Lists, Rankings — July 30, 2012 at 3:01 am

RANKING BATMEN

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BATMANS? BATMEN? Whatever! With every day that passes I grow sadder and sadder realizing that I now live in a post Christopher Nolan/Batman world. Especially since The Dark Knight Rises left me wanting just a little bit more!  Though I do hold out hope that Nolan will consider a fourth installment considering the film sets up perfectly for a sequel… or a possible spin-off. Alas, a Fanboy can dream.

In the meantime, I do what I can to get by. Like revisit this list I wrote a little over a year ago, just before the site launched. I’ve updated it and reposted it for anyone that missed it the first time around. I’ve also tweaked it based on my ever changing tastes. Enjoy:

HONORABLE MENTION: KEVIN CONROY.

For those of you that don’t know Conroy, he has voiced Batman in countless video games and movies but is probably best know for Fox’s Batman: THe Animated Series which aired in the 90s. This list is focused on men who have donned the bat-tights for film so, unfortunately, he is not in contention. However, he is arguably the most iconic Batman since Adam West so I had to give him a tip of the cap.

5. GEORGE CLOONEY.

This production was doomed from the start but it’s for reasons beyond just nipples on the bat suit. Even Clooney agrees he was easily the worst person to play the part. Amazing too since he’s one of the best actors in the game these days. Unfortunately, his turn as Batman is comical at best. At least it’s good for a chuckle every now and then.

4. VAL KILMER.

Batman Forever is the most under-appreciated of all the Batman films. In fact, it’s actually a pretty good mash-up managing to retain some of Tim Burton’s sensibilities while also paying homage to the campy Batman of the 1960s. I actually get a kick out watching it but one thing always goes overlooked. That being, while Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey bring over the top performances to their roles, Kilmer actually turned in a solid performance as both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

3. CHRISTIAN BALE.

Bale is a great Bruce Wayne! However, he’s the freshest in mind and gets a lot of credit that should probably go to Christopher Nolan for creating some amazing films. Arguably, and probably, the best this young genre has to offer. Hell, my favorite Batman films. Look, Bale is an insanely good actor and a damn fine Batman… gravelly voice aside. Unfortunately, after considering all that, #3 is the best I can do for Mr. Bale. Gooood for yooooou!

2. ADAM WEST.

While some of you younger folks may disagree, those of us who grew up watching reruns of the campy 60’s Batman series have a special place in our hearts for this man. Since he did actually make a feature-length movie, he has to be considered amongst these other men and makes my #2 for nostalgic reasons alone. Adam West will ALWAYS be Batman. Everyone else is just taking a turn.

1. MICHAEL KEATON.

The 1989 version of Batman was everything a 10 year old Fanboy could have dreamed of. Unfortunately, Burton’s fingerprints are all over it. In a way, it’s kind of the opposite of the Nolan/Bale situation in that I think Keaton saves this movie from being an average and eccentric take on the Caped Crusader. Well, Nicholson helped too! I’d even go so far as to say that Keaton is one of the most underrated, underused actors in all of Hollywood. Maybe it’s just a product of my youth but Keaton will always be my favorite. He turned in a great Batman and a spot on Bruce Wayne earning him the greatest honor of his career: #1 on my list!

20 Comments

  • kai, i would have put bale first then keaton. just because of performance and the believabilty of the character. i do agree keaton is WAY underrated, i believe bale has him beat but just by a nose.

  • Got to agree with Justin, Bale before Keaton.

    Should also have added Kevin Conroy to the list. I know he’s a voice actor, but no one nails him better than he does in Batman: TAS.

    • Buddy Steve Johnston agrees with you on Conroy but that is voice so I didn’t even put it in this.
      I wonder when you were born, R.W. I wonder if old fogies are just nostalgic for Keaton and younger people just like Bale… who is a bad-ass.

      • RW is our age, Kai. And my brother is older, so I’m not sure that’s it. But Keaton for me, too.

        • Is still a good theory! 🙂

          • Just to nerd it up a bit, a buddy of mine pointed out that you omitted two actors who played Batman in the 40’s; Robert Lowery and Lewis Wilson.

            I think it is a good theory. Nostalgia does play a part, but I’m a sucker for a bad-ass. Also, Bale is freshest in my mind and the dark vibe of the current series fits so well with my favorite Bat-comics.

            I haven’t seen Keaton’s Batman in a while, but if I sat down and compared him to Bale, I’m wondering if the Bale rasp would fall short of Keaton, esp when he battles Penguin’s goons in Returns.

  • Perfect list.

  • Keaton!!!!! C’mon! Bales a douche and wtf is up with his Batman voice. F that dude. I’m w/ the list just switch Bale and not even put the ER doc on there. Xoxo

  • Adam West is always Batman. But, not better than the rest. I would move him to four and move everyone else up one – then the list would be perfect.

  • Re: the age thing, I’m 35 and Keaton (and Adam West) were my first exposure to Batman… and I’d take Bale over either. Although I enjoy all three. More than anything, I’m probably biased towards Bale. He’s one of my favorite actors around.

    • I’m in between you and Kai. Keaton, Bale, then West for me, and West only gets that out of respect and not out of performance or feeling that take was right for the role.

      Though I’ll take Bale’s trilogy over Batman/Batman Returns. And I fucking love Batman.

      • Pretty close to Dylan but you can’t compare West to Keaton/ Bale. He’s in another category. A comedic take. There hard to compare but I give West the bump for what he did. I think Bale will move up my list eventually but I need time. Great Wayne, Growly Batman!

        • I like the growl. How else is he supposed to differentiate himself from Bruce Wayne? The man’s gotta hide his identity somehow.

          • Seriously? This is your stance point? The Batman Begins growl was fine… sort of a whisper. It got ridiculous in TDK. Like Depp’s Jack Sparrow between Curse of the Black Pearl and On Stranger Tides.

          • Serious. It’s a bit over the top but doesn’t really bother me.

  • I’ll second having Conroy actually make the list.

    I know its only voice acting, but I would choose to watch his Batman WAY before Clooney or Kilmer’s.

    Just sayin.

    I’m with you the rest of the way though Kai. Good list!

  • I agree 100%. At first, I thought you were crazy for putting West before Bale but your reasons why make a lot of sense.

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