The night is darkest just before the dawn...
The Batman is out! Hopefully you guys have a chance to see it this weekend. I'm sure it's going to be a topic of huge discussion. I'm so excited to talk about it some more. In my Batman ranking series, I thought ranking the Batmen would fit right after ranking the villains. So, yeah. Here's my ranking of the Batmen. NO SPOILERS FOR THE BATMAN HERE.
7. George Clooney (Batman & Robin)
George Clooney is not Batman. He's a goofy, older version of the character that has the usual Clooney charm. However, he is not a cool Batman. He doesn't seem like a tortured soul whose parents were murdered in front of his eyes. He's so lame. He's not intimidating. The Schumacher suits are infamous for the Bat-nipples, and they are very distracting in this movie specifically. He doesn't even have a distinctive voice. It's like he has an auto-Clooney button where he just does his usual thing but nothing else. And that's what he does here. And it doesn't work when you are playing Batman. The character also seems like he doesn't have a care in the world. He seems indifferent to the fact that Alfred is dying. This just doesn't feel like Batman. And it's the final nail in the coffin for Batman & Robin.
6. Adam West (Batman: The Movie)
I understand that Adam West's Batman is iconic. He's the first live-action Batman. So I respect him. And I think there's big jump in quality between him and Clooney. But this Batman is so goofy and cartoonish compared to Batman nowadays. It feels like an entirely different character. The suit looks cheap and cheesy. He's not really memorable, but that's partly because I didn't grow up with him. I understand that this character is responsible for this ranking and The Dark Knight and every Batman movie thing ever. But as Batman, he isn't the best.
5. Ben Affleck (DC Extended Universe)
Ben Affleck's Batman is relatively divisive. I love that they pulled this Batman from The Dark Knight Returns. I love the gruff, older take on the character. Affleck is good. He's not my favorite Batman actor, but he's good. There are two massive problems with this character: he doesn't have a solo movie. Which I think automatically puts him behind the next four entries. Second, he kills. Michael Keaton also kills, but he has a solo movie. And Affleck kills without remorse. He shoots people. And I just can't get over that. I am excited to see him return in The Flash. I do like this character, but there isn't enough of him and he kills.
4. Michael Keaton (Batman)
I've always thought Michael Keaton's Batman was slightly overrated. He doesn't really feel like a character inside of these films. He's more of an obstacle for the villains. He doesn't have an arc. I appreciate the quieter take on the character. I think he looks and acts awesome when he's on screen. He's the stealthiest Batman, and that kind of makes him the scariest. I wish he had more of an arc. Because he could be a great Batman. He's a classic Batman. I'm ecstatic that he's returning in The Flash. I want to see more of the character so that he can become one of the best Batmen.
3. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
On the complete flip side of Michael Keaton, I think Val Kilmer is a super underrated Batman. He's a great Bruce Wayne. Unlike Keaton and even Bale, Kilmer isn't sidelined by the villains. He gets the most screentime in his movie. He has development and a character arc. His dynamic with Robin exposes his character flaws and his own insecurities. It's really a good arc that I think is overshadowed by the terrible parts of Batman Forever. I think his Batman is the best part of this film.
2. Robert Pattinson (The Batman)
Let me say this: I can almost guarantee that Pattinson will eventually pass Bale. The difference between Pattinson and Bale is that Bale has had three movies of development. Pattinson's only had one. But he's so good. He is the darkest Batman by far. He gets the most development in one movie. His whispery, dark Batman voice suits the character. And this is, by far, the most violent and brutal Batman we've gotten. He's awesome. I need more of him. Immediately.
1. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Christian Bale is the ultimate Batman. His origin and development in Batman Begins is the best Batman origin story ever told. It gets the character so right. He gets tons of development and a powerful arc throughout the Dark Knight trilogy. He overcomes fear, chaos, and pain to reach the end of The Dark Knight Rises where he makes the ultimate sacrifice. It's a powerful, powerful arc and the best version of Batman we've gotten in a series. He's one of my favorite movie heroes of all time. I do think Pattin