Joel Schumacher: "Val Kilmer Was The Best 'Batman'"

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

Both of Christopher Nolan's Batman films are two of the most successful superhero movies ever produced by Warner Brothers, period. In fact, if we're looking at box office figures, Nolan's 'Batman Begins' did fairly well, and its sequel, 'The Dark Knight' holds the number three spot as one of the all time highest grossing films in the U.S. Yet for some people, this success does not mean Christian Bale is the "best" Batman. According to them, he is not the most accurate or interesting portrayal of the character, and that's fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you agree with that statement, then you have something in common with 'Batman Forever' and 'Batman and Robin' director Joel Schumacher. You know him, he's the guy that put nipples on the Bat suit. How can we forget?

Strike a pose, Batman.

In a recent interview Schumacher stated that, according to him, the best portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne by far was actor Val Kilmer in 'Batman Forever.'

"For me, Val Kilmer was the best Batman. I thought he looked great in the costume, and I thought he brought a depth to the role. I thought the relationship between Val and Nicole Kidman was very sexy. Jim Carrey, of course, was the perfect Riddler. And then I had the great Tommy Lee Jones and a lot of other great people are in that movie."

In Schumacher's eyes, not only was Kilmer the best portrayal of Batman, but Jim Carrey was the best Riddler! Yet, when Schumacher was directing Batman at the time, he absolutely could not bear working with Kilmer, which is why the actor never returned to shoot the film's sequel. In fact, following the film's shooting, Schumacher claimed that Kilmer was childish and should seek psychological help. Yet, perhaps Schumacher is able to overlook the difficulty of the creative process after the fact to see Kilmer for what he was in the film -- Batman.

== TEASER ==

The director also stated that the film he really wanted to do following 'Batman Forever' was 'The Dark Knight,' and that he did not have that opportunity because Warner Brothers insisted he do 'Batman and Robin,' instead.

"I think I'm the most envious of Chris Nolan because he got to do The Dark Knight—and that's the one I begged to do as my second Batman film," he said. "I wanted to do a whole other thing, because we had kind of re-invented franchise with Val as Batman and it was a very young, sexy, and much less expensive movie. We brought in Robin and I wanted to make The Dark Knight desperately, but the studio didn't want that and it's their money and they're my bosses."

Considering that 'Batman and Robin' made the least amount of money at the box office and Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' is the third highest grossing film in American cinema, I'd be a little bit jealous of Nolan too.

Everyone's forgetting about Michael Keaton, though. He was a pretty good Batman, right? Which Batman is your favorite? Do you agree with Schumacher?

Source: IFC

#1 Edited by Illuminatus (9509 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't stand Schumacher anymore. He's a narcissistic, incompetent filmmaker who got lucky with Falling Down, Phone Booth, and Tigerland. His most recent films are evidence that without a well written script and decent actors, he's nothing more than a fraud. 
His opinions on the Batman franchise are worthless at this point. 

#2 Edited by sinful (149 posts) - - Show Bio

Whatever Joel.....Keaton and West..forever the Best!

Bale imo played a better Bruce Wayne tho.

#3 Posted by biggkeem89 (1421 posts) - - Show Bio

Bale is the best Batman, but I will say Kilmer was the best Bruce Wayne. Bale comes off as a little stale for Bruce

Let the hate commence...

#4 Posted by drumguyrob (42 posts) - - Show Bio

This is clown shoes. As cliche as it sounds, Christian Bale's portrayal of the character embodies everything that Batman is. I know most of the industry hipsters don't allow themselves to enjoy anything that isn't more than ten years old, but if you compare the Batman we all know and love in the books to Christian Bale's Batman, he is by far the clear choice. I recently returned to the four 80s/90s Bat films to remember what they were like as a child; and while Kilmer was the best of the four movies, they were all laughable at best. Comic book or not, Batman is not supposed to be lighthearted (unless we're talking about Adam West's romp which belongs in a category by itself). Batman is gritty, dirty, crime; and every film iteration should follow.

#5 Edited by Om1kron (1170 posts) - - Show Bio

Schumacher is a Fu3$#@ing hoot... I like the physicality that Bale brings to the role, but personality wise I think hands down Michael Keaton played the better batman than any of them. Plus he doesn't sound like a deep breathing rapist when he's in his bat costume.

the man

Apparently I'm not the only one who HATES the batman voice CBale does.

