Amidst all of the terrible things going on in the world this week, we got a bit of surprising, exciting and somewhat confusing news when we learned that Michael Keaton will be returning to play Batman in the DCEU.
He’ll be suiting up as the Caped Crusader in The Flash and despite his age, Keaton will indeed don the cape and cowl. The extent of his role is unknown, but what is known is that The Flash will ignore the two Batman films that came after Keaton’s departure from the franchise. That means the recently deceased Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman & Robin will be retconned.
Having recently re-watched Batman Forever, Schumacher’s entries in the Batman world feel incredibly dated. At the time, Warner Bros. wanted more fun and campy movies. This ultimately led to both Keaton and director Tim Burton leaving, and Val Kilmer and George Clooney each getting one shot at playing the iconic superhero.
Kilmer’s turn is somewhat forgotten and overshadowed by the negativity surrounding Batman & Robin. As Batman, he was one of the better ones, but as Bruce Wayne, he was quite stiff and somewhat nerdy. I guess it was the only way for the notoriously eccentric actor to put his personal stamp on the character. Kilmer isn’t known for playing the straight man and you can tell he’s a bit unsure of himself in the films.
Clooney, meanwhile, was okay, but the entire production of that movie is now a punchline, with the star himself often leading with the jokes. At the end of the day, those two films exist in their own little world and can be appreciated on some level for what they are. Preferably while under the influence.
But the superhero business is all about continuity now and part of Keaton returning in The Flash is to act as a mentor of sorts in the vein of Nick Fury in the MCU. It’s an interesting shift for the future of the DCEU, to be sure, and hopefully it means better movies going forward.