Best Portrayal of Batman

Discussion in 'The Media Hub' started by SSJPhenom, Aug 1, 2017.


What is the best version of Batman?

  1. Adam West (Batman '66)

  2. Michael Keaton (Batman; Batman Returns)

  3. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)

  4. George Clooney (Batman & Robin)

  5. Kevin Conroy (The Animated Series; Arkham Games)

  6. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Trilogy)

  7. Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman; Justice League)

  8. Other (Please Explain)

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

    May 8, 2007
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    Over the years there have been many people who have taken on the persona of the Caped Crusader. Some were great, some good, some meh, and some so horrible that we've tried to forget them. One thing that they all have in common, however, is that they were all memorable. So, in this thread, I want to explore which version/portrayal of the Dark Knight is most beloved by people.

    These are the options:

    Adam West (Batman 1966): Whenever anyone thinks about this version of Batman one word comes to mind; campy. Adam West's Batman was so campy. From the never ending puns, to the overwhelmingly positive messages, to the 'BAM' 'SMACK' 'SLAP' 'BOOM', etc. It was just so campy. Having said all that, though, nobody can say that it was bad. To this day when I catch a glimpse of this version of Batman a smile comes across my face and I find myself stopping to watch it.

    Michael Keaton (Batman; Batman Returns): For a very long time this was the definitive live action version of Batman. This one was almost perfect. Keaton captured the charm and playboyish nature of Bruce Wayne and he captured the brooding, dark, and tortured nature of Batman at the same time. In Batman when he comes across those two thieves at the beginning and he hangs the one off the side of the roof and tells him, "I'm Batman", that still gives me goosebumps to this day. Keaton was the first actor and Batman was the first film to take the character seriously. Gone was all the camp and what we got was a version of Batman that is still influencing other versions of the character to this day.

    Val Kilmer (Batman Forever): This version of the character was, IMO, ok. I mean he wasn't great but at the same time he wasn't awful either. He had a few very good scenes as Batman. His Bruce Wayne left something to be desired, but maybes some people loved it. I know a lot of people that loved Batman Forever. IMO, though, it took what Keaton had done in the previous two films and instead of building on it, it started to go back in the other direction towards the camp.

    George Clooney (Batman & Robin): Then there's this version of Batman. This one completely ignored the serious nature of the films before it and tried to go all the way back to the camp. With all the puns, campy action, and childish overtones. Instead of recreating the magic of the 1966 Batman, though, we got what appeared to me, and a lot of people, to be what would happen if Batman took part in a gay rave. Some people might have liked this version though.

    Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series/Arkham Games): Whenever I think of Batman's voice, I hear Kevin Conroy's portrayal of the character. I was only going to stick to live action portrayal's of Batman, but Kevin Conroy was the voice of Batman for an entire generation. Plus, the Animated Series may very well be the greatest interpretation of Batman to date. There wasn't a single thing wrong with that show. The villains were great, the protagonists were great, and the entire show was great. Not to mention that Conroy also voice Batman for the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, a number of the DC animated films, and the Arkham games and you have a guy that has probably played Batman more than anybody else in the world. I love Kevin Conroy.

    Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Trilogy): This is probably the most realistic version of Batman out there. I mean, if you imagined what a billionaire would do to personally fight crime that is. Fact is Christian Bale was a great Batman and Bruce Wayne, but a lot of what made those movies so good was his supporting cast. A lot of times he was over shadowed by Alfred, Gordon, the Joker, Bane, and others. Plus there's that damn voice he did as Batman. He might have throat cancer as a result.

    Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman; Justice League): A lot of people thought that Affleck was going to be a horrible Batman. Myself included. Looking back, though, it's not a stretch to say that he was easily the very best part of Batman v Superman. When I imagine how Batman would look, talk, act, and even move, Affleck's portrayal is what comes the closest for me. I mean, the warehous scene for example. It was a damn Arkham game come to life. It's the greatest Batman fight scene ever by far. That's saying a lot people. Also, the way he acted when he was Bruce Wayne. Like a guy that was trying against everything to have a good time out in public but he just couldn't let go of whatever was eating away at him. That's how I imagine Bruce Wayne would act. Ben Affleck was a great version of the character and I can't wait to see what he does in later films.

    What do you guys think? What is the best version of Batman? What is your favorite version of Batman? Let me know your opinions.
  2. King Patrick Star

    King Patrick Star K. O. T. R. 2007 -€“ Team Undisputed

    Apr 27, 2009
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    I pick Kevin Conroy. Not only did he play the best portrayal of Batman in the Animated Series, but the Arkham games really make you feel like you are the Dark Knight. I’ve only completed a handful of video games in my lifetime, and Arkham City was the most addicting game I ever played. I was so enamored by Arkham City, that I bought all of the Mattel figures based on the game. To me, all the other choices are just actors playing Batman, but Kevin Conroy…or at least his voice…is Batman.
  3. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Money for nothin, chicks for free
    E-Fed Mod

    Jun 15, 2015
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    Michael Keaton, as an actor he was in his prime during this time and balanced Bruce Wayne /Batman better than the rest.
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  4. Spidercanrana

    Spidercanrana Should've Reinstated The Fox
    Staff Member Moderator E-Fed Mod

    Apr 1, 2010
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    Not a big fan of putting voice actors on the same field as regular actors myself, particularly one from a television series/video game, so I can't in good faith go with Conroy.

