- This page is about the character from the Tim Burton films and the Batman '89 comic book series. For the character from the Joel Schumacher films see Batman (Schumacherverse). For other uses, see Batman (Disambiguation).
Batman was an alter-ego and vigilante persona adopted by Bruce Wayne. Formed in response to the sudden and brutal murder of his parents when he was ten years old, Wayne used the identity to target the criminals of Gotham City, aiming to clean up crime and corruption.
Bruce Wayne was born to wealthy, but civic-minded parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne. He grew up within their family estate, Wayne Manor, under both their care and the guidance of Alfred Pennyworth.
At the age of ten years old, Bruce accompanied his parents to see Footlight Frenzy at the Monarch Theatre in downtown Gotham. Following the show, Bruce's father had decided that they should walk for a bit before they took a cab back to Wayne Manor. Whilst walking down the Alley at Pearl and Phillips Streets, they noticed two hoods who'd been tailing them from the theatre.
As one of the hoods grabbed for his mother's pearl necklace, Bruce watched as his father tried to stop him. In response, the mugger's associate gunned them both down. As the first hoodlum started away, the second turned to shoot Bruce, but was dissuaded by his fleeing companion. Bruce never forgot the man's evil grin as he aimed the gun at him, or the cryptic question that he asked: "You ever dance with the devil by the pale moon light?"
To cope with the trauma, Bruce became obsessed with eradicating crime from Gotham's streets so that no one else would suffer the same pain. To this end, he studied combat, science, psychology, and criminology. With the assistance of Alfred, Bruce developed new technology and weapons, storing them in a cave beneath Wayne Manor. To strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, he developed a costume and new persona for himself - "The Batman".
Emergence as the Batman
Bruce had been patrolling the streets for some time prior to the public become aware. Spreading legend around Gotham, he primarily targeted small-time criminals, such as Johnny Gobs. His forays against the criminal underworld encouraged word and superstition of himself to manifest among the populace, though many of Gotham's citizens regarded Batman to be a rumor. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne publicly devoted his money and attention to cleaning up Gotham, using his efforts to support clean officials and politicians, namely Commissioner James Gordon, Mayor Borg and District Attorney Harvey Dent.
On one of his patrols, Batman, from the rooftops of the Old Gotham Cathedral, heard the scream of a woman, after she and her family had been victims of a mugging. Tracking the two thugs responsible, Batman took the opportunity to use them to spread word of his presence in Gotham, critically injuring one and frightening the other. Bruce's attention to being Batman, however, meant that he was unable to attend the celebratory event of Dent's election as Gotham's new District Attorney; his seat among prominent supporters being notably empty.
The Charity Gala
Holding a charity gala at Wayne Manor to help fund the flailing Gotham City 200th Anniversary Parade, Bruce was forced to attend the event due to his duties as a host. In secret, he had set up the mansion's surveillance system tracked key guests to gather possible intelligence on Gotham's affairs. While he attended to his duties as host, Bruce met photographer Vicki Vale. He later encountered her and Knox in the mansion's armory, properly introducing himself to the pair. Enquiring further, he discovered they'd attended the gala to pursue leads about Batman, particularly with Gordon and Dent. Bruce seemed to flatter Vicki during their conversation.
In the midst of the conversation, Alfred appeared to alert Bruce of Gordon's sudden compulsion to leave the gala. Deciding to investigate further, he excused himself and left Alfred a series of instructions, including to give Knox "a grand". Reviewing the surveillance footage at his computer in the cave, Batman learned Gordon had left to organize the capture of Jack Napier, a member of Gotham's mob and Carl Grissom's right-hand man. Deciding to assist Gordon's forces in Napier's capture, he suited up as Batman and left for Axis Chemicals.
Arriving at the chemical plant, Batman found himself walking into a firefight between Napier's associates and the GCPD. As he systematically worked his way through Napier's men, Batman crossed paths with Gordon before he managed to catch sight of Napier. Eventually catching up with him at the main mixing chamber, Batman disarmed the criminal and prepared to apprehend him. However, he was forced to let Napier go when his second-in-command, Bob, caught Gordon at gunpoint. However, he disappeared before Napier could return fire after his release.
After Napier killed the corrupt Lt. Eckhardt, Batman returned to dispatch him before he could escape. However, the criminal realized his presence and returned fire. Blocking the shot with his gauntlet, Batman caused the bullet to ricocheted bullet and pierce through Napier's face. When Napier lost his balance and fell from the walkway, Batman attempted to save him from falling into the vats below, though lost his grip and watch as Napier plummeted into the vat of chemicals below.
Having failed in capturing Napier, Gordon ordered his men to capture Batman. Realizing he was surrounded, Batman threw a smoke capsule to cover his escape and ascended to the factory's roof using his grappling hook. The night a failure, he left the plant and returned to the Batcave.
Dating Vale and the "Important Meeting"
At some point during or after the Gala, Bruce and Vicki arranged a date at Wayne Manor. Attempting a formal dinner in one of the manor's dining rooms, he realized her discomfort during the midst of starters and decided to eat in the manor's kitchen with Alfred instead. During the it, they began to bond over stories from their youth. After Alfred left them and Vicki became slightly intoxicated, they spent the night in his room. Though Vicki fell asleep in his bed, Bruce stayed awake and took to exercising until daybreak, later falling asleep on the couch.
Awoken by Vicki the following morning, Bruce turned down her offer to have lunch together, claiming to had an "important meeting" to attend. Fending off her further offers with the lie that he would be out of town, he instead agreed that they would meet when he returned. Later that day, Bruce visited the alleyway where his parents were murdered, leaving flowers to pay his respects to them. Unknown to Bruce, Vicki, having become suspicious, followed him from the manor and witnessed his action.
Bruce later wondered to Gotham Square, where he watched the public announcement of Vinnie Ricorso taking control of Grissom's businesses outside City Hall. During the event, he began to notice various mimes convene on the steps of city hall and surround the event. When the leader of the group killed Ricorso with a razored-quill, Bruce instantly recognized the mime as Jack Napier, leading him to into a state of shock. He remained in it during the subsequent gunfight, even failing to notice a bullet passed through his jacket. Bruce was shaken out of his psychosis only after Vicki jostled him.
