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The Dank Knight Strikes Again: 25 Hilarious Bale vs. Keaton vs. Affleck Batmemes

Everyone’s got their own favorite Batman. For some, that version may not have made it to theaters yet, but for those movies that have adapted the story of Bruce Wayne for the big screen, each of them has done it in a different way. Part of the fun of anticipating the release of a new Batman movie is imagining the new directions and changes the actor and director will make for the character.

It’s not an easy role to play well either. His emotional range, and depth of experience, along with having the skills and resources to be basically good at everything, make him a hard guy to find the balance for. If the story of Superman is of how a young boy becomes a hero after being born differently; Batman is the story of how a young boy becomes a hero after he watches his life fall apart. Watching a guy put all of those broken pieces together and become Gotham’s greatest vigilante can be an inspirational sight, but no actor has quite captured full range of the idealized Batman. In order to help the folks at home weigh the various pros and cons of different actors that have played the Dark Knight, check out these hilarious memes.

25 HOW TO LIKE THEM ALL

Let’s get this one out of the way at the top. There is a way to appreciate Batman in all his forms. To be generous, we’ll call this the Kevin Smith approach. This meme breaks down each cinematic Batman in the most touchy feely way possible, and gets to some true thematic differences between the movies. Draw first a diagonal across the square, from Keaton’s Batman to Bale’s. Both of them take the character pretty dark, both in “freaky” and “dangerous” ways. However the two actors, coming from completely different backgrounds, brought very different takes, one embracing the comedic camp, the other going all in on symbolic martyrdom.

The reverse diagonal yields an equally interesting half of the film legacy. Val Kilmer’s “tortured soul” is a reach, but he’s definitely been the most sensitive Batman. Clooney’s introduction to the Batfamily contained missteps, but they were also first steps, and that movie had bigger problems. If you’re the kind of fan who insists on magnanimous love for all things Batman, counting your blessings with every single new release, good on your soul, and your blood pressure. Here’s an argument that can support love for any and every film. Each showed a new side of the character, but in all honesty, there were clear gaffes, and this list is going to focus on the memes that know it.

24 BALE’S TRILOGY

Michael Keaton was the first on-screen Batman of the modern era, first appearing in Batman (1989) and then reprising the role in Batman Returns (1992), encountering first the Joker, then the Penguin and Catwoman. Both of these Burton movies establish Keaton as a primary face on the Mount Rushmore of cinematic Batmen, but this meme argues that Bale deserves to be the number one face on that rock.

Christian Bale’s trilogy of Batman movies ranged from 2005’s Batman Begins, delves into the shadows with 2008’s The Dark Knight, and finally comes to an end with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, facing off against Ra’s Al Ghul, The Joker, and Bane respectively. These days, except for poor Ben Affleck, Bale is the go-to Batman for almost everyone when envisioning The Caped Crusader. Still this meme isn’t necessarily correct. It’s probable that Bale could have stopped at two movies and still held his place at the top of the monument. There’s even an argument to be made for a custom to be imposed for actors stop at two Batman movies, out of respect for Keaton taking that step back, passing on the mantle. This isn’t James Bond, some suave British secret agent, it’s Batman; the more complexity fans demand of their superhero, the more varied depth of performance they will require. Everyone wants to do a trilogy, for the grandeur, but two is the smarter play.

23 B V. B

In the previous meme, Bale tackled old man Keaton, now he’s going after (almost as old) Ben Affleck’s Batman. Affleck, born in 1972, is just two years older than Bale, but nonetheless, this meme asks who might win in a showdown between these two most recent on-screen renditions of The Dark Knight. In one corner, Christian Bale has actually played a boxer before in the The Fighter, albeit he was also an emaciated drug addict. But he’s also played a magician from the cheap side of London in The Prestige, so he might have some tricks up his sleeve. Affleck, in the other corner, is from Boston.

