All Live-Action Batman Ranked, From Worst To Best

Riddle me this – who is the greatest live-action Batman to grace our screens?

Every generation gets the Batman it deserves, though not always the Batman it needs, from the comical Adam West, uncomfortably sexy George Clooney and boomer fave Michael Keaton, though their ranking will depend on much of a Bat-fan you are. There have been many great men who have donned the cowl of the Dark Knight, though not all of them are great, or even mediocre. 

The latest to suit up is Robert Pattinson in Matt Reeves’ The Batman and when his casting was announced, there were many naysayers who very clearly have never seen the talented actor in films aside from the God-awful Twilight series, so we thought we’d put together a list ranking our favourite Batman portrayal thus far, from worst to best. 

#7. George Clooney 

As seen in: Batman & Robin (1999)

Clooney is great as an actor, but even he cannot convince anyone that he was a great Caped Crusader. The TV actor turned movie star played the Dark Knight in what many would call one of the worst live-action Batman movies to ever exist. Clooney’s Defender of Gotham did very little to differentiate the suave playboy and Caped Crusader. Heck, he didn’t even put on ‘the Batman voice’ (fans know what I mean here), and spent most of the movie galivanting in a super strange nipple popping Batsuit with hands on his hips. His thirst for vengeance was not as much as his thirst for his fancy toys. 

#6. Val Kilmer 

As seen in: Batman Forever (1995)

We’re going to say this – Kilmer deserves better. He earned the role of Batman after Michael Keaton, which for starters, is already hard to beat. Kilmer was a solid Batman for the most part. In fact, he would be a great Batman if he was in a different movie, and not the campy, ridiculous and over the top Batman Forever. Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne delved more into the character’s psychological depths and he even nailed the father-son dynamic between Batman and Robin, but Kilmer seemed out of place within the chaos happening in the rest of the movie. I mean, the serious Kilmer was going up against the ever so expressive Jim Carrey as The Riddler. Kilmer deserves better, but it is what it is. We’re sorry Iceman.

#5. Ben Affleck

As seen in: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Justice League (2017), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Like Pattinson, folks were not at all convinced when Ben Affleck was announced to be the next Defender of Gotham. And right after the perfect casting of Henry Cavill in the Man of Steel? Admittedly, we were one of those who had very little faith in Batfleck. 

These doubts were somewhat mitigated in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when he brought us a different Batman we’ve never seen before. He was brutal, unforgiving and most impressively, was capable of going toe to toe with Superman. There were parts that felt very un-Batman, like using firearms and lethal force, but for the most part Affleck did an okay job but he didn’t wow us. Unfortunately, we saw significantly less of Batfleck in the theatrical cut of Justice League, and the star stepped away from his planned solo movie not so long after. It’s a tad of Sadfleck, though we will see him in the upcoming The Flash movie one last time. 

#4. Adam West 


As seen in: Batman (1966)

West’s Batman didn’t just get a movie, he had a TV series from 1966 to 1968. He became a generational punchline, but in truth, he was the perfect Dark Knight for the 1960s Batman television series and its big-screen adaptation. The movie and series emphasised the colourful and surreal world of Gotham City, and proudly presented its rogues in the quirkiest ways. West was perfect for this lighthearted take on the vigilante and despite the meme of it all, West can actually fight compared to other Batmans on this list. 

West made being Batman FUN, so say what you want about his blue and grey tights and his ridiculous batsuit all you want, but he was the most relaxed and confident Bruce Wayne in history. He was the Batman of his time, and has earned the heart of many even generations after.

#3. Michael Keaton


As seen in: Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992) 

Keaton put the ‘Goth’ in Gotham City. When Keaton was announced to play the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman films, many were apprehensive. Many saw him as a comedy actor, and setting him up against the likes of Jack Nicholson as The Joker, Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as The Penguin didn’t help either. Keaton immediately proved them wrong with his shadowy and often silent Batman, who intimidated with imagery and dark whispers. 

Keaton had a maniacal glint in his eye that made viewers believe that his Bruce Wayne was actually obsessed enough to put on a rubber costume and drive around Gotham in his armoured tank. Many versions of Batman throughout the years have treated Bruce Wayne as an afterthought but Keaton’s wounded, vulnerable and slightly unhinged version of Bruce Wayne underneath the costume was always front and center. Hey, he is Batman.

#2. Christian Bale 


As seen in: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

There are plenty of fanboys (and fangirls) who would dub Bale as their Batman. And for a long time, there were no contenders who could take his spot as the best Batman. Bale also had the advantage of having a complete trilogy arc over all the others before him. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is a masterpiece in itself and had iconic lines like “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me” – which Bale delivered with fitting dramatic flair.

Bale is also no stranger to playing dark characters having portrayed a violent sociopath in American Psycho so he pretty much had the Dark Knight’s dark side nailed down. His Bruce Wayne was an amusing facade of a carefree playboy. Put together, Bale had the bat-cage (hah). The only downside – and we’re just being nitpicky here – is that his Batman voice got a bit too gravelly. 

#1. Robert Pattinson


As seen in: The Batman (2022)

The most recent outing as the Caped Crusader, Pattinson’s Batman is glum and pissed, edging close to moral and physical exhaustion. By comparison, Batffleck looks almost cuddly. His reclusive Bruce Wayne and crimefighting Dark Knight are psychotic almost but in a very grounded and dramatic way. Unlike all the other Batmans, who are well in their years as the vigilante, Battinson is only a rookie, only two or three years into his vigilante career. His version of the Dark Knight is a closer iteration of the Detective Comics Batman and boy can this man fight. He doesn’t just punch, he beats them up – hard. The darkness in Battinson is comparable to Keaton’s, hands down and his chopping scenes are just as good, even more enjoyable than West’s. 

Emotionally, Pattinson is able to convey his pain effortlessly, even when beneath the mask. Whilst Pattinson’s Batman doesn’t have the perfect rich playboy vs. Dark Knight dichotomy that has placed Bale so high on the list, Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is so incredibly unique and grounded that you believe that Pattinson IS Wayne. Pattinson embodies Wayne in his twisted ways and rookie Batman better than Bale, and anyone else. Seeing how Pattinson is a little bit of many best Batmans, and is still able to find a voice that is uniquely his, we think he is deserving of being the best Batman. 

Special Mention: Kevin Conroy

As seen in: Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse Crossover 2019) 

Yes, this list is based on live-action Batmans, but there’s no way we’re not mentioning Conroy. Conroy is the definitive Batman for many, as fans have even put him on a pedestal – and with good reason. His Batman has a deep, powerful, mysterious and commanding voice that matches the gothic style of Batman: The Animated Series. He also has the excellent ability to change registers between the brooding Batman and the soft-spoken Bruce Wayne. 

Conroy is incredibly versatile, authoritative and emotive. A street-level detective. A grizzled mentor. A superhero. There was nothing Conroy couldn’t do. Aside from all the iconic voice acting, Conroy also briefly played Bruce Wayne in TV’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover series, so he’s technically live-action too. Regardless, there’s no denying his legacy and that is why he deserves a special mention. 


Lewis G. Wilson and Robert Lowery also portrayed the Caped Crusader but that was during a time when Batman was hardly a matter of public interest. A man donning a bat costume wasn’t something that was considered mainstream, understood or appreciated, hence including them in the list, wouldn’t be a fair reflection of their abilities or the shows they were in. 

That said, here’s our complete list of live-action Batmans, ranked from the worst to best. Do you agree? Who’s your favourite Batman? Let us know! On the other hand, check out all live-action Catwoman ranked from worst to best.