In the wake of Robert Pattinson’s, ahem, controversial casting in Matt Reeve’s The Batman, The Hollywood Reporter commissioned a poll to find out how people felt about the pick. As it turns out, younger Americans like it, older Americans would’ve preferred Nicholas Holt, the other finalist. While they were at it they decided to see which actor people felt excelled in the role.
On Tuesday night, after the Hollywood Reporter dropped the survey — conducted by market research firm Morning Consult — the bigger winner was revealed to be Christian Bale. The star of the Dark Knight trilogy earned a “very favorable” impression from 39 percent of respondents, just ahead of Michael Keaton. Keaton played Batman in the first two Tim Burton movies and won “very favorable” reviews from 38 percent of people in the poll.
On a lower tier are George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Val Kilmer, who were the top choice of 19, 18, and 17 percent, respectively.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 18, 2019
Of course, there’s a big problem with this poll: It did not include the two men who have more screen time playing the Caped Crusader more than any others.
Adam West played Batman in the colorful hit TV series in 1960s. His campy take on the character, whom he somehow played in 120 episodes over just three seasons, has had an indelible influence on pop culture. Between 1968, when the last episode aired, and the 1989 release of Batman, West was the only live-action Batman there was. For many older fans, in particular, West’s portrayal will always be inseparable from the character.
They were also remiss to exclude Kevin Conroy, a prolific voice actor who has spent the bulk of his career voicing Batman in various animated series, television shows, and, notably, ten different video games since 1992.
People recognize that Batman the character is the same no matter the actor or the medium, so keeping West and Conroy off of this list feels arbitrary. While arguments over which actor’s portrayal was the best will rage on forever — particularly when the franchise is rebooted every decade or so — what shouldn’t be up for debate is that every actor who contributes something to the Batman legacy deserves considerations.
So when a survey like this is conducted after The Batman is released in 2021 we hope to see not just Pattinson, but West and Conroy as well, added as responses! Holy exclusion!