The Best Batman, a Top 5 List

Lists, Ranking

Who Is the Best Batman? A Purely Subjective and Definitive List

5 — Adam West

Holy Best Batman list, Robin, it's a picture of Adam West.

Adam West just barely makes the list of best Batmans (Batmen?) because he’s maybe the worst Batman. He’s goofy, awkward, and corny. He’s neither cool nor frightening. So, why’s he on this list? His car. The 1966 Batmobile is hands-down the best Batmobile. His car looks like the Ford Motor Company was designing a Disney ride and the ABC executives were like “put some bats on it, that’ll work.” 

Also, the drawn-on eyebrows; I like a Batman who’s always a little surprised. This is not a Batman you want to save you. He probably couldn’t. 

4 — Kevin Conroy

If you were born between about 1980 and 1990, Kevin Conroy is Batman. He’s not a brooding near-maniac or a swaggering lothario. He’s a self-assured crimefighter who strides into every scene, handles what he’s got to handle, and strides out. He’s the embodiment of calm and cool. Personally, I don’t find this portrayal of Batman particularly believable; a man with that much money and that much composure would likely fund a private police force or start a charitable organization. Dressing up like a rodent just isn’t what healthy people do. That being said, Kevin Conroy’s Batman is so damn cool. 

This is the Batman you’d want to save you. 

3 — David Mazouz

How does a rich kid turn into a maniac who fights armed bad guys with his fists and a rubber suit? He does it the way you fall asleep; slowly at first, and then all at once. David Mazouz in Gotham portrays a young Bruce Wayne who is casting in every direction for a sense of meaning to his parents’ murder. He doesn’t emerge from that pearl-strewn alley with a mission. He’s carefully guided along his path. There are several points throughout the series where the viewer can see him turning into an angry, bitter single minded vigilante. Furthermore, there are several moments where supporting characters nudge him along that path. 

It takes a village to raise a Bat. So, I guess, an honorable mention should go to Alfred who encourages such aberrant behavior.

2 — Ben Affleck

Batffleck stars in some pretty maligned movies, but that doesn’t mean his portrayal of Bruce Wayne is without merit. He plays a Bruce Wayne who is more stable than his nighttime activities would indicate, but he’s also an older Batman. If Bruce could survive to 50 years old (about 20 years of punching bad guys) while still being the Bat, he would have to address some of his neuroses. Batffleck is brutal in a way other Batman iterations aren’t. He also represents a blending of the Bat persona and the Bruce persona. He’s always a little bit angry and growly, but he’s also a little bit of a swaggering playboy at all times. 

This is an old guy who’s had it up to here. He’s an aging athlete who knows he’s only got a few good seasons left. 

1– Christian Bale

Christian Bale in the three Christopher Nolan films delivers the most realistic portrayal of Bruce Wayne. That’s not to say the most realistic world or the most believable gadgets (he puts a bullet back together to get fingerprints). I’m saying that of all of the iterations of a man who dresses as a giant bat and fistfights criminals on rooftops, the Bale version is the most believable. He’s sullen, depressed, moody, and morose. He obsesses about his childhood love and sinks into a deep depression when she’s gone. He growls like a madman because he thinks it’s frightening. 

In the Bale version, Batman isn’t the alter-ego: Bruce Wayne is. Billionaire playboy is an act; an obsessive depressed man barely hanging on is the real him. 

Not On The List

Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. Why? Because I don’t like ‘em. That’s why. Don’t like ‘em and don’t like the movies either. Fight me.