I’m Batman – Top 10 Moments in Non-Nolan Batman Movies

Top 10 Moments in Non-Nolan Batman Movies

Top 10 Moments in Non-Nolan Batman movies

He’s been a detective and a dark knight, a caped crusader and a campy cartoon character. Just like if we, the audience were Gotham City residents, Batman is whatever we need him to be.

Though not without its own issues, The Dark Knight Trilogy is basically Teflon. What Christopher Nolan did for Batman was arguably one of the biggest, most important things to happen to Batman in his entire history. Nolan took a franchise whose last entry involved ice puns and pro wrestlers, and he turned it into the Bat-Mania of the aughts. That being said, the Nolan films are not the be-all/end-all of Batman movies. There were great movies before and there will be great movies after. Located within those movies are some of the best, most bad-ass, Batman-iest moments in his movie career.

10) “Some Days, You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb”- Batman: The Movie (1966)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

It makes sense that the first entry on our list comes from the granddaddy of all Batman movies. Batman: The Movie from 1966 saw Adam West in top form. For a while, people were quick to say that this iteration was not their Batman, but this campy classic has finally taken its place among the pantheon of Bat-Films. Like we said earlier, Batman is whatever we need him to be. In the 60’s, we needed him to be the paunchy, eye-browed straight man in a strange world. For example: In the climax of Batman: The Movie, the Camp Crusader needs to dispose of a bomb but can’t seem to find a safe place to do it. Growing increasingly desperate, he quips that “some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

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9) “You Complete Me”- Lego Batman (2017)

One of the more recent additions to Batman lore is Lego Batman. Like Batman ’66, this was a version that did not take itself too seriously but was still a love-letter to its namesake in all of the best ways. One of those ways was how it explored the (semi-codependent) relationship between Batman and The Joker. Batman needs The Joker, you see? And The Joker needs Batman. He spends the entirety of this movie trying to prove these facts. Finally, in the closing moments, Batman admits that he hates The Joker but, like, in an endearing way. There was nary a dry eye in the movie house when this revelation took place, that’s for sure. This movie, even more so than The Dark Knight, embodies the decades-long relationship between Batman and his (begrudgingly) greatest foe.

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8) “Mistletoe Can Be Deadly If You Eat It”- Batman Returns (1992)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

It’s one of the greatest tales of star-crossed lovers in the history of literature. It has stretched across all mediums and has lasted almost 80 years. It’s a love story without a happy ending between a bat and a cat and it’s #relationshipgoals if we’ve ever seen ‘em. The first-time meeting between Batman and Catwoman in Batman Returns is a perfect example of the…dysfunctional…relationship between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. Whether it was Catwoman delivering the best “meow” in movie history upon meeting Batman for the first time, or their rooftop fight scene, the chemistry between Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer was palpable. This was especially evident after said rooftop fight, when Batman and Catwoman were engaging in a little pre-Christmas pillow talk.

“Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it,” Batman warns Catwoman.

“A kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it,” she responds in a scene that I have begged my girlfriend to replicate with me every year on my birthday. We still haven’t. Still, though, it’s a great moment in a frankly underrated film.

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7) “Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys”- Batman (1989)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

It was one of the great lines in a movie full of great lines, delivered by Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. After an increasingly tense “date” between The Joker and Vicki Vale (and you thought YOUR dates were bad), Vicki throws a pitcher of water at Joker, who acts as if it is “boiling acid”. In actuality, it merely made Joker’s makeup run and just as it looked like he was about to make Vicki his latest “masterpiece,” The Batman crashes through the roof of the museum (Batman has always had a thing for entrances) and comes to Vicki’s rescue. To escape the museum, Batman uses his grappling gun, which allows him and Vicki to escape to the safety of the Batmobile. In response, Joker seems to be more mesmerized than angry, which causes him to utter that classic line. The fact that he seems to begrudgingly respect Batman is a trope that would be replicated in all future Batman/Joker movies.

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6) “#JusticeforSnyder”- Justice League (2017)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

Justice League was…not great. The opening scene, though, with Batman apprehending the superstitious and cowardly criminal was so essentially Batman that you actually found yourself angrier at the wasted potential of the rest of the movie. This was Batman at his (world’s) finest. He was a hunter, a fighter, and a detective. We’re even willing to ignore the fact that he called Alfred by name literally RIGHT BY the crook. Had the rest of the movie been as cool as the opening scene, maybe the DCEUOFBNTV (DC Extended Universe of Films but Not TV) wouldn’t be over before it ever really started.

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5) “Because I Choose To Be”- Batman Forever (1995)

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We have a confession to make. We like Batman Forever. Yeah yeah, Joel Schumacher, blah blah, neon, yadda yadda Bat-nipples. But for a generation of Bat-Fans (this writer included), Batman Forever was their first big screen experience of the Dark Knight. It was far from the masterpiece that was The Dark Knight Trilogy. It wasn’t even in the same league (heh) as the Burton Batmans’. But it wasn’t, well, it wasn’t Batman and Robin. Batman Forever was fine for what it was — a film that was very much a product of the 90’s (hence the neon…and Seal) but there were some great moments in it, to be sure.

