Five Reasons Why Christian Bale is the Best Batman Ever

I realize we’ve done this for other characters, but I found this post asserting what the headline says, and while I’m not sure about his reasoning, I agree with the conclusion. With the upcoming Spider-Man and Fantastic Four sequels, I realize I’m not nearly as excited as for the day long from now, when we’ll get the next Nolan/Bale Batman film.

This article is about who is the best actor to play the character, but that question is a non-starter. Is there anyone one out there who didn’t like Bale in this role? My god but this movie did The Dark Knight right. I know it’s not new news, but looking through this just reminded me of it. I wonder what the reaction would have been like had we been doing podcasts when this came out. I can only wait for the next one.

And, just for the record, The Prestige is shooting up there among my list of favorite recent movies. Batman vs. Wolverine, but with magic, fake beards and David Bowie!


  1. I agree Bale so far has been the best Batman on film. I think Bale’s “Scary voice” is a little over the top but at least he’s separating Batman from Bruce Wayne. I’m dying to see what happens with the next film. I don’t know about the whole joker-cutting-his-lips-thing but Nolan earned enough bank with me that I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Val Kilmer could have been an excellent Batman if he had a director that wanted to make a Batman movie. He got lost in rubber nipples, Jim Carey & neon day-glow. Now I think he’s a bit old Batman.

  2. I’d actually like to see Clooney do another superhero movie; he’s one of the few actors who can spout comic book dialogue and not make me groan or roll my eyes. George rocks.

    That said, yes, Bale was the best Batman of them all.

    I’m still more excited to see the Marvel movies, though. 🙂

  3. Of course Bale is the best…he did American Psycho, dude. American Psycho.

  4. And that confession….means absolutely nothing. (AP fans will get that)

  5. I agree with best, but Adam West keeps me infinitley more entertained. Especially when he’s beating a giant rubber shark off his leg.

  6. some days you just can’t get rid of bomb!

    I liked Bale, but I don’t think he had enough chin to pull off the cowl. I know that’s a minor nitpick, bet hey, whatever. I really disliked his Batman voice, but I am a spoiled girl who grew up with Kevin Conroy, and really, who does a better Batman voice?

  7. NOBODY!

  8. Yeha Kevin Conroy deserves at least some recognition for putting in the most hours as Batman.

    Bale, amazing though, and all around good actor. I might be one of the few who watched him in films before batman (American Psycho, Equilibrium, The Machinist). So I can watch him on film and not think “Batman” i know some of my friends, not so much. But that, to me, just proves what a great job he did.

  9. Batman Begins got me into comics. Bale was my first real viewing into the Dark Knight and it’s his voice that I hear whenever I read a good Batman comic

  10. The voice was awesome. It was exactly what I imagined in my head when he would scare the pee out of thugs, and Bale went for it, all out. His physicality was also overlooked. He learned that all new fighting style, and got super buff. He’s gotta be the superhero actor closest to having a credible superhero physique.

  11. Are we comparing Bale to other Batman actors or to other superhero actors? I am going to go with other Batman actors.

    Michael Keaton made a great Batman in the suit. The opening “I’m Batman” scene of the first movie is one of my favorite scenes in any superhero movie.

    Val Kilmer was just not good.

    I thought George Clooney had the charisma of a billionaire playboy, but he didn’t bring anything to the Batman side of the story.

    Bale did a decent job of nailing both. He sold Bruce Wayne as the goofy playboy and Batman as an inhuman symbol of fear to criminals. Also he had a great relationship with Alfred. Father-like, but also a partner-in-crime kind of relationship that was missing in all of the other Batman movies.

    Batman Begins isn’t in my top five of favorite superhero movies. I would have to go with Mask of the Phantasm before I would go with Batman Begins. I think I have said it here before, but I will type it again. The graveyard scene, in Phantasm, when Bruce is pleading with his parents is what Batman is all about for me. He is a guy who was attacked by a terrible trauma. He is a little crazy, but his craziness leads him to do something very noble.

  12. Plus he can sing! (See Newsies).

  13. Are we comparing Bale to other Batman actors or to other superhero actors?

    Whichever. No rules. Just talking about it.

    No one has mentioned Reign of Fire, a very underappreciated action/sci-fi flick. A movie that also thinks Matthew McConaughey could really shine in the right kind of comic book movie role.

  14. Was Bale the best Batman ever? YES. I liked what Michael Keaton did, but c’mon– physically, it’s hard to “suspend disbelief” THAT MUCH– to buy him as Batman (with the flabby midsection and weak chin).

    Was Batman Begins the best Batman movie ever? Probably, although there it’d be a closer call, between Batman Begins and the first Batman movie (with Michael Keaton).

    As for George Clooney— like many, I have a “mancrush” on the guy. But, by his own admission, he killed the franchise– although thankfully only until Chris Nolan and Christian Bale came along.

    Clooney should play The Spirit in a film version of the Darwyn Cooke series.

  15. No one has mentioned Reign of Fire, a very underappreciated action/sci-fi flick. A movie that also thinks Matthew McConaughey could really shine in the right kind of comic book movie role.

    “Bring him to ME, Quinn!” Love that movie.

    I’ve been a Christian Bale fan ever since being one of the 10 people who saw Empire of the Sun in the theaters in 1987.

    As for George Clooney— like many, I have a “mancrush” on the guy. But, by his own admission, he killed the franchise–

    That’s just Clooney being adorably self-effacing. Let’s be honest – Schumacher killed the franchise. It didn’t matter who was in the suit for that one. Although I thought Clooney made a pretty good Bruce Wayne.

