Since Tim Burton established Batman on the big screen in 1989, five actors have donned the cape and cowl, but which one is the definitive Dark Knight? This has long been a contentious topic and the answer will depend on who you ask. Many fans believe Michael Keaton’s performances have never been bettered, while others prefer Christian Bale’s grounded take on the DC Comics icon. Ben Affleck, meanwhile, was generally well received during the DC Extended Universe era, even if the movies he appeared in were not.
The Suicide Squad director James Gunn is the latest comic book movie expert to weigh in on the debate. Responding to a fan question during a recent Instagram Q&A, the filmmaker named Dark Knight trilogy star Bale as his favourite big screen Batman.
This wasn’t the only difficult question Gunn fielded on the subject of DC movies, either. He was also asked to name which actor he believes is the definitive version of the Joker, and with Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix’s critically-acclaimed portrayals to pick from, he was certainly spoilt for choice. Needless to say, he didn’t defy expectations and namedrop Jared Leto. Phoenix was given Gunn’s seal of approval in this category.
The Suicide Squad is being billed as a reboot of sorts, rather than a sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad, although Margot Robbie will be reprising her role as Harley Quinn alongside fellow returning actors Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis. Reports suggest the movie will take place after the events of Birds of Prey, but don’t expect it to be overloaded with shared universe elements. Warner Bros has been keen to move away from world-building in favour of standalone stories since Justice League‘s underperformance.
The Suicide Squad is expected to arrive in cinemas next August, just two months after the Caped Crusader’s next big screen outing. Robert Pattinson will become the sixth actor to star as Gotham City’s protector since the first Burton film when he makes his debut in The Batman, scheduled for release in June 2021.