It’s easy to forget the actors who played Batman, especially because most sucked. Let’s remind you.
Over the years many have tried but few have succeeded to portray the complex persona of Batman.
It’s no one’s fault really, accept for the directors who cast the failed Batmans of course. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and commemorate some of those who have put on the mask and cape!
1) Lewis Wilson
Wilson was the first and youngest actor ever to play Batman, and also the worst in my opinion… like, cringe-worthily bad. At the tender age of 23, the young and then unknown actor starred in the 15-part 1943 Columbia serial Batman.
While he looked the part of the dashing heartthrob, his physique resembled the penguins from Madagascar. He was a bit plump around the waistline and his legs looked like noodles. That was probably why he wore his belt just below his chest. But who is he kidding, he’s not fooling anyone. Critics also complained that his voice was too high. Plus his Boston accent isn’t very Batman-like. Is Gotham in New York? Does anyone know?
After his role as Batman, no one wanted to hire him and his career went belly up (pun intended).
2) Adam West
This is the man responsible for turning the iconic Batman image into a Mr Bean like character. Some might love him for his goofiness (not me), but he pretty much single handedly tarnished the hero’s image for decades to come. Some people just like to watch the world burn.
His campy, over-the-top portrayal of Batman even made its way into a 1966 movie and several animated series. The TV show on ABC ran from 1966-1968. Not a bad run, unless you consider the fact that he made Batman seriously uncool. Not cool man, not cool!
3) George Clooney
HA! Unbelievable but its true. George Clooney actually played Batman. Clooney just came off his first big success in Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn a year earlier. He was then cast in 1997’s Batman & Robin. Must have been quite a big year for him.
After seeing From Dusk Till Dawn, the director must have thought ‘is there anything this man can’t do?’, before proceeded to cast him as Batman. Well they were wrong. Luckily Clooney’s performance in that film was quite forgettable so it didn’t completely fuck up his career. His image made a speedy recovery and look at him now!
4) Christian Bale
Considering the previous catastrophic portrayals, the future of Batman seemed pretty shady. Then Hollywood made a push for auteur directed superhero movies. Christopher Nolan was given the job of revitalising the image of Batman with Batman Begins.
Christian Bale brought an air of darkness to the anti hero, and with it a sense of grit that made Batman great again. Bale became known as the iconic Batman, just as Heath Ledger became known as the iconic Joker. Bale really epitomised the morally ambiguous nature of Batman’s character and his emotional torment. His privileged yet cursed life became the paradox that re-sparked intrigue into Batman. Thank god for Christian Bale!
5) Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice came as a shock to many. How dare anyone try and one up Christian Bale’s performance!
After initial skepticism, people have seemed to warm up to Batfleck. On closer inspection, he embodies the rage and muscle mass of Batman and he looks pretty intimidating in his Bat-suit.
While the film was just disappointing, one can’t blame Affleck’s acting. It’s the fault of the film and not the actor in my opinion. Many even crown Batfleck as the best portrayal of Batman yet (controversial). It will be interesting to see what he has in store for us in Justice League, which is said to be a different sought of vibe entirely. There is also Batfleck’s solo movie coming out within the next year or two.
Well there you have it!
What is your opinion of these actors who played Batman? Who do you think should be crowned as the greatest Batman ever?