One of those moments took place at the very end of the film, as The Riddler is literally forcing Batman to choose between being Bruce Wayne or his alter-ego. It’s the age-old question that fans have been asking for years in an effort to sound smart and whimsical whilst dissecting Bruce Wayne’s psyche — is Batman the ‘mask’ or is Bruce Wayne? To find the answer, one need only to look at Batman Forever. It is in this film that he answers, unequivocally, that he is “both Bruce Wayne AND Batman; not because I have to be — because I choose to be.”

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4) “A Kiss Can Be Deadlier If You Mean It”- Batman Returns (1992)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

We’ve covered the first meeting between Batman and Catwoman in Batman Returns, but what about when they take their masks off and it’s just Bruce and Selina? What happens when they take off the rubber and leather, trading them for a tuxedo and a dress? Those questions were answered towards the end of the film, as both Bruce and Selina show up at Max Shreck’s Annual Holiday Ball. Their reasons for attending are different (Bruce wants to woo Selina; Selina wants to…um…murder Max Shreck), but they naturally gravitate towards each other almost immediately. Neither knows the others’ secret, but as they begin to dance, everything changes. Selina, naturally at her breaking point after dying like, three times already, reveals to Bruce her plans for Shreck. Then, in perhaps the greatest moment of the entire film, she notices where they are standing and reiterates to Bruce what Batman had told Catwoman the first time they met.

‘Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it,” she said.

“A kiss can be deadlier…,” he responded.

And it was at that moment they both realized who the other was. Both actors do a marvelous job with their facial expressions and body language, conveying a sense of shock, anger, guilt and, ultimately, acceptance. It’s a captivating scene that proves Bruce and Selina are just as interesting as their costumed-counterparts.

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3) “I Didn’t Plan on Being Happy”- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the only animated film to make this list, but it did have a theatrical run during Christmas of 1993, so it still counts. Mask of the Phantasm also happens to be one of the greatest Batman/Bruce Wayne stories of all time. It features the all-star voice cast from Batman: The Animated Series and it utilizes a split narrative, focusing on Bruce Wayne when he was first starting out as a crime-fighter, as well as present-day Batman battling the mysterious force known only as “The Phantasm.” The current timeline is interesting enough, but it’s the ‘origin story’ of Batman that is the most fascinating.

Bruce is just starting to become the hero we know him as, but as he is embarking on his futile mission, something unexpected happens — he falls in love. Bruce’s downfall has always been his love life, but this girl was different. Her name was Andrea Beaumont and she was the first girl to really capture Bruce’s heart. Torn between his love for Andrea and his quest for justice, Bruce finds himself at his parents’ gravesite. As the rain falls down around him, Bruce practically pleads with his parents for their “permission” to fall in love. When Bruce’s parents died, he swore that he would avenge them and he vowed to never love again. But he did. He fell in love and now he actually had somebody to come home to (no disrespect, Alfred).

“Things are different now,” he told them. “I need them to be different. I didn’t count on being happy.”

It is that line from Bruce that shows just how damned his personal life has been and will forever be. Bruce can be happy or he can be Batman; he can’t be both.

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2) “You Have to Save MARTHA”- Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice (2016)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

Everything preceding this scene was…not what viewers expected. The first-time meeting of Batman and Superman should have been epic. Instead, it was only okay. Everything from the character of Lex Luthor to the battle between the titular heroes to the introduction of the Justice League was so underwhelming, the only thing that could be more ridiculous would be if the reason Batman and Superman stopped fighting was because their moms had the same name. Well, that’s exactly what happened. The irresistible force and the immovable object stopped fighting because they both had a mom named Martha.

Whatever.

The good that came out of this “plot twist” was a scene that was, quite possibly, the greatest Batman fight scene of all time. Seemingly lifted out of the Arkham video game series, Batman takes out an entire fleet of Lex Luthor’s henchmen, gaining about 100,000 XP in the process, probably. He kicks, he punches, he grapples, he chokeslams, etc. He also may have quite possibly stabbed somebody in the groin. The point is, it is quite the spectacle. Batman cleans house, saves Martha (Superman’s Martha, not his own. Batman’s Martha is dead) and then tries not to look like a rich guy dressed like a bat watching the meta-humans fight the other meta-human.

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1) ‘I’m Batman”- Batman (1989)

Top 10 Non-Nolan Batman Movie Moments

It was the summer of ’89. ‘Bat-Mania’ was sweeping the nation. T-shirts, posters, billboards- all of them featured the emblematic logo of The Batman. Naturally, you’re wearing your very own Batman T-shirt as you walk into the movie theater, popcorn and soft drink in tow. The last time a live-action Batman had been on screen, it was Adam West’s paunchy, middle-aged, lovable version. This time, you didn’t know what to expect. You heard rumors that the guy from Mr. Mom is playing Batman, so was this going to be a comedy? Or a remake of the ’66 show? The scary guy from The Shining is playing The Joker, so you don’t know what this film is going to be like. As the lights dim and the curtain rises, you feel a rush of anticipation, the opening credits roll and then you see a family getting mugged by two criminals. As they’re going through their just reward, right before receiving their just dessert, something off screen makes a sound. In the background, you notice an ominous figure dressed in black. It’s him. He glides down and quickly defeats the bad guys. As he dangles one of them off the side of a building, he tells him to “tell all your friends about me.”

“What are you?” the criminal shrieks.

He pulls the criminal closer to himself, to make sure that he really hears, that he’s really afraid. And then he says the two words that will forever remain ingrained in the pantheons of cinematic history, as well as the hearts of all those who have seen the film.

“I’m Batman.”

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