Batman is one of the most iconic characters in the entirety of fiction. He’s been around for more than 80 years. During these 80 years, there have been many movie adaptations of him and his mythos, so many actors have donned the Bat Cowl. Today, we will be figuring out which is the best Batman actor.
There have been over 12 movies involving Batman. Most of them are centered around him, while some are crossovers with other superheroes (like Justice League). Every Batman actor comes with his own distinct twist on the character. Sometimes these twists are a hit, but they often don’t match the character.
So, let’s go down Bat history and see which is the best Batman actor. We are going to rank all the Batman actors from worst to best.
Many actors have portrayed Batman in a variety of mediums like movies, tv shows, animations, and video games. However, we will be only ranking the live-action best Batman actors from bad to good. These actors can be from movies or live-action shows. We will include cameos as well, but only major ones.
So, let’s jump right into it and determine who’s the best Batman actor.
The first man to don the cowl of Batman was Lewis Wilson. He portrayed Batman in 1943 serials. The serial was made at the height of World War II and featured 15 chapters in total. Moreover, this series was released just four years after the character of Batman was released.
Putting Lewis Wilson so low on the list is a little unfair as there wasn’t as much Batman source material. Moreover, nobody before him had set a precedent on what Bruce Wayne should be like on the big screen. Nonetheless, the serials were a success.
Lewis’ Batman was very different from what Batman is today. Moreover, his performance was quite generic, and he didn’t have a distinctive personality, but that’s not his fault, as we’ve discussed earlier. Overall, Lewis is quite the opposite of the best Batman actor.
11. George Clooney (Batman & Robin)
George Colony portrayed Batman in Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin. He brought back the campy version of Batman, beloved by people during the 60s. However, that decision didn’t work too well with the modern audience.
If you’re a comic book movie fan, then you might be familiar with the dumpster fire known as Batman & Robin. George Colony, the award-winning actor, portrayed Batman in this movie and defied all expectations by giving a mediocre performance.
A running theme that you’ll see in this list is that most of these actors were good at their job. It was the creative choices that ruined their version of Batman. Such is also the case with George Colony. Everything from the famous “Bat-Nipple” Costume to his exaggerated playboy personality puts him so low on this list.
10. Robert Lowery (Batman & Robin 1949 Serials)
A huge improvement over Lewis came in the 1949 serials of Batman and Robin. These serials featured Robert Lowery as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Batman and Robin featured 15 titles in total again.
Robert Lowery’s Bruce Wayne was very convincing. This time around, we saw some character development for this character. Surprisingly, this is one of the few times where an on-screen Batman was using his detective skills.
It won’t be wrong to say that if Lowery was cast as Batman in a modern adaptation, then he would’ve done justice to the character. He can be considered the best Batman actor in terms of serials. He’s quite low on this list because his Bruce Wayne was remarkable, but the Batman aspect of his portrayal was a little weak.
Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen portrayed Bruce Wayne in Titans. While there was an undeniable presence of Batman throughout the first season of Titans, we first saw him in the flesh in the premiere of season 2.
Iain Glen portrayed an aged, experienced, and “rusty” Bruce Wayne. He has proven his acting skills in the past. His most famous role was Jorah Marmont in Game of Thrones. However, fans weren’t too happy with Glen’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne in Titans.
While this doesn’t have anything to do with his acting, it is more about the creative choices. For instance, the creators decided to give him a strange accent which is distracting. After season 3, however, Glen’s Batman has become more tolerable.
Speaking of Titans, you might be excited about the upcoming season of Titans. So here’s everything you need to know about Titans season 4.
The voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, decided to play the character on-screen finally during the Crisis on Infinite Earth crossover event. Conroy’s Batman was quite different. He played an aged version of Batman. This is the closest we’ll get to see Kevin Conroy as a live-action version of Batman.
This version of Batman was truly a menace. He had blood on his hands and had forgotten his no-kill rule. He was ruthless and faithless. Conroy’s Batman wore an exoskeleton because he had managed to kill this Earth’s Superman, but it had a toll on his physical form.
Arrowverse has made many mistakes, but casting Kevin Conroy as a deranged Batman surprisingly worked out quite well. His voice would hit you right into nostalgia if you grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series. In terms of voice, he’s the best Batman actor.
David Mazouz essentially played a teenage version of Bruce Wayne throughout the five seasons of Gotham. Mazouz’s version is different from all the others we will discuss in our ranking of the best Batman actors.
Mazouz gave Bruce a complex personality. We could see he was suffering yet also determined to live life to the fullest and begin his mission to fight crime. Mazouz had enough time to develop the character into the brooding Dark Knight, and he did his job quite well.
However, Gotham didn’t give him a chance to dress up as Batman properly. We only saw a glimpse of his future as Batman, which wasn’t enough. For that reason alone, he deserves this spot. If this was a list of only Bruce Wayne actors, Mazouz would be in the top 5 spots.
