With the release of Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice only days away, it seems that we feel a calling — even a responsibility — to make our own match-up, just like Snyder's movie pits the Man of Steel against the Dark Knight.
Because a Batman versus Batman brawl would probably end in a draw (except if you threw a Joel Schumacher/George Clooney entry into the mix), we've taken three of the Dark Knights from the last three decades (minus contestants like Kevin Conroy, the voice actor from Batman: The Animated Series), and put them all in a battle they could actually compete in.
So, out of Michael Keaton from Tim Burton's gothic/noir Batman (1989), Christian Bale from Christopher Nolan's starkly realist Dark Knight franchise and Zack Snyder's DC Comics reboot Batman v Superman, which of the Batmen has the best Batvoice?
Bat Director: Tim Burton
Batman: Michael Keaton
The voice Keaton uses is an attempt at a typical gravelly tone for the Caped Crusader, and somehow comes off as an impression of a mobster from a kitschy film noir. That isn't to say it's bad — just fitting, considering that Tim Burton's crack at a superhero film is sort of campy compared with the Nolan franchise that followed it. Do I detect a Brooklyn accent in Keaton's Batman (Keatman? Batmon? Birdman?), or is it just me? If we're going for the sake of accuracy here, wouldn't Keaton's brogue be one from New Jersey?
Batman Begins (2005)
Bat Director: Christopher Nolan
Batman: Christian Bale
Here's where things really start to get a little ... gritty. Gritty as in it's almost as if Bale's voice box is the epitome of vocal fry, or what happens if a robot smokes too many cigarettes. Of course, this is nothing compared with the flack Bale and Nolan got for 2008's The Dark Knight, the second film in the trilogy — the Associated Press went as far as to call the static-like growl that came out of Batman's modifier "the offspring of Clint Eastwood and a grizzly bear." Ouch.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Bat Director: Zack Snyder
Batman: Ben Affleck
Now, the moment you have all been waiting for: Batfleck.
Ben Affleck's Batman might just have the best classically-drawn superhero chin out of anyone else in the bunch, but can his voice live up to his chin's expectations? Compared with Bale — and certainly compared with Keaton — the snippet that made its rounds around the Internet late last year is ... sort of sexy? That was certainly the rumor when it was first heard by a select few related to the project, at least.
Compared with the cartoonish quality of Keaton and the gruffness of Bale, it seems we have a winner. Then again ... we'll have to wait until the movie's full release on March 25 to see which Batvoice makes the cut.
Now that we have our (sort-of) winner, I'm also pretty sure it would be hugely irresponsible not to post this College Humor send-up of how Batman chose his voice (or, as I like to privately think of it, How the Dark Knight Got His Groove Back).
For more on Batman v Superman, check out the five comic books you need to read to prepare for the movie: