Happy Batman Day, everyone! Well, DC decided that it’s Harley Quinn Day to celebrate her 25 years. But it’s really Batman Day. So what better time to celebrate all our live-action iterations of Batman than today. And yes, I mean all of our iterations of the Dark Knight. Let’s get into it!

1 – Lewis Wilson

The first man to ever portray Batman in live-action! In 1943, he starred in a 15-part serial adventure simply titled Batman. One of the best things about his portrayal was that he was just a man in a costume. You could say that they all were – but this man was pretty much wearing pajamas and fighting gangsters on the street. He was smooth, he was charming, he was a lot of fun. Sadly, I haven’t seen the full serial series, but be sure to find it online! But do be careful, it’s a product of it’s time and involves a pretty racist Japanese portrayal.

2 – Robert Lowery

Lowery followed up Wilson’s performance in a serial titled Batman and Robin in 1949. His Batman has the distinct honor of a brilliant acting choice that many other actors chose to follow. He altered his voice in costume. It’s a very slight change, but one that has since been mimicked to either great or terrible effect. He was everything Wilson was and more, only improving upon the character. As with both serials, they were filled with detective work, action and more. Bonus, he keeps his Batsuit in a filing cabinet! 

3 – Adam West

What can be said that hasn’t already been said? We’ll try any ways. This Batman iteration brought the Caped Crusader into millions of homes across America. His portrayal got young fans into the character and helped bring the hero to popularity outside of the comic world. The show was colorful, energetic and plain ol’ funny. While some disapproved and thought it made Batman a sort of laughing stalk (ex. The Batusi), he is none-the-less beloved. I genuinely don’t think we’d have such a powerful superhero presence today if it wasn’t for this show and subsequent movie. He will be forever in our hearts.

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4 – Michael Keaton

What West did for television, Keaton did for screen. The Gothic and dark world of Gotham came to life in the Tim Burton adaptation. It was something we hadn’t seen before in Batman. All of the iterations up to this point were fun but this turn took Batman on a serious route. He dealt with the duality of Batman and Bruce Wayne, diving briefly into the psychological repercussions of it. His casting was met with an outcry but he proved everyone wrong with his two turns as the Bat. He’s become iconic.

5 – Val Kilmer

Kilmer did a good job with Batman. While it was less dark than the Keaton version, he was also dealing with very mature subjects. He explored a very vulnerable Bruce Wayne who was seemingly tortured all the time by the death of his parents. He also explored a relationship with his ward, becoming an almost reluctant parent and an even more so reluctant partner in crime fighting with his new ward. Unfortunately, his performance is out-shadowed by his predecessor and successor. 

6 – George Clooney

While he has since apologized for his portrayal, there’s not much good to say about this Bats. But that is because I am an adult. Children, on the other hand, enjoy this movie. There’s a lot of slap-stick and silly gags that are sure to amuse children. He did also keep Bruce Wayne charming, which is always a plus. Not to mention they were able to introduce the Batgirl element to his Batfamily. While the weakest entry on this list, there is still good.

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7  – Christian Bale

Admission out of the way, he is my favorite live-action portrayal to date. The Dark Knight trilogy balanced the story of a broken man with a grounding of a superhero film, which hadn’t been done up to this point. While he does have the regrettable Batman voice, he’s done something that the others haven’t. Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire, is the true mask while Batman is more akin to who he is. This was explored a little bit in the popular animated series but Bale was able to bring that to the forefront of his performance. Not to mention his Batman had some of the most realistic tech. I hope we can get another brilliant Batman like his. 

8 – Ben Affleck

While not off to a great start in his portrayal, he has already made a name for himself among the others. Some fans have even garnered him as their favorite. And that may be in part to him being brutal. This is the most brutal Batman we’ve seen in live-action films, which is a real change of pace. Keaton’s had some pretty brutal moments, but not as bad as flinging a car of men into another. His fighting is also seemingly based on the popular Arkham game series, which is always a plus in my book. He’s a massive figure and intimidating as hell. He’s taller and bigger than Superman for cripes sake! We’ll have to wait for Justice League to see what else he can do.

 

What do you think of our few reasonings? What do you like best about each iteration on the screen? Let us know! Frankly, I could go on but you have some Batman movies to watch! Be sure to come back to Geek Girl Authority for more Bat-fun.

[Feature image via YouTube]

Erin Lynch

Erin Lynch

Co-Editor and Senior Contributor at Geek Girl Authority
Cat mom, panda enthusiast, and Batman lover living in a galaxy far, far away...
Erin Lynch