Should Michael Keaton Return as The Batman?
- in Opinion
The Batman is supposed to be old, past his prime. A superhero who is in the process of retiring from the vigilante game. Sure, Ben Affleck has done a good job of giving fans a weathered crime fighter who has trouble keeping up. But maybe the standalone movie coming from Matt Reeves should take it a step further. Perhaps it should bring back someone with some real age on him. And we think Michael Keaton would be perfect for the part. Though George Clooney could keep the Ben Affleck continuity going very well.
There's a lot of talk about Ben Affleck not returning to play Batman after the Justice League circus dies down. Affleck originally signed on to write, direct, and star in The Batman, but over the last year, it was announced that the actor was no longer directing the project, then it was later revealed that he was no longer writing the movie, and now it appears that he's leaving the project entirely and new director Matt Reeves is on the hunt for another Caped Crusader. It has been reported that Jake Gyllenhaal is very interested in the part, but that Warner Bros. isn't so sure about the actor. The right actor could be right under everybody's nose, begging the question: Is it time to see Michael Keaton as Batman again?
Michael Keaton first starred as Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's classic 1989 movie, Batman, which started the Batman frenzy. Keaton stayed on for the sequel, Batman Returns, but left when the third movie was being written when he didn't agree with the kid-friendly way that things were moving. Michael Keaton was the first actor to bring the intense, dark, and brooding Batman to the big screen and everybody since has taken a little bit from his playbook. Since the character has gone back to being dark and mysterious, it might be the best idea to bring Michael Keaton back to regain his throne.
DC fans were taken aback when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in 2016's Batman v Superman and mostly because of his age. Many believed that Affleck was already too old to portray Bruce Wayne while many believe to this day that he just wasn't the best actor for the job. Affleck has played the character twice now on the big screen with mixed results at best, but hardly anyone talks about his age anymore and instead, they talk about who should step in next. Michael Keaton proved that he's back and that he can handle the action work at the age of 66. Plus, Keaton has made a successful career out of taking the unpredictable route and what could be more unpredictable than jumping into to play the Dark Knight again? Michael Keaton was a controversial choice back in 1989 and fans bombarded Warner Bros. with furious letters, insisting Keaton was too weird, not understanding that this was precisely why Tim Burton cast him in the first place. Burton had this to say at the time.
"He's got all that wild energy in his eyes, which would compel him to put on a Batsuit... He does it because he needs to, because he's not this gigantic strapping macho man."
Michael Keaton's Batman completely changed the way superheroes were portrayed in Hollywood movies, inventing the reluctant, self-loathing alter ego that is still being copied 30 years later. It's safe to assume that Batman wouldn't be the major character that he is today had Keaton not come in and classed up the joint. Michael Keaton took the cheese out of comic book movies and left when they tried to bring the cheese back. It took 13 years for Batman to become cool again when Christian Bale took over the role and brought back Michael Keaton's sensibilities back into the fold.
While some will argue that Ben Affleck is the man for the job or maybe even Jake Gyllenhaal, it might be time to bring back Michael Keaton as Batman. DC and Warner Bros. seem to have lost their way with the character these days and it really seems like they don't know what to do with Batman anymore. Jeffrey Dean Morgan could be a worthy choice for Flashpoint, but Michael Keaton needs to come back for The Batman and show us what we've been missing. Bring on the petition to get Michael Keaton into the DCEU and watch the franchise get the kick in the pants that it needs. Thanks to The Guardian for giving us quotes.