Bales batman voice

#6 Posted by Pr1mus (4 posts) - - Show Bio

Christian Bale is the best Bruce Wayne. As for Batman, Micheal Keaton was a pretty good Batman but i still like Bale better.

Also thank god Warner didn't let Schumacher do The Dark Knight!

#7 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

@biggkeem89 said:

Bale is the best Batman, but I will say Kilmer was the best Bruce Wayne. Bale comes off as a little stale for Bruce

Let the hate commence...

This is an excellent observation... I struggle with who the best "Batman" is/was but it helps to think of the Bruce Wayne and Batman portrayals separately...

#8 Posted by keithmoon316 (35 posts) - - Show Bio

Michael Keaton gets my vote.

#9 Posted by MrCipher (276 posts) - - Show Bio

Is anyone else freaked out that he used the word "sexy" twice in referring to Kilmer and Batman in general? This coupled with the whole Bat-Nipple thing makes me squeamish and a little concerned about Shumacher's perceptions of what makes a "best Batman". And of course the pic above of Kilmer is overly-dramatic and more than a little fruity for Bats.

#10 Posted by TheAntiVillain (74 posts) - - Show Bio

ehem... keven conroy

#11 Posted by pikahyper (12114 posts) - - Show Bio

pfff, Kilmer only had three good movies in the 90's; The Saint, The Ghost and the Darkness and Tombstone, then of course he should have retired with his dignity intact after Red Planet in 2000.

#12 Posted by Scike_K (8 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm still partial to Michael Keaton's Batman. There was something very elemental about his portrayal that I don't even think Bale has managed to capture. Keaton really nailed the dark and brooding aspect of the character, where Bale to me comes off kind of cold. Now, with that said, Bale owns the portrayal of Bruce Wayne. He's got that millionaire-playboy thing down and it comes across naturally. Keaton kind of played Wayne is a bit aloof in the first movie (kind of a toned down version of Chris Reeves Clark Kent), and then more of a serious business executive type in Batman Returns. And Keaton to me never had the right 'look' as Bruce Wayne. Kilmer certainly did and I think that's where he succeeds. But Bale, really, is the total package when it comes down to it.

#13 Posted by Hector (446 posts) - - Show Bio

@biggkeem89 said:

Bale is the best Batman, but I will say Kilmer was the best Bruce Wayne. Bale comes off as a little stale for Bruce

Let the hate commence...

I agree. I really liked Val Kilmer as Bruce!

#14 Posted by NightFang (10049 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheAntiVillain said:

ehem... keven conroy


#15 Posted by Bestostero (5618 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't like any of the actors who portrayed Batman to be honest... Bale is probably my favorite if i HAD to choose...

Val Kilmer wasn't bad either...he's probably my second choice. But truthfully, no one has been able to fill Batman's shoes.

Kevin Conroy doesn't count because he just does the voice, but he is pretty freaking amazing.

#16 Edited by Pears767 (22 posts) - - Show Bio

Joel Schumacher lost the right to vote on the best Batman in 1997.

#17 Posted by Harlekin (680 posts) - - Show Bio

Live Action Only 
1. Christian Bale 
2. Micheal Keaton 
3. Adam West 
4. Val Kilmer 
5. George Clooney

#18 Posted by sesquipedalophobe (4728 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman Forever was just an excuse to sell plastic cups in fast food restaurants. Jim Carrey just recycled his material from the Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

#19 Posted by DEGRAAF (7881 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually like Val Kilmer the most before the nolan films came out. I though he was decent and looked the part but just had a terrible script

#20 Posted by LordTaronji101 (277 posts) - - Show Bio

what about the bat nips

#21 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

Top 5 Batmans

1. Christian Bale

2. Kevin Conroy

3. Adam West

4. Michael Keaton

5. Bruce Greenwood

Top 5 Batman Movies

1. The Dark Knight

2. Batman Begins

3. Batman

4. Batman The Movie (1966)

5. Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker

Top 5 Robins

1. Loren Lester

2. Burt Ward

3. Chris O'Donnell

4. Scott Menville

5. Evan Sabara

#22 Posted by Decept-O (7277 posts) - - Show Bio

@Om1kron: I really love the first Batman film. The only minor issue I had was that Keaton was a bit too skinny, not quite muscular enough. However, concerning how he gave Wayne's portrayal and Batman's portrayal as virtually spot on I can overlook that.

