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  1. Here’s my personal ranking… 1) Michael Keaton – No one is ever going to top Keaton’s Batman for me. I know that he was a far cry from the character we know from the comics, and Burton took a lot of heat for not respecting the character, but I’ve always liked his take on Batman. Keaton was by far the most intimidating of all the on-screen batmen. I love the whole silent but deadly thing he conveyed. He never said much when in the suit, and that just made him all the more imposing. Bale and Pattenson did a lot of yelling and screaming at people when in the bat suit, and as intimidating as Batman yelling at me would be, it doesn’t come close to that cold, silent stare that Keaton gave his enemies. Keaton’s Batman never lost his composer like we saw Bale and Pattenson do, but he still came across as the most dangerous. While most iterations of Batman has lines that he won't cross, you really get the impression that Keaton’s Batman is capable of anything, and that he’s suppressing something really dark. Also, no one showcased the Batman/Bruce Wayne duality as well as Keaton did. He went back and forth from playing a lunatic in a bat suit to an awkward guy who’s trying to have a normal life and normal relationships, but just doesn’t know how. You can really see the tug-of-war going on in his head. 2) Robert Pattenson – Oswald comes in at number 2 because his version felt closest to the definitive comic book Batman for me. “The Batman” got the character right more than any other film, in my opinion. Unlike the other movie versions, where something always stood out as radically “off” from the character that fans know (like Batman murdering people, for example), I’m having a hard time finding any glaring thing in Pattenson’s Batman that isn’t true to the character. His Batman is also the most grounded. Watching the film, I never once felt like I was watching a superhero movie. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I guess depends on who is doing the viewing, but for me, Batman is one of those characters that works best in a more grounded setting. 3) Ben Affleck – I feel like its hard to properly judge Affleck’s Batman without him having gotten a solo film. He always had to share the screen with other superheroes. We never got to see this Batman in his element. Like Pattenson’s Batman, I want to see him in a more grounded setting, just fighting crime in the back alleys of Gotham, not saving the world from aliens with the Justice League. While I really disliked BvS, I do appreciate that it showed us an aspect of Batman’s character that had so far been absent in previous portrayals. Namely, the paranoid, untrusting Batman who doesn’t like anything or anyone he can’t control. Anyone who’s read comics long enough has seen this side of Batman, and BvS gets points for finally bringing it to a mass audience. 4) Christian Bale – I love the Nolan films, but Christian Bale has become my least favorite cinematic Batman (besides Clooney and Kilmer). It’s funny because, when I walked out of the theater after seeing Batman Begins, I remember thinking “They finally got him right.” But in hindsight, Bale’s Batman is the most un-Batman-like. For me, he came across as the most unmotivated of the Batmen. We all know that, if there is one word to describe Batman, it is obsessive. And depending on who’s writing him, “disturbed” might be an applicable term as well. But Bale’s Batman didn’t come across as obsessive or disturbed, just depressed, and in need of constant encouragement from others. You get the sense that his Batman is just as much of a mask as his Bruce Wayne, as opposed to Batman being the real persona, something that, again, the Burton films really nailed. And for Batman, he also relied too heavily on others. If it weren’t for Alfred’s lessons on how the criminal mind works, or Lucious Fox supplying him with all of his technological gadgets, you would have to wonder how effective he would have been in his vigilantism. Also, I get that he’s a billionaire and has access to all sorts of technology, but he isn’t Iron Man. His suit could do way too much. I’m not going to comment on Val Kilmer or George Clooney because those films were pure cheese and I can’t even take them seriously. Your turn!
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