There have been some memorable portrayals of the Caped Crusader down the years – and for differing reasons. Ahead of the release of The Batman in cinemas, film critic Graeme Virtue has kindly ranked them.
9. Ben Affleck He does have a mighty chin but everything else about Affleck’s pained billionaire – who debuted in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice before putting a super-team together in 2017’s Justice League – felt leaden and lifeless. The actor described it as “the worst experience” for him, and frankly it was no fun for us either.
8. Val Kilmer When Michael Keaton hung up the cowl after two films with Tim Burton, the hunky Kilmer was cast in 1995’s Batman Forever. Perhaps to differentiate himself from gurning villains the Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), the headline star went for a sort of sleepy disaffection. One Bat-dance was enough; Kilmer did not return for Batman and Robin.
7. George Clooney Poor George. The man surely born to play a rich playboy was hamstrung by almost every other aspect of 1997’s slapdash Batman and Robin, from the gaudy neon sets to a Batsuit with nipples. Clooney quickly reframed the backlash as a humbling tale of Hollywood hubris but he does have one unexpectedly moving scene, comforting loyal but ailing butler Alfred (Michael Gough).
6. Robert Pattinson Finding emo: in this week’s The Batman, Pattinson seems determined to be the most goth Bruce Wayne ever, knocking up DIY crime-fighting gear while listening to The Cure and Bauhaus. Writer-director Matt Reeves and his brooding star are apparently fishing for a trilogy so it will be intriguing to see if this gloomy take kickstarts a new mega-franchise or remains an intense one-off.
5. Will Arnett Considering the other corporate brand involved, it makes sense that 2017’s computer-animated The Lego Batman Movie was all about building on pre-existing Batman lore. It pokes fun at every era of the Caped Crusader, from “KAPOW!” fight balloons to Christian Bale’s Batmobile. Holding it all together is Arnett as a hilariously stubborn poseur who growls his own hard-rock theme.