BATMAN: Ranking Every Actor Who Has Suited Up As The Caped Crusader From Worst To Best

Only a handful of actors have played Batman in live-action, but how do they compare and which of them is ultimately the best Caped Crusader? We think you'll have something to about this ranking!

You shouldn't need us to tell you that Batman is one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, and only a relatively small number of actors have been given the opportunity to play the Dark Knight in live-action. We're not talking about throwaway appearances in the likes of Gotham and Titans here, but the performers who helped make this Caped Crusader a true cinematic icon.

Yesterday, Warner Bros. got us all talking about The Batman again by releasing a deleted scene from the movie featuring the Caped Crusader confronting The Joker. Between that franchise and Michael Keaton's planned DCEU debut, the future for Bruce Wayne on screen looks brighter than ever.

That got us thinking about a question that often comes up here: who is the best live-action Batman? If we were all taking all forms of media into account, Kevin Conroy would probably win, but in terms of those who have played this hero on the silver screen, we think you might be surprised by our ranking! 

To take a look through this Batman ranking, all you guys need to do is click the "Next" button below!
 

7. Val Kilmer

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There are many fans who loved what Val Kilmer did after Michael Keaton passed on starring in Batman Forever. We get that, and wouldn't actually say the actor did a bad job with the material he had to work with. It's just unfortunate that he couldn't quite match the iconic work delivered by his predecessor, especially in a movie that embraced that cheesy '90s aesthetic in all the wrong ways.

Kilmer made for a dashing Bruce Wayne, and it was clear to see he enjoyed those scenes more than the ones he spent wearing the Caped Crusader's rubber Batsuit. That resentment bleeds into the actor's performance, and as a result, stops us from being truly won over by his take on this character. There was a lot to love about what he delivered here, but not enough for Kilmer to place any higher.
 

6. George Clooney

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Some of you might already be lighting your torches and sharpening your pitchforks, but yes, George Clooney has managed to escape being in last place here. Batman and Robin is a terrible movie that took the ridiculousness of Batman Forever and turned itself into a two-hour toy commercial, but Clooney - who doesn't look back fondly on this project - still seemed to be having fun.

As a Batman who was a weird combination of Adam West and Michael Keaton, what Clooney did here worked surprisingly well. This was far from a career-best performance (the actor is downright awful at times), but in the context of this movie for a Batman who was meant to be an action figure for kids, Clooney fit the bill. Maybe it's time to give Batman and Robin another chance? Maybe not. 
 

5. Adam West

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For many older DC Comics fans, Adam West will forever be their Batman. His costume may not have been as good as the rest of those featured here, and that '60s aesthetic obviously lent itself to a camp tone that isn't necessarily what comes to mind while thinking about Gotham City's Dark Knight. But is there anyone better at playing the Batman from those early adventures than West?

It's all too easy to forget those stories with Batman taking on silly costumed crooks now that he's been reimagined as a broody loner beating criminals to within an inch of their lives. Like Clooney, West was perfect for the Batman projects he was part of, and there's a reason this take on the hero has become iconic. We'd love to have placed him higher, but he can't quite compete with this lot...
 

4. Michael Keaton

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This is where this ranking starts getting competitive, and something tells us a lot of you will be unhappy with what comes next. That's understandable considering it's usually one of these four who are named the "best" Batman, but we're starting with Michael Keaton. The actor made this role his own alongside Tim Burton, and it's no wonder fans are now so excited to see him return (again).

Things did get a little too strange at times for our liking - such as Bruce Wayne sleeping upside down at night - and it's always hard to be fully on board with a Caped Crusader who kills. Despite that, we have Keaton to thank for putting this character on the map, and without Batman and Batman Returns, who knows what the superhero genre would look like. The actor truly made this role his own. 
 

3. Ben Affleck

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With that, we've reached "Batfleck." One of the most divisive and controversial casting decisions of all time, we'd argue that Ben Affleck managed to prove the doubters wrong with his performance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Proving himself the perfect choice for a jaded, broken Dark Knight, Affleck delivered a badass take on this hero that resulted in some truly incredible fight scenes. 

Again, we hate the fact that he killed (and used guns), but as a Batman based primarily on the version we saw in The Dark Knight Returns, everything here just worked. Justice League wasn't quite so kind of this iteration of the character, but the Snyder Cut went some way towards making up for that and left us more disappointed than ever that Affleck ultimately decided not to take the helm of The Batman
 

2. Christian Bale

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Far too many fans become bogged down in the (admittedly) over the top voice Christian Bale used as Batman, but it still takes nothing away from his impressive work across The Dark Knight Trilogy. Given the chance to delve into Bruce Wayne's origin story, Bale gave this take on the hero some real depth and explored him across the course of three movies in ways previous adventures had not.

Whether it was that intense interrogation scene with The Joker (that recently released effort from The Batman doesn't even come close) or his final "sacrifice," we fell in love with this Caped Crusader and Bale deserves the lion's share of the credit. Three movies weren't enough in some ways, but as a story that told a beginning, middle, and end, we have nothing bad to say about this take on Batman.
 

1. Robert Pattinson

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Are we jumping the gun here? Some of you might think so, but Robert Pattinson's work in The Batman was so impressive that we already feel confident in declaring him the best big screen Batman to date. There's still room for improvement when it comes to Bruce Wayne, but while he may not be a billionaire playboy right now, the actor still made him a richly fascinating presence here.

Pattinson's performance was off the charts, and along the way, he finally transformed Batman into the World's Greatest Detective and made this a character one we can truly believe in (whether it be as a symbol of fear or hope). Providing Matt Reeves keeps the momentum going with the sequel, we think "Batinson's" work will only continue to impress, cementing his spot here at the #1 Batman.
 

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