“I don’t know how many there are, like 77 Batmans. They think they should form their own union,” Michael Keaton joked in a recent interview. And he should know, being one among a small legion of well-known actors to play the role. With each new performance comes a new take on the character and a unique adjoining tone, which ranges from kitschy comedy to relentless gloom.
Indeed, one will never confuse Christian Bale’s Dark Knight with that of Adam West’s campy crusader. (Speaking of Bale, check out the actor’s best movies).
Despite the dizzying array of interpretations, Batman’s origin story remains more or less the same. As in the original DC comic, young Bruce Wayne loses his parents to a violent tragedy. He grows up to become a millionaire playboy by day and Gotham City’s foremost vigilante by night. When not taking on petty criminals, he squares off against supervillains such as The Joker, The Riddler, and others. (Looking for more superhero fare? Here is every Marvel movie ranked from worst to best).
Given the consistent nature of Batman’s backstory, it’s all the more impressive that the character has been portrayed in so many different ways. Judging by current trailers, actor Robert Pattinson will keep things in dark territory when he appears in “The Batman,” scheduled to arrive in 2022.
Meanwhile, both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton will reprise their respective roles as the Dark Knight in the upcoming DC film “The Flash,” which is likewise slated for a 2022 release. And so the wide-reaching legacy of this endlessly alluring character continues into yet another decade. But who played him the best? Let’s find out.
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