As Michael Keaton is currently busy filming his return as Bruce Wayne in The Flash, fans are celebrating the 32nd anniversary of his debut in Tim Burton's Batman. Though Keaton's casting was met with some initial reluctance from the studio at the time, he has since become established as one of the most popular Batman actors of all time. For many fans, Keaton's first Batman also remains one of the best superhero movies of all time, as regaled by thousands of fans online.
"Happy 32 years! All these years later, I still love Tim Burton's first Batman film," one fan tweeted. "Keaton's performance holds up, Nicholson is brilliant. The score elevates the film to another level. As a Batman fan, I find it truly captivating. Groundbreaking and iconic."
"32 years ago today Batman came out," recalls another big fan. "I saw it 13 times in the theatre and knew every line by heart. Kids today will never understand what this movie meant to geek culture and us kids who found our safe place in comic book shops and in the pages of these comics."
Adds another fan: "32 years ago today, Batman was released in theaters and forever changed the summer movie blockbuster."
"I'll never forget seeing Tim Burton's Batman for the first time, which ranks right up there with Return of the Jedi as my most memorable opening day moviegoing experience ever," says someone else. "It was released 32 years ago today. Every modern super hero blockbuster owes it an incalculable debt."
And another tweet reads: "32 years ago #today my 7 year old mind was blown when I saw Batman at the Atco #Drivein my life was forever changed. I became obsessed that night with how #film was made and written and designed and it set me on the path I have been on ever since."
Written by Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren, Batman was directed by iconic filmmaker Tim Burton. Along with introducing Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, the movie also featured the widely acclaimed performance of Jack Nicholson as Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker. The cast also included Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, whose transformation into Two-Face has finally been revealed for the new Batman '89 comic that serves as a sequel to Burton's movies. Kim Basinger, Pat Hingle, and Michael Gough also starred.
A big hit with critics and at the box office, Batman was an instant success when it was released in 1989. It brought about the sequel Batman Returns in 1992 with Burton back at the helm and Keaton donning the Batsuit once again. There were originally plans for Burton and Keaton to come back for a third movie, but both would end up departing the project during negotiations. That opened the door for Joel Schumacher to take the reins to the series, and while his movies have their fans, many fans really missed Burton and Keaton's work together.
The good news is that fans will finally see Keaton reprise the role after years of calling for it to happen. He will play an older Bruce Wayne in The Flash, which introduces a multiverse storyline with multiple Batman actors. The rumored plan for Keaton moving forward is for his Batman to essentially serve as the "Nick Fury of the DCEU" by consistently appearing in other upcoming projects as well.
We'll all see Michael Keaton's return to the Batman '89 role when The Flash is released in theaters on Nov. 4, 2022. In the meantime, fans can go back to where it all began for Keaton as Bruce Wayne by watching the original Batman, along with its sequel Batman Returns, on HBO Max. You can see what other fans are saying about the 32nd anniversary of the original movie on Twitter.