I do like Bale's portrayal a bit better, however, because he seemed more athletic, the right age, and also conveyed the intelligence of the character. I know his voice is a bit grating but I think the point was to try to portray Wayne, as Batman, as someone completely different to throw off his enemies and avoid any suspicions of his identity and also to give him a masculine, dark, and aggressive portrayal.

The last video you posted is hilarious; seen it before but it is still great!

I also agree, Schumacher is a hoot. In fact, Schumacher needs to STFU.

#23 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2236 posts) - - Show Bio

#1: Kevin Conroy. I'm sorry but that's just not up for debate. Nobody has ever pulled of the duality of the 2 voices of Bruce Wayne and Batman as separate identities yet distinctly the same person, and the gradual shift to a more Batman, AND THEN being able to add the third voice of 'Old Bruce Wayne' on top of that... amazing. 
#2 is Bruce Greenwood, and Bale is #3 I guess.

#24 Posted by ComicFan_13 (24 posts) - - Show Bio

I wouldn't say he's the best Batman. But he is the best Moses! lol

#25 Posted by inferiorego (24333 posts) - - Show Bio

Jim Carrey was the perfect Riddler?

Schumacher be trollin'

#26 Posted by darkrider (450 posts) - - Show Bio

Keaton is the best batman

#27 Posted by Neuron (109 posts) - - Show Bio

In descending order: Bale, Keaton, (major gap), Kilmer, Clooney. Keaton had the proper darkness/madness/separation of Wayne and Batman needed for Burton's vision.

Bruce Wayne: *mouths silently* I'm Batman. I'm Batman!

#28 Posted by fACEmelter88 (609 posts) - - Show Bio


#29 Posted by elayem98 (458 posts) - - Show Bio

If Val Kilmer had black hair he would have been a good batman. he wasnt bad at all, just the movie was.

#30 Posted by Iron_Turtle (583 posts) - - Show Bio

Mr Schumacher. On behalf of the populace of planet earth. Please go die in a fire.

#31 Posted by danhimself (22537 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder if he's even seen The Dark Knight....his comments make me think that he hasn't and he just wanted to make another horrible Batman movie and call it The Dark Knight

#32 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

The breakdown is like this for me. Of all actors to ever play the Dark Knight in live action, Michael Keaton did the best Batman. He captured the essence of Gotham's Caped Crusader perfectly. That being said, his Bruce Wayne was lackadaisical at best to me. For me then, the best live action actor to ever portray Bruce Wayne is, in my opinion, Christian Bale, but Val Kilmer's portrayal runs a VERY close second. For me there's only one actor that blew both roles royally and we all know who that is. Even Adam West's portrayal was comparably tolerable compared to he that shall not be named! Now on the flip side of this whole live action portrayal, I have to admit that the best actor to portray Batman/Bruce in voice was Kevin Conroy, hands down. No other voice actor can even touch his performance there.

#33 Edited by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey, it is Schumacher were talking about.... Uhhhh smells like Batman Forever! Oh and like him too!

#34 Posted by MyraMyraMyra (296 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't have a favourite Batman actor. Val Kilmer was wooden and bland, but I wouldn't be too hard on him considering what and who he had to work with. The only thing George Clooney had going for him was the fact that he is George Clooney - a man who oozes the smooth, effortless charm a playboy like Bruce Wayne should have - but the less said about Batman and Robin the better. Either way, he is not the reason Batman and Robin is such a fantastically terrible movie. In some other Batman movie directed by a competent director, this might have been an apt casting choice.

I've liked both Michael Keaton's and Christian Bale's performances, but I don't think that either one of them is perfect. Keaton I think nailed some aspects of the character, and yet I've always felt like he's lacking something that would make me completely buy his performance. Christian Bale has done a pretty decent job balancing between Bruce Wayne's douchey public persona and his dark and clever private self, but his Batman voice is just too funny.