Returning to Wayne Manor to rest, Bruce was questioned by Alfred about the gunfight. He also questioned him on his treatment of Vicki and his choice to keep her at arms length. After considering the issue briefly, Bruce revealed his discovery of Napier's survival and taken control Grissom's operations. While acquiring police files on Napier, Bruce caught the Action News television report, during which one of its reporters died and the program was highjacked by Joker for a Smylex Commercial. Consulting the file, Bruce learned of Napier's knowledge of chemistry and realized he'd poisoned various beauty products with a nerve agent.
Purchasing various hair and beauty products, Bruce and Alfred eventually discovered that Napier had poisoned various products at their source. He also deduced that only certain combinations of these would create the chemical, with components being stored in the products but being set off when applied at the same time. Some time after his discoveries, Bruce received a message from Vicki that said that she would be late going to a date with him at the Flugelheim Museum. Remembering he'd not set up this meeting, he became suspicious and respond as Batman.
Arriving on the scene after the Joker and his men gassed everyone but Vale, Batman finally responded when the criminal attempted to attack her with joke flower filled with acid. Breaking through the skylight, he grabbed Vicki and threatened the clown away with a grapnel gauntlet. After using the device to create a zipline to the exit, Batman and Vale made their escape via the wire.
Using his car, Batman and Vicki made their escape as Joker's goons followed in their own vehicles. Police also took notice and began chasing in theirs. Easily outmaneuvering its pursuers, Batman was eventually forced to move on foot when they ran up against a construction project. Evacuating the vehicle, he and Vicki ran down an alleyway whilst he activated the car's shields.
Eventually, Joker's men caught up with them and cornered them another alley. Using his spring-action reel to ascend to the an overhead catwalk, Batman was forced to detach himself from the device began to falter due to their weight. While Vale made it to safety, he fell back into the alley and was knocked unconscious by the thugs' gunshots. Though they attempted to unmask him, Vale stopped them from doing so by attempting to take photos. Regaining consciousness, Batman replaced his mask and dispatched the group. The only member to leave was Hawkins, who fled upon being challenged. Once the goons were dispatched, Batman turned his attention to retrieving Vicki and summoned the Batmobile to his location.
After giving it instructions to divert officers present, Batman managed to catch Vicki as she was descending a fire escape three buildings away. Deciding to take her to the Batcave, he ordered the Batmobile to retrieve them and drove her to his hideout. Once in the Batcave, Batman explained the findings of his chemical investigations with Vicki, and handed her the research notes to release to the press. After a brief conversation, Batman knocked Vicki out with sleeping gas and took the roll of film that she had hidden in her blouse. He then returned Vale to her apartment, leaving the list he'd given to her for the Gotham Globe to publish. Bruce moved on to locating the Joker's hideout.
Mask Off and Revelations
During the midst of his search, Alfred informed Bruce that Vicki had left another message and suggested he told her the truth, reasoning that she would eventually discover it for herself. Taking Alfred's advice to heart, he visited Vicki's apartment to confess his identity. After listening to her over his his behavior and reluctance to open up, Bruce finally managed to calm Vicki down and tried to explain himself. However, before he could tell her, they were interrupted by a knock at the door.
When the visitors were revealed to be the Joker and his goons, Bruce slipped into the kitchen and tucked a silver metal serving tray under his shirt for protection. After making his presence known to the group, he exchanged small talk and before trying to start a confrontation with the group. Joker instead responded by raising his gun and asking him whether he'd "ever [danced] with the devil in the pale moon light". The familiarity of the phrase shocked Bruce, giving his foe opportunity to shoot him. Playing dead until Joker and his goons left, Bruce then made he escape, leaving the tray and the bullet behind to let Vicki know of his survival.
Returning to the Batcave and suspecting a connection, Bruce requested Alfred to dig up files of his parents' murder. Whilst he waited, he finally tracked Joker's lair to Axis Chemicals, reasoning it to be the most likely place where the products were contaminated in addition to Joker's birth. After Alfred delivered the files, Bruce watched the Gotham officials announce the cancellation of the 200th Anniversary Parade, only for Joker to once again hijack the airwaves to declare he'd be hosting the parade himself and to deliver a challenge to Batman. After this, Bruce recalled the night of his parents' deaths. Recognizing both Joker's phrase and the grin his parents' killer had, Bruce realized Napier was the man who'd created him like he'd done so with the Joker.
As Bruce finished his recollection, he discovered Alfred had let Vicki into the cave: she had already deduced he was Batman herself after learning about his parents' murder. After Alfred them to talk, they both revealed their feelings for each other and conflict handling his dual persona. Admitting he would like to form a relationship with her, Bruce vowed to try once he'd stopped Joker and his plans.
Duel of the Freaks
After suiting up, Batman left Vicki to stop Joker and disband his organization. Deciding to begin by cutting off the Clown Prince of Crime from his poisonous products, he, via the remote communicator, sent the Batmobile into the heart of the factory and place bombs inside. Batman then detonated them and brought the car back to him as the factory burned down. As he prepared to leave, Batman learned that Joker had managed to escape via a helicopter as the criminal taunted him from above.
Suspecting Joker would attempt to use larger dispersal of Smylex in the parade, Batman took flight in his Batwing to respond via the air. The assumption proved correct, as he and his men began to release Smylex from his parade balloons that killed civilians who'd come at the promise of "free money". Using the Batwing's hooks, Batman caught the balloons and dragged them outside of the city to release them safely. Returning to finish the duel, Batman charged down the avenue, gunning down the criminals with mounted guns and missiles. When the Dark Knight missed him, Joker responded by using a a modified handgun to shoot down the Batwing. Batman was able to survive the crash-landed on the cathedral's stairs, though was badly injured.
