The Dark Knight Rises: 5 Actors Who Played Batman

Sunday, May 20 by John Coon

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Ever since his introduction on the pages of DC Comics, Batman has risen to become the world’s vigilante superhero. The Caped Crusader has no special powers to set him apart from mere mortals. He just possesses an array of resources that he uses to rid Gotham of criminal elements. One reason why Batman movies are so popular is because he is like one of the people. Assuming the people in question are playboy billionaires who date whatever hot-looking woman they are in the mood to see that evening. These five actors have all worn the cowl in bringing Batman from the comic book pages to the big screen:

Christian Bale:

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<p>There is no denying that Bale has owned the role in Christopher Nolan’s dark take on Gotham’s favorite vigilante in <em><a title=The Dark Knight. Bale broods with a vengeance as Batman. His spin on Bruce Wayne is equal parts suave and cocky — just how you would expect a billionaire playboy to act in public. Bale just feels like the conflicted and tormented soul you would expect Batman to be. No campy humor need apply here.

Michael Keaton:

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When Tim Burton helmed “Batman” and “Batman Returns,” he gave Batman an edge again. From odd visuals to unusual casting, Burton gave his take on the Caped Crusader a dark and surreal feel. The choice of Keaton in the title role only added to it. Keaton played Batman as an isolated and neurotic hero committed to defending Gotham without being a part of it.

Val Kilmer:

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Many things about “Batman Forever” were undeniably cartoonish. The loud costumes of Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. The loud mannerisms of Jim Carrey as the Riddler. The loud whininess of Chris O’Donnell as Robin. The cardboard acting of Nicole Kidman as the love interest. Kilmer did fine in his turn as Batman though. Batman creator Bob Kane singled out Kilmer as the actor who performed the lead role in a way that most closely matched his original vision.

George Clooney:

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There are so many things wrong with “Batman and Robin” and it starts with casting Clooney as Batman. He turns the iconic vigilante from dark and brooding to sarcastic and exasperated. Clooney has since proven to be a great actor. But he was out of his element in a movie filled with stupidity in all its forms — from bat suits with nipples to awful one-liners delivered by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Adam West:

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Holy cheesy TV show, Batman! No one put the camp in campy quite like West did in the 60s Batman TV series and the theatrical movie it spawned during its run. West had a distinctive voice that led to his typecasting following his stint as Batman. He seemed to have more fun than any other actor who played the part, embracing cheesy dialogue and fights interspersed with words like zap and pow.