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Ranking the Bruce Waynes and Batmans in Every Live-Action Batman Film!

Warner Bros. Pictures

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on who their favorite Batman is, but most people don’t separate Batman and Bruce Wayne. An actor can be an excellent Bruce Wayne, but a mediocre Batman (and vice versa). Below are our rankings of each of the six live-action Bruce Waynes and Batmans that have been put on film!

**BRUCE WAYNE**

6. George Clooney

Bland, bland bland. In the overstuffed Batman and Robin, Wayne is barely present in the film. There are three villains, two sidekicks and a subplot involving Alfred’s declining health. It’s all just too much for a movie with a 125-minute running time. Clooney never stood a chance.

Batman

5. Michael Keaton

Don’t get me wrong, I love Michael Keaton, but his Bruce Wayne just isn’t that interesting. In both films, his main arc centers around woman troubles. While Selina Kyle is a much better foil for him than Vicki Vale, it doesn’t give Keaton’s Bruce Wayne much depth.

Batman

4. Adam West

My thoughts on Adam West’s Bruce Wayne are not particularly strong. He’s neither great nor terrible, which earns him a spot right in the middle of this list.

Batman

3. Val Kilmer

Batman Forever isn’t a great film, but it’s far from terrible. Kilmer imbues his Bruce Wayne with just the right amount of  depression without being too much of a downer. His romance with Nicole Kidman’s Chase Meridian was a bit of a snooze, but Kilmer owned the role.

Batman

2. Ben Affleck

Say what you will about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (and everyone has lots of things to say), but Affleck’s Bruce Wayne was without a doubt one of the best parts of the film. This is a Batman we haven’t seen before (in the film’s, at least). This is a weathered Batman who has been around the block a few times (over the course of 20 years). It’s a nice take on Wayne and Affleck handles it wonderfully.

Batman V Superman Ben Affleck

1. Christian Bale

Out of all the Bruce Waynes put on film, Bale’s has the most personality and charisma. He was put through the wringer in all three of Christopher Nolan’s films and, since we spent three films with him, we got to know him the most out of all the other film incarnations of Bruce Wayne.

Batman

**BATMAN**

6. George Clooney

There’s just no getting around it: George Clooney is the worst Bruce Wayne and the worst Batman (even Clooney himself agrees). It’s not really his fault, though he does look bored in the role. While it’s been mentioned countless times, it must be reiterated that the Bat-Nipples take away any good will his version of Batman might have had.

Batman

5. Val Kilmer

It’s not that Kilmer’s Batman is outright terrible. He just doesn’t leave much of an impression after the two-hour film concludes. This is mostly because his thunder is stolen by the scenery-chewing Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, making the villains the true stars of Batman Forever. Random note: I never noticed that Kilmer’s Batman has nipples too!

Batman

4. Ben Affleck

Batman just doesn’t have a whole lot to do in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Barring one or two awesome fight scenes (that totally rip off fight scenes from the Arkham video games in the best way possible), he doesn’t make enough of an impression to rank higher on this list. Mostly a CGI creation, Affleck doesn’t really get to stretch his bat muscles that much. Maybe in Suicide Squad?

Batman Ben Affleck

3. Adam West

Adam West’s Batman is an iconic portrayal. Sure, he’s goofy and over-the-top, but that’s the vibe the show was going for back in the 60s. It was appropriate for the time and was always supremely entertaining.

Batman

2. Christian Bale

Look, I know Christian Bale did a great job in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but I just can’t get over that thing he does with his voice when he’s the Batman. It comes across as goofy rather than intimidating.

Batman

1. Michael Keaton

I don’t really know why Keaton is my favorite Batman, he’s just always had the best portrayal. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but Keaton really seems to get what Batman is all about. He’s neither hammy like Adam West nor forgettable like Kilmer and Clooney. Say what you will about the fact that he kills people, he’s still a great Batman.

Batman

Do you disagree with our rankings? Let us know your favorites (and least favorites) in the comments below!

9 Comments
  • Oliver Garza

    Totally agree, the best batman was the one from Tim Burton

  • Kori Batchelor

    Agree 100%. Uncanny how we think so similarly about this.

  • Givi Machavariani

    Michael Keaton is number one Batamn and Bruce Wayne! second best is Val Kilmer, anyone who disagrees can s*ck my c*ock! :*

  • Adrienne Santiago

    Agreed! Best Batman is Keaton…and best Batman FILM is Batman Returns…Michelle Pfeiffer is seriously the most bad ass Catwoman of all time.

  • Conan

    Keaton is the best for both Batman and Wayne. Bale looks the part of Batman but sucks as soon as he opens his mouth also the fight scenes against Bane were terrible. With Keaton he works with stiff Batman cowl costume and looks great.

  • Brett Wolfe

    I find it interesting that someone who claims to be so well-versed on 90’s Batman is just now realizing that it was “Forever” that introduced the bat nipples. In the interviews leading up to it’s release, Kidman kept saying how weird it was running her hands over Kilmer’s “bat-nippled” chest. “Batman & Robin” was so terrible that everyone forgets how “Batman Forever” TOTALLY opened the door for it. Also…wrong Batgirl. Wrong wrong wrong Batgirl….the character I mean…not Barbara Gordon=epic fail.

  • Muhammad Suhail Khan Malik

    the respective actors only gave to the decade what it wanted. to compare, we would have to visualize all of them in the same movie/circumstances/era (even then, it is impossible, because u can’t EXACTLY ‘visualize one’s caliber). also, u can’t blame the actors (their respective executions of what was given to them was great), can blame only the movies. anyway, i love MK, VK & CB EQUALLY, because both their Bruce & Batman portrayals were very relevant at the time of release, extremely likable & had the depth the audience craved for AT THE TIME, though VK’s movie’s plot was bad. (there is NO batman in ‘Batman’ & Robin.)

  • pryopenthirdeye

    Bales Batman is way to high on the list. his Bruce Wayne was good but his Batman was terrible. he sounded like he’s in a garage band and is trying to hard to be intimidating. his Batman lacks that Clint Eastwood from A Fistful of Dollars vibe like Keaton and Afflecks portrayal of The Dark Knight.

  • I Am Colossus

    The Affleck Batman section is so wrong its dumb. But hey i didnt write the article.

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