Was Ben Affleck Really the Worst Batman Ever: DCEU Fans and Critics Compare Past Portrayals of the Caped Crusader?

Ben Affleck’s take on the Caped Crusader was not the most critically acclaimed, as Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was derided for minimizing the superhero’s complex origin story. The film was a character-lacking and action-driven cinematic spectacle that forgot the character’s depth and missed out on establishing a purpose for existence. 

Ben Affleck Batman v. Superman DCEU
Actor Ben Affleck attends The ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ New York Premiere | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The script was bulky and Affleck’s stoic and stern disposition was not akin to Bruce Wayne — a man whose silence is pensive, whose stares are exploratory. Affleck aimed, but due to a lacking script, he missed the mark. However, was Ben Affleck the worst actor to portray Batman? Or, have other misguided actors jumped into the suit only to disappoint a fan base comprised of tough critics? 

According to an online discussion concerning the worst Batman, two other actors reign supreme when it comes to awful Batman depictions. 

1. George Clooney: ‘Batman & Robin’

While George Clooney may be one of Hollywood’s most famous actors — boasting a portfolio filled to the brim with complex characters and convincing personas — Batman was not his claim to fame. He played the title character in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, but he failed to embody the caped crusader. 

When discussing the actor, fans explained that (like Affleck) Clooney suffered from a weak script; he would have stood a decent chance in the role had the writers and the director paid tribute to the source material. Clooney looked the part due to his Hollywood looks and innate charm, but he did not live up to expectations concerning the character’s comic depiction. When listing off bad Batman portrayals, fans stated:

clooney no doubt

Reddit User 

George Clooney is the only right answer

Reddit User

When discussing Clooney’s performance, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal explained: 

Of all modern Batmans, George Clooney bears the closest physical resemblance to the comic-book hero, but there isn’t much to say about his performance because there isn’t much performance to discuss.

In short, Clooney left much to be desired, and the exaggerated nipples on his bat suit didn’t help his case either. 

2. Val Kilmer: ‘Batman Forever’

Val Kilmer’s Batman in 1997’s Batman Forever was another disappointment, as he struggled to find what it takes to play the duality inherent to the Wayne/Batman role; a shift exists between the superhero and the man, yet there should be a consistency laying beneath the surface, as to avoid switches that feel abrupt or out of character. One critic explained that, once again, the script fell short, leaving Kilmer (with potential) to spew off cheesy comic book dialogue: 

Kilmer doesn’t get to show a lot of personality — he still has to think and speak in comic-strip balloons

Entertainment Weekly 

In short, Kilmer and Clooney both left much to be desired, but like critics, fans also noted the unfortunate drawbacks a bad script can lead to. And, Kilmer and Clooney’s talents were given no space to shine.