Strip Talk #28: All hail the return of Keaton, king of the Batmen

The king has returned home to his throne. All is right in the world of DC.

It had better be because the best Batman is returning.

Michael Keaton has been announced to return in the Flash’s new movie as a different version of the Caped Crusader. This version, in line with his continuity as Bruce Wayne/Batman from our favorite Batman films, is an alternate universe version of Batman, different from Ben Affleck’s most recent version. While Affleck was decent as was Christian Bale, there is no one more deserving of a return to the tights and cowl as Keaton.

Keaton is the version of Batman that I know. Yes, I was around through ’80s syndication for the Adam West version of the ’60s, but Keaton is the big-screen version that I grew up with. He’s the model that made me fall in love with the Dark Knight. Not the comics, not the animated series in 1992. No, Keaton is the version that defined the duality of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Keaton held his own and managed to go toe-to-toe with scene mangler Jack Nicholson as the Joker, which is a feat unto itself. Keaton gave the quintessential performance that set the standard for how a brooding Bruce Wayne should be. He is the template that all later Batmen are created from. Despite there being almost 30 years since his last portrayal of the character, he is the gold standard.

I’m excited and looking forward to a DC movie for the first time in many years because Keaton is back and ready to do justice to Bruce Wayne once again. I’ve missed him and very much think no one else can compare.

All hail the king. I’m ready to dance with the devil under the pale moonlight once again.

Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh[at]gaminginsurrection.com

Strip Talk #21: Don’t let outside opinion sway your film loves

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineListen, there comes a time in the entertainment business that things (i.e. songs, movies, art) will be remade. And we will have to live with it. Just because something is a classic, that doesn’t mean it’s sacred and off limits. No, this is Hollywood. Land of the movie stars, mega rich and lack of creativity so distinct that it is often duplicated and imitated worldwide. Hollywood knows nothing about creativity and originality so, inevitably, there will be a remake or reboot of a franchise where multiple people have played the same role over the course of several movies. Let’s take, for example, Batman. The Caped Crusader has been played by numerous people yet remains popular. So, with the passing of the torch by the latest to step into the iconic tights — Christian Bale to Ben Affleck — there’s been a frenzy of criticism surrounding the casting. Justified and unjustified, you might say.

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly seeing Affleck in the dual role. I get his sex appeal and his acting chops. He’s got all of that and then some to spare, but he doesn’t exactly jump out at me as the perfect Bruce Wayne and Batman. But, in fact, history shows that the first actor to bring Batman to life — Michael Keaton — faced the same sort of scrutiny. And what do you know? He just happened to weigh in on the situation:

My guess is he’s a smart guy. I don’t know Ben, but he’s been around long enough to see all this stuff happen,” Keaton said. “My guess is he’s laughing [at the criticism], he’s laughing and I hope he’s going, ‘Shut up!'”

And that about sums up my feelings on the matter.

Now, full disclosure, I love Keaton as an actor. I really do, and I loved him as Batman. I’m just old enough to remember the hype surrounding the original movie and to remember not being allowed to see it without an adult present. But I don’t remember the criticism Keaton received, and from what I know, there was plenty of it. I read about it and my initial thought was, who cares? My next thought was, Keaton made an excellent Batman/Bruce Wayne so I guess he proved quite a few folks wrong, didn’t he? My third thought on the matter, after reading the interview with Keaton on Affleck as a choice, was, why did they ask Keaton? Is he in charge of casting, because if he is, that’s news to me. He doesn’t care and, yet, someone felt they had to go there as if it’s the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. No one is talking about it because it’s a non-issue. Not important. Next.

Here’s my main point: What does it matter what anyone thinks, outside of Affleck and studio executives? He’s the one getting paid for putting on the cowl and cape. They’re the ones risking two franchises with casting (remember, Superman and Batman are affected by the next film). All of the critics in the world aren’t necessarily the end-all, be-all for a movie. And, you should never listen to a film critic, anyhow. It’s all subjective in the first place and how someone feels about a movie could change with the next human over. This is what I want you, the reader, to take from this: Make up your own mind and don’t rely on someone else’s thoughts to determine what you like and don’t like. Because, as I like to say all of the time, you aren’t the one cutting the check or depositing it, either.

Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com