    Michael Keaton though, he managed to make both Bruce Wayne and Batman fantastic. Which is funny because before then he was widely regarded as a goofball character actor previously doing Beetlejuice, Mr. Mom, etc. I even remember fans absolutely hating that he was casted as Batman just like fans bitched when they first heard the guy from Brokeback Mountain would play The Joker. And just like Heath Slater, Michael Keaton gave us a standalone portrayal that I don't believe has been surpassed.

    Not only did he give us a fresh take on Batman, but showed us he had range as an actor. Gotta go with Keaton.
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  5. Aeon Mathix

    Aeon Mathix Has Ascended

    Jun 29, 2010
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    This won't be popular but Ben Affleck easily for me. From the suit, the voice, Bruce Wayne, Affleck really nailed it and if there is one thing that Batman v Superman movie got right, it's Batman. Of course I would be lying if I wasn't VERY on the fence about Affleck playing the role due to Daredevil (I loved that as a kid...bows head in shame), but he surprised me and gave me my favorite portrayal of Batman.

    Another unpopular opinion I have is that I never liked Christian Bale as Batman. Batman Begins is my favorite Batman movie (man the controversy in this post, that movie is considered the worst in the trilogy by many online), but the one thing that I could never stand about the Dark Knight trilogy...Batman's voice. It was cringeworthy most of the time when he was trying to act threatening. Almost like a 50 year smoker who had a lisp. It's hard for me to not mind that and enjoy those movies. Doesn't help that it's become somewhat of a popular parody with the "Badman" youtube videos.
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  6. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

    Jul 8, 2011
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    You can't really compare a voice actor to a regular actor. Sure, Kevin Conroy's voice and the emotions that he gives you might be spot on for Batman, but an actor also has to use body language and facial expressions.

    So I choose not to take Conroy into consideration for that list. But he's the best in his field as a voice acting Batman.

    From the rest, it all comes down to Keaton, Affleck and Bale. I really want to say Affleck, but I'd like to see more of his work as Batman and also see him in a solo story. Batman is better known for his solo adventures rather than Justice League. But he has shown great signs and don't be surprised if in 2-3 years he'll be considered the best Batman/Bruce Wayne and by a far margin.

    I'm gonna give it to Keaton. Although both he and Bale were great Batmen, Bale just didn't click as well to me as Bruce Wayne. Keaton did. Bale seemed more like a Keaton-Bruce wannabe whereas Keaton was trying to be Bruce Wayne.
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  7. Jack-Hammer

    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 26, 2009
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    That's pretty much how I feel. I'm not a gamer but I always loved Conroy's vocal portrayal as Batman.

    I know that it might not count in the minds of some considering that he was voicing an animated version of the character, but I thought he was superb and to this day that's the voice I think Batman should have.

    I hate the campy 60's Batman show, always did even as a little kid.

    I enjoyed Keaton's portrayal overall as he had the depth even if he didn't have the physical look.

    Val Kilmer was okay, nothing particularly special.

    George Clooney was awful, though it wasn't entirely his fault as Batman and Robin as a whole was poorly written, poorly directed and poorly acted by everyone except for Michael Gough as Alfred.

    Christian Bale as Batman is sorta 50/50 for me. He had the look and did do a good job in portraying the depth of the character, but it was hard for me to take him seriously when he was doing that whole growling voice thing.
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  8. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

    May 8, 2007
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    I have to also go with Kevin Conroy.

    I understand that it's much easier to only do a voice then to do the entire body language, facial expressions, and what not, but dammit, Conroy is just so damn good at portraying Batman's voice that I can't help but to pick him. I mean he has the character down pat. So much so that when I hear other Batman voices I almost cringe when it's not Conroy. I wish they could like have Affleck do all the physical acting but have Conroy do all the voice stuff. That would be awesome.

    Conroy is just to iconic for me not to pick.
    Jack-Hammer likes this.
  9. Hyorinmaru

    Hyorinmaru Sit Upon The Frozen Heavens
    E-Fed Mod

    Dec 7, 2007
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    Out of all the ones listed I have to pick Ben Affleck.

    I love every version of Batman even Clooney & his leather bondage outfit to Bale talking like he's had throat surgery i can watch them all and honestly enjoy them so i had a nit of a tough time choosing.

