Batman has always been my favorite comic book hero. I grew up watching Batman: the Animated Series and all of its spin-offs. I decided to compile a list of actors who have played Batman live action or voice acting. These guys are who made Batman real to all of us fans, everywhere!
I published this list some time ago, but I decided to update it for Batman’s 75th Anniversary.
Jason O’Mara (Justice League: War/Son of Batman)-He portrays a younger, more athletic and sage Batman, but the portrayal is decent enough to at least get a mention.
TOP 10 ACTORS TO PORTRAY BATMAN
10. Michael Keaton (Batman/Batman Returns)- While the movies were less dark and more weird, they set the first standard of Batman film . I do wish Keaton had made Batman’s voice a tad deeper than he did, but beggars cannot be choosers. He defined Batman for awhile, and it was a good definition.
9. Bruce Thomas (Batman: On-Star/Birds of Prey)- After the disaster that was Batman and Robin, WB and On-Star did a series of commercials that brought Batman back to his roots. They starred Bruce Thomas, who had the look and the voice. He had a cameo at the beginning of the lame show Birds of Prey, which gave the back story of the show.
8. Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and the Bold)- This cartoon brought Batman to the 60s camp and had him teaming up with other heroes. I will admit, I did not care much for this show, but the episode Chill In The Night which showed Batman confronting the man who killed his parents won my heart.
7. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)- Part of the Joel Schumacher’s duology that was a continuation of Tim Burton’s Batman films gets a bad wrap. Except for the cheesy music, the film was great. Val was an excellent Batman with a deep voice. The film had a “cyberpunk” feel to it and really show Val’s long lost acting skills.
6. William Baldwin (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths)- Ironically on the shortlist for Batman Forever, the third Baldwin brother voiced Batman in this adaption of JLA: Earth 2. His voice acting gave Batman a more veteran sounding voice. He sounds older and wiser in this film. His portrayal is excellent!
5. Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)- This show was a futuristic continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, showing an aging Bruce Wayne training Terry McGinnis to be the heir to the Batman mantle. While Will’s voice, like Keaton’s, could have been deeper, he still did a great job!
4. Adam West (TV’s Batman)- Yes, he should be on every top 10 list. While the show portrayed the campy comic book years, Adam West became a household name almost synonymous with Batman himself. He goes on this list because of the generations of Dark Knight fans he brought in, and besides, he is Adam West.
3. Bruce Greenwood (Batman: Under the Red Hood & TV’s Young Justice)- Greenwood’s voice is almost unmatchable. His voice is deep and brooding. He can be Batman. It’s a shame Greenwood is older, because he would make an excellent Batman on the theater screen.
2. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Trilogy)- He rules the night when it comes to live action. Bale has set a new standard on how Batman should be portrayed on the theatrical screen. Christian Bale’s legacy will be hard to match and even for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, this will be a tough one to beat when it comes to live action.
The Winner and Undisputed Champion
1. Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS, Justice League Unlimited, Justice League Doom, Batman: Gotham Knight, etc)- Was there ever any question? Kevin Conroy did not set the standard, he is the standard! He has portrayed the Caped Crusader more times than all other actors COMBINED! He portrayed him in the DCAU, several DC Animated films, and even in Batman: Gotham Knight which is set in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In other words, he’s part of the main film continuity too. Conroy is set to reprise the role in a few more DC animated films. This is going to be good!
This is a list of actors who were mediocre, lame, or just plain terrible as The Dark Knight.
1. George Clooney (To this day, I can’t take him seriously) 2. Rino Romano (His voice was not deep enough and not distinct from Wayne’s) 3. Benjamin McKenzie (Not terrible, but not good) 4. Anthony Reuvivar (He is from Beware the Batman and just plain awful.) 5. Jeremy Sisto (LoL! Worst Batman casting decision EVER!)