Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
When people ask “who’s the best Batman?,” one name usually comes up more often than not. Michael Keaton. While initially being viewed as a controversial casting, Keaton surprised fans and the world with his powerhouse performance in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns. But why would someone who experienced superhero success in two films walk away from the proposed third installment? Well, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Keaton spoke about how the third Batman story simply wasn’t good enough and it caused him to step away from the role:
“[The film] just wasn’t any good, man. I tried to be patient, but after a certain point, I was like, I can’t take this any more, this is going to be horrible. But, look, there was some really horrible taste in the 90s, and I probably contributed to that, unfortunately. It was a time of nouveau riche excess — everyone was known for their jets and their stuff.”
Well it’s not like Keaton is wrong right? Following Keaton’s two Batman films, Tim Burton departed the franchise and Joel Schumacher stepped in to create a more friendly/campy version of the camped crusader. Evidently, Keaton wasn’t for this and stepped down as Batman, allowing for Val Kilmer to take over and Batman Forever was the end result. While it isn’t as bad as people remember it to be, it comes nowhere near the level of greatness Burton and Keaton achieved with their entries. Kilmer would also leave the Batman role following Forever which gave way for George Clooney to become Bruce Wayne and well, we all know the end of that story…
It can be said though that Keaton’s departure, and the critical and commercial failures of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin paved the way for a cinema renaissance for the Gotham Bat as Christopher Nolan would eventually reshape Batman in film with The Dark Knight trilogy and allowed for more gritty superhero films.
What are your thoughts on Michael Keaton as Batman? Let us know in the comments and on social media!
You can catch Michael Keaton in American Assassin which premieres on September 15, 2017. As for Gotham’s resident superhero, see Ben Affleck as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which flies into theatres on November 17, 2017.