Hiding in the wreckage, Batman watched as Joker took Vale hostage and arranged for his escape from its bell tower. Following them inside, he chased them up the building and narrowly avoided a bell Joker detached to prevent police from following him. Upon arrival in the belfry, Batman was attacked by the remaining Joker Goons, though he managed to dispatch them.
Whilst Vale distracted Joker, Batman ambushed and began to beat Joker senseless. During the confrontation, he revealed how Napier had murdered his parents, though the criminal had either forgotten the encounter or remained blissfully ignorant of his identity. Batman eventually knocked Joker from the balcony. Believing him to have fallen, he and Vicki checked, only to be pulled over the edge by Joker, who'd managed to catch grip before falling. Managing to grab onto the ledge, Batman attempted to prevent them from falling before Joker's helicopter arrived to collect him.
As the criminal bid them goodbye, Batman equipped his Bola-Launcher and used it to tie Joker's leg to a gargoyle. This eventually led to Napier's death when it broke lose from its foundations and he, unable to bear the weight, lost his grip from the copter's ladder. However, Batman and Vale's support soon crumbled and they lost their grip. Using a grappling hook, Batman was able to stop them from joining the Joker, leaving them hanging from the tower in each other's arms.
In the following days, Bruce sent Dent a letter as Batman vowing to keep the citizens of Gotham safe and work closely with the authorities. He also sent the GCPD a modified searchlight in the spirit of cooperation, suggesting they used it to call. As Batman, he watched the event from the rooftops of Gotham, with Gordon lighting the signal for all the city to see. Prior to it, Bruce sent Alfred to pick Vicki up from the event. He also gave her a message to let her know he'd be late that evening.
Bruce kept his promise to the citizens of Gotham, continuing his endeavors as Batman to inflicted terror into the heart of the city's shrinking crime populace. He also changed the Wayne Manor to include systems to alert him to the signal's activation, in case he was still there when Gotham needed him. However, his relationship with Vicki was strained by persistence to be Gotham's protector. Eventually, she became alienated by Bruce's inability to resolve his duality and broke up with him.
As time went by, Bruce began to notice the power grabs by commercial mogul Max Shreck into many of Gotham's commercial and industrial districts. Around this time, Gotham's mayor changed to the less capable but good-willed Roscoe Jenkins. To slow down Shreck's bid to run the city, Bruce quickly moved to position himself by using his family's company to grab resource for himself.
During the city's Christmas Celebrations, Bruce remained at Wayne Manor. On the night of the Lighting of the Tree Ceremony, he was summoned to deal with a gang of former circus performers that attacked the event and civilians at Gotham Plaza. Responding in the Batmobile, Batman used the vehicle's gadgets to subdue the attackers and calm the situation. During it, he saved a woman from a Terrifying Clown, using his spring-action reel to knock the attacker unconscious. As they rounded up several members of the gang, Batman met with Gordon and Jenkins, during which they realized Shreck had disappeared in the chaos.
The following morning, the same group who'd attacked the Lighting of the Tree Ceremony tried to kidnap the Mayor's baby during a public presentation, only to be stopped by the long rumored "Penguin". Bruce watched the reports of the incident from Wayne Manor's foyer, initially sympathetic toward the man. However, he quickly noticed how calm Shreck was next to "the Penguin" and began to suspect a link.
As the Penguin was admitted private access to Gotham's Hall of Records to trace the family records for his parents, Bruce began to investigate both him and the gang responsible for the attacks. He soon connected them both to the disgraced Red Triangle Circus, where he learned the group had once possessed an "aquatic birdboy" as one of their freakshow performers. Discovering the group had been forced into hiding after a series of child disappearances linked to them, Bruce realized that Penguin was a lifelong child killer who was jealous of "normal" children, especially those who'd come from wealthy families. He also began to suspect Penguin knew about both his and his parents' identities' as the Cobblepots, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances around the time of the murders. Bruce found adequate cause to suspect the Penguin of ulterior motives for sifting through birth records long into the night.
As the Penguin grew in popularity among Gotham's populace, Bruce began investigating Shreck to find a connection. Meeting with him to discuss Max's proposal for a new powerplant, he challenged him on the new proposal for the need of such and how it would supplant Gotham's power reserves. During the meeting, Bruce also mentioned suspicions that Penguin ran the Red Triangle Gang and his connections to Shreck. Before he could get the expected outburst on the accusation, their meeting was interrupted by appearance of Shreck's secretary, Selina Kyle. Recognizing her as the woman he's saved at the original riot, Bruce was immediately smitten with her and almost let slip knowledge of the encounter. As Shreck recovered his composure, Bruce was shown out by Kyle.
Riots on the Street
In the days after the meeting, Batman returned to monitoring Gotham's streets for signs of the Red Triangle Gang's movements. Eventually, the gang emerged to cause more public damage, though he was prepared and fought them on the streets. While he worked his way through the gang members, Batman lost one of his Batarangs during an encounter. After finishing off one of its members, Batman confront the Penguin as he stood observing the gang's progress through the streets from Gotham Plaza. After he learned of the Penguin's intention to become Mayor, Batman attempted to interrogate him further about his plans. However, this was interrupted by the arrival of a "Cat-Woman", who'd set off explosions that destoryed of Shreck's.
As the Penguin used the opportunity to escape via a helicopter-umbrella, Bruce turned to pursue the Catwoman, only to be ambushed by her on the rooftops. Perplexed by her alternating passive/aggressive attacks, he was ultimately able to subdue her using one of his chemical capsules. Saving her before she fell from the rooftops, Batman became seduced enough for her to get in close enough to stab him through the weakest portions of the Batsuit's armor with her claw. He retaliated by knocking her off the rooftop, leading her to fall into a truck of gravel. After the encounter, Bruce returned to the Batcave to attend to his wounds.
