Welcome to Pick Your Poison, one of our occasional features! Here we will discuss our favorite versions of characters or franchises that have had multiple iterations and timelines. As we all know in geek circles, you can never have just one of something (excepting Highlanders), and Hollywood just can’t help itself when adapting our favorites. One version ends and another one takes its place.
This time around, we’re going to discuss DC’s angst-ridden, rooftop-looming powerhouse, Batman. Which of the actors who have had the chance to portray him on film is our favorite?
Michael Keaton is hands down, no contest, my very favorite Batman (Clooney, no. Just no). He was my first Batman and I still remember sitting in the theater and staring up at the screen in wonder as he transformed from mild-mannered Bruce Wayne into a honest to go superhero. Keaton’s portrayal of Batman is not as slapsticky as Adam West’s could be, but it’s not nearly as dark and brooding as Christian Bale’s. He balances Bruce Wayne’s human qualities and Batman’s need for vengeance with a just the right amount of humor. Also, the man can rock a turtleneck.
While Keaton will always hold the top spot on my list, I am actually really excited to see Batfleck. Though, I don’t have high hopes for the script (I have no faith in you, Zach Snyder), I can’t wait to see Ben Affleck put on the cape and cowl to hunt people down in the name of justice. And is it too much to hope that he’ll get to punch Superman? Cause that’d be great.
While I’m a huge fan of Christian Bale himself, his iteration of Batman was strangely growly. He spat on people while he threatened them. That was always unsettling. You don’t think Bruce Wayne would be the kind of person to spray his audience with spittle. Plus, his Batmobile just didn’t have that je ne sais quoi to me, that “yes, that car belongs to Batman” feeling, and he was just so freaking gloomy all the time. Batman’s story is basically dripping with angst, but come on.
My favorite Batman is, and has always been, Michael Keaton’s Batman. Partly because he was my first Batman, and partly because those are the Batman films that I think feel really Batman-esque. It’s especially amusing because Michael Keaton out of the Batsuit really doesn’t feel like he could even be Batman’s long-distant cousin, so it’s fun to see him transform so fully into “Yes, definitely. That is Batman.”
We polled our fans on twitter and asked them who their favorite iteration of Batman was. Here are the results:
Michael Keaton: 4
Christian Bale: 3
Will Arnett: 2
Adam West: 1
Which is your favorite? Does anyone think fondly of the Schumacher era? Let us know in the comments!