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12 Most Badass Batman Movie Moments

January 25, 2019
12 min read

It is not an easy job handpicking the most badass moments from the escapades of a character who has spent his entire 78 years of existence being, well, badass; even if it’s only from the movie versions. Batman has held his own against superpowered foes and friends alike, and still emerged victorious, despite having no superpowers to boast of. Such is his badassery.

Actors Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck have donned the cape and cowl for portraying Batman on screen, directed to varying degrees of success by Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, Joel Schumacher and Zack Snyder, most popular and successful among them being Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, undoubtedly. It was a welcome departure from the general campy tone of its predecessors, exploring the character’s darker roots.

The knight has come a long way, from the almost self-parodying tone of the late Adam West’s Batman in the TV series, to Snyder’s intensely brooding take on the troubled character, portrayed by Ben Affleck. Regardless, these different takes on the dark knight have given us fanboys, some truly amazing scenes to scream at in excitement and joy, watching our favourite hero kick some serious ass; watching Batman, being Batman. So follows a list of the most badass Batman moments put to film, in no particular order.

*cue Beautiful Lie from BvS by Zimmer*

 

1. “I am Batman.”

Movie: ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

Bale’s Batman doesn’t make his first appearance in costume well until the first hour of the film, but when he does, he makes sure the entry is worth remembering. Working his way through the shadows, not letting Falcone’s thugs catch a glimpse of who (or what) beat the living daylights out of them. Now that’s Batman, using fear, theatricality and deception as his primary weapons. Pulling a bewildered Falcone right out of his car, and later stringing him up against a searchlight to project a bat-like signal in the sky, he mouths the now iconic line “I am Batman”. At this instant, movie fans knew this was the Batman they’d been waiting for.

2.Batman vs. The SWAT Team

Movie: ‘The Dark Knight’ (2012)

The Dark Knight is replete with iconic moments, both in terms of dialogue and action, and one of them comes close to the end of the final act, where GCPD, Batman and the people of Gotham are put to one final test at the Joker’s mercy. While the Joker places two explosives on two ferries (one full of civilians, and the other, with prisoners) and places the detonator for each in the other ferry, in an attempt to prove that the civilised faction of society is ready to get its hands dirty at the first sign of trouble, Gordon and Batman look to tackle a hostage situation from the Gotham General scene earlier on in the film.

Batman goes in, only to realise that the thugs the SWAT teams and snipers were targeting were actually the hostages, and the apparent hostages were Joker’s henchmen, planning to ambush the incoming resistance teams. Batman thinks quick to avoid the impending bloodbath, neutralising hostiles on the floor above, and tying the incoming SWAT team up by their feet while engaging with them in combat. Upon being instructed by a GCPD chopper to stop, Batman pushes one of the officers off the building, stringing them up, leaving them dangling by the side of the building and giving him enough time to escape and confront the Joker. Nolan’s insistence on minimal use of CGI pays off in this incredibly well done sequence, only to pave the way for a stunning finale between Joker and Batman.

3. ‘Knightmare’ Sequence

Movie: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Perhaps no other comic book film in recent times has divided the audience in a way this movie has. Love it, or hate it, you can’t deny the film’s overall impressive visuals and its handling of action sequences. One such sequence was the ‘Knightmare’ sequence from the film.

The sequence begins with Batman gazing over a post-apocalyptic forlorn desert like landscape, with Darkseid’s omega symbol scorched on the ground. Batman is expecting a shipment of Kryptonite to be delivered to him, but is ambushed by soldiers from Superman’s army, as this vision depicts a tyrannous Superman corrupted by power, mourning Lois’s loss for which he holds Batman responsible, (as revealed in the scenes following this sequence). Although being heavily outnumbered, this scene has Batman whooping some serious ass, engaging with soldiers and parademons using guns and punches, before being overpowered. I am not going to spoil what follows this amazingly well choreographed and photographed scene, but if this is a foreshadowing of events to happen, I can barely wait. Release the hype engine already!

4. “Excuse me, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Movie: Batman (1989)

This one is from the 1989 Tim Burton classic. The sequence takes place atop the Gotham City Cathedral, when the Joker, played to great effect by Jack Nicholson, kidnaps Vicki Vale. Batman races up the cathedral to save her, only to be attacked and beaten up by Joker’s thugs, while the Joker himself, is busy in romancing Vale. Having realised that Jack Napier (now the Joker) was responsible for his parents’ death years ago, because of what the killer said then, and the Joker repeated in an instance earlier on the film before shooting Bruce Wayne, Batman catches Joker off guard with the same dialogue, “Excuse me, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” albeit in a spiteful manner, and lands a punch to the Joker’s gut, leading to their final confrontation.

Batman goes full vengeance mode here, landing hardened blows on the Joker. Bruce’s backstory is a little deviated from the comics here, but the scene is like a wish seeking fulfillment on the Bat’s part.

5. “I’ll get my car.”

  “I brought mine!”

Movie: ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

When Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in the first film from Nolan’s trilogy) is poisoned from scarecrow’s fear toxin, Jim Gordon is instructed by Batman to hurry her outside Arkham Asylum and meet him there. Meanwhile Batman, being the badass he is, summons a swarm of bats as “backup” using an ultrasound device, does a ‘superhero drop’, and exits from the asylum unscathed. Gordon offers to get Rachel to help in his car, to which Batman replies, “I brought mine”, introducing the Batmobile in all its beasty glory, roaring in the background. What follows is a chase between Gotham’s finest and Batman, with the latter soaring across rooftops, and displaying some of the Batmobile’s quips, delivering the antidote to Rachel just in time. Kudos to Nolan here, who knows how to construct an action sequence with class, and to David S. Goyer for some cool dialogue.

