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Michael Keaton improvised Batman’s most famous line

Michael Keaton improvised Batman's most famous line
Michael Keaton as Batman in 1989. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Batman has become a cultural phenomenon.

Not only has the character been around for over 80 years, but the movies and TV portrayals of the character have often overshadowed even the comic book version.

This goes back as far as Adam West’s Batman, which offered up a campy look at the Caped Crusader and was full of one-liners. However, the one line that remains synonymous to this day for Batman fans originated in Batman’s 1989 movie with Michael Keaton.

Michael Keaton improvised Batman’s most famous line

Go to any YouTube video playing with the Batman character, and there is one line that shows up in probably 98-percent of the videos.

The line was used to great effect in the LEGO Batman Movie. It was used by Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Trilogy. It is used in comics all the time now.

However, Michael Keaton improvised the line when he took on the role of Batman in the 1989 Batman movie.

That line is “I’m Batman.”

Out of all the lines in the 1989 Batman movie, the one fans might have thought to be improvised (“You wanna get nuts? Lets get nuts!”) wasn’t. It was “I’m Batman” that wasn’t part of the script.

This happened when he was on a rooftop and had a criminal in his sights. He told the bad guy to tell his friends about him so he could strike fear into the Gotham City underworld. The man asked, “What are you?”

The answer from Keaton’s Batman was simple: “I’m Batman.”

Both Michael Keaton and Tim Burton loved the line after he adlibbed it and the line remained in the movie. The other options at the time were “I am the night” and “I am vengeance,” but in this case, Michael Keaton had the right idea.

Michael Keaton returning in The Flash

While fans in 1989 wanted anyone but Michael Keaton in the role (it could have been Bill Murray as Batman), he was a perfect choice and is still many fans’ favorite Batman actor.

Now, Keaton is coming back to the DCEU for The Flash, although it is unknown if he will be Bruce Wayne or Thomas Wayne in the Flashpoint storyline.

Ben Affleck will also be back in what should be his last turn as Batman in the DCEU, and whether they get a chance to say “I am Batman” or not, it was Michael Keaton who made the line famous.

The Flash is scheduled to debut November 4, 2022. To see the full listing up upcoming DC movies, click here.

Shawn S. Lealos


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