One of the most iconic and popular people in pop culture, Batman is a staple of American fiction. From his early beginnings in DC comics to his modern interpretations on the big screen, Batman has stood the test of time. Easily recognizable and known worldwide, anyone and everyone knows Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman. Fighting crime in the streets of Gotham City dressed as a bat to avenge his dead parents and eradicate the city of all crime, Batman is one of the most enduring characters ever. His extreme popularity has led to multiple iterations on television and film. With decades of appearances on the screen, Batman has had many actors portray the iconic superhero over the years. From Tim Burton's 1989 hit "Batman" to the recent portrayal of the caped crusader in the DCEU, five different actors have held the title of the dark knight.
Of course, with five different interpretations not every fan will be left happy. Some of the actors have been praised for their portrayal of the character, while others have been notably mocked by fans. It is a constant argument in pop culture over who was the best Batman, but after five different attempts it is truly impossible to decide for sure.
Five different actors and five different takes on the character have left us with many famous moments. Some are remembered for leaving viewers breathless, some are remembered for their importance to the film, and some are remembered simply for being downright ridiculous. Can you match these Batman moments to their actor?
"I'm not wearing hockey pads"
After becoming Gotham's hero, Batman finds himself capturing criminals dressed as bats. Copycat Batmen have shown up all over the city to break the law with their identities hidden. Of course, Batman himself is a vigilante and is technically a criminal so upon being questioned what the difference is between and him and a copycat, he responds with this now-iconic line. Gotta assume these criminals didn't have the Wayne fortune to help them make high-tech fancy armor like Bruce did.
"Tell me... Do you bleed? You will"
Superman battled Zod and effectively destroyed Metropolis. The two Kryptonians were as powerful as Gods and levelled the city while fighting. One of the ruined buildings was a Wayne Enterprises location and Bruce begins to fear for the safety of the human race. He attempts to bring down Superman, while Clark Kent is attempting to expose Batman's true identity. When the heroes first meet, Superman easily disables the Batmobile with his strength and warns Batman to stop his vigilantism. Batman responds by questioning Superman's ability to bleed, before threatening him.
"I'll get drive-through"
After two dark Batman movies, the studios felt it was time to bring some lightness to the character. Joel Schumacher was brought on as the new director to the new campy Batman movies. This hasn't necessarily gone over well with fans, who continue to mock the campiness of Schumacher's movies. The earliest culprit of this campiness comes in Batman's first line of the movie. As he is about to step into the Batmobile, Alfred tries to convince him to bring a sandwich, to which he responds with this often-mocked line.
One of the most hated moments in Batman history has to be the Bat-credit card. When Batman and Robin find themselves at an auction, absolute silliness occurs to the dismay of nearly ever Batman fan across the globe. The two partners bid against each other until Batman bids $7 million. Robin reminds him he isn't carrying money, to which Batman pulls out his bat-credit card, prompting a cha-ching sound to play, insisting that he "never leaves the cave without it."
"Merry Christmas, Alfred. And good will toward men...and women"
The age old question: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? It certainly takes place during Christmas, but is it really a holiday-themed movie? The same question can be applied to Tim Burton's second Batman film which takes place during the holiday season. Despite its cheerful setting, the movie was criticized for being too dark. It does have a light-hearted ending though. Alfred drives Bruce and wishes him a Merry Christmas, to which Bruce replies with wishes of good will toward men and women, implying his respect for Catwoman.
"Why did you say that name?"
The infamous Martha scene. It turns out that Batman and Superman's moms have the same name. After two hours of build-up showcasing the hatred between the two characters, the heroes battle it out in a brutal fight scene. Just before Batman can kill Superman, however, Superman tells him to save Martha. Batman retreats and utters the infamous line questioning how Superman knew Bat's mother's name. The scene in question has become one of the most criticized in recent history, with fans pointing it out as an example of the low quality of recent DC films.
"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me."
Bruce's childhood friend and love interest, Rachel Dawes, has also been played by more than one actress. In her first film, she was played by Katie Holmes who gave Bruce the life lesson that "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." These words resonated with Bruce as he spends the night purchasing hotels and swimming in fountains with two European women. At the end of the film when Batman rescues Rachel, she is curious to know who he truly is. Rather than reveal himself, Bruce echoes her advice before soaring away.