The following day, Bruce observed the Penguin's official challenge against Jenkins for Mayorship of Gotham and had also begun aiming the challenge at Batman as well. Visiting Gotham Plaza during the day, he planned to visit as a precaution, incase the Red Triangle Gang planned to attack the Relighting Ceremony. Whilst he observed the preparation for the night's ceremony, Bruce became distracted when he encountered Selina window shopping. After a short conversation that unexpectedly led to their discussing the public opinions of their alter egos, Bruce invited Selina to spend the night at Wayne Manor. After a brief reluctance due to her own plans that night, Selina accepted.
Following dinner, Bruce and Selina reclined to the watch the Relighting of the Tree ceremony on TV. However, the pair quickly became more interested in each other instead. However, their attempts to get more intimate were deterred by the prospect of having to explain the injuries they'd each had received during their forays as Batman and Catwoman, respectively. Eventually jarred out of their intimacy, they watched a report announcing the kidnapping of the Ice Princess and Batman's suspected involvement, due to the discovery of the Batarang that stolen the previous night. Deciding to respond, Bruce left Selina in the lounge and left Alfred instructions to give an excuses that wasn't dismissive. Unknown to Bruce, she likewise did the same.
After suiting up and leaving the Batmobile parked in an alleyway, Batman searched for the Ice Princess. Locating her a building overlooking the ceremony, he attempted to free her. However, Catwoman appeared and the two engaged briefly in combat. When Catwoman fled to the rooftops with the Ice Princess, Batman give chase to find the latter alone on the building's edge. Before he could bring her to safety, the Penguin appeared and threw an umbrella packed with bats in front of them, causing the princess to lose her footing in terror and fall to her death. In addition, Penguin's gang had modified the tree to release a flock of bats to attack the gathered populace, seeding full distrust in Batman.
Batman attempted to apprehend Penguin, but was distracted by GCPD officers who'd been tipped off by the criminal. The group immediately shot at Batman, causing him to fall from the rooftop. Incapacitated briefly, Catwoman appeared and easily pinned him down in his weakened condition. Like before, she attempted to seduce and stab him, though he'd managed to prepared his armor due to a claw he'd taken from her. As he stood up, Batman threw down her original claw and glided off the building via his cape.
Returning to the Batmobile, Batman discovered that the Red Triangle Gang had modified it whilst he was away and placed it into Penguin's control. Using a modified kiddie ride, the criminal sent the car on a destruction joy-ride through Gotham's streets to make Batman look dangerous to the public. However, using the computer systems on the car, Batman was able to located the Beacon Rod controlling it and record Penguin's comments. After managing to regain control of the Batmobile, he escaped pursuing officers by transforming the car into the Batmissile and navigating down a narrow alleyway. Though he'd been able to escape, Penguin's plan had worked and Batman's reputation was damaged, if not ruined, in the eyes of the Gotham public.
The following day, Bruce formed his own plan in retaliation and waited for the Penguin's public address. Using the Batcomputer, he hacked into Gotham Plaza's speakers and replayed recordings he'd made of Cobblepot's insults about Gotham's citizens. Picking his moments carefully, the recording ploy proved successful, turning Penguin's supporters and public opinion against him. To escape the confrontation, Penguin fired upon the crowd with his gun umbrella and fled into Gotham Park. Bruce then set about to rebuilding the Batmobile for the next time he was needed.
During the midst of repairs, Bruce received an invatation for Shreck's Maxquerade Ball. Though he'd intended not to go, he quickly changed his mind after realizing Selina might attend. At the party, Bruce momentarily confronted Shreck once again before he found Selina who, like him, did not wear a mask. The pair took to the dancefloor to talk.
While the pair quickly started where they left off romantically, Selina eventually broke down and revealed she'd come to murder Shreck. Bruce tried to calm down and talk her out of it, initially successful. However, when they repeated comments they made on the rooftops, Bruce to realized that Selina was Catwoman, and she likewise realized he was Batman. Intending to work things out, the pair left the dance floor to talk privately This occurred just as the Penguin blew the floor apart and appeared from beneath it. From afar, Bruce listened to him announce his intention to kidnap and murder all of Gotham's first-born sons as retribution. Whilst Cobbelpot left with Shreck in his son's place, Bruce decided to leave the party and stop the other Red Triangle Gang murders.
The Bat, the Cat and the Penguin
Suiting up as Batman, he was able to locate one of the groups as they were fanning out across town, gathering children into a animal train. As they loaded up the cages, Batman snuck up on the Organ Grinder and pulled him up on top of the locomotive's cab to interrogate him. He then dispatched the other members, giving the circus monkey a handwritten note for Cobblepot to inform him that the plan had been foiled. Learning Penguin was hiding in the Old Zoo, Batman took to the Batskiboat to confront him at his lair.
During his journey, Batman learned the Penguin had enacted his second plan to use his radio controlled penguins armed with missiles to destroy all inhabitants near Gotham Plaza. Honing on the signal's source, he and Alfred set the Batcomputer to block Cobblepot's control signal and hijack it themselves. After turning the penguin army back to the zoo, Batman stopped Penguin's escape from the zoo surface by crashing the Batskiboat into his escape vehicle. As he and Penguin fought, Batman revealed the device controlling the penguins, bluffing that it would disarm them. The ploy worked, with Cobblepot both setting off penguins' missiles and simultaneously releasing a flock of bats attracted to the remote's frequency. This caused Penguin to fall backward through the Artic World skylight and into the toxic lagoon below; Batman was unable to save him due to the distance.
As he peered through to see whether Penguin had survived, Batman spotted that Selina had also arrived to fulfill her murderous intentions on Shreck. Using a zip-line to quickly make it to them, he moved to stop her from killing Shreck. Batman pleaded with her stop her vendetta before it destroyed her, even going as far to unmask himself in front of Shreck. However, Bruce's pleas fell on deaf ears and Shreck, shocked at the reveal, shot him in the chest with a gun he'd taken from a dead body in the water. Though he survived thanks to his body armor, it incapacitated Bruce long enough for Selina to corner Shreck with a stungun. He regained consciousness in time to witness her "kiss" Shreck with the device whilst holding cable above their heads, causing the generator's transformers to spark and explode.
