When it comes to Batman, he’s had plenty of live-action adventures to keep us intrigued as fans. The problem is that there is just so much content to take into account when we’re thinking about the world of Gotham that we know and love. So in honor of Matt Reeves’ take on Bruce Wayne in The Batman, let’s take a look into some of the best live-action moments in Batman’s history.
We have plenty of movies to go through, a lot to look at, and so here are just some of the best moments out there. And yes, there are probably things I missed but there’s just a lot of Batman.
Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer
The likes of BatCat are truly on another level in The Batman but 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 dynamic that was different from the comics but was still a fun look into them both as characters.
Batman Returns didn’t really dive into their comic romance but it did give us a new Selina and Bruce to fall in love with. This Selina was killed and sort of revived by her cats giving her a more catlike approach to things vs. just being a cat burglar. But still, their dynamic was frankly hot and I think the origin of most our love for Bat/Cat as kids. Seeing Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer together in Batman Returns changed my life for the better. And also what a fun take on the couple!
Ben Affleck Throwing the Tire
When you stop and think about it: Bruce Wayne is hot. That’s kind of the point. He has his alter-ego as Batman and Bruce Wayne because we know the real Bruce hates putting on the playboy facade. But he can do it because he’s incredibly handsome. Which is why the Ben Affleck tire throwing scene is very important. (Spoiler: It’s not important at all. Just hot.)
In a movie where I pretty much only cared about Wonder Woman showing up, I will say that I loved watching Ben Affleck throwing a tire. Which shocked me given the fact that I don’t love Ben Affleck normally. But I do think the tire scene is important because it is a look into Bruce Wayne and his ability to train while also giving us a look at…well, muscles. It is a superhero movie after all and so the tire scene makes the cut for me and me alone.
Alfred Mocking Bruce for Not Picking up a Log
While I love the Christopher Nolan trilogy as movies and not necessarily great Batman movies, they did have some moments that were so very much what I loved from the comics and animated world. Like Alfred mocking Bruce. In Batman Begins, Wayne Manor is attacked and on fire when a fiery log has fallen 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 “bloody” log. It’s simple, sweet, funny, and shows the dynamic that Bruce and Alfred have. 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 and made the most comic book-looking Batman movies possible. Were they good movies? Not necessarily but they did bring us some 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). Their dynamic is weird, kooky, and something that does exist in the comics. Albeit not as weirdly campy as Schumacher made it.
But what works so well about the Schumacher movies is that he embraced 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. Both Two-Face and the Riddler proved to be difficult foes for Batman and it’d be nice to have that kind of dynamic back.
Poison Ivy Tricking Batman and Robin
Poison Ivy needs to come back into the live-action film world. We have a new Poison Ivy on Batwoman in Bridget Regan but after Uma Thurman’s take on Pamela Isley, she hasn’t returned to the live-action film world. Why? Who knows because she’s a great villain to take on Batman. As we saw in Batman & Robin, she uses her ability as a scientist as well as her “womanly” ways to trick those who are trying to stop her.
Like wooing both Batman and Robin just when she needs them. Poison Ivy has had many different versions throughout the years but the Batman & Robin take on her is arguably the most famous currently. Will we see her again? Hopefully, now that Matt Reeves is taking on Gotham but until then, at least we have Pamela smooching Batman and Robin to keep us going until we have a new Poison Ivy to fall in love with.
Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s Introduction in The Dark Knight Rises
I am but a humble servant to Batman and Catwoman. I love their relationship in all forms and that most definitely includes Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Selina Kyle breaks into Bruce Wayne’s home and acts as if she is innocent until Bruce calls her out and then uses her power against him. And it works so incredibly well for the dynamic between Selina and Bruce. What I love about BatCat is that 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.
They bring out the best in each other and it is something that I’ve loved for years. And while the Nolan movies aren’t perfect, they do manage to nail the dynamic between Bruce and Selina in a way that made me wish she’d been in more of his Gotham.
The Proof of Bruce as a Human in Batman V. Superman and Justice League
One of the fascinating things about Bruce Wayne is the fact that he’s just a hero. In the midst of the Justice League, he’s just a regular man who has a lot of money. In his own movies, it isn’t as shocking but when you see him trying to help the likes of a goddess, a kid who can run really fast, and an alien who is pretty much invincible, then it’s really telling.
But one of the few things that I liked in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was how human they did make Bruce. It was the first time in live-action we had a real mash-up between our DC heroes and to see Bruce training or in pain and struggling in Justice League was a fun way to explore how this human man handles working alongside enhanced beings. He’s just a man and it’s nice to see the DCEU recognize that.
Jack Nicholson’s Joker vs Michael Keaton’s Bruce
The Joker is someone we’ve seen over and over again and while each performance has its merits, it’s been a lot of the king of chaos. To the point where hearing that the Joker is going to be a part of a new Batman thing almost sours it. But there is something special about each version of the character and while I love Cesar Romero’s take, I think that Jack Nicholson brought the darkness we now associate with the Joker.
Nicholson married the clowning nature of the Joker with his more sinister moves and gave a truly frightening performance long before we had things like Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. And while Nicholson’s performance has since been overshadowed by other great takes on the character, he did set the new tone for Joker. And managed to scar so many of us growing up. (I was terrified of him!)
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 of it works to excite audiences. Whether it is 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 that it is shown in the movie. Why? Because we’re all a bunch of nerds who care about all the cool gadgets that Batman gets to use. Including the Batmobile.
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’s driving. Those cars are important to fans because we want to see what they come up with next for Batman and it’s fun to see. And truly, just sitting in a room of people when you get to see it for the first time and hearing everyone cheer? That’s worth it.
The Entirety of The Batman
As a lifelong fan of Batman, I have to say that The Batman is the best piece of Batman content out there. It is the most like the comics, it brings us actual detective Bruce Wayne, and is the Gotham that so many of us have been waiting to see. Matt Reeves clearly cares about Batman and his exploration of the comics and the character shine in The Batman in a way that we haven’t gotten to see in other forays into Gotham.
There’s just something about having a movie directed by someone who cares so much that worked. Reeves loves Batman and it shows in how he brought the character to life on screen and there’s a level of understanding there that hasn’t really happened before. He knows what makes Bruce Wayne tick and the sadness within him and now, I can’t wait to see where Reeves takes Bruce (hopefully into his playboy era).
More From Wealth of Geeks
- Review: ‘The Batman’ Makes a Cinematic Masterpiece Out of Grimdark Mystery
- The Greatest Batman Villains of All Time
- 10 ‘Batman: the Animated Series’ Episodes You Need to Revisit
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.
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.