THE BATMAN (1943)
Lewis Wilson was the first and youngest (age 23) actor to play Batman in live-action. He appeared as Bruce Wayne and Batman in the 1943 movie serial, THE BATMAN.
BATMAN AND ROBIN (1949)
Robert Lowery (age 36 when playing Batman) was a veteran actor when he took over the role of Batman in the 1949 BATMAN AND ROBIN serial for Columbia Pictures.
Adam West (age 35 when first playing Batman) portrayed the character more times than another other actor to date.
BATMAN (1989) and BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
An unconventional choice for the role, the casting of Michael Keaton (age 37 when first playing Batman) as Batman in 1988 led to fans sending over 50,000 letters of protest to Warner Bros. Known mostly as a comedian in such films as NIGHTSHIFT and MR. MOM, fans feared that Keaton’s casting meant that this Batman movie would simply be a remake of the campy 60s TV series. Director Tim Burton and the film’s producers – Jon Peters and Peter Guber – wanted Keaton due to his “everyman” look” and also because he had an “edgy, tormented quality.”
Keaton became the first actor to reprise the role of Batman for a second time in a live-action film in 1992’s BATMAN RETURNS, which also ended up being his last turn as The Dark Knight.
BATMAN FOREVER (1995)
When Tim Burton was, ahem, “invited to leave” the Batman film franchise after BATMAN RETURNS, Warner Bros. replaced him with director Joel Schumacher.
When Michael Keaton didn’t jibe with Schumacher’s take on the new Batman film, Keaton decided not to return for a third go as Batman (even though costumes for him were already being built and Rene Russo had been cast as the Batman’s love-interest because she was around Keaton’s age).
Enter Val Kilmer (age 35 as Batman).
BATMAN & ROBIN (1997)
George Clooney (age 36 as Batman) was a huge TV star for his role as Dr. Doug Ross on ER and had a breakout role in film in 1996 in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. On the cusp of movie superstardom, it seemed to be a coup for Warner Bros. and director Joel Schumacher hired Clooney to replace the departed Val Kilmer as Batman in 1997’s BATMAN & ROBIN. Then, the movie came out.
Fortunately for Clooney, he came out of unscathed and did indeed go on to movie super-stardom.
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY (2005-2012)
Arguably the best Batman (and Bruce Wayne) on film to date, what else is there to say other than that Christian Bale (age 31 when first playing Batman) was the heart and soul of director Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films – AKA THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. Not only was the TRILOGY a huge box office success, it’s the most critically acclaimed series of comic book/superhero films ever.
BATMAN v SUPERMAN, SUCIDE SQUAD (cameo), JUSTICE LEAGUE
Probably the most physically-suited actor to date to play Batman/Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck (age 43 when he first portrayed Batman) is the oldest to portray the character. Currently, Affleck has starred as The Caped Crusader in BATMAN v SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, and had a small cameo in SUICIDE SQUAD.