‘I am Batman’

Probably the most famous quote from Batman is this iconic line. Whether you take the comics or movies made on Batman or other representations of ‘the black crusader’ in pop culture, nothing can beat this quote. When you hear this line, you can feel your adrenalin rising because you know that something incredible is coming up now on the screen. Batman is one character that people love to see again and again. Often, it is also the saving grace of DC movies. Many actors have played the part of the Dark Knight and his rich-alter ego Bruce Wayne and some of them have become legends due to their portrayals of the character, like Christian Bale and Michael Keaton.

Now, with Robert Pattinson stepping into the shoes of Gotham’s son, people are eager to see if he surpasses the others to become the best Batman out there till now? Or the Twilight star has disappointed the fans of this comic? Let’s know about this below as we analyse six famous actors who played Batman and see how everyone faired.

George Clooney as Batman in Batman and Robin

George Clooney took over the mantle of Batman in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. Clooney was the heartthrob at that time, and people’s expectations from the film were massive. Unfortunately, the comedic take on Batman’s life didn’t go well with the masses. It turned out to be the worst Batman movie in history, which still gets a bad reputation from people, three decades after its initial release. So, what went wrong? Several things!

Firstly, George Clooney couldn’t portray the charismatic cape crusader, which people were hoping to see. He looked uncomfortable delivering the dialogue, which required a certain type of brooding. The taking over the mantle from Val Kramer turned out to be a disaster for Clooney and everyone involved in the movie.

Also, the movie was a comedy with very odd characters like Uma Thurman as Poison IVY or Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Their portrayal was just as terrible, making the film a painful adaptation to watch. Furthermore, the gadget suit with the Bat nipples were disheartening to see on Clooney, who couldn’t portray the gruffness of Bruce Wayne or Gotham’s justice seeker. Even Clooney agreed what a terrible decision it was, and thus, his depiction of Batman is the worst of all.

Adam West as Batman in the Batman TV Series

He probably wore the Bat cape for longer than any other actor. He played Batman in a TV show which many lovers of DC films will not like now, but it was a bold move that he took. He portrayed the superhero in a comedy. His actions as a rule-breaking figure and a superhero were impeccable, giving him the fourth spot on our list. He played the part perfectly, being comedic when needed and becoming the deadpan fighter when needed. The reason he is fourth on this list is due to the direction. People would have accepted his interpretation better if the TV series was more about crime-fighting and adventure.

Ben Affleck in Superman VS Batman

Zack Snyder’s depiction of Batman was different from most others. Affleck’s Batman was older, grizzlier, and dealing with pain that came out as vengeance by brutally branding the criminals. The thing that works in favour of Ben Affleck is his physicality. His bulkier appearance with or without a suit makes him at par to take apart Superman. When he announced he was taking over the mantle of Batman from Christian Bale, there were uproars, but he held his ground. Furthermore, Zack Snyder’s Justice League gave Affleck’s Batman a new leaf by making him look more humane, and the result? We will see him again dressing up as Bat and fighting crime alongside Flash in the upcoming ‘Flash’ movie in 2023.

Robert Pattinson as Batman in Matt Reeves Batman

The newest Batman portrayed by Robert Pattinson, who is already the favourite vampire, deserves a round of applause. For us, it takes third place due to multiple reasons. Pattinson’s Batman is a bit unhinged, dreamy, and a great detective dealing with his traumatic past. And also trying to live up to the legacy of his parents.
Robert depicts Batman in a way who is more comfortable behind the mask than his alter ego of being a billionaire and eccentric playboy. He also enjoys showing off the weirder side of the character, which many fans will enjoy seeing after so long. (He is taking notes from Michael Keaton here).

His depiction of the Dark Knight is up to the mark. However, he lacks in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. He lacks the smooth-talking and charisma that all the previous Bruce Wayne portrayed. Without the mask, too, he looks as tormented and weird as when the mask is on. It is something Robert Pattinson needs to work on. His physical attributes are impeccable, making the fight scenes worth watching again and again in the theatre. It is still too early to judge Robert Pattinson as Batman. He is one movie in, and yet, he has managed to make a mark. Hats off to the director for bringing in a different theme to Batman films, and Robert could work on a few things to get a better ranking on this list. What do you think?

Michael Keaton in Burton’s Batman

Tim Burton decided to create Batman and his sequel with Michael Keaton, a phenomenal actor. His depiction of this iconic character was a benchmark according to which every other Batman was judged. Even though Keaton was known for his comedic roles, when he took over the role of Gotham’s Dark Knight, he was impressive. His depiction of Bruce Wayne would leave new watchers into splits thinking he was the man dressing up as Bat and fighting criminals to keep the city safe.
However, it worked! He made a charming, dark, and tired Brue Wayne, but when he puts on the suit, you can see how well he fights and his passion for bringing down the bad guys who are ruining his home. Also, the other actors in the film were terrific, and Keaton worked well with everyone.

Christian Bale as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy

Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has one of the best interpretations of Batman till date. He took a different take on the cape crusader, imagining how Batman and his alter ego will age and his aspirations, amongst many things. Many fans didn’t like the dark take this film had. Yet it is the best portrayal of the inner demons of a man who just wants justice and to keep his city safe. Nolan & Bale depicted a different version of Batman who was open to channeling his trauma and doing something good instead of wallowing in the same.

The best part about his portrayal is through his eyes. When the mask comes up, it is his haunted eyes that give us a glimpse of a soul tormented by his past. Yet someone ready to give his life to save the city he considers his home. It alone makes Christian Bale the best Batman till the date. Another thing that works in his favour is that he is a great Oscar-winning actor who can switch between emotions in seconds. Also, his portrayal isn’t limited to playing the dark knight or eccentric billionaire. Even Bale’s Wayne’s camaraderie with Gordon, his unbreakable bond with Alfred, and his romantic alliances all capture our heart. The end to the trilogy where he gives up the cape was met with happy tears because Bale was this good as Bruce Wayne too. Another thing that works for this Batman is the portrayal of Joker by Late Heath Ledger. Thus, making the movie and interpretation of Batman the best so far.

In honour of Robert Pattinson carrying forward the mantle of the caped crusader, here is our choice of the best and worst portrayal of Batman on screen. However, opinions on this will always differ from person to person. In the end, as DC and Batman fans, we can keep enjoying the new features, getting added to Batman’s personality. And it’s not over yet, as Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton are again set to enthrall us with their performance as Batman in ‘The Flash’ 2023. So, maybe they might move up or down a place? Till then, let’s have a marathon of all Batman movies. Also, let us know your comments on your favourite Batman.