We’ll compare the Bale trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, purely to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), in order to keep it a fair fight. Zack Snyder’s direction has a dark tone that kept it linked to the previous movies, but the scope drove way into the characters and the comic book universe of Batman, rather than having any real world grounding. Snyder’s movie contained far more fan service than any of Nolan’s did, and at the best times, it had fun playing around in the Batman world. Christian Bale’s Batman always struggled to suspend that disbelief a bit more than that. More on this rivalry is to come.

22 AVATARS

This incredible animated creation illustrates every Batman costume that audiences have seen on-screen over the years; ever since Lewis Wilson’s turn as Bruce Wayne in the 1943 film serial (simply titled Batman), all the way through the three different Batman costumes donned by Ben Affleck in the latest movies. Especially worth noting: the Sonar Suit was donned by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995), giving Batman the ability to sense his surroundings by similar means to echolocation, when his other senses fail him. This came in handy with defeating the Riddler later on. Clooney adopted the Sonar suit later in his turn as The Caped Crusader and had it fitted with ice armor, naturally, to battle Mr. Freeze. Audiences weren’t pleased with this one, but the avatar mutes the anatomical oversights.

The subtle shift from the Batman Begins to The Dark Knight suit is observed and respected. Finally, Affleck’s suits, each reiterating the earlier point about Snyder’s commitment to fan service, sum up the hero’s costumed journey. In the earlier days of on-screen Batman attempts, the batsuit highlighted bright leather and garrish, over-costumed, versions of the hero’s garb. Over time, movies and audiences have evolved to become more familiar with the significance, and elegantly beautiful design of the uniform itself, so the latest iterations are directly inspired from Frank Miller’s art.

21 UNMASKED

This meme shows every villain in Gotham’s dream come true: an unmasked Batman. Side by side by side, Affleck, Keaton, and Bale make up, what would probably be the best approximation of what a real Mount Rushmore of movie Batmen would look like, order notwithstanding. It’s a good thing Keaton is in the middle, it doesn’t look like he’s at all able to turn his head. Fortunately, we as audiences watching all of these events happen, have seen the moment when Bruce realizes this, and asks Lucius Fox to make the adjustment.

The challenge of Batman’s identity against Bruce Wayne still leaves a lot to be desired from any movie so far. If Batman can’t make piece with his two alter egos and sync them into one, coming clean as the masked vigilante, then it’s time that he makes some peace with the city he’s protecting. At this point, the hero has been active so long in the city that it’s impossible that no one would figure out who the man behind the mask was, so it’s time for a story to be told about how Bruce Wayne, Gotham, and the Batman all make peace with each other. Or at least they try to… until it all falls apart.

20 CLOONEY’S SUIT

The masculinity of Batman is not to be trifled, sirs Clooney and Schumacher. As though George Clooney deserves any blame at all, he has issued a statement of formal remorse on the topic. As has the director in question, who appropriately shouldered all of the blame. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before. No one was complaining when Russell Crowe’s armor had nipples on it in Gladiator (2000), Ridley Scott’s Academy Award winning classical period redemption tale.

It’s, sadly, more likely that the nipples on Batman’s suit, sticking out, as they do, functioned as a lightning rod, absorbing all of the zap from the backlash to the movie at large. An offended fanbase clamped onto the anatomy of the Batsuit as the focus for their rage at feeling like their character wasn’t taken seriously. Which it wasn’t. Batman and Robin still today, as it was then, watches like a drekky mishmash of plot devices draped over a vehicle to propel movie stars and fill theater seats. Schumacher, and Warner Bros at the time, mistakenly interpreted Tim Burton’s dramatism as flair for flair’s sake, and sought to replicate only the superficial takeaways from those first two Batman movies. The biggest reason this meme clicks, is that the decision is being made in an office building, with a white collar Clooney making the note. The reductive memo that has made it up to the 47th floor is: No nipples -- check.

