With Michael Keaton back as Batman after 30 years, people are revisiting his films and the kookiness of Tim Burton’s neo-noir style, which is in stark contrast to what came after – and we mean directly after when Joel Schumacher took over. Schumacher’s take, especially his second go-around Batman & Robin, continues to divide fans who can’t stand the campier colorful direction he went.

Knox enters the picture

Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) shows up to bug Eckhardt in Batman (1989), Warner Bros.

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There are those who acted within the Burtonverse as well who dislike the Schumacher-directed sequels, and one of them recently voiced his frustrations with the slide the Batman franchise quickly descended down from Batman Returns to the fourth film. Robert Wuhl, portrayer of the indefatigable reporter Alexander Knox in the 1989 movie, considers a good chunk of the Bat output back then unwatchable.

In a Cameo to YouTuber Vee Infuso, Wuhl says if you put all four films of that incarnation back to back they go from good to progressively bad with each passing hour, ending in a “Schumacher debacle.” Said the actor, “The first hour of the first Batman is really outstanding,” while “the second hour is pretty damn good.”

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As for Batman Returns, Wuhl said the series dropped slightly as the follow-up where Burton had more creative control was “a little too dark” for his tastes. But Batman Forever was where things really went off the cliff. “The ones Schumacher had done…they get to a point where they are just unwatchable to me,” Wuhl explained, clarifying his opinion is subjective.

Plenty of fans out there and plenty of our readers probably agree, but Wuhl’s view could be colored by the fact he was never invited back to revisit Knox – not even for Returns. He was asked about this too and answered they didn’t make him an offer and he still doesn’t understand why. “I was disappointed but would’ve come back,” he said.

Wuhl makes a face in the arsenal

Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) makes a random face in Bruce Wayne’s “armory” in Batman (1989), Warner Bros.

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Wuhl added it was a blast for him to work with Keaton and everyone involved with Batman ‘89, although when it came time to write the sequel Burton couldn’t find a place for Knox. He was written out of drafts very early on as Burton went through four different writers including Arachnaphobia scribe Wesley Strick. Down and out as he was, Wuhl didn’t remain so.

30 years later, producers of The CW’s Arrowverse made a call and brought back Wuhl to play Knox one more time in the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover in order to wrap up his story and depict the grim fate of the Earth the Burtonverse resided on. Knox was effectively killed off, but nothing stops DC Studios from resurrecting him.

Knox came to party

Alexander Knox at the party at Wayne Manor in Batman (1989), Warner Bros.

It goes without saying that death is never permanent in the world of capes and metahumans.

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  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.