  16. I blame Schwarzenegger for the previous franchise’s demise. I know it is irrational and Schumacher deserves my ire more, but I hold AHHnold responsible. When he was cast for that role and not Patrick Stewart, I wept. Oddly enough, I have always thought Schwarzenegger would make a decent Xavier (kidding, of course).

  17. Bale is maybe the only actor whose presence is enough to get me to watch a movie, regardless of its overall merits – for example, Harsh Times, or The Machinist. He’s riveting in both – if you like his work, check out either. Intense is one word for him.

  18. Of course, Batman Begins is probably one of the definitive comic adaptations in the last few years. I loved Bale in the role, and I remember when he was first cast in the role, my fanboy heart said, “It’s about goddamn time!”

    Having said that, I think that a lot of credit should go to Christopher Nolan. It was no doubt his vision along with David Goyer’s script that put that extra sheen on the movie. Bale would have been nothing if he was working for Schumacher.

    I will admit that The Dark Knight is probably in the top one of my most anticipated movies list. Can. Not. Wait.

  19. Clooney as The Spirit? Hmmm…maybe. He’s a little old, but he’d have the attitude. Maybe animated?

    Sadly, a Spirit movie would never make any fuckin’ money…

  20. Christian Bale best Batman? It’s not even a close race. I can see him as more of the dark tortured soul than any of the others. Yet he can turn on the charm when he has to.

    Oh and Connor, I didn’t see Empire of the Sun in the theaters. I think I was 7. But I was one of the 20 people who saw it on video. And I too have been a fan of his since that movie. And Reign of Fire is so sweet. I love that movie. A tank and a battle-axe in the same movie!!

    And as for Dave. I think Patrick Stewert would have made an awesome Mr. Freeze. But that would have been like putting the cherry on top of a pile of shit. Nothing could have saved that steaming pile of a movie.

  21. The Prestige rules the roost. Great way to tell a story.

    And Bowie.

  22. I agree, Bale is the best Batman so far, there was a time when I thought David Duchovny (Early X-Files years) was the best choice.

    As much as I think Bale nailed the character, Nolan and Goyer deserve equal credit, the movie was more into the psyche of the character than the effects and it gave him more room to work.

    The only lowpoint in the movie for me was the batmobile chase, but I guess they couldn’t help it. Even Katie Holmes was fine, although either Natalie Portman or Sarah Michelle Gellar would have been so much better.

    I’m very excited about Dark Knight, one of the top 3 movies for next year (I’m still dissapointed in Heath Ledger as the Joker, I would have gone with Tim Roth or Adrian Brody, but I gave Nolan and everyone my trust).

    I agree with James, Clooney for The Spirit!

  23. Sadly, a Spirit movie would never make any fuckin’ money…

    You know this movie is in pre-production right? Frank Miller is directing.

  24. Josh: I actually did not know that (shows how current I am)– but a simple google search reveals you are correct! Any idea whether there’s any connection between what Miller’s doing and the current Darwyn Cooke version? That is, is Miller basing the movie at all on the current series?

  25. He’s basing it on the Will Eisner era material, not Darwyn Cooke.

  26. “He’s basing it on the Will Eisner era material, not Darwyn Cooke.”

    That’s a somewhat problematic statment, as Eisner did The Spirit for decades (and decades), and there is a distinct difference between earlier work and later work. I know some rave about “the Spirit’s dark and gritty years” but I have reprints from the 40s that are more rough, rather shoddy, and seem overly factory produced (literally – it was Eisner that started the factory style of producing comics, with several people working to finish a book while working on many others at the same time on an unbelieveably tight production schedule). I think Eisner himself would probably prefer the later materiel he had a more direct hand in, which has a lighter touch. That’s the stuff Cooke taps into.

    Take Frank Miller — Could you say, “Someone is doing a Frank Miller version?” without specifying if you are talking about his first Daredevll run, DKR, or Sin City and 300? That’s 20 years plus, and Eisner did the Spirit longer than that.

    I am usually a little suspect of people that say “I am doing the AUTHENTIC version!” (Like Tim Burton) which basically means they are going to do their version and use the name of the original as justification.

    Batman? I can NOT WAIT until that darn movie comes out. My most anticipated movie. Very nervous about how they do the Joker, but like others I am inclined to trust Nolan. If he gets it wrong I’ll put on a purple suit and kill him (kidding!) And Goyer and Nolan are the dudes, Nolan especially. When you consider how much story was in Batman Returns vs. how little story was in the Schumacher turds, it’s quite amazing. And even in the Schumacher films with all their “SFX” the sets look like they were attacked by an army of interns with glue guns. The Nolan film? He could have made half as good a movie as the two previous and still been loved by the fans, but he went beyond and gosh don’t we love that. Beautifully designed film, well done.

    Bale’s Bat voice? I can deal with that, makes sense. MY PERSONAL NITPICK – When the HELL are they going to design a Bat Cowl that conforms to the back of the head? Is this so difficult? At least Bale didn’t look like he was wearing a neck brace under the mask like the other actors, making it necessary to turn his entire body sideways to look left and right (gosh I hated that).

    Bale popping up in Nolan films is not an accident. Directors always try to get actors they like working with, and know will match the vision they have for what they want to do.

    When is this movie coming out? I want it NOW. NOW. NOW.

  27. You know, I’m a big Frank Miller fan and all, and I know him and Eisner would good buds/colleagues…BUT I’m very uninterested in his Spirit movie. Maybe I’m just enjoying the way Cooke is handling the character right now that a darker, Miller-fied version seems not to be what I want. Who knows though? He could surprise us all…

  28. Well, it’s nice to see someone’s got the sack to put it out.

    I don’t know if audiences will go for it, though.