In this article, we will compile a top-10 list of the best scenes from the Batman films. Batman is a character that has spanned decades and has given us a wealth of rich images, performances, and set pieces. There are countless lists that could be made, but we will objectively quantify ten great scenes from all theatrically released films. We will order them in terms of iconography and emotionality, as well as according to the fundamentals of what makes a film scene work. We will also factor in contributions as to why this indelible character remains so enduring. Please note that there will be spoilers ahead.
10. Batman Forever (1995) - "Why can't you just die?!"
Joel Schumacher's interpretation of the Dark Knight in "Batman Forever" might not be the best place to start a list of great Batman scenes, but it does have a few moments of genuine iconography. One such scene occurs when Batman pursues the maniacal Two-Face by hurling down a building and opening his wings to break his landing. The stunning special effects shot that spins around his freefall is a treat for the eyes. Another awe-inspiring moment is when Batman emerges from a wall of flames in slow motion, emphasizing the character as an unkillable force. The scene also highlights the vulnerability of a man fighting crime, as the newly-christened Robin has to pull our hero from the rubble .
9. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) - The Birth of Batman
While the live-action Batman films have their own cool moments when the Caped Crusader dons his suit, none can match the simple atmospherics of "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." In this animated film, Bruce puts on the mask in response to being rejected by his great love, Andrea. The scene is drawn in silhouette and colored in moody blacks and blues, creating an operatic piece of comic book animation come to life. When Bruce turns around to Alfred, the faithful butler can only gasp in horror. It's the image of a man who becomes a beast .
8. Batman Returns (1992) - "A kiss can be even deadlier..."
For all of Tim Burton's eccentricity and literalizing of the Batman mythos, he got the tempestuous dynamic between Batman and Catwoman right in "Batman Returns." In their steamiest encounter at a masked ball, the Bat and the Cat share a dance that signifies the broad emotional spectrum of their connection. Michelle Pfeiffer devilishly smolders her way through the dance, while Michael Keaton works the scene with his steely gaze. The scene is both mortifying and arousing for Wayne, as he is both shocked and attracted to Selena's ruthlessness. It's the sexiest and most intimate scene of any Batman film.
7. Batman (1989) - Descent into the Batcave
In this mostly wordless scene, Batman takes Vicki Vale on a joyride in the Batmobile. Passing through a misty forest of dead trees and slipping through a tight tunnel of darkness, they finally come to a stop on the edge of a bottomless underground pit. Vale is given an all-access tour into the Caped Crusader's hallowed sanctuary, the Batcave. Painted in shades of black and adorned with bats, the Batcave is a perfect mixture of ominous and majestic, representing the classic character in a nutshell.
6. Batman Begins (2005) - "...without hesitation, without pity."
In "Batman Begins," Bruce Wayne engages in a nifty duel on a frozen lake with his mentor Henri Ducard. After the duel, Bruce warms by a fire with Ducard, who opens up about the reason he secluded himself to the mountains. Ducard reveals that he lost someone close to him but was able to quell his grief through vengeance. Bruce, however, disagrees, knowing the consuming power of hatred. This scene sets the tone for the rest of Batman's journey and delves into why this lost man turned hot-blooded rage into utilitarian gallantry.
5. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) - Watch the World Burn
The first theatrical animated Batman feature, "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm," carries more gravity than most of its live-action counterparts. The thrilling conclusion occurs in an abandoned "Gotham of Tomorrow" expo, a mechanical utopia of the future that has been left to rot, much like present-day Gotham City. In the final battle between Batman, the Joker, and Andrea (masquerading as the ghostly Phantasm), the Caped Crusader realizes that he can't thwart the Joker's madcap mayhem any more than he can cure Andrea's inconsolable wrath. The scene culminates with the chilling image of the Joker on his knees in Andrea's clutches, while the once bright and shiny "future" of Gotham burns to the ground.
4. The Dark Knight (2008) - "You're a freak...like me."
The official meeting between Batman and the Joker is a tense and powerful culmination of two forces on opposite ends of the spectrum. In police custody, the Joker finally gets his sit-down with the Bat, who hopes to interrogate and beat his nefarious plans out of him. As the soon-to-be Dark Knight lays blow after blow, the Joker simply cackles, loving every minute of it. The scene showcases the contrast between brute strength and vicious immorality, resulting in one frustrated vigilante and one gleeful supervillain. This potent moment is as awesome as any car flip and a pure cinematic joy for Bat-fans .
3. Batman (1989) - "He gave us the signal."
The final sequence of Tim Burton's "Batman" solidified the film as a triumph for superhero-starved audiences. After the Joker has been defeated and Vicki Vale has been rescued, all that's left is for the city's hero to have his symbol emblazoned in the sky. The camera pans up the Gothic spires of a shadowy edifice, finally settling on Batman standing atop it, accepting his mantle amid his beacon in the night sky. This final image, accompanied by the rousing reprise of Danny Elfman's theme, concludes the film on a wave of triumph .
2. The Dark Knight (2008) - A Dark Knight
The intense power of "The Dark Knight" is encapsulated in its final montage, a time-and-character-spanning window into the fallout from the film's events. Batman has chosen to take the blame for Harvey Dent's crimes, and Commissioner Jim Gordon has complied. With the Batman labeled Gotham's Most Wanted, the Bat-signal and his unlawful surveillance machine are dismantled, the truth about Rachel's affections for Bruce is never revealed, and most importantly, Harvey Dent's reputation is kept intact. The scene is set to a pulsing soundtrack, and it elegantly closes Christopher Nolan's crime opus.
1. Batman Begins (2005) - A Watchful Protector
The image that solidified Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise as the definitive modern telling of the Dark Knight is the final shot of "Batman Begins." After announcing himself to ruthless crime boss Carmine Falcone and stringing him up for Gotham Police Sergeant Jim Gordon, Batman stands tall on a ledge, watching over the city he has sworn to protect. This image captures the awe of the Caped Crusader and respects his comic book origins. It is a powerful and iconic moment that concludes the film on a high note.
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Batman swings off into the night
- Batman Forever - Batman declares, "I'm both Batman and Bruce Wayne"
- Batman Begins - Bruce discovers the Batcave
- Batman Begins - Batman calls for backup
- The Dark Knight - Two-Face plays a sick game of chance
In conclusion, the Batman films have given us numerous memorable scenes that have captivated audiences for decades. From stunning visuals to intense character moments, these scenes showcase the enduring appeal of the Dark Knight. Whether it's Batman's unkillable force, his vulnerability, or his complex relationships, each scene adds depth to the character and the films as a whole. These scenes have become iconic and continue to resonate with fans around the world.