The Batman Cast – How They Compared To The Franchise’s Best Versions
The Batman cast was led by Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne who stood up well to the best version of the character played by Michael Keaton.
Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman has been a character in various incarnations for DC Films for decades. Popularized by director Tim Burton and actor Michael Keaton in the 1980s and 1990s, Batman is a superhero archetype modeled by several actors over the years, including Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Will Arnett. Ben Affleck took the role on head first for the DC Universe before passing the torch to Robert Pattinson, who led The Batman cast in 2022.
Directed by Matt Reeves and based on characters made famous by DC Comics, The Batman stars an eclectic cast that ranges from film industry veterans to newbies looking to be part of a blockbuster picture. Much more subdued and a bit on the emo side, The Batman debuted theatrically in March 2022 after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the movie proved to be a worthwhile effort by Warner Bros. Pictures, taking in more than $770 million at the box office against a budget of around $200 million.
Critics and audiences appreciated the film noir aspect of The Batman, owing much of its success to the stellar cast and provocative direction. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks the film as Certified Fresh with a Tomatometer score of 85 percent and an Audience Score of 87 percent. Here is a look at The Batman cast and the characters that each actor plays in the movie.
Plus, we compare these versions to the best the franchise has had to offer in the past.
THE BATMAN CAST WAS LED BY ROBERT PATTINSON AS BRUCE WAYNE
Robert Pattinson – Bruce Wayne / Batman
Often depicted as a homebody throughout the film adaptations of the infamous superhero character, Robert Pattinson plays up this personality trait to an exponential degree as the lead of The Batman cast. By day he is a billionaire who sulks around his mansion high above Gotham City. By night, he is an amateur detective who vows to protect the city by wearing a mask and cape.
In The Batman, Pattinson doesn’t portray the caped crusader as an expert crime fighter. Instead, he is more like the police detectives he admires, solving clues to a puzzle that will most likely result in dangerous consequences in the end. He establishes several relationships throughout the film, but his attraction to Selina Kyle makes for an intriguing plot development.
Nerdist reports that director Matt Reeves chose to show Bruce Wayne and his Batman side as “not yet fully formed,” something audiences haven’t seen much of in other iterations of the character before.
Pattinson portrays the character with ratty hair, raccoon makeup around the eyes, and a sullen look of despair. He is a troubled figure who must investigate the latest criminal element plaguing Gotham City, even if it means exposing his own family’s secrets.
Michael Keaton – The Best Bruce Wayne / Batman
Until Robert Pattinson wore Batman’s cape for The Batman, most fans of the DC character pointed to Michael Keaton’s performance in 1989’s Batman as the standard bearer for how all actors should play the superhero.
While Pattinson’s take is much more somber and complicated, Keaton used his wit and good looks to play a more playfully debonair Batman. This matched more with the comic book version of the character than any of recent memory.
THE BATMAN CAST USED A NEW VERSION OF ALFRED
Andy Serkis – Alfred Pennyworth
For a man well-versed in portraying larger-than-life characters like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, English actor Andy Serkis takes on the gentle persona of Alfred Pennyworth in The Batman.
An integral part of The Batman cast of characters, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s family butler and pseudo-mentor since the death of Wayne’s parents. As opposed to other performances of Alfred, Serkis’ adaptation comes with a military background and a stubborn disposition.
While caring and attentive to the details of Bruce Wayne’s extracurricular activities, Alfred harbors secrets of the Wayne family. Not divulging everything he knows about Bruce’s parents and their corrupt nature prior to their deaths, Alfred helps train Bruce in martial arts to protect him.
This results in Alfred and Bruce having a strained relationship where the two don’t speak to one another often, despite mutual respect.
Michael Caine – The Best Alfred Pennyworth
Christopher Nolan brought in Michael Caine to portray Alfred Pennyworth staring in Batman Begins, a role he would reprise for The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Both Caine and Serkis use Alfred’s military background as justification for how they helped raise Bruce Wayne from a young age, though Caine’s Alfred is much more of a therapist to Christian Bale’s Batman than Serkis is to Pattinson.
CATWOMAN AND JIM GORDON TOOK ON DIFFERENT STYLES IN THIS VERSION
Zoë Kravitz – Selina Kyle / Catwoman
An unlikely ally to Batman throughout her run in DC Comics, the leather-clad Selina Kyle is depicted in The Batman by cast member Zoë Kravitz to great success. Mysterious and seductive as most femme fatale characters tend to be, Selina Kyle is a drug dealer and part-time nightclub waitress at the Iceberg Lounge. She is also a cat burglar by trade and uses her acrobatic techniques to pull off heists using her alter ego of Catwoman.
Like Batman, Catwoman is also on a mission to investigate a crime: the disappearance of her roommate and girlfriend, Annika Koslov. At first an enemy to Batman, Catwoman becomes an ally and love interest, defining Selina Kyle’s bisexuality and flirtatious nature.
Seeking revenge and identifying with the strays of Gotham City, Selina Kyle is the neglected child of crime boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro).
Michelle Pfeiffer – The Best Catwoman
A signature role and one that helped to define Michelle Pfeiffer’s career for years, Catwoman is probably best played by Pfeiffer in 1992’s Batman Returns opposite Michael Keaton. However, Zoë Kravitz gives the former The Fabulous Baker Boys star a run for her money, both looking sleek and seductive in the infamous Catwoman suit.
Though Pfieffer’s Catwoman is critically acclaimed and the quintessential performance by which all other Catwoman actors are measured, Kravitz surely holds her own in The Batman.
Jeffrey Wright – James Gordon
A staple of the Batman storylines in many of the character’s film adaptations, Jeffrey Wright portrays James Gordon in The Batman as a lieutenant of the Gotham City Police Department. Gordon, a quintessential key ally, works with Batman to investigate the murders and subsequent clues left behind by a mysterious criminal mastermind.
