Batman Through The Ages

Batman Through the Ages

Batman is one of the most famous fictional superheroes that he’s inspired many theme-park rides, spin-off movies, video games, and even 18+ online slots from some of the best UK casinos. For both comic book fans and film fans alike, one of the main questions that lingers is who has played the best Batman. Who did the Dark Knight proud and who completely butchered it? As another actor, Robert Pattinson, is set to take on the role of the caped crusader in The Batman (2021), it’s great to look back and see who has played the character before him.  Here are just some of the actors luckily enough to have played the iconic character over the years. 

Adam West (1966 – 1968)

Adam West starred as Batman in the 1960’s American live action television series Batman. Not just synonymous with being possibly the most comedic Batman in history, Adam West and Burt Ward (Dick Grayson/Robin) also appeared in a few TV films as Batman and Robin respectively. Whilst their appearance, missions and gadgets were all aimed at a largely teenage audience, Adam West remains the best Batman for many classic fans, and for some, there is not even any question…he was the only Batman.

Michael Keaton (1989, 1992)

Keaton was a divisive Batman. Many fans of the character had a hard time taking him seriously due to his unremarkable appearance when out of the uniform. The undeniable truth is that he took something which had only previously been done as a comedic and laughable exploit, and really turned Batman into the Dark Knight that Tim Burton knew we would all love and cherish. Through Michael Keaton, Batman was given a new lease of life and set the scene for the buff, bulletproof hero that started laying smackdowns on his enemies rather than tying them up in an almost slapstick routine. 

Val Kilmer (1995)

One of the main reasons why Val Kilmer is one of the less well known actors to wear the Batman mask, is because his performance was almost universally panned. Val Kilmer starred in only one film as the Caped Crusader in Batman Forever (1995) that also featured popular Batman villains, Two-Face and The Riddler. The film is rated a low 5.4 on IMDb and Metacritic also indicated that the film received a range of mixed and average reviews. Compared to other stars who have played the comic book hero, Val Kilmer is one of the least memorable of the actors who have portrayed Batman on screen.

George Clooney (1997)

With slightly more substance and acting ability than his predecessor, George Clooney wrapped up the Batman resurgence of the 1990s. Having already starred in ER and From Dusk Till Dawn, Clooney was next in line to wear the batsuit in Batman & Robin (1997) alongside Chris O’Donnell as Robin. The film also featured well-known characters from the comics such as Batgirl, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy. While his raison d’être remained the same, many questions were brought forth about the design of the batsuit and the terrible one-liner jokes from characters throughout the film. The film has a very low rating of 3.7 on IMDb and Clooney didn’t quite manage to reach the same heights of popularity as Michael Keaton.

Christian Bale (2005, 2008, 2012)

Christian Bale is currently the actor who has played the role the most in feature-length movies. The general consensus for his portrayal of the comic book hero is that he got Batman spot on, but he never quite got Bruce Wayne right. Both portraying Batman and Bruce Wayne are quite important factors when it comes to playing the character, as they are in fact both the same person. However, all three of the Batman films that he starred in (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) are considered to be the best Batman films there has ever been.  

David Mazouz (2014-2019) 

While Batman has predominantly been featured in films, he has also occasionally featured in TV shows too, most notably Batman (1966-68). More recently, fans got to see David Mazouz star as Bruce Wayne in the Fox TV series Gotham (2014-2019). While the story centers around James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City, fans still got to see Batman throughout the series too. Fans of the show were able to see the beginnings of Bruce Wayne experiencing love, tragedy and revenge, eventually turning into Batman as a teenaged vigilante through Mazouz’s interpretation of the character. A more basic, vulnerable and ever learning Batman, there are even murmurs of him being lined up to take on the role when he is older.

Ben Affleck (2016, 2017)

In the DC Extended Universe, Ben Affleck portrayed the masked hero in films: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad (uncredited), and Justice League. Unlike other Batman films in the past, Ben Affleck has benefited from playing Batman in movies not just based around the titular character, but around the wider DC universe. He’s even gone head to head against another superhero, which none of his predecessors had done yet. However, his performance was not well-received by many and he even received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor. He and Henry Cavill also won a Golden Raspberry Award for the Worst Screen Combo in Batman v Superman.

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