First and foremost, Batman Begins will be released October 18th, 2005. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000AU9UYM/104-7773272-5559966?v=glance)
So with the release of the DVD, the debate of the summer is resurrected. The debate is two-fold: 1. Who was the best Batman? and 2. Which is the best Batman movie of all time?
If you're a ture Batman fan, nay, Batfan then at this juncture you would include Adam West amongst your list of actor's to portray the caped crusador. Let us pause for a moment to be intentional of including Adam West, the original Batman on the 70's TV series. Ah, but thats just it, he was on TV which clearly would not put him in the same arena as the silver screen stars you might say. Not so fast my friend. The old school Batman movie, aptly titled "The Batman Movie" featured the TV series' trademark onomatopoeia (Bang! Whack! For further clarification see: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=onomatopoeia)
So, now that everyone is clear on why Adam West is included in the Best Batman debate, as is the 1966 full length feature film "The Batman Movie" let the Great Bat Debate begin. Here is my list:
1. Michael Keaton (Batman, Batman returns)
2. Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
3. Adam West (The Batman Movie)
4. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
5. George Clooney (Batman and Robin)
Now, to me, Michael Keaton sits at the top of the list because he was believable enough in the actual bat costume, tough and just scary enough. However, where Keaton really soared was as Bruce Wayne. He had a type of charisma you just can't script. My vote for best actual Batman would be Christian Bale. Adam West gets the 3 spot because we have the same first name. Val and George are left to eat the crumbs from the table because their movies were bush league.
Greatest Batman Films:
1. Batman (1989)
2. Batman Begins (2005)
3. The Batman Movie (1966)
4. Batman Returns (1992)
5. Batman Forever (1995)
6. Batman and Robin (1997)
Keep in mind I was 5 years old when the first Batman was released, and I am proud to say my father and I made a special trip to Columbia to see it. I even recall eating lots of Batman cereal because if you found a special gold key you could win a power wheels Batmobile. I didn't win. Perhaps that is why I have a special affinity for the original Tim Burton film. I thought Batman Begins was fantastic. Saw it twice actually. Two days in a row! The Batman Movie gets number 3 because of the general campy-ness and also my fondness for it as a child. Batman forever was at least respectable with Jim Carrey and Uma Thurman co-starring. But Batman and Robin just doesn't work on many levels at all.
Now, in anticipation of the release of Batman Begins of DVD, I encourage you to keep other Bat Debates going with your friends at work, school, maybe even your family, but only discuss Batman related topics with your family if you can agree that it will not rip you apart, as discussion can be passionate and quite heated. If Grandma likes Batman and Robin the best, things might never be the same. Other Bat Topics could include:
Best Bat Costume (the nippled armor in Batman and Robin, horrible)
Best Bat Mobile
Best Bat Babe (Alicia Silverstone, Katie Holmes, and on a side note Kim Bassinger was my first Hollywood Crush)
Clearly, the Batman discussion will continue for decades to come. Post your thoughts, if you have any. Hopefully this very long post will not be in vain. Another sidenote, I am the proud owner of a Batman belt buckle. Beat that!