Eight men have donned Batman’s costume over the past seven decades. Let’s decide which actor is the best at wearing the cape and cowl.
8. Batman has an alarming tendency to be upstaged by the villains in his own movie, but George Clooney turns that into an art form. Clooneybats is a total non-entity who you might even forget was in the movie after it’s over. He doesn’t even attempt to make an impression, so he just fades behind Uma Thurman‘s Poison Ivy and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Mr. Freeze.
7. Robert Lowery gives a performance that’s just as dull as Clooney’s in the 1949 “Batman and Robin” serial. But with Lowery you don’t get the additional frustration of having to watch one of the greatest actors of our time be totally garbage.
6. Lewis Wilson just sort of saunters around having a good time as 1943 Batman. He’s fun, though not really funny. Kinda breezy, effortless. Pleasant enough.
5. Michael Keaton isn’t that much better than Clooney, but he does have the advantage of being so awkward in that incredibly stiff costume that he looks like an action figure being played with by an invisible child.
4. Christian Bale catches a lot of flak for his hilarious Batvoice, and deservedly so. In terms of what Christopher Nolan‘s Batman is capable of, Bale should be the best — but it’s always troubling when he opens his mouth.
3. Val Kilmer, like Clooney and Keaton, is upstaged by his cartoonish enemies. But he does manage to lend some wryness to his toneless delivery of jokes like, “I don’t blend in at a family picnic.” Lacks the energy of Bale, but it feels like that’s on purpose.
2. Ben Affleck is the standout in the totally subpar “Batman v Superman.” Affleck is better as Bruce Wayne, but his physicality in the suit and seething anger at all times is an entertaining and fresh take on the onscreen Bat. He’s really alive in a way that Batman hasn’t been before.