19 BATMEN

Standing in contrast to the meme that kicked off this list: this overview of every on-screen Batman to date takes a harsher, yet critically valid approach to everything that has come since the classic comic character. This meme has a great point, but not for the reason it thinks it does. Television or movie adaptations aren’t violating the franchise, but they are pushing and stretching the superhero in ways that are often uncomfortable. The fact that Batman has stuck around this long, and appeared in dozens of projects with no end in sight, shows that the character is alive and thriving.

Camp, cult, and crappy, is a rough way to sum up 35 years of attempting to shape Batman for broad audiences, for example. Over that time, Batman became a key character for adults and children at the same time. He’s the first hero to ever do so successfully. The original television “camp” Batman worked great for kids, but as the comic book version evolved, fans grew up and wanted to know more about the man behind the mask himself, his thoughts and feelings. Distilling that Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy, with all of its balances and tensions, to the point where it could thrive in the global film market, had some bumps along the way, but eventually found great success. Only to be summed up in this meme as criminal, cheap and croaky.

18 DUAL IDENTITY

One of the Dark Knight’s biggest themes is the story of a man, Bruce Wayne, who has shrouded himself so deeply in his alter ego that he becomes Batman first and the billionaire Bruce Wayne second. The animated version of Batman does the best job capturing this twist. Sadly, the best that’s made it into the movies so far is a play on his disdain for his billionaire status. The Bruce Wayne fans have seen on-screen so far hates fancy parties, but it’s never clear that it’s because it reminds him of the time he was a kid at his parents’ formal functions.

This meme probably isn’t disorienting on purpose, but it does drive home the two Bruce Waynes. None of those are happy expressions, by the way. Despite the work that’s been done so far, there’s still so much more to shown of Batman’s psyche as a symbol, hero and team leader. Christian Bale does a decent job approaching the guilt and responsibility on the Dark Knight’s shoulders, but that matures into complete ethos for Bruce as he evolves from Man into Batman. The shift between identities is far more intrinsic than a comic switcheroo at a party, an attempt to show the two halves of Batman has yet to be made.

17 CONROY

The cartoon Caped Crusader from Batman: The Animated Series (1992-95) has popped up in this comparison of the Affleck, Clooney, and Bale Batman impressions several times already. It’s simply because, as this meme agrees, Kevin Conroy’s performance as the flying Bat, is head and shoulders above, but also slanted away from, the rest. There’s a world of difference between vocal performance and carrying a film franchise, but still, Conroy did 85 episodes, then went on perform as the voice of the Dark Knight for numerous other Warner Bros. movies or shows featuring Bruce Wayne in a supporting role since then. He’s still active to this day, starring in the Justice League Action cartoon, and he’s submitted himself to a full convention schedule since the '90s.

For almost two generations, Kevin Conroy has been the voice of Batman in people’s living rooms. He growls a foreboding Batvoice when the situation calls for it, but he never gets made fun of on social media. He’s also capable of a vulnerable, casual Bruce Wayne, effectively flirty or paternal depending on the circumstances. Most importantly, he’s treated the character seriously while transmitting its charismatic essence. Pair that with more screen time and stories told, and he’s taken the greatest step toward creating the living ideal.

16 SKEPTICAL

There’s definitely a rigorous process of fan speculation and vetting for actors coming into play the Dark Knight. For the most part, the right approach has to be that you can’t please all the people all the time. As mentioned, Batman has taken on a James Bond-like aura of masculinity representation, as all male superheroes are somewhat meant to. The pressure on that casting is suitably enormous.

Affleck’s career was entering its sunset when we was just rumored to be getting the role, so it’s natural that fans weren’t excited about that vessel for the character, there’s no suspense there. Since the rumors, he hasn’t turned in a very surprising performance. Bale was (and still is) from the United Kingdom, a far more hard line serious actor, like asking Daniel Day-Lewis to come in and play Batman or something, so people were naturally apprehensive when he was announced to play America’s most conflicted good guy. Then-Michael Keaton was a comedian, who kind of made sense as a follow up to the visual of Adam West. He was funny, but he was also Beetlejuice (1988), so he could kind of act. This skepticism is deeper than any one actor, it nods to the cross purposes of fans who want to be pleasantly surprised and studios that want to be reliably repaid.