A level-headed man who defines morality throughout The Batman, Gordon is well positioned to be the bravest of the cast of characters in the film.
Gary Oldman – The Best James Gordon
Jeffrey Wright takes the character of James Gordon and runs with it in The Batman, but Gary Oldman walked so Jeffrey Wright could run. Oldman starred as Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, and the film series makes a point to see the character’s trajectory through the ranks of the Gotham City Police Department.
The relationship between Oldman’s Gordon and Christian Bale’s Batman is well-defined in the trilogy, more so than that of Wright and Pattinson’s.
THE BATMAN CAST VILLAINS WERE LED BY PAUL DANO AND COLIN FARRELL
Paul Dano – Edward Nashton / Riddler
A mysterious serial killer that sets his sights on Gotham’s elite citizens, Edward Nashton turns into the Riddler in The Batman with the help of cast member Paul Dano. Regarded for his work in There Will Be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine, Dano embodies the Riddler by comparing him to Bruce Wayne. Both orphans at a young age, Dano’s Edward Nashton grew up poor in the shadow of Wayne’s wealth, often resenting Gotham City’s rich and powerful upper class.
Edward Nashton, as the Riddler, taunts Batman with clues to many of his killings, filled with riddles akin to the real-life Zodiac Killer. Physically hidden for much of the film, the Riddler’s presence is felt through his puzzles and intelligent vocabulary. However, his thirst for vengeance against the city and other criminals is always present in The Batman.
The Riddler’s drive to be like Batman creates a defining personality trait for the villain, making him a complex character to watch.
Jim Carrey – The Best The Riddler
As the villain of the Riddler, Jim Carrey portrayed the character in Joel Schumacher’s 1995 entry Batman Forever. A ridiculous funny man with a cartoonish style, Carrey performed his normal schtick of loud humor he popularized at the time.
However, Paul Dano’s work as the Riddler takes depth and despair into account, and is easily some of the actor’s best work on screen.
Colin Farrell – Oz Cobblepot / Penguin
In a stellar year that saw Colin Farrell star in films like Thirteen Lives, After Yang, and The Banshees of Inisherin, the Irish actor donned a great deal of makeup and costumes to contribute to 2022 as Oz Cobblepot in The Batman. Unlike the comedic criminal mastermind depicted in the comic book version of the character, Oz has yet to become the villain Penguin that Danny DeVito played in Batman Returns.
In The Batman, Colin Farrell joined the cast to reflect Oz’s trajectory in Gotham City, beginning with his stint as the Chief Lieutenant of Carmine Falcone’s criminal operations at the Iceberg Lounge.
Oz hates being referred to as “Penguin” and eagerly awaits his time as Gotham City’s head crime boss. He is the target of multiple investigations by Batman and Gordon as they attempt to identify the Riddler. Oz reveals himself to be power-hungry while leaning on his insecurities.
After an understated yet ferocious performance as Oz Cobblepot in The Batman, an announcement was made by Variety that Colin Farrell will lead a cast in a reprisal of the role in a spin-off television series for HBO Max. The series will serve as a vehicle to showcase Oz’s rise to power and eventual transition into the supervillain known as Penguin.
Danny DeVito – The Best Penguin
Akin to Michelle Pfeiffer in the same movie, Danny DeVito made the character of Penguin campy and horrifying in Batman Returns. Wearing a costume that made a fish out of a man, DeVito portrayed the character as a supervillain.
Time will tell to see if Colin Farrell can live up to DeVito’s performance, primarily because his work in The Batman is just the start of the character’s origin story, and there’s much more to flesh out in the future for Farrell.
CHARACTERS WITHOUT BEST VERSIONS IN THE FRANCHISE
Peter Sarsgaard – Gil Colson
In almost every Batman movie, there tends to be a corrupt figure within the Gotham City Police Department and justice system. Still, they are often low-level participants who aid in villains’ attempts to take on the city.
In The Batman, Matt Reeves cast actor Peter Sarsgaard to take on this role, this time in the District Attorney position of character Gil Colson. A distrustful associate of Carmine Falcone’s, Colson is targeted by the Riddler for his work in Falcone’s secretive crew.
John Turturro – Carmine Falcone
Veteran film actor John Turturro is in full devious form as crime boss Carmine Falcone in The Batman, a character once portrayed by Tom Wilkinson as part of the cast of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Selina Kyle’s father, her girlfriend’s murderer, and an overall danger to Gotham City, Falcone is a mobster who works every room he is in to take control of the criminal underbelly in the city.
Falcone’s corruption runs deep and goes back to the Wayne family’s involvement, opening Falcone up to investigations by Batman and Catwoman. His criminal activities make him a prime target of a serial killer plaguing the city, which turns out to be a man named Edward Nashton, aka Riddler (Paul Dano).
Charlie Carver and Max Carver – The Twins
As their character names suggest, real-life twin actors Charlie and Max Carver play brothers in The Batman, filling out the ensemble cast by taking on the role of bouncers at the Iceberg Lounge. Coworkers to Selina Kyle and employees of Carmine Falcone, the twins also work for Oz Cobblepot. They have minor run-ins with Batman and act as bodyguards for more prominent criminal villains during the movie.
Barry Keoghan – Unseen Arkham Prisoner
Unnamed in The Batman in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene, actor Barry Keoghan plays a prisoner in the cast of characters that resides in Arkham. Assumed to be the supervillain the Joker from DC Comics, the prisoner befriends Edward Nashton when both of their cells are next to each other.
A deleted scene from the film shows Batman talking to the Joker to create a psychological profile on the Riddler, which might be a precursor to Keoghan’s involvement in a possible sequel to The Batman.