I'm still gonna wear this to work though!
As you can tell I’m a huge Batman geek. Whenever I watch a Batman movie I melt into a little kid. I get excited for most comic book movies, but when I was a kid that’s when the Batman movies were first coming out and I didn’t know/realize that they were becoming terrible so I watched them all the time and was confused when Batman Triumphant never happened.
Kinda gives away the ending though, doesn't it?
I must have watched the original Michael Keaton film 100 times. Nowadays I watch it and I get the same excitement and passion that other folks get for Star Wars. I mean I love Star Wars too but Batman has always been my first love. Having said all this I thought it was past time I compiled a list of the greatest Batman moments. I’m keeping this exclusive to the 90s films because if I talk about the Nolan movies that would take up a whole other list (I’ll probably do that one soon).
That list may or may not involve this guy in some capacity.
Here are JJ'S TOP 10 MOMENTS FROM THE ORIGINAL BATMAN FILMS:
10. "I can stop you." - BATMAN FOREVER - I love the scene where Dick rescues Bruce and he denies him the opportunity to join in his “crusade.” Dick is eager to join him and be his partner but Bruce is firmly against it. Dick says, “How are you gonna stop me?” Bruce responds simply, “I can stop you.” It’s a great line that Dick might shrug off but we as viewers know that if Bruce wanted to, he could totally stop Dick from fighting crime. Bruce later has a change of heart but to me this moment says a lot about Bruce. His word is final. No questions asked.
9. The Batwing - BATMAN - This is my all time favorite Batwing. I think it’s so cool looking in its simplicity. I love Batman surveying the scene, then stealing the Joker’s balloons. I love Joker’s reaction, “Why didn’t somebody tell me that he had one of those . . . things!” Ah! It's so great! It’s an awesome scene and it gets highlighted by the brief moment where you’re worried for a second that he might not make it. The balloons turn out to put more weight than he was intending and he has to struggle to get the Batwing not to crash into one of the skyscrapers. Then there’s the moment where he puts the Batwing in front of the moon. Why? Who the hell knows. Cuz he’s Batman and if he wants to put his plane in front of the damn moon then he can put his plane in front of the damn moon!
I'm so fucking awesome
I always imagined that's where he got the idea for the Bat-signal. Or maybe he just wanted to do something bad ass for himself. Cuz when you're Batman . . . you can do whatever the fuck you want with your personal jet.
8. Descent into Mystery - BATMAN - This has more to do with Danny Elfman’s magnificent score than anything else but the scene where the Batmobile is racing through the night back to the Batcave is one that always gets me. I just think it’s so cool how he’s driving this amazing car and doesn’t even bother to speak to Vicki. He’s just concentrating on the task at hand.
I don't always kidnap women, but when I do they just deal with it!
Fun fact: One time I gave a friend of mine a ride home and she lived down this really long road. Plus the driveway was super long and surrounded by woods. After she got out of the car I put on the "Descent into Mystery" song from the Batman soundtrack. Because I'm super cool like that.
7. The Helicopter Scene - BATMAN FOREVER - Admittedly, Batman dangling off the helicopter at the beginning of the film is crazy but there is one moment that I always thought was amazing. Two-Face flies the helicopter through the Eye billboard thing and it results in an explosion. This is totally insane and I’m rolling my eyes as I’m writing this. Anyway, Two-Face goes to check that Batman is no longer hanging on and indeed, where Batman once was, there is now nothing. Less than five seconds later, Batman reappears on the front of the helicopter. What? How? Didn’t he just . . . ? Wait! What?
That’s another moment that always gets me. I love the “How did he do it” moments in the Batman films. Every now and then I try to figure out what he did and how he survived but I’d rather just let myself believe that “Because he’s Batman!” is enough of an explanation (because it is).
6. The Batmobile to the Rescue! - BATMAN RETURNS - This is another moment that is due more to the editing and music than to Batman himself but it’s a moment that makes me cheer every time. We cut from the Red Triangle Gang terrorizing the city to the Batman roaring down the street on the way to kick some butt. You know the scene in Star Wars: A New Hope when Luke and Leia swing over the chasm while dodging Stormtrooper blasts? John Williams music is in the background basically making the scene much more heroic than if there was no music. Danny Elfman’s music did that for me in the Batman films. When the scene cuts to the Batmobile and Elfman’s Bat-theme is blasting at us, it gives me chills and puts a smile on my face. Plus he just presses some buttons and kicks all their butts! He doesn't even need to get out of the car to take kick ass!
