Adam West said that Michael Keaton's Batman was ''off-putting''

He was not a fan of the Tim Burton movie at all.

The Everett Collection

Look, we're each entitled to our opinion. One man's trash is another man's treasure. It's what makes the world an interesting place to live in. If we all agreed on what's good, then the media landscape would be absent of anything challenging. Instead, we have a many-shaded tapestry of shows and movies to pick from. Some are to our liking, and some make us go, "Oh, so that's why I prefer scripted content over reality." 

Very few pieces of media are without their critics. But few types of stories are scrutinized more than comic book movies. For whatever reason, the comic book movie is a constantly debated subject, with preferences, theories, and controversies surrounding each one. 

Nowhere is this more true than with Batman. The character is treasured and revered by fans everywhere, and each has their favorite incarnation. Batman has been around for decades, and as he's evolved, so too have opinions and depictions.

For an entire generation, Adam West will always be the definitive Caped Crusader. His interpretation of the role, as seen in the 1966-68 television series and tie-in movie, was a light-hearted, "campy" creation. However, tastes shift and so does Batman. By 1989, Batman was back in theaters, with Tim Burton helming a darker, more brooding Bat-movie.

Here are West's thoughts— as collected in his book Back to the Batcave— on the '89 Batman, starring Michael Keaton: 

"In the recent Batman, Bruce [Wayne, Batman's alter-ego] ranged from psychotic to addle-headed: unfocused, inattentive, shallow. I found that off-putting. And Batman shouldn't work solely for his own satisfaction, but for the good of Gothamites. In the film, he destroyed those first two hoods but did nothing for the people they'd mugged. He did more damage fleeing from the museum in his Batmobile and, later, with his crashing Batplane than the Joker did in the entire film." 

West's public problems with Batman '89 may have been the result of some bad Bat blood between the actor and the powers that be.

"I'll admit I was angry and profoundly disappointed when I was not asked to reprise the role," West admitted. "I would have played the part differently, a new Batman for a new era." 

This dismay could've kept West from viewing the movie subjectively, as nothing could live up to his idea of himself back in the cowl. 

What are your thoughts on the 1989 Tim Burton movie? Let us know in the comments section below!

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39 Comments

jcp 3 days ago
I loved the tv series so much, i could not understand it was never shown again in reruns after the series ended in 1969. Not until Metv showed them again only 10 years ago, more than 30 years later could i watch Batman . And why after Batman was on again, after Metv showed the old episodes. it was still several years before you could buy dvds of the series. When the movie came out in 1989 I was then an adult and so I never bothered to watch the new movie nor the following sequels, because I too was also put off by the movie as described by Siskel & Ebert. As far as i am concerned Adam West is is my only Batman
gitrekker 24 days ago
I love the 60's Batman series, and while I didn't dislike the 1989 Batman movie, it was an entirely different sort of creation. I do feel that comic books and superhero movies have become increasingly dark, grim, and excessively violent over the years, and I don't think that's a good thing. The last really good Marvel movie was the first Avengers film. I can appreciate wanting to reach modern audiences, and certainly we have much more technology available them we used to. But I think about a video I saw on YouTube. Some college-age kids took the 1960's Batmobile and somehow worked it into the setting of the most recent Batman movie using CGI technology. I'll admit, it was effective. But one of these kids said, "That actually makes that Batmobile look badass." No, kid. That Batmobile always WAS badass, and the show that it was part of was a helluva lot more entertaining than anything around these days. So have some respect for what got us here.
WilliamJorns 24 days ago
I honestly think Mr. West's anger at being turned down as the lead for the '89 film clouded his judgment somewhat. That being said, I must point out that audiences for both TV/movies and comic books have grown more sophisticated between the time of the "Batman" TV show and Tim Burton's movie. On TV, they played Batman for laughs and made the whole superhero genre look silly. The movie took a more serious and dramatic approach, which was far closer to what Bob Kane and Bill Finger envisioned when they created Batman back in 1939 - a dark, grim avenger of the night, hunting down criminals to punish them for their misdeeds. That's what the movie audiences and comics readers want today, not hokey dialogue and silly puns. While the 1966 "Batman" show has its place on classic TV, we must remember it's just one way of looking at Batman. It's much like the animated "Batman" LEGO movie - meant as light-hearted entertainment. The "Batman" films that started in 1989 are for the fans who take the character more seriously.
IwatchingME 25 days ago
T'was 89's offspring, BATMAN,TAS that performed perfection. Having seen the serials in the 40s, they tried. First year of the animated series had it ALL! Adam West was lucky, the alternative was Lyle Wagner (pre Carol Burnett) being more serious. The group wanted more humor THEN!!
Mannixishot 26 days ago
I like Adam West as Batman but honestly thought Michael Keaton was the best of the big screen Batmans.
Stoney 26 days ago
I think it is perfectly ok to like both West and Keaton's versions of Batman. Just like it is ok to like Mexican food and Italian food. Sometimes you are in the mood for one, and sometimes you want the other.
JJ614 27 days ago
I would have LOVED to see a young Adam West play the Batman movies - I believe he would have LOVED doing them.
DawnieRotten 27 days ago
Sorry, Adam West.......Michael Keaton IS BATMAN!!!!

