The only notable hiatus for the caped

  • Batman is the gift that keeps on giving, and ever since Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), the only notable hiatus for the caped crusader was the eight-year gap between the franchise-killer Batman and Robin (1997) and Christopher Nolan’s trilogy-opening reboot Batman Begins (2005).

    Since Adam West’s theatrical outing, we’ve had 12 movies that have featured Batman (we’re not counting 2016’s Suicide Squad, in which Ben Affleck’s Batman only appears for a few minutes, nor are we including 2019’s masterpiece, Joker, which includes a young Bruce Wayne).

    Spanning those 12 movies are seven actors who have portrayed Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alias, Batman — Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and now, Robert Pattinson.

    You might be surprised, though, to learn that there were two live actors who donned the cape and cowl even before the late Adam West did back in the ’60s (Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery)! However, we’re only including every Batman from the Adam West-era onwards.

    So here are all seven live-action Batman actors ranked from worst to best.

    7. George Clooney

    Batman and Robin (1997) is the follow-up to Batman Forever (1997), both of which were directed by Joel Schumacher. This time, donning the cape and cowl is George Clooney, who takes over from Val Kilmer. There’s no denying that George Clooney is one of the greatest actors alive today, but sadly, his turn as the Bat of Gotham leaves a lot to be desired.

    The insanely charismatic Clooney is charming as billionaire bachelor Bruce Wayne, and his relationship with Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough) is heart-warming stuff. Unfortunately, he just isn’t given much to do as Batman. If, however, you approach Batman and Robin as a quasi-futuristic reboot of the Adam West stuff (which appears to be the case), there’s plenty to enjoy.

    6. Adam West

    Despite there having been many dark iterations of Batman in the decades since, it’s impossible to think of Batman without remembering the late Adam West fighting crime alongside Robin (Burt Ward) in the Batman TV series (1966 — 1968) and the 1966 movie of the same. But while a joy to watch as the Not-So-Dark Knight, West simply doesn’t hold up against others on this list.

    However, it’s fair to say that Adam West is the one actor who brought Batman into the mainstream. And while there would be 21 years from the end of his tenure to Michael Keaton’s turn as the Gotham vigilante in 1989, the late actor will forever be remembered as the first Batman, even if those credits actually go to Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery.


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