Batman is 77 years old today – which is crazy because he doesn’t look a day over 45! Ha ha ha please don’t exit out of my blog I do have something serious & interesting to say about it I promise.
Batman is huge. Along with Superman, he’s probably the world’s most famous superhero & for good reason too. Not only is his task mainly just to keep his city safe from criminals, but his whole existence is based on Bruce Wayne overcoming his biggest fears & embracing them to help form a new, stronger identity. Also, what people forget is that he is just a man: a man with a massive budget & pretty amazing skills given, but still just a man.
DC hasn’t had the best reputation recently – & rightfully so because their latest projects have been way under standard. But Batman Day has reminded me how great all the predecessors to Batman vs Superman were & why I loved them.
The trilogy the Christopher Nolan trilogy, mostly because it was my first proper interaction to Batman that I could fully appreciate. I watched the whole trilogy in one weekend with my family on holiday & couldn’t believe how much I loved it, & how i’d gone so long without seeing it. I was gripped by Batman Begins, & totally awestruck by The Dark Knight – & then seeing The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema at the end of the weekend BROKE me. I full on sobbed my heart out for the last fifteen minutes & then for another twenty in the toilets outside. My sister thought it was hilarious & took loads of photos as evidence.
I was just really emotional about it all.
To celebrate Batman’s big seventy-seven, I’m going to list you the best of the best – my favourite Batman roles & who played them. These are the people that have brought Batman to life for me & wrapped me up in the Gotham world, & that’s why I love it as much as I do today.
Best Martha Wayne: Lauren Cohan
I’m a little biased here as this is the only Martha Wayne performance with any significance to me, & also because I really like Lauren Cohan. In all fairness though, what I love about this small portrayal of Batman’s mother & the infamous murder scene that began it all in this year’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is the way it’s shot. I was obsessed with how they brought back the pearls flying everywhere just like in the comics & thought it was such a promising start to the film.
Harley Quinn: Margot Robbie
Despite the disappointment that was Suicide Squad, you cannot deny that Margot did not slay in this role. She absolutely made it her own, bringing so much life to the original & much beloved comic book character & you have to hand it to her. She’s so amazingly convincing as the psychotic former doctor besotted with the Joker that she makes you go from laughing to your heart hurting for her in a matter of seconds & she is incredible.
Best Catwoman: Michelle Pfeiffer
This was tough for me because I ADORED Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman. I thought she was a brilliant, modern badass lady who was an evolution from the original character; but I’m saying Michelle for this one because she was the true embodiment of the comic book Catwoman. Her in Batman Returns is iconic – there’s just something about her wild personality & crazy approach to her life that makes her so much more genuinely liable than the one seen in The Dark Knight Rises.
Best Jim Gordon: Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is everything Commissioner Gordon should be. Dedicated to his work, his family & to doing the right thing he is one of the most genuinely good characters I can think of from anything. Portraying him as so emotionally invested in his work & home life whilst maintaining his badass-ness as the vigilant & brilliant officer he is needs a very talented actor who can portray that without crossing the fine line to melodrama & Gary Oldman is perfect. I’m mad impressed by the way he runs the department & touched by how he cares for young Bruce Wayne & that’s what Jim Gordon needs to be.
Best Alfred: Michael Caine
Alfred was already a fantastic character, but the way Michael Caine played him was like he was born for this role. He’s phenomenal, so intricate in all sides of the character & I love him so very very much. I feel that what Caine brings that others may lack is the heartfelt, emotive side to Alfred that shows that yes, he does deeply care for Bruce Wayne just as he did with his parents. He’s lovely & makes me wish I had my own Michael Caine Alfred to bring me a cup of tea in the morning & tell me everything will be okay, as well as stop me from being stupid too. He’s the perfect friend really.
Best Robin: Joseph Gorden-Levitt
This might be controversial, as JGL isn’t really portrayed as Robin at all in The Dark Knight Rises & instead as Blake the police officer. But that’s what I loved about it – I thought it was such a genius way to include him in the final film of that trilogy in a sophisticated, more modern way. Instead it introduced him at the origins of Batman & Robin with him helping the Dark Knight in time of crisis all alone, all without fear & all brilliantly. I’m sure that even if he wasn’t revealed to be Robin I would have listed this character anyway but wow, when that reveal happened in the cinema I have never heard a more happily shocked gasp across the entire screen.
Best Joker: Heath Ledger
I mean, other than using the argument that the classic is better, is there any portrayal greater that Heath’s Joker? Not only is it the best Joker performance but one of the best & most iconic performances of all time, & won Ledger an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the 2009 Academy Awards. Heath put everything of him into this role & created a terrifying, psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic villain with no empathy that is incredible to see no matter how many times you’ve seen him do it. It really is one of the most unbelievable performances of all time, & I don’t see how anyone could ever top it.
Best Bruce Wayne: Christian Bale
Bruce Wayne is meant to be a massive, billionaire playboy idiot with a tragic past & a never ending stream of ridiculousness coming from him. Of course, that’s all hiding his true identity of this amazing, damaged man doing everything he can to prevent anyone living the life he has led. I think Bale is fantastic at playing this double agent type character, so easily portraying each side to Bruce Wayne but not so differently that it doesn’t feel the same person, & I think that takes massive skill.
Best Batman: Ben Affleck
I’ve actually surprised myself with this one, but I do actually think Ben Affleck might be the best Batman. It’s Christian Bale again who is closest to my heart in terms of sentimentally, but imagining Affleck in the role that Christopher Nolan gave Bale is amazing & I think it would have been stunning. I totally think that Ben Affleck, had he not been hindered by the shoddy productions of his only films in the role, would be amazing. I think he will be in the future.
I’d lost faith in the Batman franchise this year, but writing this has restored my hope in it for years to come. I love Batman, & I hope that he gets a chance to shine again in the near future because he’s the best vigilante in the world for a reason.