George Clooney may be one of the most well-liked stars in Hollywood, but even his biggest fans have a hard time defending his leading performance in the disastrous 1997 film “Batman & Robin.”
Taking over the role of Batman from Val Kilmer, Clooney’s take on the Caped Crusader was a hammy, one-liner spewing cartoon hero whose Batsuit prominently featured nipples. “Batman & Robin” was not particularly well-received by critics or audiences, and neither was Clooney’s performance. The film essentially killed the franchise until director Christopher Nolan rebooted it with 2005’s “Batman Begins.”
In the years since “Batman & Robin” hit theatres, Clooney has joked about the role and talked about his disappointment with how it turned out, but this week at New York Comic Con he formally apologized to fans and another actor famous for wearing the cape and cowl.
“I think since Batman that I’ve been disinvited from Comic-Con for 20 years,” Clooney quipped at a panel for his upcoming film “Tomorrowland.” “I see the comment sections on all you guys.”
Clooney then revealed that he’d run into ‘60s TV Batman Adam West backstage before the panel and tried to make amends for “Batman & Robin.”
“I just met Adam West... and I apologized to him,” Clooney said. “Sorry about the nipples on the suit. Freeze, Freeze, I apologize for that.”
Clooney’s apology to West probably wasn’t all that necessary. West has never been a fan of Tim Burton’s darker take on the character, and Clooney’s Bat-movie was far closer in tone to the zany '60s TV show than any iteration of the superhero before or since. Fans who were put off by “Batman & Robin” likely appreciated the “Tomorrowland” actor’s candour however.
Clooney isn’t the only former Batman weighing in on his time playing the Caped Crusader these days. Actor Michael Keaton (star of Tim Burton’s two Bat-movies and arguably one of the greatest on-screen World’s Greatest Detectives) has a new movie coming out called “Birdman.” The eerily autobiographical film is about a washed-up actor famous for playing a Batman-like superhero earlier in his career.
Keaton, who hasn’t spoken a whole lot about his time as the Dark Knight, recently told Entertainment Weekly that he “doesn’t care” about the new Batman movies and even weighed in on “Gone Girl” star Ben Affleck tackling the role in the upcoming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
“I mean, people are asking me, ‘Is Ben Affleck going to be any good?’ And my attitude is, First of all, why would you ask me?” Keaton told EW. “Second, he’s probably going to be very good, and third, frankly, it’s all set up now so that you’re weirdly kind of safe. Once you get in those suits, they really know what to do with you. It was hard then; it ain’t that hard now.
Affleck hasn’t said much about the role himself, but we look forward to hearing his thoughts on West, Keaton, Clooney, and the other Batmen who preceded him.
Watch the trailer for Clooney's upcoming film, "Tomorrowland":