These are the previous 'Caped Crusaders'.
Batman has been regarded as one of the most beloved superheroes of all times. It has been a huge and challenging task to play Batman for more than one actor. After Ben Affleck confirmed that he won't be donning the cape and cowl for Matt Reeves' take on The Dark Knight, the hunt for a new Batman was on. Fans on social media went crazy a couple of days ago when Robert Pattinson was supposedly finalised for the privileged role.
1. Lewis G. Wilson
The First of The Many Dark Knights
Wilson was the very first and the youngest actor ever to play an adult Batman, at 23 when he appeared in the 1943 Columbia serial 'Batman'. From his weird appearance as a Penguin to his Boston accent, Wilson faced a lot of criticism due to which he is said to be the least successful actor among all others in the list.
2. Robert Lowery
Another One of Those Penguin Like Knights
After Wilson, Lowery took over the role in the next serial, 1949s 'Batman and Robin'. Before this, Lowery had appeared in movies like, 'The Mark of Zorro' (1940), 'The Mummy’s Ghost' (1944) and 'Dangerous Passage' (1944). The Batsuit fit of Lowery with the utility belt looked far better and smarter than the Penguin look of Lewis with the utility belt just below his chest.
3. Adam West
William West Anderson is better known as Adam West playing Captain Q-a James Bond-like spy in a TV ad. After seeing it, the producer William Dozier decided to cast West. He played Batman in the 1966 TV show, 'Batman', 1979 movie 'Legend of the Superheroes', 2005 short film 'Batman: New Times' and many television specials, animated series and films. He also offered his voice to Batman in an episode of the cartoon series, 'Batman: The Brave and the Bold'. It took a long time, 20 years, for him to lose his exclusivity on Batman.
4. Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton were announced for the 1989’s Batman. Keaton’s casting caused a lot of controversy with around 50K letters of protest being sent to the Warner Bros. office. To appease them, Batman co-creator Bob Kane was hired as the film’s creative consultant. Rejecting other Hollywood stars for the role of Batman, producer Jon Peter gave a reason for selecting Keaton that the image of Batman is an essential male model type, but he wanted someone who happened to be funny and scary. Keaton had that explosive, insane side.
Keaton was the first actor to reprise the role on the big screen and in 1992’s 'Batman Returns', Keaton again garnered positive reviews.
5. Val Kilmer
The Most Hated Modern Batman, Val Kilmer
Probably the most forgettable of the modern Batmen. Go ahead, try to remember him. You can’t! He put on the suit in 1995 for 'Batman Forever' and received mixed reviews. News reports claimed Kilmer to be a good Batman but not a better one than Michael Keaton. He was also called "Childish and impossible" by the director Joel Schumacher.
6. George Clooney
George Clooney in the cape
Clooney had just started his movie career when he was cast in the 1997’s 'Batman & Robin'. Producers, as well as Clooney, now regret as they pulled off a significant coup landing the soon-to-be mega-movie star. The movie was a disaster becoming the worst box-office performer of the new Batman movies. Clooney even joked once that he killed the super series.
7. Christian Bale
Talk About One of The Best Ones Ever
After Adam and Clooney, Batman seemed to remain a joke until the entry of director Christopher Nolan. He planned to reinvent the franchise, finally making the Dark Knight dark in 2008’s 'Batman Begins'. Nolan ultimately chose Christian Bale, explaining that he exactly had the balance of darkness and light that they were looking for. Though Christian Bale was the best actor to play the Dark Knight, he was not without criticism.
8. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck donned the black suit
Ben Affleck donned the cinematic cape and cowl for the first time in Zack Snyder’s 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016). Fans immediately went berserk on the Internet to decry the decision to cast Ben, recalling his poor performing in 'Gigli' and 'Daredevil'. The reviews were pretty kind to him after BvS (but not the film in general).
After so many ups and downs with the Dark Knight, now Robert Pattinson is reportedly in the running to be the next Batman for Matt Reeves’ 2021 movie. If cast, Pattinson would become the youngest big-screen Batman in movie history as he turned 33 just a few days ago.
How he will fare against the bunch of legendary actors will be pretty interesting to see.