The Late Movies: 7 Actors Who Played Batman Before Ben Affleck (And What Fans Had to Say About Them)

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News broke last night that Ben Affleck will be the next actor to portray Batman on the silver screen. Fans immediately took to the internet to decry the decision, recalling his previous roles in the poor-performing Gigli and Daredevil. Here, a look back at previous actors who've donned the costume and how fans and critics received their performances.

Lewis Wilson

Wilson was the youngest person to play Batman. He appeared in the 15-part 1943 Columbia serial. Critics complained about everything from his weight to his accent.

Robert Lowery

Lowery took over the role in the 1949 follow-up serial, Batman And Robin. He was a forgettable actor in this role.

Adam West

West played the Caped Crusader from 1966 through 1968 in the Batman television series in addition to a film spin-off. Fans were torn: Either they loved his campy portrayal or hated it.

Michael Keaton

Keaton's casting in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film caused such controversy that 50,000 protest letters were sent to Warner Bros’ offices.

Val Kilmer

Kilmer put on the suit in 1995 and received mixed reviews. Director Joel Schumacher called the actor “childish and impossible."

George Clooney

It's safe to assume Clooney regrets his decision to star in Batman & Robin. It was the worst box-office performer of the modern Batman movies and Clooney once joked that he killed the series.

Christian Bale

Though Bale is largely favored as the best actor to play the Dark Knight, he was not without criticism. NPR’s David Edelstein described his husky voice as “a voice that's deeper and hammier than ever.”

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August 23, 2013 - 10:00pm
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