Throwback Thursday: The Many Faces of Batman

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Uproar, surprise and angst came when Warner Bros. recently cast Ben Affleck as the caped crusader known as Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel. Some think Affleck isn’t quite “Batman-material,” but that begs the question, who is Batman supposed to be?

With little thought, most superhero fans can name four or five different actors who played Batman on television or film. Affleck is one of nine actors who have donned the Batsuit on the small and big screens (Think that’s crazy? Superman has been played by at least 16!). Each brings his own spin to the iconic hero. Performances aside, this Throwback Thursday we’re highlighting each Batman.

1. Lewis Wilson: While many think Adam West was the first to portray the Bat on TV, he in fact wasn’t even the second. In 1943, Wilson starred in the original 15 episode Batman series alongside Douglas Croft (Robin). Wilson brought both charming and engaging qualities to the role.

Our Space Robert Lowery2. Robert Lowery: In 1949, Lowery brought Batman back in another 15 episode TV series. Unlike the first show, Batman and Robin incorporated more DC comic characters to play alongside Lowery’s nonchalant Batman.

3. Adam West: West moved Batman into the spotlight, sharing the screen with Burt Ward (Robin). Batman ran for 120 episodes from 1966 to 1968. West’s portrayal was more light-hearted and comical than serious. He reprised his role for the 1970′s animated series and once more for a 1990′s Batman remake. Nowadays, West makes occasional cameos on TV and at comic conventions.



Our Space Michael Keaton Cannes4. Michael Keaton: In 1989, Tim Burton brought Batman to the big screen when he cast Michael Keaton. Fans initially criticized the selection, sending Warner Bros. more than 500.000 protest letters. Ultimately, Batman became the biggest hit based on a DC comic until 2008’s Batman Begins. In Batman and Batman Returns (1992), Keaton plays a distracted Bruce Wayne—he’s never mentally there as Bruce Wayne, because he’s always Batman.

Our Space Val Kilmer5. Val KilmerBatman Forever (1995) was originally planned as another sequel in Burton’s franchise, but the studio considered the film too dark for audiences and picked Joel Schumacher to give the new movie a more familiar tone. This also meant a new face under the mask. Kilmer’s more human and heroic and less ruthless take became popular among some Batman fans.

Our Space Clooney George6. George Clooney: Wanting an actor who could play the comedic elements of the script, Schumacher cast the “Sexiest Man Alive.” But playing Batman takes more than just comedic presence. Batman and Robin flopped, with fans criticizing Clooney’s performance, the dreadful plot, poor casting and hokey costumes designed by a toy company.

7. Bruce Thomas: First portraying Batman in a series of OnStar commercials in 2001 and 2002, Thomas reprised the role for the pilot episode of the short-lived TV series Birds of Prey (2002).



Our Space Christian Bale8. Christian Bale: The most recent on-screen Batman, Bale played up the tortured soul behind the mask in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). His portrayal won him the utmost praise from Batman’s biggest fans.

Our Space Ben Affleck 20099. Ben Affleck: Although we’ve yet to see him don the cape, mask and alter ego, Affleck will share the screen with Henry Cavill in 2015’s Man of Steel sequel. All eyes are on Affleck and his portrayal as his previous superhero role, Marvel’s Daredevil (2003), was an utter failure. Can he prove he’s a worthy Batman?

Cover Photo Source: Gwendal Uguen via Flickr
Photo Source 1: Paramount Pictures via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 2: Georges Biard via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 3: Georges Biard via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 4: Trelawney3 via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 5: Asim Bharwani via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 6: Angela George via Wikimedia Commons

 Alex is a junior executive at SJG. A native of Spain, he majored in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Málaga. His personal philosophy, stay focused on the game, drives his work and creativity. Alex is hardcore gamer, movie theatergoer and is always online. You can always find him catching up on the latest TV show and discussing it on the net.