Batman has appeared in over a dozen live-action movies in the past 75 years, but what makes for the perfect Dark Knight-led film? The caped crusader first got his live-action debut in the 1940s with serials starring Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery, and received a campy adaptation with Adam West in 1966. It wasn’t until the late 1980s with Michael Keaton’s portrayal that he really rose to prominence. Keaton starred in two Tim Burton films, before both left the character behind, allowing Val Kilmer and then George Clooney to take over.
As acclaimed and ridiculed as these various installments became, Batman received a proper reboot from Christopher Nolan. His Dark Knight trilogy began in 2005 and has proven to be the definitive version of the character on the big screen for most. But, in an age of shared universes, it wasn’t too long after The Dark Knight Rises‘ debut in 2012 that Ben Affleck was cast as the next take. Affleck came in to help lead the DC Extended Universe (as it’s unofficially named), and his older – sometimes more violent – version of Batman won over plenty of viewers. But, after three appearances in as many years, his time appears to be done.
Through all of these years of films and different actors bringing a new take to Batman to screen, there are movies starring Batman of all kinds. Since Batman is also possibly the biggest comic book character ever created, his large fanbase has latched on to different elements of the character over the years. This can lead to debates over which Batman is best, but if we take a look at the larger picture, what would it take for a perfect Batman movie to be made? In the latest Screen Rant video, we attempt to answer this question.
As we argue, the keys to creating a perfect Batman movie include showing the difference between Bruce Wayne and Batman, having a director who sees their vision through, creating a believable costume, finding the right villain, keeping it grounded, and more. For many, the perfect Batman movie already exists with Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
The 2008 hit manages to check a lot of the aforementioned boxes. Christian Bale’s performance is equally believable as Bruce Wayne as it is when he’s under the cowl. Nolan managed to ground the story in a real world setting, working in the street level roots, his plethora of gadgets, and more to his Batman. And, the film arguably holds the greatest performance in the comic book movie genre with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as Joker. That said, there’s also plenty of fans who view Keaton or Affleck as the perfect portrayal of the Dark Knight.
Even though the perfect Batman movie may have already been made, this isn’t stopping new solo movies from being created. Matt Reeves is currently finishing up a script for a brand new take on the Dark Knight, one that will still be set in the DCEU continuity but focus on a younger Batman. This will result in someone else playing the role instead of Affleck. If the newcomer can nail his performance and Reeves manages to make the rest of the world around him work, then it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the upcoming Batman movie could contend with the versions that came before.