Table of content    
  1. #1. Muschietti revealed the sad reason why Keaton retires as Batman.
  2. #2. This Bruce Wayne’s decision ties heavily to his moral code.
  3. #3. Bruce Wayne’s backstory also comes into play.

The Flash Director Reveals The Shocking Reason Why Michael Keaton’s Batman Is Retired, And It's A Tragic One

The Flash (2023) is the first (and could very possibly be the last) DCEU title that tackles the concept of time-traveling and the multiverse. By traveling back to the past to save his mom from getting killed, Barry Allen has unknowingly changed the outcome of the future, which sees him in alternate timelines and different universes with multiple superhero variants that he doesn’t know about. As a result, he ends up in 2013, where he meets his younger self, and a different version of Batman, who’s portrayed by Michael Keaton instead of Ben Affleck.

Veteran DC fans would remember how Michael Keaton nailed the role of the Caped Crusader in the 90s, starring in Tim Burton’s Batman movie in 1989 and its sequel, Batman Returns, three years later. The iconic role is later passed on to George Clooney, Christian Bale, and then Ben Affleck, but so far only Bale can live up to the expectation that Keaton has set. Therefore, to see the experienced actor reprise the role in The Flash comes as a pleasant surprise for the audience, but it also makes them wonder: what did Keaton’s Batman do in the past three decades? Why did he retire? The sad and shocking answer is right here in this article.


#1. Muschietti revealed the sad reason why Keaton retires as Batman.

Just days ago, The Flash’s director, Andy Muschietti sat down with The Direct to answer some questions regarding the latest DCEU movie. In this interview, the director also revealed more about Michael Keaton’s Batman, and why he had retired from the role of Gotham City’s protector. While this isn’t an important detail in the movie, many fans still want to know what happened to Keaton’s Batman from Tim Burton’s universe in the last three decades, and Muschietti’s answer might shock us all.

"I really wanted to defy people's expectations of where Bruce Wayne would be thirty years later, and I also wanted to deepen the backstory if Bruce Wayne, as the story tells, has been retired for twenty-five years, what happened to him? I always said something should happen to Bruce Wayne to want to stop being Batman," The director explained. 


"And my idea was, he did something that goes against his code and killed a criminal in front of [the criminal's] child—not knowingly, but he still did it. Which is an exact mirroring situation of what happened to him when his parents were killed in front of him [next to] Monarch Theaters, and that created the monster that The Batman is." He continued.

This revelation by Muschietti might come as a shock to many of us, but it would be a perfect explanation as to why Keaton’s Batman decides to abandon the role after years and years of fighting crimes in Gotham City. As we all know, Batman and most Justice League have a strict “no killing” code, and instead just capture the criminal and leave them in the hand of the law, no matter how many grave crimes they have committed. 


#2. This Bruce Wayne’s decision ties heavily to his moral code.

According to Bruce Wayne, killing a life under any circumstances will make him no better than the criminal he has sworn to fight. That’s why the Dark Knight never kills even the most notorious criminals in Gotham, including the Joker, who has killed thousands and even target Batman’s loved ones. This particular code is also often a running debate in most DC fandoms, as many agree with the superheroes’ way of thinking, while others believe that some criminals must be erased from existence to prevent further tragedies. 

Therefore, it would be reasonable for Bruce to retire after (possibly accidentally) killing a criminal, and in front of his child, no less. The event could cause the child heavy trauma, along with the guilt for breaking the code could be too much for Bruce to bear, which may lead to his ultimate decision to retire from the role. 


#3. Bruce Wayne’s backstory also comes into play.

According to Muschietti, this unfortunate event also ties directly into Batman’s own backstory, with his parents tragically killed by Joe Chill. At the moment, Bruce might feel that he was no different than Joe, or any other criminals that he has captured and bring to justice.

"He just couldn't cope with it, and that's why he decided to shut off his other side, Batman. And he hasn't been able to forgive himself. And now, the way we find him is a bit of like, the evolution of that journey. You know, he's a tragic figure. He's basically a character that is in search of redemption, but eventually finds a way to do it by helping Barry.” The director added.


In The Flash, Keaton’s Bruce eventually agrees to help Barry, and resumes the title of the Caped Crusader to aid him in his battle against General Zod and his Kryptonian army. However, the enemy’s force is too great, and Batman and Supergirl keep dying again and again, no matter how many times the Flashes return to the past to save them.

What do you think of Michael Keaton’s Batman in The Flash? Would you consider him the best Batman in Hollywood’s history? Let us know in the comment.

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