Michael Keaton has stated that the opening shot of his Batman in The Flash will be extremely pleasing to Tim Burton’s 1989 film fans. In Burton’s Batman, Keaton played the Dark Knight opposite Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and he returned the role in 1992’s Batman Returns. The character and the comics were introduced to a new generation because of Keaton’s rendition. After months of speculation, it was eventually announced in April that Keaton would reprise his role as Batman in Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of The Flash, which stars Ezra Miller as the titular character, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Sasha Calle as Supergirl.
Miller’s Barry Allen will attempt to fly back in time to prevent his mother’s death in The Flash, but this will have disastrous effects for the chronology. The film will include elements from the DC comics’ Flashpoint narrative, which will explain why the Flash will confront alternate versions of well-known superheroes. The events of Flashpoint are depicted in the comics as Barry Allen waking up in a timeline that is significantly different from his own, one in which his mother never died. Bruce Wayne was slain instead of his parents in this alternate universe, forcing his father to become Batman and his mother to become the Joker.
In an interview with Collider, Keaton said that resuming his role as Batman was “weirdly and ironically simple” and that he felt “emotional” doing so. The fact that Keaton intimated that the first shot of his Batman “is terrific” in his perspective, both in terms of imagery and in respecting Burton’s original film, is very intriguing. You can read the rest of Keaton’s statement here:
“[It was] weirdly and ironically easy. A little bit emotional. Just a rush of memories. Without giving anything away, which I can’t, basically the first shot, not of the entire movie but let’s say the introduction [of Batman], is so good that when we walked on and started talking about a couple of shots and the angles, I went ‘whoa, this is big. This is great.’ I don’t even mean for me. Just the imagery, it’s great. And reminiscent, to some degree, of Tim Burton.”
Burton’s Batman and Keaton’s portrayal of the role paved the stage for the modern superhero film in many ways. It’s understandable that the actor’s inclusion in The Flash sparked a lot of buzzes. Keaton, too, is ecstatic, as indicated by his admission that putting on the cowl again made him “a little bit emotional.” Both Keaton’s versions of the Batmobile and the Batcave were already confirmed to appear in the film. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to learn that The Flash will pay cinematic tribute to the 1989 blockbuster.
The size of Keaton’s role in The Flash is presently unknown. Nonetheless, given that Batman was played by different actors in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, it’s widely assumed that the film will not acknowledge the events of those films (Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively). Hopefully, Keaton’s involvement will be more than a throwaway sequence intended to evoke nostalgia.
It’s also plausible that Keaton’s elder Batman is the Thomas Wayne version, which would fit in with the Flashpoint scenario and be an interesting way of changing the Batman mythos to suit modern cinema. Audiences will have to wait until 2022 to find out if Keaton is correct, but if he is, they will not be disappointed.