From West to Affleck, Who is/was the Most Physically-Suited Batman/Bruce Wayne on Film? (Part 2 of 2) Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
February 10, 2015
Though we’ve yet to see Ben Affleck as Batman on the big screen, we have seen enough of him – in and out of costume – as Batman to draw an opinion on his Batman from an aesthetic standpoint.
So, from West to Affleck (omitting Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lowery from the two 1940s serials), which actor was/is the most physically suited to play Batman? Furthermore, I’ll add Bruce Wayne into the mix and judge these cats based on a combination of The Dark Knight and his alter ego (see what I did there?).
You will find Part 2 below; CLICK HERE for Part 1.
“Bats in the Belfry!” Limited Edition Print by Tom Richmond
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#3 Val Kilmer (BATMAN FOREVER)
To be honest, Mr. Kilmer and Mr. Clooney are just about a wash as Batman/Bruce Wayne. However, I’ll give VK the nod over GC mainly because I, well, sorta have a soft spot in my heart for BATMAN FOREVER.
So sue, me, OK? We’ve all got our guilty Bat-Pleasures! (FOREVER was the live-action Batman film that I watched over and over and over again with my two oldest children, FYI.)
At the time, Val Kilmer was a casting coup for director Joel Schumacher and Warner Bros. – especially after Michael Keaton walked away/was invited to leave from the project. If you’re of my vintage, you’ll definitely remember that Val was considered the coolest of the cool after his turn as Doc Holliday in TOMBSTONE.
Of course, Kilmer didn’t look very Batman-ish out of the suit during the Batcave confrontation scene between him and Chris O’Donnell’s Dick Grayson/Robin.
#2 Christian Bale (“The Dark Knight Trilogy”)
Here me now and believe me later: Christian Bale is the best Batman and Bruce Wayne on film to date!
Not only that, I’m quite sure he’ll be my favorite Dark Knight/BW forever; even if Mr. Affleck hits it out of the part (and I think he will).
Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy” was, is, and forever will be “My Batman.” It was the reason I started BOF back in 1998 and I will love it ‘til the day I die.
Bale was the first actor to absolutely nail the three distinct aspects of the character of Batman: Public Bruce Wayne, Private Bruce Wayne, and, of course, The Batman. And no disrespect to the great George Clooney (and I’m a Clooney fan – I LOVE O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU), but CB is the best actor to ever play Batman to date. I know that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is “controversial” amongst Batman fans, but it was Christian’s best performance of his three films. Hell, I thought he should’ve been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for that one.
Bottom line, Bale looked like Bruce Wayne out of the Batsuit and he made the audience believe he could do the things that Batman did in those movies.
On a personal note, Mr. Bale was very nice to me every time I met him. He even went out of his way to be kind to my wife when she got to meet him (by pure chance) in back in 2008 during the junket for THE DARK KNIGHT. Furthermore, when I attended Mr. Nolan’s “Cementing Ceremony” in Hollywood in 2012, this cat – without being asked – came up to my wife and said, “You’re the Batman guy’s wife, yeah?” When she confirmed that she was indeed married to me, he proceeded to sign a RISES mini-poster, give it to her, and said, “Tell him thanks and to enjoy.”
It’s now framed and hanging in my office.
#1 Ben Affleck (BATMAN v SUPERMAN)
Based solely on my previously established criteria, Ben Affleck is – at 6 foot 3 inches, possessing a granite chin, and "movie star looks" – the most physically suited actor to play Batman/Bruce Wayne yet.
If you’re an Affleck hater who can’t get past a petty dislike of the guy based on his work from over a decade ago, well, that’s unfortunate. Affleck has reinvented himself and gone on become one of the best filmmakers in Hollywood. And if you’re still “concerned” about his acting, I’d suggest you go watch HOLLYWOODLAND, THE TOWN, ARGO, and GONE GIRL.
Be honest, OK? Based on overall comic book-esque aesthetics, Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne is about close as it’s come to literally translating Batman in comics to Batman on film since, well, Mr. West wore that spandex suit nearly 50 years ago.
No? Go check out the third installment of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, “Hunt The Dark Knight” and tell me I’m wrong.
So, how would YOU rank all of them? Post your list in the comments section below!