15 BRUCE WAYNE WITH BRUCE WAYNE

Here’s Gotham’s finest billionaire shaking hands with himself from different movies. For some reason it looks like this is Ben Affleck’s Instagram while doing research for the Batman role, but he’s asking the actors for some reason. This meme harps on George Clooney as the least Batman of them all, but really, it’s more likely Clooney was the unlikely recipient of an unlucky studio dice roll. George Clooney is a pretty muted, rigid actor, and one thing he definitely doesn’t adapt well into is an action role. Unfortunately, director Joel Schumacher’s vision of his two Batman movies consisted of bright colors and flashy stunts, connected by some sentences.

There’s a version of a George Clooney Batman movie, (probably in the same universe as Nicholas Cage’s abandoned Superman project), where Clooney is the Bruce Wayne that struggles with his inner demons, committing all of that emotion into his work. What if a slightly more vulnerable Danny Ocean Clooney, got a supporting Batfamily cast even half as strong as the one from Ocean’s 11? Instead of a heist, make it a thriller. Clooney was just a little bit too calm, cool, and collected to be Batman; no edge. Give him a movie where his life is out of order and he’s struggling to hold it all together, there’s a Batman audiences haven’t seen.

14 KEATON SPOILER

It wasn’t just the eyebrows, there was a real edge to Michael Keaton’s Batman. It’s the scenes where Keaton is trying to act like Bruce Wayne, in order to woo Vicki Vale, that sell his character most. That edge, where Bruce Wayne is a guy trying pass as something he’s not, disguising himself as an innocent, ignorant, billionaire playboy, came through on-screen. Maybe it was just the shifty stare, but Keaton’s Bruce Wayne had that feeling of being out of sync with normal civilians, most at home researching a case or patrolling in the Batmobile.

Director Tim Burton deserves credit for highlighting Batman’s dark side by contrasting it with the light, so effectively. Now, a lot of his work comes off as over the top, melodramatic, or even whimsical, but for whatever reason, that was the correct first note to strike with the Dark Knight’s first venture into modern Hollywood. Make the world so surreal that Batman is the most believable, empathetic, normalized character. Bale fans might argue that their Batman, in addition to completing a full trilogy, and achieving far greater special effects, deals with far more concrete concepts, grapples with reality more seriously. Those movies do try to go there, but for the best version of the comic book on-screen, it’s Keaton.

13 BATMAN BREAKDOWN

Here’s your Batman, by the numbers. Actually this chart does reveal some interesting findings. Starting out with the baseline. Presumably sourced from somewhere in the DC canon, this graphic presents Batman’s comic book height and weight, 74 inches, 6’2”, and 210 lbs. From there, every Batman and their own measurements are lined up against this chart. While Ben Affleck frequently gets chided for being the heaviest actor to play the role, it’s rarely noted that he’s also the tallest. Adam West was up there as well, bringing an appropriately commanding stature to the part.

Not to say that size is everything. Obviously Will Arnett and the Lego Batman would disagree, as would Michael Keaton, the shortest and slightest of the (full-body) actors on the list. In fact, many fans would argue that these two have made the best all-around movies so far. With Clooney, Kilmer, and Bale all hovering in the middle, just under six foot, this chart points out that audiences haven’t ever gotten the physically specified Batman from the comics. Affleck has the height, but his build was in no shape to scare off any bad guys. Once a Batman of an appropriate, height, weight, and broodiness factor is finally cast, maybe this character can hit his true heights.

12 ARGOMENT

To all the Batfleck critics out there who mourn the loss of a serious actor in the shoes of the Dark Knight, this meme has something to say to you. For Affleck, who won Oscars for both Good Will Hunting (1997), and Argo (2012), adding the Bat cowl to his mantle alongside his other trophies seems like a natural move for everyone involved. Affleck has shown serious acting chops in the past, and whether or not you think he’s clicked in his run of movies, he definitely appeared to be the right choice on paper.

