Michael Keaton is the best Batman based on social media data

Michael Keaton is still the most popular Batman actor to portray the Dark Knight in live action, according to data from a social media study.

Michael Keaton is the best Batman to portray the character in live action, based on a study conducted using Twitter data.

Michael Keaton is still the most popular Batman actor to portray the Dark Knight in live action, according to data from a social media study. (Images: DC Studios/Warner Bros. Discovery)

Geeks around the world are always debating comparisons between their favorite characters and actors. Batman, being a pop culture icon, is one of the most common central figures in such debates. And with decades of history and multiple actors to have played the Caped Crusader, there are many angles fans come up with in making their choice. But apparently, one stood up among the rest: Michael Keaton (at least as far as the study conducted recently).

According to CBR, the home entertainment furniture company Valencia Theater Seating set up research based on Twitter activity as to which Batman actor is the best.

The data used by Valencia Theater Seating is allegedly based on 150,000 tweets, using geo-tagging and keyword algorithms such as "best Batman", "greatest Batman", "G.O.A.T. Batman", and similar variations along with the names of the most prominent actors to play the role: Adam West, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, and Robert Pattinson.

The results overwhelmingly showed Michael Keaton leading as the best Batman in 23 states in North America. Christian Bale landed second place by leading in 18 states. Ben Affleck landed third (winning in 6 states) and Robert Pattinson settled into the fourth place of the rankings, getting the nod in only 2 states. Interestingly, none of the other actors (West, Clooney, and Kilmer) led the numbers in even one state across the U.S.

It should be noted that this is not entirely a scientific way of getting such results, and the accuracy of the process can be as hotly debated as the topic of which actor is the best Batman is itself. Still, it is broadly indicative of the impact Michael Keaton has had on the character and film franchise.

Prior to Keaton’s take on Batman through the two Tim Burton-directed films, the general public’s perception of the character and his world was heavily based on the campy Adam West 1966 TV series. Even to this day, the "Biff! Bam! Pow" onomatopoeia that was used in action scenes of the Batman TV show will often appear in the news when referring to a comic book property making the headlines.

In 1989, fans openly mocked the casting of Michael Keaton, until the first trailer for Batman was released in theaters.

Keaton’s more nuanced and psychologically complex take on both Bruce Wayne and his alter ego helped to shape the modern perception of Batman. In fact, every other depiction of the Dark Knight Detective in media aside from the DC Comics publications have taken a page from Michael Keaton’s version. This, of course, includes the popular and critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series which had the late Kevin Conroy essaying the role.

But fans' strong support for Michael Keaton as Batman was not always the case. When news of Keaton’s casting was made public, fans were outraged and mocked the decision. This was due to Keaton being known for comedic roles, such as Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice. But this negative reaction was silenced after the first trailer for the 1989 film was released in theaters.

Fans of the DC Universe will soon be seeing Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck donning the cape and cowl again in The Flash. Produced by DC Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures, The Flash releases in cinemas on June 16, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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