    That being said no one on this list has gotten me interested in seeing them in future movies as Affleck did with Batman. They're years away and I'm already counting down to his solo Batman film as well as the Justice League films.
  10. Mitch Henessey

    Mitch Henessey Deploy the cow-catcher......
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 14, 2009
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    Conroy is a tempting choice. The voice, and the emotion he put behind it helped deliver one of the more memorable versions of Batman:



    The Animated Series was phenomenal, and it still holds up today as a damn good show. But when it's all said and done, Conroy was just the voice and that's it.

    I'm a fan of the campy and cartoonish 60's show and Adam West as Batman, but the goofy comedy, the retro nostalgia, and the corny one-liners are the main draws for that show. Outside of that, it's hard to find anything in the 60's show that's worthy of bragging rights over all things Batman.

    Michael Keaton was solid as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but if we're comparing him with everyone else, I never saw anything out of Keaton to put him head and shoulders above the others. To add to that, when I think about Batman and Batman Returns, I think about Tim Burton, his style, Jack Nicholson, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

    Val Kilmer was decent, but the only positive to take away from Batman Forever is, it's not as bad as Batman & Robin.

    Clooney was terrible, but as JH pointed out, he doesn't deserve all of the blame, because Batman & Robin is the worst Batman film, easily.

    For me it comes to down to Bale and Affleck. Bale wasn't bad as Bruce Wayne, but it's hard to ignore his droopy, deadpan style performances as Wayne. The growly, exaggerated voice was annoying, but I remember reading an interview, where Bale said it was an attempt on his part to make the character more intimidating.

    Bale was in three high quality Batman films, but he was also outclassed and upstaged by superior performances from the villains in each film.

    I have to go with Affleck. I know it's only one film, and I'm going off potential, but Affleck pulled off the rarity of nailing Bruce Wayne and Batman. His interactions with Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill, his charisma as Wayne, and Affleck had the definitive imposing presence and demeanor as Batman.
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  11. @smarkmouth

    @smarkmouth Friendly Neighborhood

    Jul 21, 2010
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    I'd like to preface by yelling at anyone that hasn't seen Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. One of my favourite Bat-flicks, second only to Batman Returns. Please watch it if you haven't.

    Whenever I read a comic or graphic novel, Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman in my head. (To that, Hamill is also the Joker, always) But for reasons stated, I agree with separating voice and live performance. I disqualify him, but by all means celebrate his performance at any chance I get.

    It's really a tie between Bale and Keaton for me. Both balanced the Bruce/Batman dichotomy well, with a slight edge in favor of Keaton. However, where Bale gains ground is portraying Bruce's quest for justice as an obsession, borderlining on sickness. Even this they fail to do quite right, but that trait is absent from Keaton's performance entirely, in my own opinion.

    On the subject of the games, man, I would love an Arkham City scale game, but set in Adam West's Batman Universe, complete with campy gizmos and onomatopeia-fighting effects.
  12. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

    May 8, 2007
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    I just watched Mitch's videos and how anyone can hear that classic line of, "I am vengeance, I am the night, I AM BATMAN," and not go with Conroy is a great mystery to me.

    I appreciate the differing opinions, though. Don't worry, there will be more best portrayal threads to come.
  13. Dolph Ziggler's Gimmick

    Dolph Ziggler's Gimmick Dark Match Winner

    Sep 24, 2017
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    Might as well rank 'em.

    1 - Kevin Conroy
    While I do think the animated series had a few godawful episodes, it was a fantastic series overall and Conroy was perfect as he always is as Batman, and his work in the Arkham games further cemented that. I can't think of a single solitary flaw in Kevin Conroy's Batman performances, that's how good he is as the voice of Batman.

    2 - Christian Bale
    I'm probably one of the few who actually likes Bale's Batman voice. Sometimes, it can get distracting and make you cringe, but most of the time it worked for me. It was almost demonic, and made the most sense from a storytelling perspective in the grounded, realistic Nolanverse.

    Above all, Bale himself is a phenomenal actor. As Bruce Wayne, he was perfect. Behind the mask, he was also able to show emotion, he really knew how to portray a man who'd just been through some shit just with his body language alone. That final scene from The Dark Knight remains his greatest, and still sends chills to my spine.

    3 - Michael Keaton
    Keaton in the suit looked like a total badass, and he had a good voice for the role. Not to mention, his mannerisms were always on point, the fact that he couldn't move his head actually added something of a mystique to him whenever he'd move around, which we also saw with Christian Bale at the beginning of The Dark Knight trilogy.

    Burton went in some strange places during his films, most notably with Batman Returns, and what he did with the Joker/Batman dynamic in the first movie, but Keaton just barely made some things work for me and still came off as believable. He was always solid as Batman.

    4 - Ben Affleck
    It's really unfortunate, Affleck just has all the tools to play the perfect Batman it seems, but the writing in the only film we've seen him in as Batman just derailed some of that potential. Similarly to Keaton, he made me still believe in him, and I came out of the movie remembering him as the highlight. We still need to see some more of him, and I still have my fingers crossed for a solo Batman flick directed by Ben Affleck himself.
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