Who Is The Best Batman?

The Caped Crusader is one of the most popular superheroes of all time and is still one of the most important movie franchises in cinema today. There have been many portrayals over the years both live action and animated and in one week we are about see another as Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl to join the legacy of the Dark Knight.

In anticipation for The Batman I have ranked every actor to have played the world’s greatest detective in a live action feature length movie.

6. Adam West – Batman (1966)

West’s portrayal was extremely light hearted, far from the complexed personality that has been synonymous with modern day adaptations of the character. From his playful puns to his flashy action sequences, he managed to slingshot Batman to new heights of fame by being the star of such a colourful TV show that would be worldwide sensation.

5. George Clooney – Batman & Robin (1997)

George Clooney’s style in tone was very much different to previous versions that had came before him on the big screen. Whilst technically still a sequel to previous movies, Clooney’s Batman was from the same type as Adam West’s. He likes to make jokes, attends charity dinners, uses his Bat credit card (yes that really happens) and generally has a great time wearing the suit. Full of charm, Clooney is at the centre of a really poorly made movie however it’s still entertaining for some of the one liners and ridiculousness of it all.

4. Ben Affleck – Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

If there was any actor that had so much potential in the role it would have been Ben Affleck. His DCEU version is much older and more experienced than any before in fact it’s probably the most traumatic Batman we have ever seen. He is full of rage and grief which makes things 100x worse for anyone who gets on the receiving end of a beating from him. Zack Snyder made him haunted by vengeance and whilst some of his scenes are phenomenal, Affleck’s Bat feels congested in everything that’s going on in his movies. The warehouse scene from Dawn of Justice is arguably the best Batman scene to date however there’s just something that feels missing. Maybe it was the solo movie we never got to see? With that being said, Battfleck gives up the cape and cowl later this year as he makes his final appearance in The Flash.

3. Michael Keaton – Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992)

What makes Michael Keaton wonderful in the role is that it was so unexpected. Known for mostly comedy roles, many were skeptical of seeing him take on such a dark performance in Batman. However, Keaton shines as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, giving us such an engrossing display as both personalities.

2. Val Kilmer – Batman Forever (1995)

In an extremely underrated movie, Val Kilmer finely shows both the mystique in Batman and the burdensome life that Bruce Wayne has pledged himself to live. Bruce Wayne’s turmoil is one of the great parts about Batman Forever, for the first time we see him pushed to his limits from a physiological point of view. As for his time roaming around Gotham City in the batsuit, he has established himself as a presence that criminals truly fear. Perfect displayed when the sudden sight of him makes an entire gang of thugs flee the scene of a crime. I just wish we could see more of Val in the suit, he was such an exciting fresh take at the time and I have no doubt he could have delved deeper into the complexities fo Batman with another movie.

1. Christian Bale – Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

In a much more grounded interpretation, Christian Bale has three movies to perfectly symbolise the meaning of Batman. His range of acting brings lot of different traits to both Batman and Bruce Wayne. As the billionaire philanthropist, he is careless and lives the typical playboy life. However, this is the act he needs to perform to fulfil his duty as Batman which becomes his true identity and Christopher Nolan expertly shows this across the trilogy. Bale’s Batman grows so much over the three movies, his mindset changes as Gotham City goes through a period of change over the years and the theme of his character parallels the people of the city.

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