What’s the one thing Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowrey, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck all have in common?
You guessed it: they’ve each delivered live-action performances as The Batman, spanning all the way back to 1943 when Wilson became the youngest (and least successful) interpretation of Gotham’s Dark Knight in film. Each actor has their own apologists, of course, but when renown voice actor Kevin Conroy was asked to name his personal favorite from the bunch, the industry veteran deemed Ben Affleck to not only be the best live-action incarnation of Bruce Wayne, but also the Caped Crusader himself.
That’s a debate that flared into life soon after Affleck’s debut as the character, which was arguably one of the few highlights to salvage from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. At the time, many critics proposed that Ben Affleck actually delivered a better performance without the cape and cowl, and that his particular take on Batman failed to emulate Christian Bale’s across the famous Dark Knight trilogy.
But in the eyes of Kevin Conroy, that’s simply not the case. Following his celebrated run in Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy is a bona fide veteran when it comes to Gotham’s watchful protector, so when CBR caught up with the voice actor at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, it didn’t take long before the conversation veered toward the DCEU and, specifically, Ben Affleck’s place in it.
Are there other Batmen that I don’t do? I haven’t heard of one. Yeah, I see them. You know, I thought it was weird when Warner Bros. didn’t give the franchise to one actor when the first started doing the films. You just assumed they were going to cast a Batman and he was going to carry the whole franchise.
But then when I saw the different ones — Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer, [George Clooney], and Christian Bale — all the different takes, this was really smart, because each actor does it so differently. And I love seeing all the different takes. I think some of them get Bruce Wayne more than they get Batman, and some of them get Batman more than they get Bruce Wayne. I think Ben Affleck has probably gotten the best balance of the two. He’s a really good Bruce Wayne and a really good Batman.
Look for Ben Affleck’s masked vigilante to return to the fray when Justice League swoops into theaters on November 17th. Beyond that, the Matt Reeves-directed Batman spinoff is also looming on the horizon, and despite reports to the contrary, it would seem Affleck has no intention of leaving the DCEU anytime soon.