Michael Keaton Knew ‘Batman Forever’ Was Bad Early On

We’re all awaiting the release of Ben Affleck’s The Batman in the next few years, and, as always, we all hope the end result is a quality Batman movie – one that mixes the dark Noir detective elements of the character with the type of great superhero action we saw in Batman v Superman‘s infamous warehouse scene.

When fans think of the kind of Batman movie they want, they inevitably also think of the type of Batman movie they never want to see again — and that thought leads directly to the memory of Joel Schumacher’s ’90s Batman sequels, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.

When Schumacher inherited the franchise from Tim Burton after Batman Returns, it was a definite climate shift. No one felt that shift more than franchise star (at the time) Michael Keaton, who recently shared with THR that he saw the writing on the wall right away.

As Keaton tells it, “It sucked. I knew it was in trouble when he [Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?'”

It’s the type of question from a director that would make any real Batman fan raise their eyes in worry – and it was enough to make Keaton jump ship from the biggest (and really, only) superhero movie franchise of the time. And, even though his career took a dip after he left Batman behind, the respect and credibility he kept with fans has allowed Keaton to make a late-career resurgence. The actor was able to play on his own superhero heyday (and career stall afterward) in the meta-themed Birdman – with the result being four Oscar wins for the film, and a nomination for Keaton. Now he’s getting back into the superhero movie genre, playing the vicious villain The Vulture in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming this year, and from what we saw in the trailer, he’s going to be awesome.