Before Christian Bale, George Clooney and Val Kilmer had all donned the famous cowl and punched various criminals in their various faces, the Batcave was occupied by Michael Keaton. Teaming up with Tim Burton, the dark knight of gothic movies, they gave us the first serious cinematic outing for the Caped Crusader in 1989’s Batman, followed up by 1992’s Batman Returns.
It could have been so much more though.
In a recent WTF podcast interview with Marc Maron, Keaton revealed that there were discussions for a third installment of the series and that it would have followed quite closely in the footsteps of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Keaton revealed:
You look at where [Nolan] went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. I said you want to see how this guy started. We’ve got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant. Didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t want to do it.
A Batman Begins with Keaton in the Batsuit? I would’ve been down with that. Would it have been better than Nolan’s own Dark Knight origin story though?
I guess that comes down to whose portrayal of Batman you prefer. I think that Bale was by far a better Bruce Wayne, but I’m a really big fan of Keaton’s Batman. His was a less muscular version of the World’s Greatest Detective, but his Bat-voice was so much better than Bale’s painful rasp.
That being said, I think Nolan created a near masterpiece in Batman Begins. It set a new benchmark for superhero movies and showed that a blockbuster could be driven by plot and character, as well as being spectacular.
What do you guys think though? Would a Burton/Keaton Batman origin story have been better than Nolan’s effort? And whose portrayal of Batman did you prefer? Join the debate and drop your thoughts in the comments below.