It’s Caped Crimefighter Month at TJM! Since both Adam West (TV Batman) and Christopher Reeve (movie Superman) were born in September, we asked our staff – and an invited guest – to choose their favorite Man of Steel and Caped Crusader, and to compare them. We threw in a couple of villains as well, just for fun. Here’s what folks had to say:
Best Batman: Kevin Conroy – Batman: The Animated Series was WAY ahead of its time, and for those of us who grew up watching it, Conroy’s voice WAS Batman. He also did the voice for movie spinoffs, Batman Beyond, and various video games, so he continued the legacy for decades. No other live actor’s voice has come close in my opinion.
Best Superman: Christopher Reeve – he was the quintessential Superman, not only because of how well he portrayed the superhero, but also how he performed as Clark Kent. His clumsy sweetness and chemistry with Lois was everything.
Best Joker: Heath Ledger – he completely changed the perception of this character. Every performance since seems like an imitation of his.
Better Superhero: Batman is the more INTERESTING hero, because he’s so often not a hero. If you’ve got contingency plans for if all of your superpowered friends go evil, they might not see you as a good guy.
Best Catwoman: Michelle Pfeiffer literally did her own stunt of whipping all the mannequin heads off in Batman Returns. In one take!
Michael Keaton is the best actor who played Batman. I can’t give a long speech as to why he’s the best, other than Keaton’s Batman movies are the ones I remember growing up on. Even though Keaton is not the original Batman, he’s the original Batman in my eyes.
For Superman, I’m changing it up a bit and will have to choose Tom Welling who played Superman in the TV show Smallville. In this show, Tom Welling gives you a look into how Superman grew up on earth. To me, the movies show us the adult Superman, where Smallville is more about the life of young Clark Kent growing into his powers to become Superman.
Heath Ledger must be the best Joker. In all the movies I’ve watched, you have actors who play a character, whereas when Ledger played The Joker, he wasn’t acting, he BECAME the character. It shows extremely raw talent for an actor to bring a character to life, and that’s what Ledger does with the Joker.
As much as I loved watching the TV show Smallville, I think I still have to believe Batman is the better superhero. Batman, in the end, is just a man with fancy toys, trying to protect his city.
Regardless of who he fights, Batman doesn’t back down, and even has his chance to go against Superman. I think it takes a strong human to believe they have a fighting chance against an alien with super powers (or a dumb human, however you choose to look at it).
I struggle to pick my favorite Catwoman. If you could combine Halle Berry’s Catwoman with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, THEN you would have the perfect Catwoman. This would give us the crazy cat lady that Pfeiffer’s character portrays, with the perfect cat burglar that Berry’s character gives us.
Of all the actors who have played the Caped Crusader, who was the best Batman, and why? For me it’s Michael Keaton. The first Batman film I ever saw was “Batman Returns” so when I think of Batman, I think of him.
Of all the actors who have played the Man of Steel, who was the best Superman, and why? Hands down it’s Dean Cain. “Lois and Clark” was the first I ever paid attention to Superman at all.
Who was the best Joker? My favorite is Jack Nicholson, but the Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix was pretty good as well. I almost forgot about Heath Ledger, his version of the Joker was also pretty darn good. I almost forgot about Mark Hamill from the animated series. OK, final answer in order: Nicholson, Hamill, Phoenix, Ledger.
Who’s the better superhero, Batman or Superman? Who do I like better? Batman. But that being said, Batman is really just a rich guy with PTSD. Superman has actual superpowers.
Who was the best Catwoman? The best Catwoman, to me, was Michelle Pfeiffer. I really like the costume, and I’ve seen Batman Returns the most out of all of the Batman movies.
Special Guest Opinion -- Kimberly Walker’s Husband, Mike
[Editor’s note: Mike is not a TJM employee. However, we’re making an exception to our usual rules because Kimberly (who is—see below) says he’s much more interested in the matter than she is.]
To pick just one would do certain aspects injustice. In my most personal humble opinion, Adam West was the best "Natural", not needing a suit to make him bigger. Kevin Conroy was THE VOICE for Batman, and the one I hear when I read the comics. As for the big screen, Michael Keaton is the GOAT, hands down. I guess gun-to-my-head decision......Kevin Conroy. Kevin just has had a big influence on me for the Batman character.
As for Superman, that's much easier. I'm going with Christopher Reeve. Henry Cavill is a good close second. Reeve had the personality, looks, and physique of the Man of Steel.
The Joker is a difficult one. Jack Nicholson played a Joker that was like the Clown Prince version, more jokey and silly. Heath Ledger played a darker, grittier version, perfect for that series. But then Mark Hamill, freaking Luke Skywalker! When I learned that he was the voice of Joker in the animated series and the games … For me, his Joker was THE JOKER. So Mark Hamill is my Joker.
