Everyone has been looking forward to the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, so much so that reviewers who dared to not like the movie have been met with death threats, and Rotten Tomatoes actually turned off comments on their website due to the dull roar of hatred over a movie that the vast majority of the world hadn’t even seen yet.  Though I’m sad to see the end of the latest Batman series, it’s mostly because I know that they’ll probably reboot with a new origin movie before the end of 2015, and I think Kim Kardashian’s brother is interested in the role.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t shy away from controversy, asking:
Christian Bale: Great Batman, or the GREATEST Batman?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. July 20, 2012 at 11:31 am — Reply

    He’s a fine Batman, but he is far from the greatest in my eyes. To me, the greatest Batman actor is Kevin Conroy.

    • Rob
      July 20, 2012 at 11:37 am — Reply

      I was about to chime in with a vote for Adam West but Kevin truly is the definitive bats.

      • GeorgeDubya
        July 20, 2012 at 11:40 am — Reply

        Kevin Conroy’s voice is the voice I always think of when I think Batman.

        I think Bale has done a good job, but I have to be honest and say that he isn’t what I feel has made Nolan’s movies great. The rest of the cast has been what’s really done it for me.

        • July 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm — Reply

          I’ve got to agree with that. I think Bale did a fine job, but it wasn’t him alone that made the movies work.

  2. JacinB
    July 20, 2012 at 11:33 am — Reply

    Greatest Batman.

  3. Pearce
    July 20, 2012 at 11:38 am — Reply

    Adam West.


  4. KIKIN
    July 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    I do not remember the last time Conroy ACTED as Batman in a live movie…

    I remember, Adam West, Michael Kiton, Val Kilmer, George Cloney and Christian Bale acting as Batman tough…

    • July 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm — Reply

      The question didn’t specify “live action only”, though. And voice acting is still a form of acting.

      • KIKIN
        July 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm — Reply

        you are right, I can not argue with the truth haha

        Best Batman’s voice actor of all time: Conroy
        Best Batman overall actor: Bale (yes even with the funny voice :P )

        Have a great weekend!

  5. July 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm — Reply

    1. Kevin Conroy
    2. Adam West
    3. Diedrich Bader

    Sorry, but Bale doesn’t rank very high with me at all.

  6. July 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm — Reply

    Truth be told, Bale is a pretty mediocre Batman. (Voice and all.)
    He’s an incredibly good Bruce Wayne, though. So it all balances out.

  7. Brenton8090
    July 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    Best live action Batman? Val Kilmer. The man just IS Batman.
    Best potential Batman?
    Christian Bale: “Alfred. What if someone recognizes my voice?”
    Alfred: “I hear Lucius has been working on a voice modulator. Perhaps you could include it in your suit.”
    And now Bale’s Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy.

    Seriously. Two lines of dialogue. That could have happened.

    • Georgedubya
      July 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm — Reply

      I…. That just… The very idea of that… Yeah, I’ll be in my bunk.

    • July 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm — Reply

      I wonder if they’ll ever use a similar idea, or just use his voice for sound bytes. They had Mark Hamil voice the Joker while another actor portrayed him in the pilot of “Birds of Prey”, and I could see a future DC based movie or TV series requiring a snippet of Batman using Conroy to provide the voice in this way. Maybe Batman is on a headset or it is a video with bad quality graphics (or broken up by interference).

  8. Arbor Day
    July 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    Kilmer would’ve made a good Flash, think Real Genius Kilmer mixed with a bit of Top Gun.

    Aside from that I don’t think any of the Batmen got it right. No offense to Conroy but I don’t think voice actors count. What he did right in my opinion was his voices for Bruce Wayne/Batman were pretty much the same, but with an emotional shift. Something that the live actors haven’t really pulled off.

    All that being said, George Clooney is the best Bruce Wayne. Not in the movie, in real life though. I don’t know how he messed up the opportunity to essentially play himself.

  9. Oldcomicfan
    July 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    Christian Bale is the best Bruce Wayne and he’s a good Batman, too. Batman, however, suffers from the same problem as Superman – they’ve never had a really good actor play the role. These guys supposedly practice martial arts to the max or else spend all day getting their exercise by pushing planets around, etc., so why do they always cast 98 lb. weaklings in the role? Why don’t they get some bodybuilder turned actor to do the part? Let’s face it – except for Adam West, who was a little flabby for the role, every other Batman actor except Christian Bale had to wear a muscle suit. It is interesting to note that all the physically fit bodybuilders turned actor who had the bodies to play the role of a super hero have stayed away from such roles like superhero roles carried some some of plague. So, by default, C. B. gets a thumbs up in my book merely for being able to play the role without having to wear a four-inch thick muscle suit.

  10. Kevin Flythe
    July 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    I like Christian Bale’s Batman as well as his Bruce, but, for me, Conroy’s iconic voice aside, my favorite Batman is Michael Keaton, in the same way my favorite Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr. Sure, there hasn’t been another live action Iron Man, but anyone familiar with Stark from the comics, if they’re being honest with themselves, knows that the way Downey plays Tony is NOTHING like how he’s played in the comics. Similarly, the way Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne (and, by extension, Batman) in Tim Burton’s Batman of ’89 is NOTHING like the Bruce Wayne of the comics… but it is a hell of a lot of fun. There are so many character moments that shine in Keaton’s portrayal that the other actors don’t even come close to. For me, Make Mine Michael. Keaton.

  11. Ian
    July 21, 2012 at 12:48 am — Reply

    Never could get past his stupid bat-voice

  12. DocMidnyte
    July 23, 2012 at 8:21 am — Reply

    I think Keaton’s performance, overall, is more fun and nuanced. Bale had the best opportunities, but I think there was a general direction to “underplay” things and we ended up with the tone of these films. But for my money, Clooney was the most natural Wayne ever.

  13. Geoff Shotts
    July 24, 2012 at 8:01 am — Reply

    He’s the greatest “realistic” Batman. I don’t think you can compare directly to the Tim Burton or the Joel Schumacher films (or the TV series, for that matter) because they all use different styles. The TV series was pure camp, Burton/Schumacher are more fantasy (and go off the deep end after Schumacher got ahold of them), and the cartoons are comics brought to “life”.

    That said, I enjoyed Keaton’s performances, kind of “Meh” on Val Kilmer and George Clooney, and often can’t read a Batman comic without hearing Kevin Conroy’s voice in my head.

    Finally, although he was great in the films, I do wish that Christian Bale would *close his mouth* more often: half the time when he’s standing in Batman pose, if feel like he’s about to start drooling. :-p

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