After the pair disappeared in a cloud of rubble and smoke, Bruce began to search for them among the wreckage, though only found the charred remains of Shreck. His search was further interrupted when the dying Penguin attempted to kill him one last time, though this failed due to him picking the wrong umbrella. As Cobblepot succumbed to his injuries, Bruce stopped to watched as the enclosures' penguins dragged him into the water.
Split down the Middle
After he did not find her body, Bruce kept the hope that Selina was still alive. He and Alfred would spend the following nights searching Gotham's streets hoping to find some sign of her survival. During one night of these nights, Bruce thought that he saw Catwoman's silhouette in an alleyway and urged Alfred to stop the car. However, when searched the alley, he only found a black cat. Realizing it was Selina's, Bruce presumed it to be a farewell gift and returned to the car with it. As Batsignal lit up, he and Alfred returned to the Wayne Manor to answer the call once again.
Due to his damaged reputation, Batman and Gordon began working with each other more discreetly, using a secure radio channel to communicate with each other. Officers in the GCPD also begun to distrust him while city official worried he may have inspired more criminal activities in the city. Batman's activities also began to inspire other citizens in Gotham to fight crime, one group of which calling themselves "the Batmen". During this time, he continued to search for Catwoman, though eventually gave up around the following Halloween.
On the Halloween night, Batman patrolled Gotham from the rooftops. When a gang of criminals started a riot on the streets, he noticed a helicopter passing the Lincoln Savings and Loan, quickly deducing the chaos was actually a diversion for a heist. Informing Gordon, Batman glided onto the armored vehicles the group were trying to extract. After attaching the helicopter to a building via a grappling hook, he disconnected the armored vehicles as the criminals crashed.
However, the event alerted the criminals to his presence. Using an Explosive Batarang, he detached the Bank's Giant Penny sculpture to use as cover and called the Batmobile to his location. It and the GCPD's arrival caused the criminals to disperse to avoid capture. It is unclear whether Batman was involved in any further actions during the night, though passed by Harvey Dent and Barbara Gordon after the former had scared off two muggers.
Conflict in Burnside
The following morning, Bruce was woken up by Alfred to meet with Dent, who'd visited without notice. Prior meeting in the kitchen, he learned over breakfast that Harvey's recent engagement with Barbara Gordon and his plans to arrest Batman. Bruce also learned that Dent blamed him for the escalation in Gotham's crime rate, including the riots, and had called in the National Guard to help him. When Harvey asked for his financial support, Bruce remained reluctant due to both his activities and the plans also putting Gordon in the crossfire. As Dent left, he and Alfred discussed the possibility of him retiring, given Dent's claims and the damage he was apparently responsible for. Bruce later contacted Gordon to warn him about his moves.
The following evening, Bruce watched the reports of Burnside residents calling for both Gordon's dismissal and Batman's arrest. He quickly deduced Harvey had been involved in the organization, due to his childhood in the area and contacts there. When Alfred informed him that the Batsignal had been lit from the GCPD Headquarters, Bruce investigated as Batman to learn who'd done so. From observations, he learned that it was a trap set by Dent and Dt. Harvey Bullock. Informing Gordon of his discoveries, they agreed to end communication due to the likelihood that their communication channel was compromised.
As the National Guard began that night's curfew, Batman heard an incident where a youth had stolen from a corner store. Tracking him down, he confronted the boy to discover that he'd only stolen supplies for his baby sister, not money as the owner had claimed. Asking about their mother, Batman was lured outside by a voice from the fire escape claiming to be in trouble. Once outside, he was attacked by a clocked figure who knocked him from the building. Using a grappling hook to minimize the fall, Batman was discovered by soldiers who'd seen him from the rooftops.
Pretend to surrender, Batman threw a flashbang capsule onto the ground, stunning the soldier and giving him the oppotunity to escape. As he ascended the line, the stunned soldiers attempted to shoot at him. However, these wounded at least four bystanders and killed the youth he'd chased. Shocked from the harm he'd done, Bruce returned to the Batcave to contemplate his actions, only coming out of his state when Alfred investigated.
A New Approach
Still reeling with grief, Bruce did not patrol Gotham the following night, instead working out and ordering the Bank's Penny to decorate the Batcave. The following morning, he listened to talk shows with the personality Dr. Q, though quickly called Alfred to turn it off. When confronted him on his order, Bruce relayed what had happened in Burnside and confessed feeling responsible for the kid's death. When Alfred suggested he tried philanthropy, this struck a cord with Bruce and he decided to donate to the neighborhood's youth.
Visiting Harvey, Bruce asked to arrange a meeting with Burnside's councilors to help with his efforts. Meeting at the Royal Autobody, they proposed that he funded the borough's children's education, including university degrees and other equivalents. When confronted on his motives, Bruce reasoned he'd heard about the recent violence and the orphaned child, Nyesha. The group agreed to think about his proposal. After the meeting, Bruce noticed a gang of copycats breaking into the Autobody. Donning a makeshift mask to hide his identity, he chased the group into an alleyway, though found they'd already been subdued by Catwoman.
After "exchanging a kiss", Bruce returned to the Royal Autobody without his mask to rescue Harvey. Working with mechanic Drake Winston, he pulled Dent to safety before another explosion went off. Staying behind to make sure he was okay, Bruce learned that Harvey had been disfigured by leaking battery acid, disfiguring half his face and possibly causing internal damage. His presence was caught by several reporters, one of whom took a photo against his will. Forced to stay behind to give a statement to Bullock, Bruce also learned that Drake had witnessed the alleyway events, thus figured out he was Batman, and caught a glimpse of Catwoman leaving the scene. He later returned home to discover more reporters outside, forcing him to return via the Batcave.
The following morning, Bruce learned his actions had become frontpage news around Gotham, drawing public attention that he'd previous avoided. He also discussed the night's events with Alfred, letting him know of Drake's suspicions and Catwoman's reappearance. Bruce later visited Gotham General Hospital to visit Harvey and arrange for plastic surgery to heal his disfigurement. When Barbara confronted him on his intentions, he revealed he'd be paying for the treatment himself. Returning to his car, he discovered a note from Selina cryptically giving him a meeting at Shreck's.
