Everyone has their own favorite Batman. Every Nerd worth their salt has an opinion on who was the best Batman, who was the best Bruce Wayne, and who was the best at both. And every Nerd’s ranked list differs just a little from the Nerd standing next to them. So here’s our favorite Batmen, ranked best to worst. But this time, we want to hear from YOU. Which Batman was the best? Who didn’t cut it, in your not-so-humble opinion? How wrong were we? Post in the comment below and let us know which Batman stands where in your list. If this post does well and you opinionated (nerd)bastards comment like hell, there could be some Bat-related prizes for future posts…
Ben Affleck –
Yeah. This was a surprise to a lot of people. But Affleck stepped up to the plate and owned it as both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Ignoring the “Martha” scene, Affleck did a solid job as Batman and Bruce in Batman v Superman:
Friendship is Magic Dawn of Justice. Then he delved even deeper for Justice League, letting us see a bit of humor in a very Batman way. While many turned their nose up at the idea of the former Daredevil putting on another mask at all, much less BATMAN, he really put a lot of Nerds in their place and showed what he could do with the character. It’s a crying damn shame we won’t get to see him in a solo Batman film.
Adam West –
Okay, sure. Adam West’s Batman was campy, smarmy, and many times over-the-top, but for HIS Batman, you could believe that’s how Batman in that universe would act. West oozed “suave and debonair” as Bruce Wayne. West’s Bruce Wayne was old money without being vapid or shallow. Even with all his privilege, you believed he wasn’t just a hero in a mask, but a philanthropist who used Bruce Wayne for good as must as he used Batman for good. While weird at times, both as Batman and Bruce Wayne, Adam West sold both personas with grace.
Val Kilmer –
Now, just listen. There’s plenty to dislike about Val Kilmer’s Batman. But his Bruce Wayne was spot-on. He sold the character of Bruce. He was able to put on the charm and air that coming from old money can give you. You believed he was Bruce Wayne. His Batman was lacking. Kilmer wasn’t doing ‘broody’ well.
Michael Keaton –
Keaton being so low on the list might make some folks a bit frustrated. But Keaton’s Batman overshadowed his Bruce Wayne. Keaton feels salt-of-the-earth, not old money. It’s what made him so good as The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. His crazy-eyed Batman could be closely related to All-Star (the goddamn) Batman. The cockiness, anger boiling just under the surface, that deadpan attitude Keaton gave to Batman may not be the Batman a lot of people expected, but damn was it believable. His Bruce Wayne? Less so.
Christian Bale –
Bale’s Bruce Wayne was a jerk. That was part of the act. How could an asshole like this Bruce Wayne be Batman? But others sold Bruce Wayne as a charmer without making him into a dick. Bale’s Batman was the closest we’d seen to what fans wanted out of Batman on the big screen thus far. But the voice made him hard to understand, and out of context, hilarious. Sure, you might be suspending your belief in the theater. But once you left, the voice became too gimmicky. Between Batman’s growl and Bane’s mumble, the third installment of Bale’s Batman movies should’ve come with subtitles.
George Clooney –
Two words. BAT. NIPPLES. Okay, those probably weren’t his fault. It’s not fair to blame him for that. But it is fair to blame him for doing poorly at separating Batman and Bruce Wayne. There was no tonal difference when he put on the mask, either in voice or in personality. Batman & Robin felt like a parody of Adam West’s Batman more than it felt like it’s own take on the caped crusader. Not even Alicia Silverstone in the rubber Batgirl suit could make up for Clooney’s Batman or Bruce Wayne.
Gotta give a shout out to Lewis Wilson, 1943’s first big-screen Batman, followed up by Robert Lowery, 1949. Being so far back, not many are familiar with their portrayals, but they deserve a respectful nod for being brave enough to don the cape and cowl long before it would be considered cool.
What do you think? Did we get it wrong? Where you rank these Batman? Let us know in the comments below!