Adam West, on the other hand, was perfect in every way. Oh Adam West, how I love thee.

#35 Posted by Joygirl (19921 posts) - - Show Bio

Bale > Kilmer > Keaton > Clooney, as far as live action Batmans go. Keaton was... he just didn't fit. Instead of darkly brilliant he came of studious and nerdy. Instead of badass his fight scenes were flat and unimpressive. And he can't brood worth a damn. Obviously, however, Kevin Conroy is FAR superior to all the others. Like... a lot. West doesn't count.

#36 Posted by MrMazz (1234 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope its Kevin Conroy Bale Bruce Greenwood Keaton Kilmer West Clooney

#37 Posted by Neverpraying (1465 posts) - - Show Bio

I dislike Val Kilmer, and I think the best live action person was Christian Bale, although I'm not a big fan of him he did a pretty decent job doing the live action roll of Batman where all else failed in my opinion at least. No I don't care about Adam West.

Also Kevin Conroy is the best voice of Batman.

#38 Posted by Man of Lengend (1001 posts) - - Show Bio







#39 Posted by Larkin1388 (1760 posts) - - Show Bio






Although Val Kilmer played an AWESOME Doc Holiday in Tombstone lol.

#40 Posted by Stinky2 (4 posts) - - Show Bio

best movies? the nolan films without a doubt, Batman Begins my favorite.

best batman? i can see a debate here. you have to subtract how you feel about the rest of films though, ie you can't equate ledger's joker performance with how you feel about batman.

i might put Michael Keaton at the top of my list, liked the contrast between his wayne and batman. two totally different beings, wayne absolutely mundane, batman badass.

Bale is pretty even toned throughout his performance, going so low as to only really give batman a gravely voice.

now whats not debatable is Jim Carrey as a good riddler, compared to the 70s riddler? Carrey is blown away.

#41 Posted by Hamz (342 posts) - - Show Bio

John Hamm is the actor that would best suit the role of Batman. That's the only thing I've found that ruins the Nolan films for me, he picked the actor I feel least suits Batman's role.

#42 Posted by Gambit1024 (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

This made me lol so hard. Thanks, Babs.

Keaton was the best live-action Batman, Bale is the best Bruce Wayne, and Kevin Conroy is Batman.

@Hamz said:

John Hamm is the actor that would best suit the role of Batman. That's the only thing I've found that ruins the Nolan films for me, he picked the actor I feel least suits Batman's role.

I agree completely. His character on Mad Men is essentially a watered down Bruce Wayne.

#43 Posted by Wattup (648 posts) - - Show Bio

I love reading the props for Adam West. Before Kevin Conroy and Michael Keaton came around, this dude was Batman for me everyday after school (before Transformers and G.I.Joe came on).

#44 Posted by xkoenig (394 posts) - - Show Bio

Schumacher is looking back with arrogance and rose-tinted spectacles. Batman Forever was so-so, and Batman and Robin was one of the worst movies of all time. I don't know how much credit to give Joel here.

#45 Posted by Xenozoic Shaman (410 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not fond of any of the actor portrayals of Batman in film.  (Not including voice acting.) 

The only time I recall ever enjoying a Val Kilmer role was Madmartigan in Willow.

#46 Posted by superzero93 (27 posts) - - Show Bio

If we are talking about animated Batman's as well no one can beat kevin Conroy, but Diedrich Bader is pretty funny as the classic animated Adam West Batman. But the Top Three Batmen are:

1. Christian Bale

2. Adam West

3. Michael Keaton

However did like George Clooney's portail of Batman, he was just cast in the worst Batman film ever.

#47 Posted by EscGamer (113 posts) - - Show Bio

Props to adam west. he was the most memorable batman. best batman in my opinion was micheal keaton, christian bale made a better bruce wayne and had a better bat suit. keaton couldn't even turn his head. i still find that funny to this day

#48 Posted by Golden Cod (425 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheAntiVillain said:

ehem... kevin conroy

damn straight!

#49 Posted by Outside_85 (8974 posts) - - Show Bio

Well this is coming from the man who practically killed superhero movies...take that for what you want.

#50 Posted by Atomic_Punk (103 posts) - - Show Bio

@drumguyrob: Agree completely.

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