In honor of The Lego version of Batman returning on theathers, I thought about all of the different incarnations of Batman on screen (and boy there are A LOT). After a lot of thinking, deep meditation, and a three hour nap, I have finally came up with what I believe to be the absolute best Batman moments.
10. Bruce Wayne Running Towards Danger… Batman v Superman
Say what you will about Batman v Superman, but the film does certainly start off strong. Ben Affleck is by far the best-looking Bruce Wayne, as if he stepped straight out of the Batman Animated Series. The scene of him running towards his Wayne Financial building as it’s crumbling down is a powerful image. It sets the tone, and was probably the most emotionally investing scene in the entire film.
9. Shark Repellent Bat spray!.. Batman: The Movie 1968
You’re not a true Batman fan if you can’t at least appreciate the sixties Batman TV series. This Batman might have been goofy, but he’s extremely intelligent and is prepared for virtually any scenario. In the beginning of the film, Batman is being attacked by a killer shark, which has grabbed hold of his leg. Robin, in his green hot pants, hands Batman his “shark repellant”. It’s ridiculous, it’s fun, and more importantly it’s a moment that perfectly demonstrates that Batman is indeed a comic book character and his world is NOT to be taken seriously.
8. Robin’s Big Debut… Batman Forever
Some Batfans totally dismiss the “Shumachuer era” of the Batman film franchise, and while they’re definitely not good, they do have some strong moments, Batman Forever in particular. In the midpoint of Batman Forever, Two Face has just buried Batman in a sandy grave. Suddenly, a gloved hand BURSTS into the sand, grabbing Batman’s arm and helping him up… it’s Robin, in his classic red and green suit. The movie overall is not good, but this was a kick ass moment and reminds us that Robin is a vital character in the mythos.
7. Batplane in the Moonlight… Batman ‘89
The 89’ Batman is an awesome film and helped define what Batman meant to a lot of people who saw it at the time. There are many great moments from Tim Burton’s classic, but most of them were Joker moments, not necessarily Batman moments. Jack Nicolson was awesome as the Joker, but he was damn near the main character in the film… he even had top billing. Michael Keaton did his fair share of ass kickerey, but the stand out “fuck yeah!” moment is when he flew the Batplane up to the moon, resembling the bat signal. It’s awesome AND it made no sense, honestly.. why did he do that? But who cares! It was cool.
6. Moment: Warehouse fight… Batman v Superman
Finally, the Batman hand to hand action every fan has been waiting for. Ben Affleck is undoubtedly the best looking Batman on screen. The classic Frank Miller inspired grey batsuit looks awesome in action. Seeing Batman single handedly beat down Luthor’s thugs (even murdering a couple of them) was actually the best part of Batman v Superman. Hopefully we can see more in the upcoming installment ‘The Batman’.
5. Moment: “I’m Batman”… Batman Begins
Batman Begins doesn’t get enough credit. Not only did it put Batman back on the big screen after a long hiatus, but it was the first big successful “gritty reboot”, Casino Royale coming out a year afterwards. The film took its time, showing us the origin of how Bruce Wayne trained with the League of Shadows and adopted the cape and cowl. After more than an hour, we finally see Batman on screen as he lifts crime boss Falcone from his cozy limo. It’s a cathartic moment and Batman’s debut, and it was damn cool. Showing off his ninja skills and disappearing into the shadows, this was a Batman we had never seen before at the time. To top the scene off, Batman decides to compliment the homeless man on his “nice coat”.
4. Moment: The Batpod chase… The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan is a legend for this chase scene alone. Seriously, go on YouTube and just watch it again. There’s so much tension and the cinematography is amazing. Joker is trying to kill Harvey, Batman is trying to protect him, it’s thrilling, it’s funny, and shot damn good. Parts of this scene is almost reminiscent of a Looney Tunes cartoon, Joker using a machine gun, then a shotgun, then a rocket launcher in order to kill Harvey, the truck FLIPPING upside down… and Nolan makes it all look seamless.
3. Moment: Coffee shop… The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises certainly isn’t a perfect film, I would argue that it has a perfect ending. Batman/Bruce is presumed dead after saving Gotham from a nuclear explosion. Officer John Blake quits the police force, and Alfred is devastated following the apparent loss of his friend. As the film winds down, we see that Bruce was busy before his departure; leaving his enormous mansion to be a home for orphaned youth (a nod to Bruce Wayne adopting various boy orphans in the comics). As the film comes to a close, we see that Bruce Wayne is indeed alive, along with Selina Kyle… leaving John Blake to adopt the Batman legacy in Gotham. In almost every incarnation of the Bruce Wayne character, he’s never truly had a happy ending. In Dark Knight Rises, Bruce has finally gotten over the death of his parents and can finally move on with his new life…which includes banging Anne Hathaway in Ital
2. Moment: Joker Interrogation… The Dark Knight
This is quite possibly one of the best scenes in cinematic history. Batman having a conversation with the Joker and it’s more intense than you could imagine. In the light, you can see Joker’s gross make up juxtaposed against Batman’s dark, sleek bat-suit. Every line of dialogue is rich in texture and subtext. This scene highlights that the battle between Batman and Joker is an ideological one, not one of physical force or strength. Joker is a man without rules, a true anarchist who believes the worst in people… Batman is the opposite, a man bound by his rule not to kill and faced with moral dilemmas that challenge the very heart of Gotham. I’m sure a college student could write an entire thesis on this scene alone, it’s that freaking good.
Moment: Batman and Ace… Justice League Unlimited
This is kind of cheating, but dammit, I had to put it on the list. On the season finale of Justice League Unlimited titled “Epilogue”; set in the future, an elderly Amanda Waller is telling a story to Terry McGinnis, the new “Batman Beyond” about Bruce Wayne’s legacy. Basically, in a flashback, Batman briefly sits on the swings Ace a ten year old psychic, before she dies of an brain aneurysm. It’s a heartwrenching but small moment that demonstrates one of Batman’s greatest attributes… his compassion. This is by far the GREATEST BATMAN MOMENT, at least on screen.
To truly get the emotional impact of this scene, check out the episode on Netflix. Warning. There is a 90% chance of waterworks.