Batman. One of, if not THE MOST iconic superhero of all time. Played by 7 actors so far in history with number 8 currently being trained by the League Of Assassins… or making funny faces in a suit and tie on set. Fans have been debating which actor has been the best to don the cape and cowl for decades, and the reaction to Batfleck was quite strong (although a year later, most are more curious than furious about the casting).
In my opinion, as of yet though there is only one actor who has solidified not only the character of Batman, but that of the entire universe of The Dark Knight. Michael Keaton, who, like Ben Affleck, was protested by 50,000 angry fans upon hearing he was cast to played The Caped Crusader in Batman. However, many things about Keaton himself and the film helped make him THE Batman. For most part, it wasn’t an origin story. We as the audience are placed into Gotham City and are shown just how crime infested it is. Folks weren’t interested in an origin story at that point, they were only curious to see how Batman would be portrayed after the campy 60s television series. Instead of a bulky origin, we are given his first appearance descending from a clouded background on a rooftop, mysterious and yet gripping! A quick battle between 2 thugs leaving one of them with the eerie message delivered by Keaton remarkably: “I’m Batman!” That exact moment is when we were all hooked. All of the doubt and loathing of Michael Keaton simply vanished into the night along with Batman from that rooftop.
No other first appearance of Batman in could top it. We had two identical first appearances for Val Kilmer and George Clooney in the Bat-suit coming into the Bat-cave in the opening scenes of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. That leaves us with Christian Bale in Batman Begins where we must first go through an origin story of Bruce Wayne growing up, training to become Batman and then finally becoming Batman (although his first scene as Batman taking out a drug shipment on the docks is pretty great).
Besides just the appearance without origin, there are several other reasons why Michael Keaton was the best Batman thus far: a perfect portrayal of Bruce Wayne. The chemistry between Keaton and Michael Gough (who portrayed the beloved Alfred) on screen, the darkness and yet appropriate touch of comic display he gave Batman, and most of all not going over-the-top but not giving a a bland performance either. Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne was bland and drowsy, while Clooney simply put on a rubber costume and said “Hi, Freeze! I’m George Clooney.” Bale did make a great Batman but the gravelly voice always made me want to gargle warm salt water after hearing him rasp out “I’M BATMAN!” Keaton managed to pull off both sides of the incredibly complicated role.
That leaves us with Affleck, our newest Caped Crusader who will don the Bat-suit in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. Will Affleck pull it off? I still have my doubts but want him to be brilliant! We know what he is capable of when it comes to playing a superhero and playing someone serious (coughDAREDEVILcough). Yet, we know he can indeed mold a character into something interesting throughout a feature film. It is simply a game of waiting and analyzing everything we create in our mind about what he will bring to the role of Batman and Bruce Wayne. The teaser shown at Comic Con this year I must admit was impressive since we got something we haven’t yet seen Batman sport……the glowing eyes! Could this be a small nod to Batman: The Animated Series? One could only dream!
Who do you think was the best Batman? Fire away in the comment section below or let us know on Twitter!