The Best Batman

 Promotional art for    Batman   #608 (October 2002, second printing) Pencils by  Jim Lee  and inks by  Scott Williams    

Promotional art for  Batman #608 (October 2002, second printing) Pencils by Jim Lee and inks by Scott Williams


 By: Chris Gray


   As a Batman fan, I have seen many different versions of the caped crusader. However, all these Batmans have followed for the most part,  a specific guideline: is strong, has stern but handsome face with a very specific jaw line, has dark hair, is clean shaven, highly intelligent and physically fit. In the comics I feel these characteristics hold up well, but not so much in the movies.

   Michael Keaton  as Batman in the 1989 film.

 Michael Keaton as Batman in the 1989 film.

One of my favorite Batmans was a bit lacking in the muscle area. Michael Keaton played batman in 1989 and I loved him in the role.  Other than the muscles, I feel that Michael Keaton had the right look, and believe that he pulled the part off nicely.  I wonder though, if we had the same social media as we do today, would people have slammed Mr Keaton? I think yes! Look at  his roles before Batman: Night Shift, Beetlejuice, Gung Ho, and Mr Mom. Does that say,  I am the actor to play Batman or Bruce Wayne? Regardless, like I said, I feel he was great.

     At this point you may be saying ok but what about Batman Returns? Well, I would say while I think it's not a great movie, it was still fun and had a great Batman. But whose fault is that really, that this movie was not the best of the Batman movies? Which leads us to our next Batman movie, Batman Forever.  This Batman was played by Val Kilmer, who seemed to fit most of the batman criteria, but there was just something about him in this role that did not impress me. Maybe I was so used to Michael Keaton that I could not overlook the different acting styles, or perhaps it was that this movie was not as dark as I would like to have my Batman films seem. Either way, most people were disappointed with the direction Batman Forever took.  As a side note,  I was not too impressed with how they did Gotham City or the Batmobile from this movie. I can still watch Batman Forever and enjoy it, but only to a point.

Now here is where things get really bad, Batman and Robin. We have, in my humble opinion, the worst Batman Movie starring George Clooney. I want to start out by saying, there are movies starring George Clooney I liked such as From Dusk till Dawn, Three Kings, Ocean’s Eleven, and Intolerable Cruelty, and he was good in these roles. I don't think George is a bad actor, I just thought he was a terrible Batman, the worst in fact. For the most part he looks the part, but without the Batman suit I have no idea how physically fit he is. Most importantly, he never convinced me he was Batman or Bruce wayne.  I almost felt as if he was a pretender, wondering when the real Batman was going to show up. In addition, the writing for this movie was terrible, a joke, Arnold was a terrible Mr Freeze, and Gotham city looked like a bad cartoon version, not a real city. Don't even get me started on the suits and the new Batmobile...Ok ok I will chill, because I could go on and on with how much I disliked this Batman.

 Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight.

Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight.

Lets move on to my all time favorite movie Batman to date, Christian Bale portraying Christopher Nolan's Batman. I loved this Batman, and I also enjoyed how Christian Bale played the Dark Knight. He looked the part and he did a great job acting it with only one small gripe, his Batman voice.  However, I was able to get over that pretty quick thanks to how little he talked as Batman. When Batman Begins was announced and it was revealed that Christian Bale would be Batman, I was excited. I knew he would do a good job, and I felt confident that he would make this a believable caped crusader. Now I was a bit worried after I heard Heath Ledger was going to play the Joker, but after I saw him in action, I was blown away! He was even better than Jack Nicholson in my opinion. Just for the record I also thought this Gotham was the best and loved the gadgets and the tumbler Batmobile.

So this leads us to our newest Batman, Ben Affleck and boy is he getting slammed on the interwebs. Some of us here at Total Nerd Takeover jumped on that wagon, and you can find it here ( link here ). It is not hard, from his past superhero appearances, to jump to the conclusion that Ben will not make a good Batman. But, he seems to have the facial look and the physical size, at least from what I can tell, but I am not sure how in shape he truly is. That being said he could still pull off The Batman, just look at my points above with Michael Keaton. However, he will have to convince us with his acting. Looking at some of his track record…. (Daredevil...) I am worried to say the least.

 Ben Affleck at a 2009 rally for  Feed America .

Ben Affleck at a 2009 rally for Feed America.

     What worries me is that he will not start off this Batman with his own Movie, instead Warner Bros. will be putting Ben in the Man of Steel sequel, and that does not seem like a good idea to me. They put so much time and effort into the reboot of Superman and they made it happen in a big way, this was the best superman I have ever seen.  You can hear our review here ( podcast link here ). So after all this hard work, they are not only going to risk using a new actor as Batman but the newly rebooted Superman as well. I want Ben to do good, and my fellow nerds should want the same thing  If he turns out to be a terrible Batman, he could ruin both hero franchises. I believe it would have be better to launch this new Batman in his own movie to see how he does and how the fans react. But who knows, he could be a amazing Batman and surprise us just as Heath Ledger surprised us as the new Joker, or he could be another mediocre Batman like Val Kilmer, or just plain terrible like George Clooney. One thing's for sure, Warner Bros. has signed him and I don't think any amount of hate or petitioning will change their casting decision.  Will I go and see this movie? Of course! I think we are all waiting to see what kind of Batman Ben Affleck will be.