Five different actors have played Batman on the big screen–not counting Ben Affleck in the upcoming crossover film–and many film and comic fans have their favorites. Some prefer Christian Bale for his darker and grittier performance as Batman, while others swear by the fun and campy Adam West, and still others swoon over the dashing George Clooney. But one particular actor made the most out of the role and is not only a great Batman, but one of the best—if not the best—actor to portray him on the big screen. Which actor is that? Mic hael Keaton! Michael Keaton played Batman in the original 1989 Burton film and its sequel, Batman Returns. Why does he rank so highly among the actors who have played this iconic role? Read on to find out!
He wasn’t physically perfect
There’s a tendency for Batman films to make Batman into a nearly perfect superhero crime fighting machine—just look at the extensive shots in the Nolan Batman films that establish Bruce Wayne training to keep himself in exceptional physical shape. Keaton’s Batman, on the other hand, wasn’t physically perfect. On his own, he wouldn’t necessarily be able to fight crime or defeat as many bad guys as he does—but instead of being a physical juggernaut, Keaton’s Batman utilizes all sorts of tricks and cheats to keep himself ahead of the game. For example, he may not be able to dodge a bullet every time—but he can wear bullet-proof armor that will keep him safe.
His Bruce is a bit quirky
Another common thread in the later Batman films is to make Bruce Wayne a very charismatic, suave playboy who can essentially snap his fingers and bring any number of ladies to his side; to say nothing of his ability to get himself out of sticky situations with the press. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, was more along the lines of what you might expect from someone who spends half of his days dressed like a bat fighting dangerous criminals; he was a bit quirky, with an odd and sometimes awful sense of humor, who is frequently shown becoming distracted or being a bit spacey, even when he’s being interviewed for the newspaper. This Bruce Wayne is not only more believable (who wouldn’t get a bit spacey with Batman’s job?) but more interesting as well.