5. "I can't save you." - BATMAN AND ROBIN - I bet you didn't think there would be a Batman and Robin scene on this list, didn't you? Before we get all crazy and start shouting Bat nipples as loud as we can, let’s just focus on the positive in this film. There is not much but there are a few great scenes in this film all about Bruce and Alfred. George Clooney and Michael Gough are both fantastic actors and for the first time in any of the 90s films the love that Alfred and Bruce have for each other is shown. As Alfred lays dying on his bed, Bruce sits next to him and tries to cope with the fact that there’s nothing he can do. Alfred has spent the better part of the film trying to hide his illness but let’s face it he lives with the World’s Greatest Detective. Bruce offers to help him, Alfred declines saying he’s already tried. It’s a clear homage to the original Superman film where Clark confesses his anger that he couldn’t save his father from his heart attack. Alfred assures him that there is no defeat in death. They exchange their “I love you's” and for a brief moment we are treated to a truly powerful moment despite the fact that this film is a 2 hour toy commercial.
I owned this one. Heck, I owned them all. Don't judge me!
4. The Neon Gang Runs Away - BATMAN FOREVER - It’s not a huge moment but it’s something that speaks to the awesomeness of Batman. Dick steals the Batmobile (which, you know, shouldn’t be possible) and tries to play hero and ends up getting overpowered. Then, the leader yells, “Batman!” and they all run for their lives. To me, this is an awesome Batman moment. Just his presence is enough to scare those punks away. And Batman doesn’t even have to do anything. He just swoops down and they run like hell. It's like Batman is the boss and everyone is caught in the break room when they're supposed to be working. Except it's more like Batman is awesome and his reputation in Gotham is legendary at this point.
3. Batman vs. the Circus - BATMAN RETURNS - Say what you will about how Batman “killed” some of the bad guys but the scenes where he fought them have always been my favorite. From the beginning shot where Batman doesn’t even have to get out of the Batmobile to kick butt, to punching that one dude he didn’t even look at, to the end of the film where they all run away from him in Penguin’s lair, it’s just awesome. Yeah he set the one guy on fire and blew up the strong man but . . . . . . The devil on fire could easily put himself out (stop, drop, and roll!) and the Strong Man totally grunted with the explosion which to me implies that he survived. Plus, Batman has been known to go to extreme measures before. Either way, he did teach them all a lesson – You mess with Gotham City, you gotta deal with me.
2. "Hold on." - BATMAN - Vicki is being harassed by the Joker and who knows what he has planned next? Well, luckily she doesn’t have to find out because BATMAN COMES CRASHING THROUGH THE SKYLIGHT AND IT’S AMAZING! The Joker’s reaction is just about perfect. Batman lands in front of him, Joker freezes. Batman pulls out a gun, Joker backs off. The gun turns into a grappling hook, Batman scoops Vicki up and they zipline outta there! All he says is "Hold on." Joker’s jaw drops and he asks, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” Where indeed?
We don't know where he gets them but we know how he pays for them!
Joker, momentarily, represents the audience, looking scared, then amazed, and perplexed all within the span of about 30 seconds. Batman may not say much, but when he does, you’re gonna listen.
1. "I'm Batman." - BATMAN - Of all the Batman films that have been released over the years, this scene more so than anything else defined who Batman is for me. He’s a silent, scary guy that you never want to cross. This whole film was Batman at his best in my opinion. He comes in, does what needs to be done, and then leaves. He doesn’t talk much, but when he does talk you’ll never forget what he says. The first” I’m Batman” is so perfect that every time I watch the film I rewind it. I found out later in life that the original line was “I am the night!” but Keaton and Burton thought they could do better. And man oh man did they ever! From the voice, to the costume, to the absolute terror in the thug’s eyes, this is Batman at his best. I smile every time I watch this scene because it's absolutely perfect. I loved hearing Christian Bale, Kevin Conroy, and yes even George Clooney, but this moment with Michael Keaton was the first time I had heard it and it's stuck with me ever since.
Here's the moment for you to enjoy as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9G18qHPhcM
There it is! The 10 greatest Batman moments in all the original films. But there's one more I'm gonna mention (and please don't judge me).
HONORABLE MENTION: "Hi Freeze! I'm Batman!" - BATMAN AND ROBIN - Would Batman ever say this? Probable not. It's not nearly as great as when Michael Keaton said it, but for some reason it makes me smile. It's super cheesy and Clooney doesn't even bother to put on a Batman voice, but I don't care. I love this moment.
What are your favorite 90s Batman moments? Let me know! Till next time!
JJ - The Comic Junkie