Better Superhero? Batman hands down. He's proved it many times. He's outsmarted Supes several times. Batman is an actual true possibility for someone to attain, with the resources and mind to do so of course. Superman always had some sort of new power to manifest to help out of some new situation, way too overpowered.
Julie Newmar was the best Catwoman. She's the OG, and not bad on the eyes either.
I do agree with him on Adam West being the best from TV. My favorite for Joker is a tie with Nicholson for the comedic route, but Ledger taking it for the twisted aspect. As far as Superman, don’t really have an opinion on him. Not really into that aspect of DC. Definitely agree with Julie Newmar for best overall Catwoman, with love to Pfeiffer for her iconic on screen role.
Christian Bale is the best Batman. The Dark Knight Trilogy is just so strong an entry into the Batman universe.
Henry Cavill is the best Superman. He looks and acts the part, and I really enjoyed the movies he was in.
Heath Ledger plays the best Joker. That one is going to be hard to beat for years to come. He perfectly captured what that character is. Joaquin Phoenix is a close second though, as I really enjoyed his take in the movie JOKER.
Batman is the better superhero because he is just a dude, albeit with a lot of money. He just seemed more real to me, as he had flaws and weaknesses like any of us do, and that made him relatable.
Superman is cool and all, but I feel like the character creators really made him overpowered. Like how do you make a villain for someone who has godlike powers, a glowing green rock? C’mon…
Best Catwoman: Anne Hathaway.
Best Batman? For the sake of nostalgia for my youth, I’m inclined to say Adam West. But while I love the campy humor of the TV original, the darker theme of the movies better fits the tone of the original comics storyline. So I have to go with Michael Keaton.
Best Superman? Hands down, Christopher Reeve. Simply the best.
The Better Superhero? As others have noted, I have to give this one to Batman. In addition to being a human being with no intrinsic superpowers, he’s also a more fully realized character, more conflicted, and thus more relatable.
Best Joker: I’ll go along with the crowd and say Heath Ledger on this one. He brought a malevolent energy to the role that no other has matched.
Best Catwoman? There’s no debating this one. Julie Newmar. My first celebrity crush – at age 6.
[Editor’s Note: Tim apparently isn’t big on following instructions. Rather than the best, he mostly chose to list the first in each case.]
Of all the actors who have played the Caped Crusader, who was the best first Batman, and why?
Ramsey Ellis (Young Bruce Wayne: Batman Forever 1995) His portrayal of an upset child… Obviously, the things he saw were drastic and upsetting. Just very good acting.
Of all the actors who have played the Man of Steel, who was the best first Superman, and why?
Aaron Smolinski (2 years old, played Baby Superman: also appeared in Superman II, Superman III, Man of Steel and a fan-film Superman: Solar) Superman would not be a man, if it weren’t for the baby landing from the spaceship, right?
Who was the best first Joker?
“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?” – Jack Napier, the original Joker, as portrayed by Hugo Blick in the 1989 Batman film.
Who’s the better superhero, Batman or Superman?
Going on origin stories alone: Batman lost his parents, but Superman lost his whole species. Honestly though, Batman was old enough to remember what happened- where Superman just woke up one day in someone’s lawn. Batman Forever.
Who was the best Catwoman?
Camren Bicondova portrayed Catwoman for five years as a teenager in the prequel series “Gotham.”
[Editor’s Note: A man of few words]
Of all the actors who have played the Caped Crusader, who was the best Batman? Michael Keaton
Of all the actors who have played the Man of Steel, who was the best Superman? Henry Cavill
Who was the best Joker? Mark Hamill
Who’s the better superhero, Batman or Superman? Batman
Who was the best Catwoman? Michelle Pfeiffer
[Editor’s Note: Apparently allergic to Kryptonite]
Of all the actors who have played the Caped Crusader, who was the best Batman, and why?
Val Kilmer. Why? Because that’s the first Batman I remember seeing in the theaters and Val Kilmer was in Top Gun, Willow, Tombstone, Batman Forever, The Ghost and the Darkness, and The Saint – some of my most watched movies ever. So I thought he was just the ABSOLUTE coolest.
Of all the actors who have played the Man of Steel, who was the best Superman, and why?
I don’t know. Dean Cain. Superman is stupid, so I have very little experience with Superman movies and shows. WHO CREATES A SUPERHERO WITH EVERY POWER EVER.
Who was the best Joker? Mark Hamill – he encapsulates the character like nobody else has, because it’s hard to be the emotion of animation.
Who’s the better superhero, Batman or Superman? This is ridiculous. One is a human and one is an all-powerful alien. There is no comparison, because it’s apples and oranges. As a kid, I would have said Batman was more relatable, so he was the better option, but as an adult, I’d say it’s more relatable to be an alien than a billionaire. I’m still going with Batman though.
Who was the best Catwoman? Anne Hathaway. I literally don’t care what anyone else says. Michelle Pfeiffer is a VERY VERY close second, but Anne is my girl.