I watched, somewhat, the TV show Batman, when I was a KID......and could never get into it, even AS A KID (it was TOO CHILDISH!).

Then along came MICHAEL KEATON (as Batman) when I was an adult! Since then.....I became a Batman (KEATON ONLY) fan! I've watched the 'other' Batman movies.....the 'other' Batmen didn't do it for me either.
kb7rky 27 days ago
Not a fan of the movies...Batman keeps getting darker and darker with each "reboot".

And, the Batmobiles just get far more ridiculous, as well.

Adam West was right.
Snickers kb7rky 27 days ago
Man I would love to own the Batmobile from the 60's series.
exit79 27 days ago
Adam West is the ONLY true Batman. Loved him as Batman when I was 10 years old, and I love him as Batman now that I'm 63 years old! Enuf said... to the bat poles
Snickers exit79 27 days ago
I'm 67 and could not agree more. Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed.
trogg888 27 days ago
Well neither the series or any of the movies were much like the comics but I was .ore into the marvel stuff and kinda gave up on the dc stuff.the seri s was silly but it had Julie nenmar in that tight cat suit and you could almost see the drool coming out of the corners of the bats mouth.i liked them both for different reasons.never cared for bale or any of the others,but like I said I was a marvel man,and al.ost all the.arvel .movies have been better than the dcs
Avie 27 days ago
Apart from the untenable idea that West was still physically capable of embodying the character twenty-three years after he'd played it on television, he was comparing a cartoon (his show) with a comic strip (the movie). It was also absurd that Warner Bros. would want to go down the same light-hearted path that Fox did so many years before.

Times, and audience tastes change -- maybe not for the better, but they must be served by what will sell.
healingmindn 27 days ago
In the tradition of DC Comic story telling, I believe H-wood producers like Burton are trying to stay true to that genre; it's supposed to be disturbing.
65mercury 27 days ago
As a kid I thought the TV series Batman was so cool. But now, like many of the 60+ year-old TV series reruns I can't watch them. Batman being one of them. It's now so lame with pathetic scripts, lame effects (scaling up a wall using ropes? No problem, just turn the camera sideways. Is that the best they could do?), and across the board, poor acting. I can no longer stomach Robin's overacting and his 'galloping gonads Batman, what should we do now?" Gee Robin, I don't know. Perhaps we should call the Commissioner. (Please hand me my barf bag).
Now The Honeymooners are still hilarious. MeTV needs to schedule these classic reruns daily and on a much earlier time. Like substitute just one episode of the many scheduled back-to-back Perry Mason reruns. Or BETTER YET, replace Batman with it. Cannon is another good one that should be shown at a much earlier (or later) time than 3:00 am.
Snickers 65mercury 27 days ago
I have to respectfully disagree. I'm 67 years old and grew up watching those so called lame t.v shows. And what would you expect from a show made in the 60's with an almost zero budget? Batman was campy, the whole idea was that the show never really took itself to seriously and was just having fun with itself. As far as doing a substitute how about dumping an hour of MASH instead of showing two hours of that every night? Batman only airs once a week on MeTv at 10:30 at night on a Saturday unlike Mash which airs two hours five days a week
Wiseguy70005 Snickers 27 days ago
And an hour on Sundays.
Wiseguy70005 65mercury 27 days ago
Did you mean "replace it with Batman"?
Snickers Wiseguy70005 27 days ago
Thanks! Forgot about Sundays.
327053 Snickers 17 days ago
So true 😄
Kim 27 days ago
Tv series, Adam West is the only Batman. Movie Batman, Michael Keaton is the ONLY Batman as he stated in the movie...I am Batman.
Bapa1 27 days ago
Two different Batmans, two different eras.
Fred_Clampett 27 days ago
When it comes to the two portrayals, there's really no comparison. I liked Keaton as Batman, and I liked the movie. I also liked the series with Adam West. Both set out to accomplish something, and they both did, even though they were two different things.
Snickers Fred_Clampett 27 days ago
Could not agree more. Very well said.
Snickers 28 days ago
I happened to have liked the Keaton Batman movie. The one with Val Kilmer was just not worth the money to go see.
Bapa1 Snickers 27 days ago
How about the Clooney one?
JJ614 Bapa1 27 days ago
I just couldn't get past the constant feeling that this wasn't batman - this was Clooney - imitating batman.
BrittReid 28 days ago
Christian Bale was the movie BATMAN
McGillahooala 28 days ago
Adam West was right. It is off putting. Maybe entertaining to some degree but not as much a comic book come to life as some dark brooding turd breaking more eggs than he saves.
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