THE THROWDOWN : Christian Bale vs. Michael Keaton

Wednesday is Throwdown day at Keith & the Movies. It’s when we take two movie subjects and pit them against each other and see who’s left standing. Each Wednesday we’ll look at actors, actresses, movies, genres, scenes, and so much more and see how they stand up one-on-one. And it’s not just my opinion that counts. I’ll share my take and then open up the polls to you. Visit each week for a new Throwdown. Vote each week to decide the true winner!

This week’s Throwdown is a Bat-Battle to the death between Michael Keaton and Christian Bale. Both of these men wore the cape and the cowl and were undeniably the best that did so. This isn’t measuring which had the better movies. This is all about who was the better Batman and whose performance you liked the best. Forget Kilmer and please, please, please forget Clooney. These two guys WERE Batman. Now you vote and decide who was the best.


Christian Bale was a fantastic choice to help revive the Batman franchise after Joel Schumacher’s disastrous “Batman and Robin”. Director Christopher Nolan took Bale and built a more grounded and believable Bruce Wayne and took him through some pretty dark places during his immensely popular trilogy. But it’s Bale’s performance that’s key. He unquestionably gets better and better with each movie and by the end of the trilogy he made the character his own. He also has the physical abilities to sell it all. Bale was a wonderful Batman and there’s an easy argument to make that he’s the best caped crusader to hit the big screen.

It may be easy for some people to dismiss Michael Keaton’s two movie tenure as Gotham’s Caped Crusader. But for those of us who remember standing in line in 1989 to see Tim Burton’s “Batman”, we most certainly appreciate how well the actor embodied Bruce Wayne. I’ve always been a fan of Keaton’s but I wasn’t sure about him taking on this role. He was a pleasant surprise and he’s a key reason that the first film worked so well. He’s a much different Batman that Bale but that’s in large part due to the material. Even in the second picture “Batman Returns”, a movie I’m not crazy about, Keaton shines. He left the role just before the franchise was destroyed but his stint still holds up today.

So who is it? You’ve got two very different actors giving two very different depictions of Batman. Forget their movies. This is about the men behind the masks. Bale or Keaton…your votes decide.

29 thoughts on “THE THROWDOWN : Christian Bale vs. Michael Keaton

  1. Don’t even have to think about it, it’s Bale for me. Although I will have to admit that I can’t forget his movies. Have seen Keaton as well and think he’s good too, but having to choose it is easy. Although it seems he’s still got enough work I don’t see him in too many movies anymore. The last one I saw was The Merry Gentleman.

  2. Bale had more time to stretch his acting legs, so to speak…but I think he made a better Bruce Wayne, which in turn makes his Batman more frightening. Keaton is good, no doubt, but Bale takes it for me.

  3. I’ve gotta go with Bale here Keith. For a start, I can’t stand Keaton but I do agree that the lure of Burton’s Batman was something special and Keaton done well in portraying the caped crusader. However, it Vale is a far better actor and adds a bit more depth to the character. This depth may actually be down to Nolan though ad I will say, if it came down to better eyebrows, I’d choose Keaton. Ultimately though, it’s Bale!

  4. Yeah, sorry man! I can’t stand Keaton. His mannerisms are very repetitive and despite him being very animated, I find him very limited. I know he has many fans but in not one of them.

  5. I loved them both as Batman. I know there were many critics of ‘the voice’ but I loved the fact that Bale’s bat disguised his voice in that gruff way. I also thought he got Wayne perfect. Keaton was great but looking back now, not as exciting as Bale.

    • I agree. I like them both. I also had no problem with the gravelly voice. I think both had very different performances but a lot of that is due to the material. Both were a lot of fun but I gave the edge to Bale also.

  6. Pingback: 2012 – THE YEAR IN BLOGGING |

      • Yes, it was a difficult decision for me as well – they’re both great actors who portray the character excellently, BUT they portray the character differently. And I rather like both portrayals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s