A character as timeless and versatile as Batman is defined by many things - including the details of his wardrobe, the philosophies of his moral code, his words, and plenty of other memorable and enduring characteristics. However, one of the DC superhero’s more criminally overlooked traits is his talent for making one grand entrance.
In retrospect, none of the live-action Batman movies may have ever felt truly complete without a moment in which the vigilante literally bursts onto the screen (and, admittedly, by often using the same, signature modus operandi). However, no matter how many times he makes his presence known and in a particularly similar way, it never grows tiresome to see the Dark Knight employ his “taste for the theatrical” when entering a scene, as you can see from these seven truly epic examples.
Crashing Through The Flugelheim Museum Ceiling - Batman (1989)
Photojournalist Vicki Vale's (Kim Basinger) meeting with Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) at Gotham City’s Flugelheim Museum turns especially ugly when the eccentric career criminal's identity as the Joker is suddenly revealed. Just in the knick of time, Batman (Michael Keaton) invites himself into the defaced gallery through a window above and zip-lines himself and Vale out the front doors with one of his “wonderful toys.” As a pivotal scene in director Tim Burton’s 1989 smash hit that launches it into a full comic book movie extravaganza, this alone would also become an especially seminal moment for most of the subsequent Batman movies.
Zip-Lining Into Penguin’s Lair - Batman Returns (1992)
Another one of Michael Keaton’s coolest Batman moments that also involves a zip-line appears in his second film as the Caped Crusader: Tim Burton’s 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. The bulk of its final act takes place in the underground lair belonging to the currently incapacitated Penguin (Danny DeVito), where Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) is facing off against her corrupt boss, Max Schreck (Christopher Walken), and Bats glides in to break up the fight. In addition to being one of the Dark Knight's least damaging cinematic entrances, this zip-line stunt sets itself apart from the one in 1989's Batman for showing him fly in hands-free and wings-spread.
Crashing Through The Ritz Gotham Ceiling - Batman Forever (1995)
Batman's reputation for breaking through glass ceilings instead of using the door was revived when Val Kilmer assumed the role for 1995’s Batman Forever - also the late Joel Schumacher’s first time helming a DC movie. When chaos breaks out, courtesy of Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), during Edward “The Riddler” Nygma’s (Jim Carrey) Ritz Gotham gala, Bruce Wayne steps outside for a quick change before letting himself back in by destroying the roof, landing on a fountain, and somersaulting into a stand-off with the villain’s goons. The glorious descent receives much praise from an extremely enthusiastic party guest and Nygma himself, who tells Two-Face his entrance could have benefitted from the same level of “showmanship.”
Crashing Through The Gotham Museum Ceiling - Batman & Robin (1997)
The sole witness of George Clooney’s turn to smash through a glass ceiling in Batman & Robin was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, caught in the act of stealing diamonds to power his bright, LED infused suit from Gotham Museum. I especially love the way he lands on the head of a frozen, life-size brachiosaurus model and slides down its neck to face his coldhearted new foe up close after giving an otherwise flat self-introduction. Moments later, Robin (Chris O’Donnell) nearly one-ups his partner’s entrance, leaving a hole that perfectly resembles the shape of his insignia when he bursts through a wall on his motorcycle.
Crashing Through An LSI Holdings Building Window - The Dark Knight (2008)
Christian Bale experienced his obligatory crash-landing the second time he played Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which sees him attempt the tradition from a new angle…literally. Bruce Wayne travels to Hong Kong to capture shady security company owner Lau (Chin Han), and does so by gracefully gliding through the night sky and bolting right into a large glass window of the mob boss’ own high-rise. Bats does not even stop to shake off any of the residual glass bits that likely got into his suit before apprehending Lau’s bodyguards and taking him back to Gotham to be properly tried.
Crashing Through The Warehouse Floor - Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)
One of Ben Affleck’s best Batman moments is the famed warehouse fight from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which also sees the Oscar winner go in a new direction with his own epic entrance. Instead of launching a surprise attack on Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) goons holding Martha Kent (Diane Lane) at their hideout from above, Batfleck comes in from below by blasting a hole in the floor that, likely, sends one goon falling to his death. It is actually difficult to see Bats making this entrance by how quickly he zips through the floor, keeping the gun-toting warehouse dwellers from thinking to look up and find him in the rafters, where he prepares his next merciless move.
Crashing Through The Gotham Square Garden Ceiling - The Batman (2022)
Just when you thought that we had the seen the last of the Dark Knight’s aerial attacks, director Matt Reeves brought it back in his acclaimed reboot, The Batman, but in, arguably, the most enthralling and, inarguably, explosive way yet. Near the end of the film, as Gothamites seek refuge in Gotham Square Garden from the flooding streets (caused by a series of bombs placed by Paul Dano’s Riddler), the committed serial killer’s armed minions prove they are not as safe as they thought. Enter Robert Pattinson’s “Vengeance,” who blows the arena ceiling to smithereens and descends through the fiery blaze onto the rafters to lay waste to these Riddler wannabes.
It is hard to pick just one scene from The Batman that I would call my personal favorite, but Robert Pattinson’s Gotham Square Garden attack is high on that list - much like how the other six epic entrances above it are among my top moments from their respective Batman movies. Now that a sequel is officially in the works, I look forward to seeing how the Dark Knight bursts onto the scene next.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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