The Ninjabot

Film Versions of BATMAN Ranked

Posted on March 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Geek Legacy, much like Batman loves to fight. If you listen to the podcast at all, you know this. So we thought with the upcoming release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice this would be a great time to start some trouble. So here we have the scientifically proven, iron clad, cannot be argued with, definitive list of who is the best cinematic Batman. We kid! This list is guaranteed to START arguments, not end them. We’re talking live-action Batman, sorry Will Arnett and Kevin Connoly.

george-clooney-batmanGeorge Clooney

We’ll start with the obvious one. Sure Batman & Robin is atrocious, and Clooney gets a lot of heat for taking the role, but think of it from his perspective. Would you turn down the chance to play the Caped Crusader? I didn’t think so. There are many… MANY problems with Batman & Robin, but Clooney is pretty far down the list. Plus, it wasn’t his idea to put nipples on the Batsuit. All the neon splattered about Gotham didn’t help either. Is this a Batman film or a rave?

Val-Kilmer-BatmanVal Kilmer

Kilmer is an interesting casting. He wasn’t terrible as Batman, but his Bruce Wayne is easily the worst of the bunch. The writers and director Joel Schumacher seemed to think that Kilmer was incapable of any heavy dialog so he speaks almost exclusively in one liners. And boy are they bad. The worst may be his first line of the film, when Alfred tries to persuade him to take a sandwich with him as he is leaving in the Batmobile. Kilmer deadpans “I’ll get drive through.” That is the first introduction to Val Kilmer as Batman and it doesn’t get much better after that.

adam-west-batmanAdam West

The original cinematic Batman. I know he is most famous for the TV show, but West did portray Batman in a feature adaptation of the show. West’s Batman will always have a whacky tint to it, and a lot of people credit him with saving Batman. His portrayal was by far the lightest, and the campiness of the show is a welcome reprieve from the darkness of the Nolan-verse Batman.

Christian-Bale-BatmanChristian Bale

Speaking of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, Christian Bale did a great job in 2 amazing Batman films. His portrayal had a real world feel to it, and he plays the character closest to what I imagine a real world Batman would be. Bale also does a brilliant job bouncing between the brooding Batman and the lazy playboy Bruce Wayne. He is the only one on the list that really made me feel like they were two different people.

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleckBen Affleck

Now this is where the fighting begins. If you read my Batman V Superman review, you know that I really disliked the film. I also levied a lot of criticism at Batman’s portrayal in the film. However, Affleck really elevated the terrible writing and gave it real weight. It is the script and Zack Snyder’s direction that really hurts Affleck’s Batman and my hope is that when Affleck directs the stand alone film (not confirmed, but trending that way) that he will bring in his writers and give us the film we really want. Not that we are lacking for great Batman films, there have been three in the last 25 years.  Anyways, he is probably the only one on the list I believe could go toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel.

Michael Keaton in BatmanMichael Keaton

I went into Batman V Superman with the thought that Affleck would dethrone Keaton in my mind. But the meat just wasn’t there. Keaton had the benefit of not only knocking it out of the park, he had an amazing villain in Jack Nicholson’s Joker, a great visual palette compliments of Tim Burton, and being really the only comic book character on the big screen at the time. Like Bale, he effortlessly morphed from Batman to Bruce Wayne and back again. He brought humor to the role without making the character a joke, and was able to play off Nicholson in a way no other Batman played off their villain, well until the Joker returned to the franchise in The Dark Knight. While you could argue that Bale is a better Batman and Affleck is a better Bruce Wayne, Keaton brought it on both ends. Do yourself a favor and re-watch the 1989 Batman, it holds up even in the light of the Nolan-verse of films.

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What do you think? What’s your list? Let us know in the comment section below. Make sure to send all hate to Snackbar on Twitter @snackie_cakes.

    • Steven

      I think I would with Bale and Affleck. Otherwise a pretty solid list.

    • Tommy

      I will never understand the love for Adam West’s Batman. Way worse than Clooney, glad to see Keaton is still #1

      • Snackbar

        It might be an age thing. I notice a lot of younger people don’t relate to West’s Batman, but when I was a kid it was on all the time and it was hard not to love the goofy Batman.

    • I don’t know that I can forgive Keaton strapping TNT to a guys chest and then kicking him down into a sewer.

      • Snackbar

        Everybody hates a Carnie. It was nice to see Bull Hurley back in the game after Over the Top. 🙂

    • Miguel

      No one ever picks Kilmer. SMH

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