Batman is one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, which has made playing him a difficult task for more than one actor. (Playing characters with rabid fan bases can be a double-edged sword.) Here, take a look back at eight actors who've donned the Batsuit—and how fans and critics reacted to their performances.
1. LEWIS WILSON
Lewis Wilson was the youngest person to play Batman. He appeared in the 15-part 1943 Columbia serial. Critics complained about everything from his weight to his accent.
2. ROBERT LOWERY
Robert Lowery took over the role in the 1949 follow-up serial, Batman And Robin. He was a forgettable actor in this role.
3. ADAM WEST
West played the Caped Crusader from 1966 through 1968 in the Batman television series in addition to a film spin-off. Fans were torn: Either they loved his campy portrayal or hated it.
4. MICHAEL KEATON
Michael Keaton's casting in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film caused such controversy that 50,000 protest letters were sent to Warner Brothers’s offices.
5. VAL KILMER
Val Kilmer put on the suit in 1995 and received mixed reviews. Director Joel Schumacher called the actor “childish and impossible."
6. GEORGE CLOONEY
It's safe to assume Clooney regrets his decision to star in Batman & Robin. It was the worst box-office performer of the modern Batman movies and Clooney once joked that he killed the series.
7. CHRISTIAN BALE
Though Christian Bale is largely favored as the best actor to play the Dark Knight, he was not without criticism. NPR’s David Edelstein described his husky voice as “a voice that's deeper and hammier than ever.”
8. BEN AFFLECK
Most recently: Fans immediately took to the internet to decry the decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), recalling his previous roles in the poor-performing Gigli and Daredevil.