Maybe the problem fans have is that Affleck, much like Clooney, tends to flounder when put in the role of an action hero. In projects where Affleck has the space to establish his personality with a lot of dialogue and emotional range, he can portray a balanced individual. In Zack Snyder’s take on Batman, and in the DCEU at large, Affleck has been forced into playing a cartoon character, and an approach was never agreed upon between actor and director. If the majority of the depiction of Batman is a brooding vigilante, audiences are going to react much in the way they do to this meme: why hasn’t this guy gotten over the chip on his shoulder? After all, he’s got two Oscars and he’s Batman.

11 AFFLECK, FINAL ANSWER

Well, it’s looking more and more likely by the day that Affleck is out as Batman, according to the opinion of this article. But just in case he doesn’t find a way to back out of the upcoming The Batman, directed (as of now) by Matt Reeves, and not yet scheduled for release, fans may see Affleck grace the DCEU with a performance once again. While his latest movie is still fishing around for a script, it’s time reconfigure the project around this meme’s main point, and build the entire thing around Affleck as Batman.

When the studio clings to a lifeboat like Ben Affleck as their anchor for a Batman franchise, they’re signing him far more for his ability to be Bruce Wayne, than for punching people on-screen. Affleck is the conflicted hero that true fans know the Dark Knight is, but unfortunately he’s not the guy you want to see get into a fist fight with anyone. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, as long as the next Batman movie doesn’t try to be the next Mission: Impossible movie. Play to Affleck’s strengths, throw some love into Bruce’s life, and maybe even take a chance to grow the Batfamily under this, more extroverted, Caped Crusader.

10 DID YOU HEAR

Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman are amused, in a scene that never would have occurred between the two during the Christopher Nolan films. Christian Bale was far the opposite from Affleck, a much more introverted Batman. Seeing Bale use Batman as an outlet for his grief and aggression looked amazing on screen and made audiences feel good for the character.

Part of the reason these two may be laughing is that they’ve actually seen Affleck play a superhero before. Before he flew into Gotham, Ben Affleck played the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil (2003). That film had a lot of problems, but Affleck didn’t come off as a sympathetic Matt Murdock either, another role that demanded just too much self loathing and darkness for the actor to muster in theaters. But Adam West would have a hard time playing the Daredevil also. Maybe he could get there, but it would take a stunning script. There is a way for Affleck to play a Dark Knight that matches his place in his career. An elder statesman version of Batman, or maybe even one that’s going through a rough, vulnerable patch. Affleck defenders, don’t let the taunts of Bale and Freeman deter you.

9 COWL COLLAGE

A selective revision of history, to be sure, but this meme represents one look at that Mount Rushmore of Batmen that every fan contemplates. From the left: Michael Keaton, Adam West, Lego Batman, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck. It’s not clear why Affleck is the only one not wearing a mask, this Mount Rushmore will disregard any subliminal editorial comment. The range shown on this mountainous monument is what’s most impressive, and why the array of faces is so necessary. Every different shade of Batman is represented here, all the way from the most surreal Lego portrayal, wonderfully voiced by Will Arnett, to the tough as nails Christian Bale version, the most real Batman yet. Adam West was made famous as television’s Batman, but in those days, TV stars were allowed to jump up to movies if they could. Batman, the 1966 movie, still watches the most like a Batman annual comic of any cinematic story to date.

Smashing all of these faces together not only literally represents a scattered timeline of Batman through the years, but it forces the fan to think about the differences and similarities the Dark Knight has held onto and let go over almost 80 years. Just don’t tell Kilmer or Clooney they were left off the list.

8 CLOONEY OVER ALL

Tragically, this will be most people’s reaction if you stop them on the street and venture this claim about Batman in film. It’s a tough argument to make, but this list has already defended Clooney as the wrong kind of Batman for the movie he was cast in. Something more along the lines of a team movie with a dialogue driven script would serve Clooney better. In his honest defense, there were many more things wrong with Batman and Robin (1997) than Clooney’s performance as Batman.