Arriving at the appointed time, Batman quickly located Catwoman and chased after her, eventually subduing on the rooftop where they'd first fought. As they flirted, he offered to help rehabilitate Selina and reinstated the offer he'd given her. Batman also learned she'd also taken mercenary work, though had begun targeting the rich in Gotham who'd begun exploiting . Catwoman also confronted him on his lack of investigations into white-collar crime . Learning that Selina had begun talking to a psychiatrist about their relationship, their meeting was quickly interrupted when a series of fires were set off around the city.
Alliance with Robin
After the incident, Bruce returned to the Batcave alone. Discussing riots in Burnside with Alfred, he learned that the vigilante he'd encountered had helped Burnside protestors in a confrontation with the GCPD and the fallout for Gordon. Before he left to rest, Alfred revealed he'd discovered links between the Wayne family and Drake Winston. Investigating the information, Bruce learned that the youth was a member of Burnside's once-prominent Winston family and how his family had bought out their company to cover a buyout. Calling him back, Bruce invited Drake to Wayne Manor and sent Alfred to pick him up.
Bruce met with Drake after he was shown the foyers' gallery. Taking him into the library, the youth attempted to convince him to testify against the arsonists and asked him to tell the GCPD that he'd subdued the group. Bruce denied the allegations and told him about Catwoman's involvement. Drake, however, refused to believe him and threaten him with a vial, claiming it contained the same acid that disfigured Harvey. Bruce fought him off, ending when Drake was subdued and the contents were revealed to be water. However, the fight confirmed Drake's suspicions that he was Batman, leading him to reveal himself as the vigilante he'd encountered.
Inviting Drake to discuss it over dinner, Bruce learned over it how he'd deduced his identity and why he'd not revealed it to anyone else. During it, they discussed his influence on the Batman copycats and its negative impact on Gotham. When Drake asked to see his car, Bruce brought him into the Batcave to see the car and his equipment. While down there, the youth proposed a partnership to take on the copycats and ensure order in Gotham.
Battle at Gotham Police Headquarters
Accepting Drake's offer, Bruce began training him as his "intern", regularly training him in the use of his technology and gadgets. By the night of the Gotham Police Headquarters attack, Batman was teaching Drake to drive the Batmobile and its systems. After catching a patrol car's attention, he instructed Drake in avoiding their pursuit and activated the car's holographic systems, allowing them to lose their pursuers. As he prepared for incoming assistance, Batman learned from Alfred that their attention was being directed to the Gotham Police Headquarters after a series of explosions.
Though initially uninterested in the attack, Batman decided to investigate after noticing the Batsignal lit up. Reluctantly allowing Drake to help, they discovered it under attack by the same gang behind the Lincoln Job, having now donned a new style. After saving Gordon from two members, Batman learned of the situation via the commissioner and learned that they were actually targeting the assets confiscated from the "Lincoln Job". Informing Drake of several snipers around the building, he and the Commissioner rushed to the lockup to stop the heist.
Arriving shortly after Lt. Bullock, Batman and Gordon discovered the leader was actually Dent, who'd gone into hiding shortly after his disfigurement. After subduing the guards, Batman prepared a Knockout Dart and attempted to arrest the former DA. However, Dent used a confiscated Super-Batarang to attack him, causing him to hit Gordon with it instead. As Dent and his remaining men took the Commissioner hostage, they forced Batman to either rescue the shot Bullock or risk their hostage's life to catch them.
Choosing to save Bullock, Batman brought him up to the assembled GCPD. After laying him down, he pretended to surrender whilst Drake used the Batcycle's tow cable to cause a distraction. After climbing aboard the vehicle, Batman detached the cable and fled back to the Batcave with Robin.
Returning to the Batcave, Bruce informed Drake of the Dart's tracking functionality. Knowing Gordon would still have it, he suggested they waited until they got a signal before going to search for them. The following night, Alfred informed them that the signal had been received. Due to the movement, Bruce deduced the dart had been slipped onto Dent and followed the signal. Together, Batman and Drake tracked Two-Face to Burnside Park, where they discovered both GCPD and Dent's gang a meeting with Barbara. When Catwoman interfered in the attempted arrest, Batman followed Dent as he fled to his his hideout.
Arriving moments after he'd shot Gordon, Batman confronted Dent and learned of his split-personality. As the former DA attempted to escape, he used a roped-Batarang to ensnare his leg. However, Dent detonated explosives hidden throughout the base, destroying it and knocking Batman unconscious. His cowl was also broken by debris, exposing his identity to Dent. Shortly afterwards, Batman was recovered by Drake and Catwoman, who took him home so that Alfred could treat his injuries.
Recovery and Battle with Two-Face
Waking up the following morning, Bruce found Selina watching him. As they conversed, he learned that she had been investigating the gang used by Dent as they had been hired by executives at the bank they robbed to steal incriminating documents. Selina also briefed Bruce on the situation, including his unmasking to Dent. As they talked, he discussed the possibility of living together and moving away from their "masks". After learning of Gordon's death, Bruce sent a message of condolences to Barbara.
As Dent attacked both gangsters and former allies, Bruce remained in the Batcave as his injuries prevented him from going into the field. After being informed of an upcoming meeting, he invited him into the Batcave so they could discuss it more privately. Whilst there, Harvey revealed a photograph he'd taken of Bruce's unmasked body and tried to blackmail him into acting as his enforcer. Having taken Harvey's coin in the exchange, Bruce instead offered an alternative: he could arrange for his appearance to be restored and together they could take down the criminals of Gotham together. Giving him a coin which he believed to be a double-headed replica, Bruce offered him to decide whether to follow his wishes or kill him, refusing to follow through with his plans.
