2. Adam West
Holy reference, Batman! This is the second best person to ever play Bruce Wayne? Living cartoon character Adam West? Yup. The reason why he’s such a good punchline isn’t because Batman ’66 sucks – because it doesn’t – or because West is a bad actor – because he isn’t. People could clown on Batman ’66’s BAM POW action because the people involved knew exactly the kind a clever farce they were making and played it to the hilt. And no one did that better than Adam West.
No matter what ridiculous explanation or plan he had to explain, Adam West kept a straight face throughout, never once letting on that there was anything remotely silly about fight a man pretending to be King Tut. West’s Batman is dedicated to fighting crime on all fronts, and he has a wholesome intensity to both battling Joker or telling motorists to buckle their seatbelts. West can even keep his dignity when in a surfing contest with the Joker. He’s as committed to the character as anyone before him, and you can’t beat that as an actor.
1. Kevin Conroy
As if there was any other person who could be here. Kevin Conroy is in his third decade of playing Batman, and from The Animated Series to Arkham Knight, he hasn’t missed a step. As a kid, hearing him shout “I… Am… BATMAN!” was like a magic spell on a generation of geeks. He said it with such conviction that it has made it true from here on out. No matter who else is playing Bruce, Conroy will be always be Batman.
If there’s one quality that puts Conroy over the edge of his competition, it might just be adaptability. He’s played Batman in so many cartoons, games, even an animated film or 10, and no matter the artistic choices around him, he makes his Batman work for the setting while still being authentic to the character. And because the creators know he’s game, they can stick Batman in any type of situation and know Conroy can handle it, whether he’s hanging out with the Justice League, having a climactic battle with The Joker, or even singing the blues. There may be other Batmen in the decades to come, but there’s only one Kevin Conroy.
So, it that who you would vote for? Is someone obvious missing? Did you actually like Val Kilmer’s work? Tell us in the comments, but you have to be at least as big a Batman fan as Bat-Mite.