Batman was created by artist Bob Cane and writer Bill Finger and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Also known as the Caped Crusader and Dark Night, Batman has been around and developed into live action TV and movie. Over the years the Batmobile has changed and the Batman Armor has been tweaked, but for the most part Batman is Batman. However there have been several actors who have played Batman and I don’t want to do a top 10 list, but more of a recognition of the actors who have built and kept the legacy of Batman alive.
Lewis Wilson 1943
Wilson was born in 1920 and passed away in 2000. Wilson was the first actor to play Batman for the 1943 series. It was right after the US entered WWII that Columbia Pictures created the first live action series from the DC comic characters. There was no real super villains, Batman was a cop in a suite and mask. Never the less this is entertaining and worth watching.
Robert Lowrey 1949
Lowrey was born in 1913 and died in 1971. He stared in the serial Batman and Robin. The 15 chapter serial was a 1949 release about the dynamic duo. This black and white classic is worth checking out, and really gives you an idea how far Batman has come over the past 60 some years.
Jack Smith 1964
Born in 1932 and died in 1989 – Smith was the star in Batman Dracula. This was a film made by Andy Warhol, but he did not have permission to use the Batman name, so the film was screened only at Warhol’s art exhibits. It’s a bit freaky and hard to watch, but if you’re a Batman fan, worth checking out.
Adam West 1966
Adam West was born in 1928 and played Batman in the 1966-1968 Television series. West is still at it doing voice work in SpongeBob SquarePants as the young Mermaid Man, Robot Chicken, and Family Guy as well as an appearance on Big Bang Theory. This series was a bit comical but entertaining. A lot of the Super villains associated with Batman were brought to life in this series. I love the classics and I love the Batmobile, Batboat, Batcycle, and Batcopter from this series. This era is what really popularized Batman and the supervillains.
Michael Keaton 1989
Keaton who at the time was a successful actor and probably most famous for his roll in Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice brought the Batman character to life and this was the first time we had seen Batman on the big screen in quite some time. Although there was much fan hatred when Keaton was cast, he pulled off a great performance as Batman. Other Stars in this film include Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, and Billy Dee Williams. I like Keaton as an actor and this film revitalized Batman from the 1960s and set up all the modern day movies that followed.
Val Kilmer 1995
What can I say about Val. He become popular playing Iceman in Top Gun, and brought to life one of my all time favorite musicians Jim Morrison. I guess he was just one of those Batman characters where I was wondering when he was going to chase down Maverick in his Bat copter. Val may have gotten overpowered in Batman Forever by costars Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman. This was a great movie and produced one of the best soundtracks of all time.
George Clooney 1997
Mr. Clooney, a super successful actor, popular among the ladies, and Batman. Maybe not the best roll Clooney ever played, but at the beginning of his career Clooney did a nice job in the 1997 4th installment of Warner Bros’ initial Batman film series Batman and Robin. Other stars in the film included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Silverstone.
Christian Bale 2005
Christian is one of my favorite modern Batman. Maybe because he wasn’t all that popular before this movie, but I think he really came across on the big screen with what I felt Batman should be like. He was Batman in 3 movies, Batman Begins in 2005, The Dark Knight in 2008, and the Dark Night Rises in 2012. Bale was not overpowered by any costars in the 3 movies and Heath Ledger complimented Bale as the Joker in The Dark night and this series I think was one of the best we have seen yet.
Ben was a super successful actor who took on this roll, I only saw him in Suicide Squad, from what I can tell, he did a pretty good job, but I’d like to check him out a little more to make a fair assessment. Ben has had a super successful career since the early 90’s and I haven’t seen many bad performances by him, so I’m going to go ahead and say this was a pretty good Batman he played in Batman Vs Superman.
Batman is one of those characters that has been a staple in the world for many decades and aside from the big screen, there has been many comics and animated series created, and many toys and novelty items as well. It doesn’t take much to recognize the Bat-signal even if you’re not a Bat-fan. Batman has been on a wild ride since the 30’s and will be here for its 100th anniversary and who knows how many more anniversaries the franchise might celebrate.
Which ‘Batman‘ is your favorite? Let us know AFTER THE JUMP!