However, before Harvey could decide, Catwoman cut the ropes holding up the Giant Penny, causing it to knock Harvey from the ledge. Using a cable, Bruce tried to help him to safety, though his injuries hampered his attempts. Eventually, Dent, unable to decide and surrounded in "possibilities", fell to his death. Angered at her actions, Bruce chastised Selina and claimed he'd given Harvey a fake version of his coin. However, she claimed Dent was beyond saving and found he'd actually given him the real coin. Realizing their relationship couldn't work, she took leave and left with Miss Kitty. After she left, Bruce found a microphone of the cat's collar, which she'd been using to spy on him.
Recovering Two-Face's gun, Bruce sent it to the GCPD to release Drake from their custody, the youth having been framed for a murder by the mobster. Inviting the youth to Wayne Manor, he gave him the Batcycle so that he could traverse the city and operate on his own. As he left, Drake suggested to Bruce that he abandoned the trust fund for Nyesha Burroughs and instead arranging for her to be adopted by his family.
Weeks after the battle, Bruce had recovered from his injuries. Whilst sleeping one evening, he had a dream that he'd married Selina, had a family together, and parents were still alive. Awoken by Alfred, he used Harvey's coin to decide whether he'd go on patrol that night.
Several different accounts are offered for what happened to Batman, with most diverging after his initial search for Catwoman. The canonicity of these accounts were sometimes in question due to several contradictions:
- According to several versions, Batman continued his operations, though under strick rules against directly killing. As Bruce Wayne, he also became more prominent in Gotham's social and media circles, often appearing at charity galas or press events. Batman would subsequently battle Two-Face, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane. During these encounters, he took on both circus acrobat Dick Grayson and Alfred's niece Barbara Windsor as his crime-fighting partners.
- According to another account, Batman would continue to fight against crime for roughly twenty-seven years, apparently operating alone. This account also suggested that the Joker either survived their encounter, was resurrected, or inspired another person to become his mortal enemy.
Bruce Wayne was heavily scarred by the sight of his parents murdered in front of him. He shows interest in Vicki Vale, but because of his obsession with his alter ego he seems unable to open up to her on an emotional level. Bruce has a deadpan sense of humor, though he only shows it to Alfred, whom he has known his whole life. Whilst in the comics he kept up his playboy profile by making public appearances, in the Tim Burton films he is something of a recluse. The people of Gotham have no idea what he even looks like, as he is able to go out in public without drawing attention to himself. When confronted by the Joker in broad daylight, he displays a level of frustration bordering on psychopathy as he smashes a vase and screams "Lets get nuts!" so as to appear intimidating. This contrasts with his normally cool demeanor when dressed as Batman, implying that his alter ego is a release for all of his psychological issues. Unlike his comic-book counterpart, this version of Batman doesn't think twice about killing criminals. At the start of Batman it was revealed that he dropped a mugger off a building. He also attempted to kill the Joker as means of revenge. In Batman Returns he killed off several members of the Penguin's gang in brutal fashion, such as setting one on fire and planting dynamite on another. In Batman Returns, Bruce begins to show a more sociable side as he pursues Selina Kyle. He invites her to his manor and they open up to each other in a way that he couldn't with Vicki. Shortly afterwards, Bruce and Selina would figure out each other's identities, revealing that the attraction between them was built around their personal demons.
- Utility Belt
- Spring-Action Reel
- Grappling Hook attachments
- Speargun attachment
- Bola Launcher attachment
- Tranquilizer Dart attachment
- Chemical Capsules
- Zip-Line Grapple
- Signal Jammer
- Batmobile Communicator
- Ninja Wheels
- Spring-Action Reel
- Tracking Devices
- Time Bomb
- Foefie Gauntlet
- Batman Returns
- Batman '89
- The Flash
Unfilmed sequel scripts
- Tiny Toons: "Return of Batduck" (Cameo)
- "Garage Sale of the Century" (Cameo)
- "Twas the Day Before Christmas" (Cameo)
- "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Cameo)
Behind the Scenes
Rights holder/producer Michael Uslan claimed that he only let Tim Burton see the original year of Bob Kane/Bill Finger's comic run, up until the time that Robin was introduced. However, others, such as Janette Khan, remarked that Burton looked at Dark Knight, Killing Joke and Steve Englehart's run.
Like Frank Miller's interpretation of the character, this version of Batman is heavily implied to suffer mental health problems due to his parents' murder. Sam Hamm quoted: "Our guy is basically insane and Batman is a manifestation of his insanity.".
Burton remarked: "This guy wants to remain as hidden as possible, and in the shadows as possible, and unrevealing about himself as possible, so all of those things - you know, he’s not gonna eat up screen time by these big speeches and doing dancing around the Batcave. Again, I felt less is more with him in the sense of who he is. (…) Michael’s eyes - it goes back to kind of like silent movie acting. I like when people sort of just look. It’s a movie so you kinda get more between the lines then you do [from] the actual lines (…) There's a loneliness to that character and witheldness. He’s a character that is sad and is private. Even when he's standing there looking there's an electricity about him. Again this is why I wanted him (Keaton) for Batman because its all about that."
Keaton remarked on Batman: "What makes it doubly interesting is that he's kind of psychotic. At first, I wasn't willing to take it that far, but Tim was more than willing to take it that far. I read the script thinking, 'This guy's really angry and depressed and dark."
It was implied in the film that being Batman wasn't Bruce's choice. It was as if there was a reckoning, that he was summoned to be Batman which added to his over the edge nature of almost snapping at any point (You wanna get nuts!?). He was compelled to become Batman, and it was something that consumed him. He almost had no life outside of the suit.
Commenting on Keaton's performance, Dan Didio, head editor of DC comics, remarked: "Batman's the real identity. Bruce Wayne is the secret identity, Bruce Wayne is who he is but it's just a shell. Bruce Wayne is just passing time until Batman can take over and Batman can be who he is. The wonderful aspect of Michael Keaton's portrayal is that you felt almost sad for him, the fact that he looked so uncomfortable in his own skin, in his own house, talking to people who were suppose to be his best friends. You wonder where does he fit in in the world, thus when you see him sitting in the Batcave in front of the console you realize this is where he belongs, this is where he should be."
