The ten greatest scenes from the ‘Batman’ films
With The Dark Knight Rises opening this week, it’s only appropriate to look back at the series’ first two entries as well as previous incarnations of the Batman. Compiling a top ten list of best scenes from a character that has spanned decades would appear a fruitless effort. With a wealth of rich images, performances, and set pieces, there are countless lists that could be made. This one tries best to objectively quantify ten great scenes from all seven theatrically released films, ordering them in terms of iconography and emotionality, but also according to the fundamentals of what makes a film scene work and why this indelible character is so enduring. SPOILERS herein.
10. Batman Forever (1995)
“Why can’t you just die?!”
Joel Shumacher’s day-glo interpretation of the Dark Knight might not be the best place to start a list of great Batman scenes, but his Batman Forever, despite its narrative shortcomings and frenzied pacing, manages a few moments of genuine iconography. Particularly, when Batman pursues the maniacal Two-Face by hurling down a building and opening his wings to break his landing, we are treated to a stunning special effects shot that spins around his freefall. A few perfunctory pyrotechnics later and we get our second moment of awe: Batman emerging from a wall of flames in the glory of slow motion. The film–and this scene in particular–emphasizes the character as an unkillable force, a symbol that causes an exasperated Two-Face to bellow (before trying to blow him to kingdom come) “Why can’t you just die!” Yet it also stresses the vulnerability of a man fighting crime, as evidenced when the newly christened Robin has to pull our hero from the rubble. This is big, unapologetic filmmaking (made more so by Elliot Goldenthal’s appropriately booming soundtrack) that, for one set piece at least, works like gangbusters.