The argument Robin would probably go to make here in this meme, if he weren’t so rudely smacked down by Batman, is that Clooney suffered from being suffocated by way too many elements in that movie and not nearly enough orchestration to make it all work together. This was the phase of multiple villains, so it was impossible for Batman to gain any enmity for either Freeze or Poison Ivy or Bane. The introduction of Batgirl was also fumbled. The only real part of that movie was Clooney and Chris O’Donnell, who at least had been on this ride in the previous film, just looking around and trying to grapple with what’s going on. That Batman and Robin camaraderie hasn’t been done on-screen since.

7 WAYNE MANOR

This meme sets up a brilliant side by side by side of each of the mansions used in the movie to represent Bruce Wayne’s ancestral home. From the top, Burton’s artistic backdrop of Wayne Manor gets the point across in spirit, even if he didn’t use an actual house. The bat signal in the corner is a nice touch. Bale’s Batmansion, put forth by director Christopher Nolan, looks like a pretty standard victorian mansion, used in just about every movie. There’s probably a book somewhere of mansions to use as backdrops, we think audiences also saw that one at the end of National Treasure (2004).

The final mansion at the bottom is the most heavily designed for sure. Even the mansion in this shot shows off director Zack Snyder’s vision. The columns and decrepit air around that last Wayne Manor tell the whole story of the decay of the family and Bruce’s neglect after being gone for so long. It’s nice to see the sets do so much work. The mansion is hardly used in most movies, but it’s an essential set as the architectural front for the Batcave and a symbolic representation of Bruce’s heritage, more of an illustration of the burden on his shoulders.

6 KILMER?

Maybe it’s for a role? Ah, probably not, but the fact remains that Val Kilmer really did play Batman, as this meme reminds us all. Kilmer’s turn as Gotham’s savior has been largely minimized in this overview of Affleck vs. Bale vs. Keaton memes, but just in this one slot, this list will assign credit where credit is due, and let Val Kilmer share the blanket of Joel Schumacher blame.

Batman Forever (1995) was another story that underestimated the complexities of the Batman character, minimized his role, and by extension tried to do too much. The Riddler and Two-Face shared villain responsibilities, an unlikely pairing to start with, and the chemistry between Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones was notoriously awful. Despite the project falling down under the weight of itself around him, Val Kilmer does get a couple of parts about the role correct. His romance with Dr. Chase Meridian, aka, Nicole Kidman, was great on-screen, and any other time Kilmer had to do a tortured Bruce Wayne he was more than vulnerable enough to show that he carried weight of the world. That vulnerability also came in really handy when he delivers the final punches to the villains at the end, but by then everyone in the audience was rooting for someone to punch Jim Carrey’s Riddler anyway.

5 THE REPLACEMENT

More derisive laughter on Christian Bale’s part, hopefully this doesn’t signify any actual resentment on the part of one actor to the other. One thing fans of Affleck could say in critique of Bale’s performance: no one was really disappointed when Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne didn’t find romance with Rachel Dawes at the end of Batman Begins. Setting aside how lazy it was that that movie had to kill the female lead, solely in order to power the final stage of Bruce Wayne’s commitment to his mission, no one was rooting for that version of Batman to find happiness.

Engaging in a healthy romantic relationship or, potentially, leading a team of vigilantes around Gotham to fight crime was never really in the scope of Bale’s version of Batman. Instead, he was the actor that fleshed out Bruce Wayne’s noble struggle and sense of duty. Throwing away his ego entirely in order to submit to the demands of life as Batman, rising to become the hero his city needs, rather than deserves, were themes studied in all three of those movies. Through that trilogy Christopher Nolan did end up proving that Bruce Wayne and Gotham will always need each other. When it comes to being a real symbol for people to look up to, however, his character will have to be expanded by another actor.