Schumacher film connections
While fans liked to individualize them due to their differing depictions and actors, the Batman who appeared in Joel Schumacher's films was intended to be the same Batman with continuity that stretched across the four films. Keaton was initially going to return in Batman Forever but dropped out due to dislike of the lighter tone and its portrayal of Bruce as the true identity. The role of Batman was subsequently take up by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever and George Clooney in Batman & Robin. A proposed fifth film titled Batman Unchained would have also featured villains from both directors' films returning, albeit as Fear Gas hallucinations.
Some have pointed to a consistent character arch for Batman that goes on throughout the films. In the Burton films, Batman is shown as being reclusive, alone and generally self-reliant. However, due to connections with character like Vicki and Selina, Bruce begins to open himself to a life outside the suit and become more invested in helping Gotham. In the Schumacher films, Batman is present as more heavily involved in Gotham's politics and society, even using both identities to help the city. In both, he also gradually opens to other characters to help fight crime in Gotham, through both Robin and Batgirl. Forever also depicts him learning to accept the duality of Batman more healthily and using to help others rather than cope with the trauma of his parents' murder.
However, arguments have often been made to disassociate the films, including the two directors' tonal and thematic styles. Other superficial elements, such as the recasting of characters and the more garish design for Gotham City, have also been used in these, though less positive reception has also served as a major factors. When reports of Keaton's return in The Flash surfaced and the continuation from Burton's films in Batman '89 comic series, many have labeled both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin to be non-canonical in the "Burtonverse".
According to Jim Lee, various attempts were made to create a comic series focusing on the Burtonverse Batman. One of the most widely publicized was the original concept to Batman '89 by Joe Quinones and Kate Leth. Like the 2021 comic series, it would have followed Batman following Batman Returns, seeing him going up against Two-Face and Catwoman whilst also introducing Robin. However, it would have also featured both Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and seen Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. The series was rejected by DC Comics, though Quinones would later publish concept art in March 2016.
Keaton's Batman was also set to appear in a Batgirl film, with the film set to follow on from The Flash. The actor reprised his role for the film, with scenes being film of him in a new Batsuit. However, the film was cancelled during its post-production period, due to Warner Bros. Discovery, apparently going overbudget and marketing concerns.
It was also Tim Burton who originated the idea of Batman changing his voice while in the costume for the first film. The staple action was previously never mentioned in the comic books and wasn't used in any of the serials or the TV Show before that time. Subsequent version have also changed their voice to disguise it. Ben Affleck's Batman, however, uses a voice modulator, rather than manually altering it like Christian Bale and Keaton before him.
When questioned on which of the previous "Batmen" did he thought had added the most credibility to the role, Christian Bale replied: "I would say Michael Keaton because of Tim Burton and the way that he approached the movie."
- In preparation for his role, Michael Keaton went under extensive kick-boxing training for Batman. Keaton was not permitted to gain too much weight for the role due to concerns about the costume.
- Keaton initially wanted to do as much of his own stunts as possible, but insurance companies make this nearly impossible for lead actors. The Batsuit also turned out to be more restrictive than anticipated. Movement specialist William Todd-Jones helped Keaton learn to move in it and kept up maintenance between takes. On the sequel, Day Murch took on "Batsuit-Wrangler" duties and continued on every movie up until Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
- Contrary to traditional depictions of Bruce Wayne, he is not depicted as a socialite by day. While he sometimes hosted a gala (as seen in Batman), Bruce tried to hide among the crowd and was uncomfortable in his high-society status. Members of the press had no idea what he looked like and most people in Gotham were only vaguely familiar with his name. In addition, there was no indication towards Wayne Enterprises or its subsidiaries, though a business card prop made for Batman Returns bore a "Wayne Industries" logo. It is suggested that Bruce's money just came from old family wealth, which allowed him to be a reclusive engineer creating weapons underneath Wayne Manor instead of a socialite.
- One of the greatest outcries by fans against Michael Keaton's Batman was that Burton's films depicted him as an occasional killer. Commenting on that, Daniel Waters quoted: "We live in dark times. You can't just drop bad guys off in a spider web in front of city hall." This portrayal harked back to Batman's original template in Detective Comics #27, where the character used deadly weapons and lethal force without thinking twice about his enemies' fate. "He was a grim figure in his first years, casually killing criminals, and Bob Kane liked this dark version best."
- Originally, Jon Peters considered making a comedic version with Bill Murray in the role. In a 2014 reddit AMA, Pierce Brosnan claimed he was approached by Tim Burton for the role and turned it down.. Michael Keaton's casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy among comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters that were sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
- Keaton's Batman was referenced in the Arrovweverse's 2019/2020 crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. Referred to as Earth-89, Gotham from the first film appears during the opening episode and a drawing/picture of Batman appears on the front page of the newspaper read by Alexander Knox. In promotional material, Bruce Wayne also appears in a separate article revealing that he is due to marry Selina Kyle. The accompanying picture shows Keaton as Bruce Wayne, taken from publicity material for the first film. Mark Guttenhiem, producer and showrunner, revealed this was intended to be the universe from the entire Batman Film Anthology, including both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
- Despite this, there are a number of contractions with the films. Most notably, the Joker is indicated to be alive and captured, despite dying in the first film.
- Batman Returns (Novelization) chapter 12, page 67.
- Batman '89 #1
- Batman '89 #2
- Batman '89 #3
- Batman '89 #4
- Michael Keaton Exited Batman Role After Clashing Over Franchise Tone - Variety
- [ https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/22/entertainment/batman-movie-changed-the-comic-character How the 1989 'Batman' movie forever changed the comic book character - CNN]
- Joe Quinones' interweb-log: Batman '89
- 'Batgirl' Movie Not Releasing: Why Warner Bros. Won't Debut DC Film - Variety
- Detective Comic* - Comics Scene #9
- Rare 24-Minute 1989 'Batman' interview w producer Jon Peters audio
- The Guardian - Pierce Brosnan Turned Down Tim Burton's Batman