"I see without seeing. To me, darkness is as clear as daylight. What am I?"
One of Batman's most iconic foes, The Riddler, was brought to life in 1995. Jim Carrey hammed it up as a crazy man obsessed with riddles and tormenting Batman, but divided fans with his wacky cartoonish portrayal. Throughout the movie, The Riddler attempts to stump Batman with his puzzles, but the world's greatest detective always figures out the answers. It all comes to an end when Batman has to stop him from harnessing brainwaves and uses this clever riddle to stump The Riddler.
Flying the Batwing in front of the moon
One of the most famous shots in cinematic history comes in the form of a recreation of the Batman symbol using the Batwing and the moon. As the film reaches its climax, Batman is in pursuit of The Joker in his plane, the Batwing. At one point he pilots the plane upwards and stops right in front of the moon, resulting in this iconic shot. This scene has been referenced numerous times in comic books, TV shows, and movies, most recently in "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
Gets his back broken by Bane
Taking a page straight out of the classic story arc "Batman: Knightfall" the 2012 Batman film had the hero face off against Bane, ultimately resulting in a broken back. After a brutal fight, the villain wins and lifts Batman over his head and drops him onto his knee, effectively breaking his back. A famous page from the comics turned into an intense and shocking scene in this film. Batman was forced to heal before he could resume his quest to take down Bane.
Fights The Penguin
One of Batman's most classic villains is The Penguin. While other villains have appeared in movies more than once, there is only one appearance of The Penguin in a live action Batman film. Brought to life by the talented Danny DeVito, The Penguin remains one of the creepiest villains in any superhero movie to date. While it may not have been entirely comic book accurate, this version of The Penguin is remembered fondly by fans for its sheer evilness and disturbing factor.
Teams up with Batgirl
Almost every male superhero has a female counterpart. Superman has Supergirl, Hulk has She-Hulk, Spider-Man has Spider-Woman, and Batman has Batgirl. A popular character in her own right, Batgirl is a tough crimefighter who has amassed a solid fan base over the years. Despite her popularity, she has only once appeared on the big screen, portrayed by 90's heartthrob Alicia Silverstone. In a movie that is considered by many to be the worst of the Batman films, Batgirl was a shining star.
Meets with Amanda Waller
The post-credit scene has become a staple of superhero cinema over the last decade. Usually a joke or a tease for an upcoming movie, fans remain in their seats long after the credits have started rolling for a glimpse at what's to come. In a recent post-credit scene, Bruce Wayne is shown meeting with Suicide Squad founder Amanda Waller. A government agent, she has access to files on metahumans that are of interest to Bruce, as for the first time in live-action we get to see him talk to a fan-favorite villain.
Fakes his death and moves to Italy
Bruce Wayne is a complicated man with many demons. He is extremely troubled and rarely is he seen coming to terms with his past. At the end of one movie, Batman risks everything to save Gotham one last time, and is believed to be dead from an explosion. He is hailed as a hero, having given his life to save his city. The moment was a sad one for fans, but it is later revealed that Bruce took the opportunity to fake his death and move to Italy for some peace of mind.
Kills The Joker
Batman's most iconic foe is The Joker. Having appeared in hundreds of comic books and across numerous cartoons, he is the most well-known of Batman's villains. The biggest problem is that Batman refuses to kill, leaving The Joker alive every time he is defeated. However, in one instance on film, Batman broke his no killing rule and killed The Joker. It was a shock to fans to see their hero murder, but it has become a classic Batman moment in the years since.
Opens a bank vault from the inside with a hearing aid
In one of the most absurd moments in a Batman film, the caped crusader finds himself trapped inside a giant safe with a bank security guard. Luckily for Batman, the security guard wears a hearing aid. Somehow, he manages to use this hearing aid to open the vault before it fills with acid and kills them both. The whole scene is extremely goofy and surprised fans with its implausible escape. This sequence is one of the most laughed at in Batman films.
