How do the Batman actors do when they’re put into Bruce Wayne’s tux? We evaluate.
8. You'd think George Clooney
, of all people, would fit the billionaire playboy persona better than anyone else who's played the part. But Clooney clearly hates being in a Batman movie so much that he puts no effort into it. It's super boring and he has a bad haircut.
7. I have nothing to say about Robert Lowery's bad performance in the 1949 "Batman and Robin" serial other than that it constantly sounds like he's reading his lines for the first time.
6. Lewis Wilson is just having a great time. Probably because his movie -- the 1943 "Batman serial" -- took place during World War II and he (both Bruce Wayne and Wilson himself) doesn't have to go fight in the war even though he's 23 years old and thus the prime age for the draft. Not much substance here, but very watchable.
5. There are two sides to Christian Bale
's Bruce Wayne: suave ladies man and emo boy. He's pretty fun when he turns on the charm, but he sits in the dark moping too much to be a truly great Batman.
4. Michael Keaton
does something unique with Bruce Wayne that even now none of the others have done: made him a socially awkward weirdo. Bringing Vicki Vale over to the house to eat soup and then making her sit at the far end of a long dinner table is peak Michael Keaton
3. Kilmer is doing stock Kilmer as Wayne, where he never really sounds sincere but you don't really think he's lying. Which is what you'd expect a super rich guy to sound like, so it works.
2. Whereas Bale was doing a two-faced Wayne, with the ladies-man thing just being a facade, Adam West
takes that same approach but in service of comedy. They're doing the same thing, but West is way more fun because of the stark contrast in circumstances.
1. Ben Affleck
is unique among big screen Bruce Waynes in how much energy he brings to the part. With other actors, Wayne tends to have a kind of sleepiness about him. But Affleck's Wayne is always alert, always pissed. It's a damn delight to have a Bruce Wayne who is so very...present any time he's on screen.