What happened to these Batman actors and who really is the best?
We showed you how Batman evolved from a chunky wartime propaganda tool in 1943 to Burton’s dream vision in part one, but how has the “Dark Knight” fared since? Here’s part two of our look at Batman through the years.
5. Val Kilmer (1995)
In 1995, Joel Schumacher took the director’s chair and had the difficult task of following on from the great work Tim Burton had done to revive the character. Val Kilmer squeezed into the suit to become the most forgettable of the modern day Batmen. Batman Forever’s colorful, family friendly interpretation of the “Dark Knight” wasn’t that bad, it just wasn’t good either.
Costume and physique: Muscles. Big, plastic muscles.
What happened after: Kilmer wasn’t happy with the amount of screen time he got and decided not to stay on for a second outing. His career gradually declined from then on until he popped up again in the decent Salton Sea in 2002. He’s put on a few kilos since his crime-fighting days as well but continues to be an experienced actor to have in supporting roles.
Fun Fact: Kilmer is the only blonde actor to have played Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Rating: 6/10 Batarangs
6. George Clooney (1997)
Things got a little bit weird in Batman and Robin. Gone are the dark undertones and gothic architecture of Tim Burton’s vision. In its place is a world more reminiscent of Adam West’s Batman than Kilmer’s. Clooney “George Clooney’s” his way through what many fans consider to be the worst Batman film ever made. A bat credit card? Seriously?
Costume and physique: Nipples. Big, plastic nipples!
What happened after: Somehow this film didn’t kill Clooney’s career. Mr. Nespresso continued to try and make “action hero Clooney” a thing in the late ‘90s before accepting his fate, venturing into directing and playing up to his suave acting strengths ever since.
Fun Fac: He became the first Batman to win an Oscar when he won best supporting actor in 2005 for his role in Syriana.
Rating: 4/10 Batarangs
7. Christian Bale
If there is one thing Schumacher did right, then it was making a film so bad that we finally got something so good. Batman & Robin’s failure meant planned sequels were scrapped and Batman returned to the drawing board. In 2005, Gotham finally got the Batman it deserved thanks to Christopher Nolan’s realistic, gritty vision of the “Dark Knight”. Christian Bale took to the role like a bat to the dark as his Batman paved the way for many superhero films to come.
Costume and physique: Bale buffed up for his role as Batman to make it seem like a normal man could actually beat up 10 guys without taking too much of a beating himself. The suit was practical, realistic and not invincible.
What happened after: Two more critically acclaimed Batman films followed for Bale as the franchise broke records left, right and center. Bale has always been somewhat of a chameleon when it comes to his transformations, and it is no surprise that he has been able to avoid typecasting relatively easy, going from a hero in Batman and Terminator to fat, balding con man Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle.
Fun Fact: Bale put on 61 pounds of muscle for the role of Batman after losing a lot of weight for The Machinist.
Rating: 8/10 Batarangs
8. Will Arnett
Will Arnett was Batman we hear you ask? Well, while he may not have worn the cape, he did personify the Dark Knight perfectly in The LEGO Movie as he brought a comedy element to the role, winning over both children and adults at the same time.
Costume and physique: As buff as any lego figure could be.
What happened after: The success of his character in The LEGO Movie has resulted in him getting his own spin-off film, set for a 2017 release. The Arrested Development star can also be seen alongside Megan Fox in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.
Fun Fact - Morgan Freeman stated that the Batman in The LEGO Movie is his favorite incarnation of the character of all time.
Rating: 8/10 Batarangs
9. Ben Affleck
Affleck’s Batman will mark a new era for the cult hero on the big screen, embodying Zak Snyder’s vision of an older, troubled and more ragged Batman who has been around the block a few times. Will it be a success? Only time will tell.
Costume and physique: From what we’ve seen, this will be the bulkiest Batman so far and his costume looks like it has been designed to kick some ass, both human and alien. The batmobile is a mix of old and new with its slick design as well as tank-like features. Oh, and let’s not forget the armored batsuit, which may rival the Hulkbuster for armoured badassery!
What happened after: This film is set to kick-off the DC cinematic universe so expect to see him pop up all over the place. There will be a cameo in the upcoming Suicide Squad and a solo Batman movie directed by Affleck is already in the pipeline. If things go well for DC, “Batfleck” will be with us for quite some time.
Fun Fact: Affleck is the first actor to take on the role of Batman and be older than the previous one. Affleck is 18 months older than Bale. Every other actor was younger than their predecessor.
Rating: TBC or has Jimmy Kimmel already spoilered us?