Val Kilmer is one of the most underrated Batman actors, in my opinion. The campy nature of the film overshadows his Batman. Kilmer’s Batman is quite serious.
Kilmer skillfully balanced Bruce’s outgoing personality with his seething anguish, which many modern adaptations lack. He had a playboy personality, yet during his solitude, he was the same broken soul that sought revenge on his parents’ death.
Batman Forever isn’t a dumpster fire like its successor, and Val Kilmer’s Batman is one of the reasons why the movie is tolerable. I am probably not the only one who thinks if Kilmer was given a better script and director, he would have nailed the role of Batman. He’s one of the best Batman actors.
Ben Affleck takes the fifth spot in terms of the best Batman actors. He portrayed the character for the very first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. We all know how that film turned out, but one of its highlights was Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman.
Ben Affleck is the most accurate Batman in terms of appearances. Director Zack Snyder based this version heavily on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic. He was a brute and wasn’t afraid of beating up even Superman. He was experienced but on the verge of breaking point. However, he eventually comes to terms with his inner conflict.
Ben Affleck’s Batman had the best fight scenes out of all the other portrayals. The only complaint people had with his portrayal was that this Batman used to kill people carelessly. It was a turn-off for many fans. However, he’s still the best Batman actor for some people.
Adam West portrayed Batman for three seasons as part of the Batman 1969 series. Moreover, he portrayed Batman in the 1969 movie simply titled Batman. Adam West was not only one of the best Batman actors but also helped popularize the character.
The 60s were a different era for comic books. These years are titled “The Silver Age.” Due to some censorship issues, comic publishers had to follow the Comics Code Authority, limiting the topics publishers and writers could discuss in their stories.
The reason for this history lesson is that Adam West was the best Batman actor for such an era. His portrayal incorporated all the campiness of the Silver Age. Moreover, this is a unique take on Batman that is even honored today.
Adam West’s optimistic approach to Batman was unique to see at the time. I mean, how often do you see Batman dancing? It was a breath of fresh air. He is an undeniable part of Batman history and will always be remembered as a trendsetter.
Speaking of trendsetters, Micheal Keaton was the next person to don the Bat Cowl in 1989. Tim Burton brought The Dark Knight back to the big screen with his Batman movie in 1989, and he cast Michael Keaton.
The decision to cast Micheal Keaton (known for his comedic roles at the time) was quite polarizing. However, when the movie was released, people changed their minds. Micheal Keaton became one of the best Batman actors to this day.
In Tim Burton’s Batman movies, Keaton’s Bruce was always so reserved, almost as if Keaton was reluctant to express his softer side. Keaton’s natural charm helped his popularity. Micheal Keaton set a benchmark for all the future Batman movies and their actors.
So, it won’t be wrong to call him a trendsetter for a brooding and grim version of Batman that we’re so used to these days. Moreover, he’s set to return in the upcoming Flash movie (if it doesn’t get canceled).
The runner-up on our list of the best Batman actors is Robert Pattinson. He played Batman in 2022’s (conveniently titled) The Batman, which Matt Reeves directed. There’s a lot to be said about Pattinson’s performance as Batman.
This version of Batman has a menacing presence in both physical and psychological terms. He isn’t afraid to risk it all. He’s unhinged and at the beginning of his journey. Rober Pattinson portrays a sociopath-emo Batman.
Some critics pointed out how Pattinson purely portrayed Batman, and his Bruce Wayne didn’t feel right. They have clearly missed an important plot point of the movie. This Batman is more comfortable behind the mask (which is a first in Batman movies). However, towards the movie’s end, he becomes more comfortable with himself and realizes his actual goals.
Robert Pattinson was very close to becoming the best Batman actor. He’s only outshined by a single actor. If he gets more sequels, he may become the definitive version of on-screen Batman.
Christian Bale (rightfully) takes the top spot on our ranking of the best Batman actors. He has portrayed Batman throughout The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan and Bale brought us one of the best live-action iterations of Batman.
Christian Bale never played a comic book accurate version of Batman. This version was grounded. It had a sense of realism. For instance, the Batsuit doesn’t simply look like a costume. It looks like tactical armor.
Christian Bale had three films to flesh out his Bruce Wayne, and he was able to give the character a personality of his own. His ability to switch between serious and jolly moods of Bruce Wayne was remarkable.
Sure, his whole “bat-voice” was a little distracting, but that’s a creative choice. Apart from that, Christian Bale portrayed an excellent Batman/ Bruce Wayne. Bale did not portray Batman; he was Batman. I don’t know about the rest of this list, but I’m sure almost everyone will agree that Christian Bale is the best Batman actor so far.
So, this was our ranking of the best Batman actors. Everyone has their own choices and rankings when it comes to Batman actors. This list is purely based on our personal opinion and knowledge of Batman, so it is understandable if your ranking of the best Batman actors differs from mine.