When it comes to Batman, he’s had plenty of live-action adventures to keep audiences intrigued. Let’s look at some of the best live-action moments in Batman’s history.
We have plenty of movies to go through and a lot to look at, so here are some of the best Batman moments out there.
Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer
The likes of BatCat are truly on another level in The Batman. Still, before Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz. or Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway, there was Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on Bruce and Selina in Batman Returns. The two had a different dynamic from the comics, but it was still a fun look into them both as characters.
Ben Affleck Throwing The Tire
Bruce Wayne is hot. That’s kind of the point. He has his alter-ego as Batman and Bruce Wayne because the real Bruce hates putting on the wealthy facade. But he can do it thanks to his handsome looks.
Alfred Mocking Bruce for Not Picking up a Log
In Batman Begins, Wayne Manor is attacked and on fire when a fiery log falls on Bruce Wayne, and Alfred Pennyworth finds him to try and save Bruce. But because Bruce was originally knocked out, it takes him a second to realize what’s going on, and he can’t seem to move the log that is keeping him trapped. Until Alfred pokes fun at the number of push-ups that Bruce does and what is the “use of them” if he can’t even move a log. It’s simple, sweet, funny, and shows Bruce and Alfred's dynamic even if Alfred is yelling at Bruce because he can’t even save himself from a log.
The Campy Energy of The Riddler and Two-Face
Joel Schumacher really said “camp!” out loud whilst making his Bat-films. Were they good movies? Not necessarily, but they did grant pretty iconic performances and moments like anything and everything between Jim Carrey’s Edward Nigma (aka the Riddler) and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face (not to be confused with Billy Dee Williams’ portrayal of Harvey Dent in Batman).
But what works in the Schumacher movies is their embrace of the absolute insanity of some of Batman’s villains. The Riddler is a man who loves puzzles. He’s a nerd! And seeing Carrey bring him to life with this maniacal energy was well worth the outrageousness of Gotham.
Poison Ivy Tricking Batman and Robin
Poison Ivy needs to come back into the live-action film world. As audiences saw in Batman & Robin, she uses her ability as a scientist and her “womanly” ways to trick those trying to stop her. Poison Ivy has had many different versions throughout the years.
Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s Introduction in The Dark Knight Rises
In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle breaks into Bruce Wayne’s home and acts innocent until Bruce calls her out and uses her power against him. It works so incredibly well for the dynamic between Selina and Bruce. They balance each other. Whatever Bruce isn’t willing to do, Selina is, and yet Bruce also stops Selina from fully going down a path she can’t come back from.
The Proof of Bruce as a Human in Batman V. Superman and Justice League
Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice made Bruce Wayne so human. In the first real mash-up between DC heroes, to see Bruce training or in pain and struggling in Justice League, explores how this human man handles working alongside enhanced beings.
Jack Nicholson’s Joker vs. Michael Keaton’s Bruce
Jack Nicholson married the clowning nature of the Joker with his more sinister moves and gave a truly frightening performance long before Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. And while other great takes on the character have since overshadowed Nicholson’s performance, he set the new tone for Joker. And managed to scar so many of us growing up.
Every Reveal of The Batmobile
An important part of Batman lore is his Batmobile. It can be cheesy, utilitarian, or just plain cool, and each reveal works to excite audiences. Whether in the midst of a chase, in a reveal in the Bat Cave, or wherever else, the Batmobile almost always gets a gasp the first time it is shown in the movie.
He might not have special powers, but Batman is rich, and that means he can afford to do things like have a car that can withstand bombs and bullets and transform itself while he drives.
The Joker's Death Drop
Fans spent almost 20 years complaining that Batman let the Joker die in the 1989 film. Cut to 2008, when the climax of The Dark Knight finds Batman and the Joker in similar circumstances. Batman pursues the villain to a construction site, where he tosses the Joker off the top of the building.
But, unlike Batman, the Caped Crusader saves the Joker from death from falling. The Joker gives a sarcastic speech about Batman's incorruptibility that encapsulates both characters–and solidifies why Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy is the best of all Bat-movies.
For an exercise in terror, look no further than Selina Kyle's nervous breakdown in Batman Returns. Having survived a murder attempt at the hands of Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), Selina returns to her apartment and goes completely nuts. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the scene with total abandon, breaking furniture, tearing up her stuffed animals, and making her raincoat into a Catwoman costume. By the time the feline fatale steps into the light, the audience has raw nerves and, and Pfeiffer has solidified her place as one of the greatest villains in the movies.
The Joker's Splashdown
The Axis Chemical factory chase in Batman still stands out as one of the most stylish action sequences in the history of Batman movies. Of course, it all culminates with Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) falling into a vat of toxic waste, which transforms him physically and psychologically into The Joker. Even though anyone can expect the Joker to take the plunge, as Batman tries to save him, the audience holds its collective breath.
Kitten with a Kick
One of the most crowd-pleasing moments of The Dark Knight Rises sees Catwoman ride to Batman's rescue aboard the BatPod, blasting Bane in the process. Her line: “About the whole no guns thing…I don't feel as strongly about it as you do,” invites cheers from the crowd. That she also does a high-heeled, over-the-head kick at the same time also leaves an impression.
Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City. She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.