The 5 virtues (and a defect) of Michael Keaton’s Batman

In just three decades, Batman has had a lot of faces. Along with Superman and Spider-Man, he is probably the hero with the most modern film versions. All things considered, these three are the most loved and acclaimed comic book characters by fans. It makes a lot of sense.

However, the phenomenon of Batman is very curious. If it hadn’t been for the restructuring of the Warner Bros. Pictures release calendar, this year we would have had up to three different versions of the Bat Man on the big screen. Three film iterations in one year!

The first of them has been batman, with Robert Pattinson under the hood. However, Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton were expected to appear in Flash. The first of them, to definitively say goodbye to the DC Extended Universe; Michael Keaton, to return to the DC Universe through the front door.


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Michael Keaton will not only reclaim the mantle of the Dark Knight in Flash. It will also play a relevant and significant role in batgirl. Leslie Grace’s film will feature the veteran actor to function as a sort of mentor to Barbara Gordon. A mentor who, at the same time, will unify several generations of fans.

It has rained a lot since Michael Keaton said goodbye to the Caped Crusader in batman returns (1992). Thirty years, my goodness! Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson have passed through the franchise. Of voice actors, let’s not even talk!

However, Michael Keaton has always had a “something” special. Viewers have always seen him with eyes that the rest have not, despite not being exactly perfect. But what makes him so special? What is really this “something” we are talking about?

Today we are going to talk about The Five Great Virtues of Michael Keaton’s Batman. However, since all that glitters is not gold, we will also be focusing on a negative aspect of this version of the character. We travel to the late 80’s and early 90’s to immerse ourselves in the Tim Burton’s Gotham City!

1. The erotics of being the pioneer

Michael Keaton was the first modern Batman. That is something that, whatever time passes, cannot be overcome. Technology will improve, cinematographic tools will change, the consumption of entertainment by viewers will evolve, and so on. But this actor was the first Dark Knight of the modern era in cinema. And that weighs a lot.

It is the “erotica of being the pioneer”. It is almost a sacrilege not to see Michael Keaton as a great Batman, precisely because of those important stones that he settled for the genre. One of his great virtues, although it is not even a virtue of the actor or the character himself, was being the first.

Someone had to be, but he was. And he will always be part of our imagination for that reason.

2. The aesthetics that surround it

Batman 1989

Many times it has been said that Tim Burton’s Batman movies They are the ones that have best represented the world of comics on the big screen. Aesthetically, I think they’re right. In every way, the filmmaker made an effort to convey the spirit of the comic, while keeping his signature or audiovisual imprint intact.

Both Gotham City and Michael Keaton’s own Batman, and even Jack Nicholson’s The Joker, were benefited and enhanced by this artistic work. The film’s production designs carried a heavy visual weight, multiplying the story and bringing to life something once reserved for cartoons.

3. The Danny Elfman Soundtrack

You’re hearing it in your head, right? Yes, we know. It is practically inescapable. Danny Elfman’s soundtrack is so inseparable from Michael Keaton’s Batman as is Tim Burton’s aesthetic. It is part of the idiosyncrasy of the character. It brings his personality to life and makes it stronger.

The powerful musical presence of Danny Elfman’s theme cannot be separated from the virtues that are part of Michael Keaton’s Batman. Maybe it could work in any environment, because it sounds like Bat Man and it will always remind us of him. But he did it for the first time in a specific context, which was this one.

4. The classic bat logo

Michael Keaton's Batman logo

And if we’ve talked about aesthetics, visual art and music… It’s impossible not to also talk about michael keaton batman logo. Basically, it’s the Batman logo. It is literally impossible for someone not to think of a logo of this superhero and think of any other than this one. It is THE logo and there is no more discussion.

That yellow background with the black bat, the same one worn by Michael Keaton as Batman in the two films, is one of the greatest icons of Western popular culture. His symbolic power goes hand in hand with the media. And it is part of the great virtues that this film version of the character has.

5. More Batman than Bruce Wayne

This is something that, curiously, we have also seen in batman, with Robert Pattinson. The duality between Bruce Wayne and the masked vigilante is almost completely blurred and we see how the character develops more in the heroic section than in the “human”, so to speak.

One of the great virtues of Michael Keaton’s Batman is that, with all the positive points that we have previously mentioned, he is able to make the most of having such a powerful iteration from an audiovisual prism. That’s why he works better as a Dark Knight than a billionaire playboy. And that directly connects with the defect that we are going to highlight.

* The biggest flaw of this vigilante

Batman 1989 - Bruce and Vicki

And it is that Michael Keaton’s Batman’s biggest flaw is the lack of development. If we put it next to Christian Bale’s Dark Knight, Ben Affleck’s Bat Man or Robert Pattinson’s vengeful vigilante… This version, like Joel Schumacher’s bizarre ones, was too scarce for us.

His development is poor and we hardly generate empathy beyond seeing him as an amazing guy who does amazing things because he’s amazing, you know? Damn, he’s Batman! He is the great hero of DC Comics! However, beyond the superficial emotion, if you scratch the sheet metal, the paint loses color and a very poor character remains, although very cool.

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