Every Actor Who Played as Batman and Why Robert Pattinson Stands on Top (Spoiler Free)

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Roman Castro, Reporter

The introduction of Batman began in May of 1939 from Detective Comics (DC). Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the first comic book starring the “world’s greatest detective” and “the dark knight” became a worldwide phenomenon. Since then, among the sea of comics and cartoons, it was only inevitable for a film release.

The first live acting Batman was played by Lewis Wilson and later Robert Lowery. Both actors played as Batman when films were still finding their footing. Each film they both played in were organized in an episodic way like a television show (but certainly much longer) and none of the parts hold up on their own unlike future iterations of the character.

The first actor to star in a Batman television series, which also happened to be the first Batman in color, is Adam West. His role is intentionally silly, continuing the child-friendly plot, characters, and design that Wilson and Lowery had established with the character.

The first solidified Batman movie is performed by none other than Michael Keaton. His take on the Batman changed from the campy and over the top version of West’s character to a more human and obsessive nature. Keaton is regarded as one of the best Batman actors to hit the big screen.

The next actor to play as the caped crusader had a lot to live up to in order to surpass Keaton, which unfortunately wasn’t the case. Val Kilmer is regarded as one of the worst and most forgettable of modern Batman actors. Not only that, but he was regarded as a terrible person to work with on set with rude and unfavorable behavior and attitude. His one and only movie, Batman Forever will forever be a shadow to Keaton’s films.

The next Batman is even worse than Kilmer however, with George Clooney taking up the role. Clooney’s career had him on a path of a movie star after his role in a Tarantino movie, so the directors of the film must have been under the impression they coined an amazing Batman actor. Unfortunately George Clooney and Batman & Robin are both regarded as the worst Batman adaptation of all time. The future of Batman has remained uncertain with the failure of both Clooney and Kilmer and the large joke that West has portrayed onto the character.

Batman comics shined most when the character was drawn in a very dark and corrupted Gotham with rather disturbing characters and story telling. In order for Batman films to be redeemed, this broken version of Bruce Wayne and the gritty Gotham needed to be interpreted in theaters almost like how Keaton portrayed the character but upscaled.  That’s when a miracle happened, with the birth of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Nolan casted Christian Bale to play as the rebirthed Dark Knight. Depending on opinion, the best Nolan Batman movie is between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight while The Dark Knight Rises tends to fall behind both of it’s predecessors. The suit and cowl, the cast, and the plot of the Nolan trilogy are held in the highest regard although Bale is definitely the weakest link in the chain with his over the top and ridiculous Bat-voice.

With the resounding success that was the Nolan trilogy, it was made clear that the fans were not ready for change, especially in only four years. When Ben Affleck was casted as Batman in the upcoming film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fans were angry. While the film wasn’t great, Affleck is certainly the best actor in the film and certainly stood out the most. Affleck went on to play as Batman in two other movies, Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League but has not been given the chance of having a standalone Batman film.

And unfortunately for Affleck, he may never get the chance to have one. The most recent live acting Batman is played by Robert Pattinson. His movie, The Batman directed by Matt Reeves, is perhaps the pinnacle of Batman movies right next to Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. While the story telling is top notch, the entirety of the movie’s success revolves around the camera work, sound, and Pattinson himself. Reeves made it so that Batman is the focal point, and isn’t completely overshadowed by the villain’s performance like Christian Bale was whenever Heath Ledger was on screen. This is not to discredit Paul Dano’s Riddler however, as he did outstanding with reinventing the once comic relief character. Pattinson does phenomenal with his display of body language to make the viewer see what he is thinking without him actually saying anything. And when he does talk, whether in dialogue or narration, his Bat-voice is natural and convincing unlike a certain Bale. The movie is exponentially darker and disturbing than the Nolan trilogy, and completely restores Batman as the world’s greatest detective rather than your standard superhero fighting crime. When there is fighting however, Pattinson’s Batman is brutal with his hand-to-hand combat. This film takes a lot from a few specific Batman comic books and because of this, there is three hours of runtime and several villains in this one movie but the main focus is on Paul Dano’s Riddler. The Batman is in theaters now and will be available to stream on HBO Max on April 19th.