Considering how Batman has been continually recast since first appearing on the silver screen in 1943, it’s fair to say that not everybody agrees on which actor portrayed the Dark Knight best. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I can name one in particular any longer because most have brought something special to the role. Though if I were asked point blank, I’d say Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck are among my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Adam West very much, but his interpretation is sort of in a category of its own.
Naturally, those fortunate enough to find themselves cast as the Caped Crusader are sometimes asked how they viewed their predecessors. Will Arnett, for one, was presented with that very question while promoting The LEGO Movie 2, and said the following to Den of Geek:
“I’ve really enjoyed all the cinematic Batmen for different reasons. And I think they’ve all been interesting. I really liked what Ben did. There were parts about it that I thought were really fantastic. Even Clooney’s Batman is underestimated – there’s a whimsical element to it that I quite like.
“The one that I grew up with – the first one that we all saw in the cinematic universe – was Michael Keaton. He’s such a brilliant actor, and he did have this kind of playful quality to him. I think he struck a perfect balance. And I’d love to see somebody return to that.”
From the sound of it, Arnett and I are in the same boat. And while I wasn’t the biggest fan of 1997’s Batman & Robin (though I’ll still watch it because it features Arnold Schwarzenegger), I do think George Clooney was in the wrong movie. Had he been enlisted for something on the level of Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan’s productions, people may have sung a different tune.
What’s actually kind of funny about Joel Schumacher’s, um, timeless classic is that all scenes taking place within Wayne Manor are relatively straight-faced. It’s only when the heroes leave for Gotham City that everything spirals out of control. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch the flick with that observation fresh in your mind.
For more on Batman & Robin, feel free to revisit our 20 year retrospective published in 2017. As for Will Arnett, you can once again catch him as the blocky Dark Knight in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which is now playing in theaters.