ByCatrina Dennis, writer at
Host, Reporter, Podcast Queen | @ohcatrina on twitter/fb/insta |
Catrina Dennis

With Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice filming well under way, it's worth taking a look back at how Ben Affleck's predecessors filled the wildly expensive shiny loafers of everyone's favorite philanthropist, Bruce Wayne. Set the cape and cowl aside for this list - today, we're focusing specifically on how these actors portrayed Wayne himself. While Bruce Wayne is, of course, a billionaire playboy philanthropist, there are major qualities that define him and make his playboy billionaire philanthropist-ness unique. (Your time will come again, Mr. Stark. I promise!)

With that said, the role has been commandeered and defined in Hollywood by a mostly memorable set of actors and performances. With that said, I feel that almost no one has fully encompassed Bruce Wayne as a character (let's be real: NONE of the actors that have played Bruce had black hair or blue eyes like his comic book counterpart), so making this list was not easy task. Here's my ranking - I sorted each actor by accuracy in physical and personality traits, NOT by their respective flicks.

1. Val Kilmer

Hear me out again: This is ONLY about Bruce Wayne. For all intents and purposes, Kilmer edged out in first as the essential Bruce in my mind. At the time of his portrayal, Kilmer boasted conventionally good looks (all wrapped up in a fitted tux) and enough acting chops to tell an origin story in under five minutes. In fact, that particular scene is probably the top reason why he's at the top of my list - his narration walks the delicate line of classic cartoonish Batman and the modern-day hardened Dark Knight. Relive it below:

Rico Suave Playboyishness: 9/10

Classically Polished Good Looks: 8/10

Overall Bruce Waynetitude: 19/20

2. Christian Bale

Depending on which Batflick is your favorite, Christian Bale comes in as a close second for looks and personality. While I'm not necessarily a fan of Bale's third go-around as Bruce, I thought he shined brilliantly in The Dark Knight and encompassed Bruce's personality perfectly. What's more, he's very closely matched physically to his comic book counterpart, missing only the striking blue eyes comic readers are used to. Regardless, it's hard to argue against the fact that this particular scene dominated when it came to showing off the flair of Bruce Wayne:

Rico Suave Playboyishness: 7/10

Classically Polished Good Looks: 9/10

Overall Bruce Waynetitude: 16/20

3. Adam West

  Future Mayor Adam West
Future Mayor Adam West

While Adam West's Batman has gone down in history as one of the silliest (and therefore most beloved) performances in the cowl, his Bruce was an everyman-yet-billionaire and played a much smaller role in the series than the caped crusader himself. Still, physically, he matched Bruce well (in that he filled the Tall Rich Guy needs of the role) and his performance at both Batman and Bruce Wayne spawned golden scenes like these:

Rico Suave Playboyishness: 5/10

Classically Polished Good Looks: 8/10

Overall Bruce Waynetitude: 13/20

Here's where we start treading muddier waters...

4. George Clooney

  Okay, hear me out!
Okay, hear me out!

This particular choice was one I had to get a second and third opinion on to make sure that I wasn't, in fact, totally bonkers. Here's the deal: George Clooney is an amazing Bruce Wayne. As Batman, though... maybe not. Clooney was a leading man in Hollywood and on T.V. at the time and was, apparently, very hot (Note: Clooney being a heartthrob did not dawn on my young mind until my mother demanded to see him as Batman. Imagine my surprise... and my dad's) and had the attitude to go with it. Here's how Bruce Wayne says he doesn't care about your flowers:

Rico Suave Playboyishness: 3/10 (I mean, lighten up on the sassyness, Bruce)

Classically Polished Good Looks: 8/10

Overall Bruce Waynetitude: 11/20

5. Michael Keaton

  I promise this makes sense.
I promise this makes sense.

Keaton's ranking here is decided primarily because he made for a wonderful Batman, but a terrible Bruce Wayne. Despite not being "Bruce Wayne" handsome, it's really the way he tries to sell the character's personality that did it in for me. If you judge him primarily by the way he reacts to women - something Bruce always has done fairly well in every respect - Keaton falls drastically short.

I mean... how awkward was that?

Rico Suave Playboyishness: 2/10

Classically Polished Good Looks: 4/10

Overall Bruce Waynetitude: 6/20

With all this in mind, the comic book and comic movie-loving community eagerly (and nervously) awaits the coming of Ben Affleck's Bruce. While it's hard to argue that Affleck already has Bruce Wayne down to a T when it comes to the Wayne visage, it's hard to tell what kind of character he'll bring to the screen.

  A pensive Bruce Wayne on set
A pensive Bruce Wayne on set

And for those that missed it, here's footage of a scene where Bruce (portrayed by Affleck's stunt double) saves a little girl.

Either way, I can't say that there has ever been a perfect, true-to-comics live action Bruce in film or television, at least in my opinion.


Who do you think made the best BRUCE WAYNE?


Latest from our Creators