1989’s Batman Witnessed Unprecedented Global Craze Despite Michael Keaton Suffering a Monumental Backlash

Tim Burton starred Michael Keaton as Batman in his 1989 superhero movie which sparked a huge controversy.

1989’s Batman Witnessed Unprecedented Global Craze Despite Michael Keaton Suffering a Monumental Backlash


  • Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman in 1989 Tim Burton superhero movie after Burton's collaboration with the actor with Beetlejuice.
  • Keaton's Batman was a huge hit and a pop-culture phenomenon after its release.
  • However, Keaton was under heavy criticism due to his casting for the role as comic book fans were not happy about it.
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1989’s Batman starring Michael Keaton reached the height of global fandom, it was a pop-culture phenomenon. The movie made $400 million against the production budget of $48 million. Also, the rise of pop-culture phenomenon ‘Batmania’ was on the horizon, it helped sell another $750 million worth of merchandise.

Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton as Batman

However, despite the global success, the movie has received backlash as well, primarily before the movie came out. Following the release of the movie several fans and critics were also dismayed for the dark undertone of the movie.

Also read: Michael Keaton Was a Bigger Menace Than Tom Holland After Batman Star Spoiled Movie on National Television Before 1989 Premiere


Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman Backlash

Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton in and as Batman

When the news of Tim Burton directing a Batman movie starring Michael Keaton hit the mass media, fans immediately went after the movie. At the time, Keaton was primarily an actor appearing mostly in comedy movies including Burton’s celebrated Beetlejuice released just the previous year. Fans were not really in favor of the idea of Keaton playing the Caped Crusader as, according to the reports of the backlash, the actor was not Batmanesque. Burton later acknowledged the backlash.

“Obviously there was a negative response from the comic book people. I think they thought we were going to make it like the 1960s TV series, and make it campy, because they thought of Michael Keaton from Mr. Mom and Night Shift and stuff like that,” Burton said (via, New York Times)

Following the release of the movie, it was well-received by the majority of fans and critics alike. However, the concern of the dark and gritty thematic essence of the movie remained as it was depressing for some while watching it.

Also read: “I was much looser and freer”: The Michael Keaton Movie That Helped Ron Howard Get His Sh*t Together


Michael Keaton Commented on Batman After Leaving The Franchise 

Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne

Keaton returned to play the role in Batman Returns, leaving the franchise afterward. Keaton’s return as Caped Crusader was another mass hit but received mixed critical response. Speaking with Conan O’Brien, the actor reflected on the franchise following his departure. 

“I only saw little bits and pieces of the uh the third fourth one you know not I just never got around to doing them you know just checking them out because I… No, I swear to God and it’s not like well I’m not gonna assume I just never got around to see him. I mean, I was once in a theater watching a movie with my kid and then I ran next door because I knew it was next door and I ran and watched a couple minutes and kind of nodded off and then went back,” Keaton said.

Still, Keaton’s 1989 Batman was a classic and still possesses the intrinsic value of a superhero movie. Keaton’s Batman made the most recent return in Andrés Muschietti’s The Flash.

Batman is available to stream on Max.


Also read: “I truly didn’t understand why…”: Michael Keaton Was Horrified After Being Blamed For Potentially Ruining Warner Bros. With Batman Role


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 1031

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.