The Batman: A Ranking of All the Film Characters who Have Played the Superhero

Several performers have portrayed Batman during his nearly 80-year run on the big screen. That’s right; Batman first appeared on the big screen in 1943 with the Batman serial.

Now, in 2022, in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, Robert Pattinson will don the cape and cowl for the first time.

And once everyone sees Pattinson as the Dark Knight, the first thing they will ponder is how he compares to the other actors who have played Batman. Is he superior to or inferior to Michael Keaton?

Was he more solemn in his demeanor than Christian Bale? Did he dispose of a bomb more effectively than Adam West?

Thus, we’re going back in time and examining all of the actors who have portrayed Batman in theatrically released films—as well as a handful of serials—to determine who is the King of the Batmen. They are included on this list if they appear in a film as the genuine Batman.

The following is every actor who has played Batman in a theatrical release. The Batman arrives in theatres on March 4.

The Batman

Robert Pattinson

Appeared in the following films: The Batman (2022)

Pattinson will make his feature film debut as Batman in Matt Reeves’ picture, which will open in theatres on March 4. The film will take a grounded look at the vigilante, and because the film has not yet been released, it’s difficult to say what Pattison brought to it.

We’ll update this as additional information becomes available concerning his portrayal of the character.

Jason Sudeikis

Appeared in the film 43 (2013)

This “comedy” stars many celebrities who almost certainly all lost bets to appear in the film. Jason Sudeikis appears in one scene as Batman, bringing Robin (Justin Long) to a speed dating event.

Sudeikis portrays himself more as Sudeikis in a Batman suit than the Dark Knight. There are also numerous Batman ’66 references.

Robert Lowery

Batman & Robin (1949)

As with number ten on our list, Batman & Robin was a serial that aired once a week in 15-chapter installments.

Lowery’s interpretation of the character was similar to that of any other serial hero: a dashing protagonist who periodically finds himself into sticky circumstances and saves the day at the last minute. Batman, as a character, and his big film adaptations, were both paper-thin at the time.

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Lewis Wilson

Appeared in the film Batman (1943)

In the fifteen-chapter Batman serial, Lewis Wilson becomes Batman for the first time in theatres. The series enjoyed a brief revival in 1965 when it was re-released in theatres as a single uncut film titled An Evening with Batman in Robin. Wilson lacked a genuine “take” on the character, as with Lowery.

Jimmy Kimmel

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (2018)

That is correct. The late-night presenter provided a brief voice for Batman in Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. He has a few words, most of which parody the Batman v.

Superman moment in which both heroes discover their mothers share the same name. It’s brief and quite amusing; unfortunately, Kimmel is merely impersonating Ben Affleck’s Batman, so it’s not groundbreaking.

George Clooney

Batman & Robin (1997)

With Batman Forever as a foundation, Schumacher went “all Schumacher” with Batman & Robin, complete with black and silver outfits, codpieces, and Batman utilizing a Batman credit card.

Clooney’s portrayal of Batman was extremely tongue-in-cheek, which worked brilliantly for Bruce Wayne but not so well for Batman. By and large, his performance in the film is forgettable.

Adam West

Batman (1966), Batman: Resurrection of the Caped Crusaders (2016)

While Adam West was not the first to portray the caped Crusader in live-action, he was the first to achieve widespread recognition for the role following the 1966 Batman television series, which spawned a live-action film.

Batman is a fairly campy and ridiculous figure in the two films he appears in—the latter of which is animated—which is appropriate for the character at the time.

Val Kilmer

Batman Forever (1995)

The Joel Schumacher era of Batman films begins with this neon-drenched, outlandish parody of Tim Burton’s previous two films.

Kilmer’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne as Batman was the most grounded component of the film in terms of acting. He was, in fact, the film’s best aspect. And he was one of the best live-action actors as Bruce Wayne.

Ben Affleck

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), and Justice League (2016). (2017)

Ben Affleck has appeared in three live-action Batman pictures on the big screen; however, none of the films were solo efforts. However, Affleck’s portrayal of Batman never received the attention it deserved. We only see him briefly in Suicide Squad.

In Justice League, the film introduces several new superheroes, which means Batman never receives complete attention. In BvS, there is a lot to parse regarding story and character, which overshadows Affleck’s entrance.

Affleck does an admirable job with what he’s given, but he never sets the bar high enough or goes the extra mile.

Although Zack Snyder’s Justice League was promised a theatrical release, it has yet to occur and is not included in Affleck’s credits, as it was a direct-to-streaming release.

Christian Bale

Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2010) (2012)

We saw Christian Bale’s Batman evolve and eventually degrade over Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Bale made a point of distinguishing Bruce Wayne from Batman—as Batman spoke with a booming, bear-like roar.

Batman Begins helped us feel the division between the two characters by having that character straddle the line between the two personalities when speaking with Alfred or Lucius Fox.

However, with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, the character’s voice almost became a parody of itself. Bale is famous as the figure, but one major oversight is after his tenure.

Will Arnett

Appears in the following films: The Lego Movie (2014), The Lego Batman Movie (2017), and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Surprisingly, the Lego Batman is one of the more fun versions. Will Arnett captures the character, who is self-obsessed, pompous, and extremely narcissistic in this situation.

It’s a completely different take on Batman—one who is self-aware of his awesomeness—and Arnett fully embraces that with this voice. The main flaw in his performance is that Batman and Bruce Wayne occasionally feel interchangeable.

Michael Keaton

Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992)

Michael Keaton is many people’s live-action Batman. Keaton portrayed the Dark Knight in two Tim Burton films, and it was the first time in the contemporary period that we saw the character in a serious light.

Keaton was an excellent choice for Burton’s films, lending the role a sense of dark mysticism. His portrayal, far more than that of other live-action Batmen, bears the test of time.

Kevin Conroy

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), The Killing Joke (2016), and Batman and Harley Quinn (all 2016). (2017)

Without a doubt, Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman. He provided the Caped Crusader’s vocals for Batman: The Animated Series. Mask of the Phantasm was a feature-length theatrical release, and Conroy reprised his role as Batman for two additional theatrical releases.

Everyone is fixated on Conroy’s portrayal of Batman, which is flawless. On the other hand, Conroy must be applauded for his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. He employs a softer, more approachable tone in these situations and successfully establishes a divide between the two characters that never feel ridiculous or outlandish.


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