4 FACE MORPH

This creepy meme tries to take another step toward finding that role model Bruce Wayne, that idealized character that all fans are still waiting to see on-screen. This guy kind of looks like a Fred Savage who just spent a lot of time in a cave. Who knows how this face morph software does its thing, but from an estimate of this facsimile, it looks like they took the eyes from George Clooney, which is an interesting choice, but that stare of his is the most disengaged of all the Batmen, which would make for an appropriately aloof Bruce Wayne. The nose, just guessing, has got to come from Val Kilmer, which adds up because Kilmer has been the most sensitive Batman. The cheekbones look like classic Adam West, which is another intuitive choice, since West was the most sophisticated Bruce Wayne, he’s the only one who’s held onto that old money aura that Bruce may hate, but still defines him.

Strangely, this mashup went with Bale’s eyebrows and Keaton’s mouth, and while a lot of fans may have been tempted to switch those, in order to capitalize on Keaton’s comic expressiveness, the brooding brow of Christian Bale is a better selection for the ultimate composite Batman. Then that leaves the witty, quiet at times, but also performative when necessary, voice of Michael Keaton for the full picture.

3 BATMOBILE

This meme shines a light on the the tragic lack of attention shown to the number one supercar. The topmost depiction from this meme shows the classic Michael Keaton version of the bat car, this is by far the most impressive on screen representation. Seeing this automobile on screen for the first time, after nothing but the Batman ‘66 coupe and comic book pages, must have been incredible. The sharp, bat-like fins coming of the tail, and the sleek, gun barrel design made the Batmobile stand out on the road and look amazing streaking across the screen in epic car chases.

Christopher Nolan’s update was an equally bold reimagining of the technology, focusing on it far more as an all terrain, almost animalian, vehicle, than a “car”. It was high tech, and totally different, and it looked… interesting in a car chase. The final picture here is the greatest tragedy. When it’s right next to the previous iteration, the latest version of the Batmobile, this one piloted by Ben Affleck and directed by Zack Snyder, looks pretty stale. The militaristic, ATV, theme was established in the previous movies and beat to death with all of the features, this new franchise makes the Batmobile they use look like an old model.

2 VULTURE

First he’s Batman, then he’s Birdman, and lately he’s become Vulture, the uppity villain from Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). This meme shows him reminding Tom Holland of that fact, and it also reminds fans how broad a career Keaton has had as an unlikely comic book character actor. If comic book movies have learned anything from the MCU, it’s that the first step to nailing an adaptation from the page to the movie, is hitting those jokes. One liners and gags go miles toward injecting that needed reality into superhero circumstances. The things going on in this world of villains and magic and powers are incredible and unbelievable, but for that one second where the hero makes the audience laugh, they’re automatically on their side.

Keaton started out as a stand up comic, briefly, and then he got his break as a comedic actor. Having that ability to revert to a humorous posture throughout his run on the Batman movies, kept a throughline going during those movies that the fans could hang onto. They trusted the funny guy would save it for them somehow in the end because he kept engaging the audience with a laugh throughout the action. It’s not on obvious strategy for the Dark Knight, but in Tim Burton’s Gotham, he stood out as the hero perfectly.

1 LAST WORD

No, you haven’t just scrolled into a time machine, that’s Ben Affleck from the past, reminding audiences to calm down, he’s got this. Until further notice, this is technically accurate, Ben is our Batman. This list has already gone to great lengths to argue that Affleck could potentially turn his trainwreck of a trilogy around, but here are some more tips for his Batman going forward: Batman probably doesn’t drink. Also, “Ben Affleck pouting” can no longer be a reasonable direction at any point in the movie. Batman might become brooding and studious, but Affleck is not the Batman to get lost in himself, it’s not a journey audiences want to go on.

A new director should give Affleck a whole new approach to the hero, and hopefully Matt Reeves can figure out how to get the most out of the actor who’s already in the role. Many, many fans will be arguing with this meme through their computer screen right now, decrying Affleck as the wrong man for the job, waiting for a hero with real edge. For the sake of the continued growth of the DCEU, Warner Bros should find a way to bring his latest film back on track and grow the Batman into the next generation of superhero movies.

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