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Ranking the (Non-Animated) Film Batmans!


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Gradine

Final Form
Hot Take: The Keaton movies haven't aged very well, and the Schumacher films are underrated. Give me fun, campy Batman over Grumbly Growlman #4.

Okay, Clooney was kind of a snooze but Kilmer fit the role he was asked to play quite well.

Batman Forever is quite fun, actually.
 



Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
Ok, I’ll throw in my list:
1. Keaton
2. West
3. Affleck
4. Clooney
5. Bale
6. Kilmer

I mostly agree with OP’s reasons on all but Bale and Clooney. While Bale was certainly great as Batman, I did not buy him as Bruce Wayne. Dark Knight Trilogy was great entertainment, but it was too grimdark. Clooney on the other hand was great as Bruce Wayne and the movie had the cartoon sillyness of the old tv series, and although it was a bit too silly, I loved it way more than Dark Knights.
 


They have yet to come close to casting Batman well.

Seems almost impossible; Ben Affleck is probably the closest, physically (Bruce is a big guy), but his performance and material to work with have been lacking so far.

Adam West had the best face for Bruce (in the mask).
 



So far it looks like Keaton is far in the lead, followed distantly by Bale. I'm a little surprised that Keaton's lead is so great, but I certainly would pick him as my favorite non-animated Batman to date. He had a remoteness and quirkiness that both humanized him and showed the damaged psyche of the character.

Bale was fine, but a little bland coming from the actor that had such a bravura performance in American Psycho.

Still waiting for someone to do a live action movie of Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
 

I'm a little surprised that Keaton's lead is so great, but I certainly would pick him as my favorite non-animated Batman to date. He had a remoteness and quirkiness that both humanized him and showed the damaged psyche of the character.

His depiction is also helped by some great (art) direction. There's plenty of shots of him just brooding in large rooms of his big empty manor. I've always loved the shot of him sitting in his dark library with the bat signal lighting up the room. It is iconic, and I think the dark blue overtones really fit his character well. And then of course that fantastic Elfman score comes up... ah, gives me the chills. To think that they took the extra effort to explain how the bat signal makes its way through the window, via automated mirrors outside his manor. They didn't have to explain it, but they did.



Bale was fine, but a little bland coming from the actor that had such a bravura performance in American Psycho.

Yeah, I never felt like he made the persona entirely his own. He's just Bale being Bale. Servicable, but he did not embody the character entirely.
 




Tim Burton's Batman movies stand out because of their style. Elfman's score, the actor's performances, Burton's sense of macabre whimsy, the late Anton Furst's design work, the list could go on and on. Nolan's movies worked to be more grounded, but I think it lost that sense of style in the process.

His depiction is also helped by some great (art) direction. There's plenty of shots of him just brooding in large rooms of his big empty manor. I've always loved the shot of him sitting in his dark library with the bat signal lighting up the room. It is iconic, and I think the dark blue overtones really fit his character well. And then of course that fantastic Elfman score comes up... ah, gives me the chills.
 



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