Batman co-creator Bob Kane claimed George Clooney was the best Batman.
Riddle me this: who is the best Batman? According to Bob Kane, the co-creator of the Caped Crusader, the answer is George Clooney. Citing the book Batman & Robin: The Making of the Movie, Twitter user H. Perry Horton shared a quote from Kane, who said, “I feel George is the best Batman of all. He’s suave, elegant, has a great profile with a strong chin, like the features of Batman in the comic books.”
The tweet was in response to another user who claimed that Kane preferred Val Kilmer as Batman. Others said that Bob Kane preferred whichever interpretation of the character was current, so his true feelings on the matter are difficult to pin down. Even so, Kane’s love for George Clooney may come as a surprise to fans.
Clooney donned the cape and cowl for 1997’s Batman & Robin. He teamed up with Chris O’Donnell as Robin to face off with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.
The film is widely regarded as one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Critics panned it upon its release, and it was a huge letdown for fans. Though George Clooney carried the role with his usual charisma, the tone of Batman & Robin was a campy departure from the franchise’s gothic style that began in Tim Burton’s 1989 hit Batman.
Burton went even darker and more stylized with 1992’s Batman Returns, and when the time came for a sequel, Warner Bros. was ready to lighten the mood. Joel Schumacher came on to direct 1995’s Batman Forever, which brought in Val Kilmer as Batman and Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey for their zany takes on Two-Face and the Riddler.
When it came to balancing campiness and darkness, Batman Forever hit the sweet spot for many viewers. When George Clooney came on board for Batman & Robin, the overcorrection for darkness was in full swing. The movie came off as a tonally confused and unbearably cheesy romp, not at all in line with what audiences were looking for in a movie.
Rumors have since spread that Batman & Robin was planned to be followed by another film, Batman Unchained. The sequel would have featured the return of Joel Schumacher, George Clooney, and Chris O’Donnell to see the Dynamic Duo face off with the Scarecrow and Harley Quinn.
Batman Unchained was scrapped after fans reacted so poorly to Batman & Robin, and George Clooney’s time in tights swiftly ended.
Bob Kane passed away in 1998. He did not get to see the pendulum swing the other way for Christopher Nolan’s decidedly dark and grounded take on Batman with The Dark Knight trilogy. Since then, filmmakers have interpreted the character in a variety of ways.
Matt Reeves delivered perhaps the darkest Batman film of all with The Batman, drawing influence from crime thrillers like Chinatown, Zodiac, and Se7en. Ben Affleck’s take on the character has evolved since his first stab at the character in 2016, with his most recent appearance in The Flash being his lightest portrayal and perhaps the closest thing to the George Clooney Batman fans have seen in a long time.
The Flash also marks Affleck’s final appearance in the cowl. While Robert Pattinson continues the role in Matt Reeves’ standalone universe, a new actor will take over the part for the DCU’s mainline canon in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. That film is rumored to take a lighter approach to The Caped Crusader than Nolan’s and Reeves’ films.
There have been many great actors to take on the role of Batman. George Clooney may not be at the top of most fans’ lists, but if Bob Kane liked him, Clooney must have been on to something.