Face of a Franchise: The Batman!

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

During my time as a passenger aboard Spaceship Earth, six live-action Batman films have been produced. Spanning across nineteen years, these movies have seen four different actors wearing the cowl, each offering their own take on the Dark Knight. As viewers, we’ve been incredibly privileged to see such different interpretations of a classic superhero.

But alas, only two of these thespians’ performances are worthy enough to engage in a fight to the death.

In 1995 Joel Schumacher took the reins of the Bat-franchise by directing Batman Forever. Forfeiting the gothic tone set by Tim Burton in the two previous films, Schumacher decided to deck everything out in neon and black light, even the antagonists. The director also decided that Gotham’s First Son would be played by Val Kilmer, who had previously made a small fortune by singing for psychedelic rock outfit The Doors. The one-time rocker shows the restraint of a seasoned-veteran, sometimes barely acting at all! Even surrounded by titans like Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, and Nicole Kidman, Val Kilmer certainly leaves his (understated) mark on Batman Forever.

Two years later, Joel Schumacher figured out a way to insert even more neon lasers, glow sticks, and black lights into a Batman flick! The result was 1997’s Batman and Robin. Surprising his entire production team, Schumacher fired Val Kilmer and replaced him with George Clooney, an emergency room doctor who’d never acted before. Clooney broke new ground with his portrayal of Bruce Wayne, interpreting the character as a good-looking playboy billionaire with grey hair. Clooney truly stole the show, which is especially impressive given the fact that Schwarzenegger won an Oscar for his depiction of Mr. Freeze.

So, who best captures the dynamic nature of the Dynamic Duo’s leader? Is it Val Kilmer or George Clooney?