The Flash Movie Has an Amazing Michael Keaton Batman ’89 Callback
The Flash will undoubtedly feature many Batman easter eggs, but the movie isn't waiting until its premiere to begin dropping them!
By now, we all know one of The Flash movie’s key selling points is the return of Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns. Keaton is all over the marketing for what’s shaping up to be WB’s biggest superhero blockbuster of the year, reciting classic lines like “I’m Batman” right into the camera to the glee of all the ’80s and ’90s kids who grew up with his Caped Crusader. Director Andy Muschietti and his design team have even brought back the yellow oval on the Batsuit.
Ezra Miller’s Scarlet Speedster is in the film too of course, and so are Sasha Calle’s Supergirl and Michael Shannon as a revived General Zod. Ben Affleck even reprises his Batman role one last time to put a bow on the Snyderverse version of the character. But the trailers haven’t been shy about promoting Keaton as the big ticket item, his Dark Knight central to Barry Allen’s adventure through the DC multiverse. This includes the latest TV spots now making the rounds online, which give us whole new looks at Keaton in the movie, both with the cowl and without it.
Check them out below:
The latter teaser not only promises a new, full-length trailer on April 25 (watch this space) but also delivers one of the best Keaton Batman easter eggs we’ve seen yet in the film’s substantial marketing campaign. We watch in the six-second promo as Keaton jumps out of the Batwing and into the night sky, just as one of the two Barrys played by Miller wonders whether Batman has a parachute. (Clearly, he’s not up on all the advantages of owning a high-tech cape.) It’s during this short sequence that The Flash recreates one of the most iconic shots from Tim Burton’s original 1989 Batman.
As the Caped Crusader shoots out of the cockpit, we see the Batwing hovering above, the moon hanging in the background to form a Bat Symbol in the night sky. This of course visually calls back to a similar moment from Burton’s first Batman movie, which you can compare below:
In the original ’89 sequence, the camera tracks the Batwing’s ascent, pausing for a beat just as the plane eclipses part of the moon, before free-falling back down to the Gotham City skyline. For the kids who first watched this film in theaters or later on VHS, it’s easily one of the most recognizable shots of Burton’s tenure, which undoubtedly made it the perfect moment to bring back for nostalgic audiences in 2023.
But this time, Batman is jumping out of the plane, presumably for some kind of covert operation that requires a bit more subtlety than the Batwing’s arsenal of mini-guns and missiles. As for the Barrys, Keaton assures them they have parachutes.
The latest teasers also reveal other shots of Keaton’s older Batman. We get to see a maskless, gray Keaton for the first time, smiling back at the camera while sitting in the Batcave, which feels uncharacteristic of the tortured, lonely Bruce we left behind in Batman Returns. Judging from footage in other trailers, we may be seeing a formerly retired Bruce happy to be back in the Batsuit.
Another shot gives us a close-up of Batman’s new cowl, which sort of looks like a combination of the ones he wore in the Burton movies, but also appears to fit a little more loosely around the neck. Does this mean Keaton’s Batman can finally turn his head?
CGI shots also show Batman fighting in the movie’s big battle against a resurgent Zod. Previous trailers have strongly hinted that Barry’s attempt to save his mother in the past erases the Justice League from existence in the present, meaning there’s no Superman to stop General Zod’s invasion of Earth. This mission now seems to fall to The Flash, Keaton’s Batman, and Supergirl. It looks like we’ll get to see Batman gliding through the air during the battle as well as kneeling on the battleground, which doesn’t seem good.
Finally, new promotional images from the film give us our best look yet at the movie’s Batsuit as a whole as well as the return of the classic Batmobile. The suit keeps the more armored look of Batman Returns but with some modern flourishes, like ditching the yellow utility belt (which we actually kind of miss here). The gauntlets are also reminiscent of the ’92 suit.
In other words, Keaton is definitely back. The question is whether this is the start of a whole new era for this version of Batman or a closing of the book on Keaton’s time in the Batsuit. Before Warner Bros. Discovery controversially shuttered the Batgirl movie, Keaton was slated to appear in the role for at least one more DC movie, with rumors of more to come, including a potential cameo in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But with the revamped DCU setting a new course for all of WBD’s superhero franchises, Keaton’s future may have already been rewritten.
The Flash hits theaters on June 16.