6. Prison Escape

Movie: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Technically not a Batman sequence, but as said by Christian Bale’s Batman in Begins (2005) and quoted here by me, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” The scene is a testament to the indomitable will of the character, his struggle to embrace and eventually overcome his fears to save his city from the mercenary Bane. Having tried earlier, and failed, he is advised by the prison doctor to try and make the climb without the rope, so that fear would find him again. Backed by some great dialogue and Zimmer’s score, accompanied by the prisoners’ chanting, this scene gets up your adrenaline levels as you hope he makes the climb, and he inevitably does. Among the somewhat underwhelming action sequences in the film, this one seemingly simple scene definitely stands out, courtesy of some powerful writing.

7. Lau’s Extradition

Movie: ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

The sheer scale of the scene and innovation involved makes you marvel at its execution. Apart from being badass, the sequence is technically brilliant in all aspects too. The sequence begins with a marvellous shot of Bale’s Batman standing atop a skyscraper in Hong Kong, and then has him ‘fly’ over to a neighbouring skyscraper, beat up a dozen henchmen in Batman style, blow through the glazing of the building using previously implanted time bombs and then escape with the absconding accountant, Lau using a ‘sky-hook’ that latches on to a plane mid-air! As ridiculous as this may sound to a non-believer, you have to watch it to believe it how Nolan does it in style. I can only imagine what this scene would have looked like on an IMAX screen.

8. Bruce Running into the Abyss

Movie: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Another Bruce Wayne scene in the list, but I just couldn’t resist putting this one in. Before his first appearance in costume, Affleck already showed us how badass his character was going to be, dressed in formals, courtesy of this beautiful opening scene. As a human, he is as confused about what’s happening in Metropolis, while Superman battles Zod, as the rest of the squandered population on the ground. But that does not stop him from taking charge of the situation from the word go, driving through the debris and explosion filled streets of Metropolis, only to see his corporate headquarters in the city reduced to rubble, killing and injuring a number of his employees. As the building crumbles before his eyes, and people run to seek shelter, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is the only one who runs into the gathering cloud of dust, head on. Good character building. Great introductory scene. If there is one thing Affleck’s expression at the end of this sequence teaches us, it’s to never piss off Batman.

9. The Batpod

Movie: ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

After the Batmobile is damaged following a tense chase involving the Joker and Harvey Dent, Batman literally emerges from the ashes, introducing the audience to another remarkable piece of engineering from Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences Division, The Batpod. Armed with powerful cannons, a grappling hook and wheels capable of doing a 360 turn, the Batpod is the Bat’s vehicle of choice for the greater half of the film, and undoubtedly his coolest one. In the scene that follows, Batman drives through underground passages, a mall and an alley on this beast of a vehicle, confronts the Joker head on, and tilts the truck he is in using the grappling hooks, before ricocheting against a wall and perfectly landing. If that isn’t one of the most ‘Batman’ things you’ve heard, little else is going to make sense.

10. Batman blocking Superman’s punch

Movie: ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)

The battle of the titans takes place in spectacular fashion in the finale of BvS. Everyone knew Batman was going to use Kryptonite to tip the scales in his favor in his fight against Superman. However, it remained to be seen how that would be translated on screen. And there he was, the knight in shining armor, Frank Miller style.

Batman uses Kryptonite gas-pellets to weaken Superman, while delivering the “men are brave” speech, when Superman decides he has had enough and throws a punch at the Bat. Batman blocks it, showing Superman what it meant being a man, sending chills down our spines. The reactions of the audience were appropriately summed up by the WTF look on Superman’s face.

11. “A silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dark knight.”

Movie: ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

Nolan sure knows how to bring his films to a close in undeniable style. ‘The Dark Knight’ is the director’s masterclass in that. Devoid of any enthralling action scenes to boast of, this scene, to me, is badass because it essentially encapsulates what the legend of the dark knight is all about. He took the blame of Dent’s evil acts upon himself, believing that the people of Gotham deserved to have their faith in Dent rewarded. He knew what he was fighting for, and was ready to take the fall for it, being condemned by the very people he protected. Selflessly watching over the city, he became the hero they deserved, but the not the one they needed then.

As Jim Gordon explains this to his son in voice-over, the disillusioned GCPD who have already branded him a criminal, chase him, while Batman takes off on his batpod, and the screen cuts to black. Accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s score, this is one of the strongest superhero moments put to screen, and some fine moviemaking at display here.

12. Warehouse Fight Scene

Movie: ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)

The most badass Batman movie scene in history, period. Clearly reflecting the style of fighting from the ‘Arkham’ games, this one sees Batman at his brutal and visceral best, tackling close to fifteen armed thugs, single-handedly. Boasting some A-rate fight choreography, this sequence was one of the many redeeming qualities of the film. You see Batman display his extensive training, and the use of his gadgets (the batarang, grappling hook, jammer) in combat, employing both brain and brawn to establish in one scene that he has been a seasoned crime fighter, on the lines of Batfleck’s character in the film. This may be the fanboy in me talking, but the scene is, for the lack of a better word, Epic in every sense of the word.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.” Batman Begins (2005)

2. Prepping for “the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world.” BvS (2016)

With Justice League due for release this November, we are sure that the following scenes would have definitely made our list, had this list been prepared after the release of the film! For now, they occupy our hall of fame.

Barry Allen: “What are your superpowers again?”

Bruce Wayne: “I’m rich.”

And of course, it’s good to see him playing well with others again!

 

Read More: All Batman Movies, Ranked

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