Forms the Justice League
The most famous team in comics, the Justice League has yet to appear in a live-action film. Later this year, "Justice League" will arrive in theatres, featuring the titular team in their first ever appearance on the big screen. While the plot is largely unknown, it is shown in trailers that Batman is the one who works to bring the heroes together to unite against a common threat. Fans are eagerly awaiting DC's first major on-screen team up, in hopes that director Zack Snyder will satisfy.
Gets trapped in ice handcuffs
One of fiction's most tragic villains, Mr. Freeze is driven to insanity as he attempts to cure his dying wife. Fans were ecstatic to have him in a movie, but were utterly disappointed with Arnold Schwarzenegger's version of the character. Most of his lines are devoted to awful ice puns and he feels too cartoonish to be taken seriously. In one particular action sequence, he traps Batman in handcuffs made of ice. This moment was laughable and has since gone down as hated moment by fans everywhere.
Saves Gotham from R'as al Ghul
One of Batman's oldest and most popular villains, Ra's al Ghul has surprisingly only appeared on film once. Played effortlessly by the wonderful Liam Neeson, Ra's al Ghul posed a huge threat as he planned to destroy the entirety of Gotham City and its inhabitants in order to rid the world of the crime-infested city. He is even shown to have trained Bruce in martial arts before he became Batman. Of course, the dark knight pulls through and foils Ra's al Ghul's plan.
Ah, yes. The infamous bat-nipples. The most hated and mocked part of any Batman movie ever made. Batman's batsuit is one of the most iconic aspects of the character, and it changes from movie to movie. One small detail was added to the suit that made fans everywhere cringe; the suit had nipples. The bat-nipples are now the most often used example of the campiness and silliness of the poorly received Batman movies. To this day, fans have yet to forget how awful they looked and they are still constantly made fun of.
"the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now"
Perhaps the most famous quote to emerge from any Batman movie was said by Commissioner Gordon. After Batman saves Gotham but is also blamed for the death of the city's favorite politician, Gordon delivers a rousing speech about the dark knight. Gordon's quote has become a sensation, referenced and parodied often, and has even become a sort of internet meme. Of course, Gordon knows that Batman is not to blame for the politician's death and so he tells his son the truth about Batman; he is Gotham's silent guardian.
Bat-signal booty call
Nicole Kidman's Dr. Chase Meridian is extremely well-remembered by Batman fans. In one particular scene, Batman responds to the bat-signal only to discover that it was not Commissioner Gordon summoning him, but rather Dr. Meridian attempting to seduce him. In a revealing outfit and with much persistence, she almost succeeds as Batman slyly rebuffs her advances. She even manages to sneak in a remark about Batman and Catwoman's brief relationship. Just as things seem like they are about to heat up, Gordon appears and Batman promptly glides to the streets below.
Destroying the Statue of Liberty
In the opening sequence of one of his film's Batman finds himself facing off against one of his most notable foes, Two-Face. The pair end up flying in the skies over Gotham thanks to Two-Face's helicopter, as the villain attempts to rob a bank. This opening sequence was strong and action-packed, while also foreshadowing the campiness that was to come in the rest of the movie. At one point, the helicopter crashes into the Statue of Liberty and destroys its head. It was a fun set-piece but the inclusion of the New York City landmark in Gotham left many fans scratching their heads.
Licked by Catwoman
Even great characters in great movies have their moments that leave viewers cringing and uncomfortable in their seats. Batman and Catwoman have always had an interesting relationship, going from foes to allies to lovers, and it has been represented more than once on-screen. In one of her appearances, Catwoman and Batman share a tense scene filled with sexual tension. When the topic of a kiss comes up, she proceeds to lick his lips as a cat would, rather than kiss him normally.
In one of the oddest sequences to emerge from a superhero film, Batman and Robin find themselves in a game of ice hockey against a group of thugs. The scene was the ultimate pinnacle of campiness in Batman movies and has since gone down as one of the weirdest most laughed at moments in cinematic history. The pair of heroes click their heels together and out pop skates from their costumes resulting in a silly match of hockey, complete with Robin showboating and scoring a goal after taking down the goons.