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On The Table Read, the “Best Entertainment Celebrity Magazine in the UK“, Andre Oentoro from BreadNBeyond writes about every actor who has played the DC character Batman in the movies.

Andre Oentoro, BreadNBeyond, The Table Read

Written by Andre Oentoro

Breadnbeyond

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the Batman movie after it hit the theater last March. The movie was an instant hit, grossing over $759 million across the world. Batman is currently the best-selling movie in 2022 so far. 

The fact that many people get excited after the release of Batman’s trailer on YouTube and other YouTube alternative platforms and still find joy in watching the movie proves how massive these superhero franchise films are. People just don’t get tired of Batman movies even though they have been remade multiple times. 

Batman

The character of Batman itself first appeared in a comic book published by DC Comics in 1939. In the story, the Batman character is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, a wealthy owner of Wayne Enterprises.

Bruce Wayne was orphaned at a young age. The sudden death of his parents had changed him into a reserved character, and he used a masked persona to carry his family’s legacy.

Batman
Batman by Mehmet Ozen is licensed under CC-BY-NC 4.0

The Batman character itself is not an easy role to play. But many actors have proven themselves to be a great version of Batman on their own.

Here is a list of every actor who plays Batman.  

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1. Lewis Wilson (Batman, 1943)

Lewis G. Wilson was the first and youngest actor to ever play Batman as an adult. He played this Batman character at the age of 23 for the Batman series in 1943.

This 15-chapter series was the first adaptation of the Batman character to be brought to the big screen by Columbia Pictures. Lewis Wilson became the first actor just 4 years after Batman was first introduced in Detective Comics.

Unfortunately, many commented on Lewis G. Wilson’s physical appearance that he was not suitable for playing the superhero from the DC comics. Many also called out his high-pitched voice when portraying Batman.

2. Robert Lowery (Batman and Robin, 1949)

Next, Robert Lowery who played Batman in the Batman & Robin series in 1949. This episode became the first time that actors playing Batman and Superman were on the same show.

After the success of the Batman and Superman series in one episode of The Adventures of Superman in 1959, Columbia Pictures returned 5 years later with another 15-episode series, where Robert Lowery became the actor in the Batman and Robin movie. 

3. Adam West (Batman TV Series, 1966-1968)

The Batman cloak was then passed on to actor Adam West in 1966. He was the longest-serving actor who played Batman in a series. The success of the Batman TV series had made it to the big screen in the same year.

4. Michael Keaton (Batman, 1989-1992)

When Michael Keaton was first announced to play the Gotham City’s guard in Batman (1989), many people doubted him. Warner Bros Studio estimated to receive about fifty thousand protest letters from fans by the time Keaton was casted.

But Michael Keaton finally managed to prove it to Batman fans. The film was a box-office hit and received positive reviews. Keaton not only changed the perception of Batman in the 60s but also created a new Batman character during this era.

Michael Keaton was praised for his ability to display the intensity of the Batman character and establish good chemistry with Robin’s character.

5. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, 1995)

Val Kilmer was chosen as Batman in Batman Forever (1995). He was believed to be Batman to replace Keaton in the first place. The film also featured actors Jim Carrey as The Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Two Faces.

Although Val Kilmer looked great in a Batman costume, he was criticized for not having the emotional complexity expressed in this character. 

Even though the film dealt with the dual roles of Batman and Bruce Wayne and the psychological scars that Bruce Wayne endured, Kilmer couldn’t deliver it well.

6. George Clooney (Batman and Robin, 1999)

George Clooney played Batman in the film Batman & Robin (1997). The main reason was that Val Kilmer decided not to continue his role as Batman in the sequel of Batman Forever. Director Joel Schumacher then appointed actor George Clooney as the next actor.

Although Clooney was not a bad actor, his role in Batman and Robin was remembered as one of the worst Batman actors because of the film’s storyline which was rated poorly by many critics.

7. Christian Bale ( The Dark Knight Trilogy, 2005-2012)

Christian Bale was often considered as one of the best actors portraying Batman. He played Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, namely Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

Nolan’s trilogy received a positive response and many considered it as the best Batman movie franchise. Thanks to Nolan’s epic storyline and directing, Bale managed to bring out the best Bruce Wayne and Batman.

8. Ben Affleck ( Batman, 2016-2017)

After an impressive Batman’s portrayal from Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Ben Affleck’s action in Batman vs Superman received harsh criticism.

Since the beginning of the casting, Ben Affleck had always been questioned and compared to Bale’s Batman. 

Therefore, in 2018 Affleck stepped down from his position as the movie director and also quit playing Batman in January 2019.

9. Iain Glen (Titans, 2019)

Playing Bruce Wayne or Batman in old age, Iain Glen showed a retired Batman and brought out the evil side of this character. In this titan film, the focus was more on Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites, Batman’s former best friend and reluctant leader of the Teen Titans.

Although Iain Glen was fairly successful in portraying the psychopathic side of Bruce Wayne, many think that other actors can play the old Batman better than him.

10. Robert Pattinson (The Batman, 2022)

Robert Pattinson is the new Batman. His portrayal in the Batman is considered successful as the movie has become the highest-grossing film in this year. Under director Matt Reeves, Pattinson has redefined the character of Batman to be more relevant today.

The film also receives high-scoring reviews from audiences and film critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Robert Pattinson’s version of The Batman has received a score of 85% from critics and 93% from audiences.

Takeaway

The Batman movie never fails to amaze fans around the world with its cinematic masterpiece and dark storyline. It seems that Batman characters will never get old as remakes are coming up in the future years. With various actors portraying the bat-character, which one is your best version of Batman?

About Andre Oentoro

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). 

Twitter: @breadnbeyond

Email: andre@breadnbeyond.com 

LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro

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