Ranking the (Non-Animated) Film Batmans!

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
In another thread, @Imaculata wrote about his love for the Michael Keaton version of .... BATMAN. So I thought I'd start a thread wherein people can debate their favorite Batmans from film!

Four notes:
1. This is non-animated only, because otherwise Kevin Conroy would win. Kevin Conroy wins everything, forever.

2. This is movie (film) only; this does not include TV versions of Batman, or other appearances by Batman in other media such as video games. And definitely not comics. However, it does include Adam West as he appeared in a film.

3. It has to be a major-ish role in the film, and as Batman. So little Bruce Wayne in the recent Joker movie doesn't count either.

4. You can't say Robert Pattison, because we've only seen a trailer.

I am going to use wikipedia for the list:

Using the criteria above, we have 12 movies, and 8 actors for Batman:

Lewis Wilson (Batman, 1943)
Robert Lowery (Batman and Robin, 1949)
Adam West (Batman: The Movie, 1966)
Michael Keaton (Batman & Batman Returns, '89-'92)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever 1995)
George Clooney (Batman & Robin 1997)
Christian Bale (The Nolan Trilogy '05-'12)
Ben Affleck (BvS, Justice League '16-'17)

Not Rated
Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery.

I am sure that they were great for their time, but trying to compare pre-'50s movie serials to the other movies is .... impossible.


1. Michael Keaton
A lot of the surrounding movies hasn't aged that well, but his role in the two first "real" Batman movies cemented so many archetypes, and he did an amazing job both as Batman and also as Bruce Wayne.

2. Adam West
I mean, it's Adam West.

3. Christian Bale
I love Christian Bale and think he's one of the greatest actors of this generation. I also love the Nolan trilogy. But while he is good, he doesn't make the role IMO.

4. Batfleck
He actually has a very specific take on Batman that I enjoyed and I think it's a shame we never saw him in his own movie. He was much better than the surrounding material.

5. Val Kilmer
This was the beginning of the transition from "Val Kilmer, amazing actor" to "Val Kilmer, terrible person you don't want to work with." Did you remember he was a Batman?

6. George Clooney
He may be the worst Batman, but he has a gorgeous house (okay, villa ... okay, mansion) on Lake Como and I don't.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
1. Bale. The Nolan trilogy is peak superhero film for me.

2. Keaton.

3. Adam West for the fun.

4. Batfleck.

5/6. Both the Schumacher actors. I don't think it was their fault.
 


Not Rated
Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery.

I am sure that they were great for their time, but trying to compare pre-'50s movie serials to the other movies is .... impossible.

I really want to take West out of the rankings, too. The style of his Batman was so different I don't think it's really comparable.

That leaves me with:

1. Keaton.

2. Bale.

3. Kilmer. For not having much to work with, I feel like he did a respectable job.

4. Afleck. I only saw BvS, and was extremely underwhelmed. The Snyder cut of JL has me interested, though. He could go up after that comes out.

5. Clooney.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I really want to take West out of the rankings, too. The style of his Batman was so different I don't think it's really comparable.

He is!


...and yet, can you make any list of non-animated Batmans and NOT include Adam West?

...It is, after all, the duty of every good citizen of Gotham City to report meeting a man from Mars in a public park.
 


the Jester

Legend
For me:

1. Ben Affleck.
2. Michael Keaton.
3. Christian Bale (but he had the best Batman movie).
4. Adam West.
5. Lewis Wilson or Robert Lowery; I've seen one of the 40s movies, and I don't recall which. Either way, he was better than-
6. Val Kilmer.
7. George Clooney.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Adam West is still the greatest version of Batman ever on screen!
Ben Affleck was great at capturing the grim elder Batman
Christian Bale
Michael Keaton
George Clooney
Val Kilmer - Its the car right, chicks love the car
Lewis Wilson - too racist and a terrible suit
 

Herschel

Adventurer
1. Christian Bale - Definitive and awesome
2. Ben Affleck - Really good at it
3. Michael Keaton - His Bruce was a nice take and it's hard to believe he's only #3.
4. Adam West - Camp with class, but cheerful Batman rubs me wrong.
5 Kilmer/Clooney - All the camp with 87% less fun.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Keaton batman was best batman.

I haven't seen Afleck so can't comment on him. I thought Kilmer was pretty good, maybe 2nd equal with Bale whose batman sounded like he lost his voice.

I don't really rate West batman against the rest because he's in a class of his own. Though Clooney batman was leaning into West territory.
 

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