Entertainment

Which actor played Batman the best?

Posted February 11

 (Deseret Photo)

GOTHAM — Batman is one of the most iconic superheroes ever. There is just something about a wealthy man that chooses to be a crime-fighting vigilante at night that just resonates with the masses.

Over the years, Batman has been played by several actors who have tried their best to capture the essence of the Caped Crusader. Most recently, Will Arnett lent his voice to “The Lego Batman Movie,” which is receiving rave reviews. With “Justice League” and “The Batman” coming up starring Ben Affleck as Batman, we decided to rank all the actors who did the best at playing the hero of Gotham over the past 50 years.

I did not follow the comics so this list is based purely off performance, not who portrayed Batman closest to the comic book descriptions.

8. George Clooney in “Batman and Robin

Overall, I am a Clooney fan. I think he is a brilliant actor and director. Playing Batman in “Batman and Robin,” however, is probably the lowlight of his career.

I do feel bad though for him though because he didn’t have much to work with. Out of all the Batman movies, this is the most cartoonish and was just an overall bad movie with probably the most laughable villains. Clooney just didn’t seem to fit the bill of Batman and is easily forgotten as playing the Caped Crusader.

7. Adam West in the “Batman” TV show

So I remember watching old re-runs of “Batman” as a small lad. I know for its era it was probably really entertaining, but the episodes just don’t hold up now in my opinion.

However, West is probably the most iconic Batman on this list and still has a loyal fan base. He was a tad over-the-top with his portrayal, but that is what many find so endearing.

6. Kevin Conroy in the “Batman” animated series

Over the past 25 years, Kevin Conroy has been the voice of most animated Batman shows, movies or video games. He sounds how I envision Batman to sound like. Maybe if Clooney had Conroy's voice, he might not be at the bottom of my list.

5. Will Arnett in “The Lego Batman Movie

I for one am pumped about “The Lego Batman Movie.” In “The Lego Movie,” I felt that Batman stole the show. Just knowing that Arnett was the voice behind Batman made it that much better. It is hard to even think who could voice Batman in the Lego world and make it as funny and as memorable as Arnett.

4. Val Kilmer in “Batman Forever

After replacing Michael Keaton for “Batman Forever,” Kilmer had big shoes to fill. While I did not really enjoy Kilmer as Bruce Wayne, I really enjoyed it when he was Batman. Audiences agreed as “Batman Forever” outperformed its predecessor “Batman Returns” at the box office. Kilmer was one and done though, maybe because he saw how horrible the script for “Batman and Robin” was.

3. Ben Affleck in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

While I usually enjoy Affleck more behind the camera, I surprisingly enjoyed him as Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In fact, Affleck was the only bright side in that whole movie. To see Batman as someone that is a little older and worn down was kind of refreshing.

I for one am excited to see where Affleck can take this character in the upcoming DC movies, and I am mostly excited to see a DC movie that is not directed by Zack Snyder.

2. Christian Bale in “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Dark Knight Rises

I will preface this by saying, I feel Bale was in the best Batman movies ever. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is to me is the best comic book movies ever created. What Bale had going for him was he was able to show how he became Batman, unlike the other movies that just pick up with him already a crime-fighting vigilante. You get to go on the journey with him to see how he became Gotham's hero.

Bale nailed the role. You can really see what drives him to be Batman. I loved his take on Bruce Wayne as more of a non-socialite that would prefer to do anything than to try to be what people want Bruce Wayne to be.

Bale definitely deserves to be talked about as the greatest of all-time and his Batman voice will forever live on, but I had to go with my heart and put him at No. 2 on the rankings.

1. Michael Keaton in “Batman” and “Batman Returns”

Maybe I am biased because growing up Michael Keaton was Batman to me. He was my first introduction to Batman, but just watching his performances recently really reminded me of why he was the greatest of all-time.

Keaton was perfect as Bruce Wayne and Batman. In fact, his Bruce Wayne was almost as enjoyable as when he was Batman. Although I enjoyed Nolan’s Batman movies over the Tim Burton ones, there is just something about Keaton that will always make him my favorite Batman.

What do you think? Who was the best Batman? Let us know in the comments.

Curtis Linnell is a movie fanatic/critic that use to frequent the movie theaters on a regular basis. Due to a busy schedule and a family, he now just streams them at home. You can follow him on Twitter @curtislinnell.

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