Bullz-Eye Round Table: Who's the Best Batman? Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Adam West

Bullz-Eye Round Table: Who's the Best Batman?

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At first glance, it might surprise you that a character that spends the majority of his onscreen time with a cowl covering his face would require a strong actor to play the part, but not everyone can pull off the brooding intensity required of Batman.  Several individuals have attempted the task of portrayed the Dark Knight of Gotham over the years, with each adding their own spin to the role, but the consensus as to which actor offered the definitive performance in the role…?  Um, let’s just say it’s not exactly unanimous.

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Participants:
David Medsker, senior editor
Jason Zingale, associate editor
Will Harris, associate editor
Jamey Codding, editor in chief and round table lurker

Will: Adam West. Next topic…?

Jason: You know what? Three years ago I would have agreed with you, but now that "Batman Begins" has been made, it's gotta be Christian Bale.

Will: You know, in all seriousness, I have to say that I remain quite happy with Michael Keaton in the role. Mind you, I was less satisfied with him in the role of Bruce Wayne, but he made a damned fine Batman, I felt.

Batman BeginsJamey: Good point. I didn't buy Keaton as Bruce Wayne. Too goofy looking. He pulled Batman off just fine, though.

Jason: As for Keaton, well, I've never been a big fan. I'll take one of the other guys any day.

David: I actually liked Keaton as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. That scene of him walking towards the Joker's henchmen, even as they're spraying bullets in the air (one of which clips him), spoke volumes about his character.

Will: And, y’know, as much as I loathe and despise “Batman & Robin,” I really didn’t think George Clooney was so awful as Batman. Better than Val Kilmer, anyway.

Jason: Thank you! George Clooney WAS a good Batman. It's a shame the material wasn't good enough to show it.

David: I don't even remember Clooney in "Batman & Robin." Perhaps that's a good thing.

Will: Interestingly, I don’t even remember him as Bruce Wayne. Only from under the cowl.

Jamey: “Batman & Robin.” Ugh. What's Chris O'Donnell been up to these days anyway, besides popping up on "Grey's Anatomy" for a few episodes last year?

Will: That poor bastard. You think that when you begin your movie career having to suffer through hearing the word “HOO-ah!” a thousand times, things can only get better…and then you’re handed “Batman & Robin.”

Jamey: And "The Bachelor."

David: And to think, when he was in "The Three Musketeers," everyone thought the world was his oyster. Kind of like Orlando Bloom now.

Jamey: I'm sorry, but I have a hard time taking a dude named Orlando Bloom seriously.

Will: To jump back to Adam West for a minute, I’d just like to applaud that man for having the balls to try and assure Tim Burton that he could still play the role of Batman in the 1989 film. Have any of you ever seen the oft-bootlegged Superhero Roast that ran as a TV special in the ‘70s? (I actually remember watching it when it originally aired!) West and Burt Ward reprised their roles as the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder. Oh, it was awful.

Jamey: How old was West at that time? 65? It would've been like watching Grandpa Simpson try to pull the part off.

On Chris O'Donnell: "That poor bastard. You think that when you begin your movie career having to suffer through hearing the word 'HOO-ah!' a thousand times, things can only get better…and then you’re handed 'Batman & Robin.'"

Jason: He should have hired West. At least WB didn't make the same mistake when casting Bruce Wayne for the "Batman Beyond" series.

David: Haven't seen the roast, but I did see "Batman '66" back in college, with the plastic shark. Niiiiice.

Will: Bat Shark Repellant Spray. ‘Nuff said.

David: Give Clooney credit for one thing: he said from the very beginning that if "Batman & Robin" didn't work, it would be all his fault. Now, even though that was clearly code for, "This movie is dog shit, and it's not my fault," you have to give George props for being a team player.

Dirty Harry
Ironically enough, Batman and Clint's Dirty
Harry met in the second round of BE's
Badass Bracket, with the Dark Knight
notching a narrow victory.

Jason: Hey, if I was an up-and-coming actor and was given the chance to play Batman, I would've done it in a heartbeat, too – no matter how much the script sucked. The movie may have been crap, but it helped him become a superstar.

David: I wonder if Val Kilmer made people call him Bruce on the "Batman Forever" set, like he made everyone call him Jim on the set for "The Doors." (To which Frank Whaley joked, "How about 'asshole' instead?")

Will: Actually, speaking of an older Batman, someone someday should make a film version of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” about Batman in his mid-‘50s. For years, it was suggested that Clint Eastwood play the part.

Jamey: Oooh, now that would be pretty sweet.

David: "You've just gotta ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, Scarecrow?” Yep, I'd pay to see that.

Will: Yeah, unfortunately, he’s too old to do it now. But, damn, who would be good for that role nowadays? The only person who leaps to my mind is Tom Berenger, but I’m sure Hollywood would never bankroll the pic with him in the lead. They’d try to take Christian Bale and pull old-man makeup on him or something.

Jamey: You don't think Clint could still pull it off?

Will: Well, I’m sure he could…except that he’s about 20 years older than the character’s supposed to be at this point.

Jamey: I'd think it'd be easier to make Clint look a few years younger than making Christian Bale look older.

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