan to use his penguins to destroy Gotham itself, Bruce used the Batski to enter the city sewers and home in on the monkey's transmitter; simultaneously working with Alfred in the Batcave to block the penguin army's control signal.

Cutting off the Penguin's escape route by using a tunnel that led to the zoo above, Bruce confronted and once again tricked the Penguin into releasing the penguins' missiles within the zoo; causing the base's destruction as a flock of bats cause the Penguin to fall through the skylight of Arctic World and land amongst glass and sewerage of the base's lagoon.


Bruce pleads with Selina to stop.

Peering through the broken skylight, Bruce caught sight of Selina, who had also made her way to the base, stalking Max Shreck, who had been captured previously by the Penguin to die with the first-born children.

Using the Line Launcher, he moved to stop her from killing the mogul; pleading with her stop her vendetta before it destroyed her. Going so far as to remove his mask for her in front of Shreck. His pleas fall on deaf ears, however, and as Shreck pulls a gun and shoots Bruce in the chest, Selina corners him and uses a taser she had acquired from a Red Triangle gang member to personally electrocute the corrupt mogul; causing the base's power generator to explode as she did so.

Recovering from the attack, Bruce began searching for Selina amongst the wreckage only to find the charred remains of Max Shreck. His search was further interrupted when the Penguin, slowly bleeding to death, attempted one last time to kill Batman only to pick up the wrong umbrella. Bruce watched as the Penguin's pets dragged their master to the water's edge and let him sink beneath the surface.

Having not found her body, Bruce kept the hope that Selina was still alive and took to driving around Gotham's streets with Alfred, hoping to find some sign of her.

Batman Returns - Bruce and Miss Kitty

During one night, as they were passing an alleyway, Bruce thought he saw Selena's silhouette and urged Alfred to stop the car. However, when he enters the alley he only finds a black cat which he picks up and takes into the car with him and returns home as the bat signal is lit once again.

Having 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 loses the battle with his inner darkness.

Behind the scenes

Tumblr lexytw96G91qzoaqio1 500
"He looks like a guy who needs to dress up like a bat for effect."
Tim Burton

Keaton's Batman is stoic, almost mechanical. When he sheds his armor, the emotional barrier remains. There isn't much shading to Keaton's superhero. That's the point. His psyche is scarred almost beyond repair. He's a vacuum, in danger of imploding. It is a riveting, understated performance.

While discussing the character's motivation, Sam Hamm is quoted as saying, "Our guy is basically insane and Batman is a manifestation of his insanity.".

Producer Michael Uslan remarks that he only let Tim (Burton) see the original year of the Bob Kane/Bill Finger's comic run, up until the time that Robin was introduced.

Tim Burton remarks that, "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."

Michael Keaton remarks on the character; "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 is implied in the movie that being Batman wasn't his choice. It is as if there was a reckoning, 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 the Batman. And it was something that consumed him. He almost has no life outside of that suit.

Commenting on Keaton's performance, Dan Didio, head editor of DC comics, remarks, "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 like to individualize them due to their differing depictions and actors, the Batman that appear in Burton's movies and Schumacher's movies, are actually intended to be the same Batman, who's continuity stretches across the four films. Three different actors played the role; with 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 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."



  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns
  • 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
  • Batman: Child of Dreams
  • Batman Coke Commercials


  • In preparation for his role, Michael Keaton went under extensive kick-boxing training for Batman.
  • Contrary to modern depictions of Bruce Wayne, in Burton's films Bruce is not a socialite. While he sometimes hosts a gala (as seen in Batman), he tries to hide among the crowd and refuses to even answer to Bruce Wayne. Even members of the press have no idea what he looks like. Most people in Gotham were only vaguely familiar with the name Bruce Wayne. In addition, in the two Burton directed films there was no Wayne Enterprises mentioned and it seemed like Wayne's money just came from old family wealth, which allowed him to be a hermit stuck in Wayne Manor instead of a socialite that the newspapers wanted to print about.
  • One of the greatest outcries by fans against the Michael Keaton Batman is that Tim Burton's movies depicted him as a killer; possessing an on-screen kill count of at least 20 kills between the two movies he appears in. Commenting on this, Daniel Waters is quoted saying, "We live in dark times. You can't just drop bad guys off in a spider web in front of city hall." This portrayal harks 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 to serve justice. "He was a grim figure in his first years, casually killing criminals, and Bob Kane liked this dark version best."
    • In the Batman - The Video Game (1990), a video game based on the 1989 film for the Nintendo Game Boy, Batman used a gun as his main weapon.
  • Michael Keaton casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
  • Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Harrison Ford, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Spacey, Patrick Swayze, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Kevin Kline and Bruce Willis were considered for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

See Also

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