Batman is one of the most iconic characters in popular culture. The DC Comics superhero has been portrayed in over fifteen live-action films and TV series, including DC Extended Universe movies like Justice League and The Flash. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics found success with the live-action adaptation of its own comic book characters like X-Men, and later developed the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With so many Batman and Marvel films, many actors have played a Batman character and a Marvel character as well. Some have played the titular Batman, like Michael Keaton and Christian Bale, before taking on a villainous role in MCU. Others have portrayed iconic Batman villains, such as Tom Hardy as Bane, before leading their own Marvel entry. And in every case, these actors left their mark on the characters they portrayed.
10 Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton first played Bruce Wayne / Batman in the 1989 movie Batman. This was the first entry in the Tim Burton Batman film series, followed by Batman Returns released in 1992. The films received mixed reviews, mostly due to the changes to the comic book storyline. Yet Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Batman received high praise and still remains one of the most memorable.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Michael Keaton made his first appearance as Adrian Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This film released in 2017 was the first Spider-Man movie under the MCU. Adrian Toomes, also known as The Vulture, is a supervillain and recurring enemy of Spider-Man. He is also a founding member of the Sinister Six. Keaton also appeared as Toomes in the mid-credits scene of Morbius.
9 Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer is a prolific actress who earned her breakout role in 1983 as Elvira in Scarface. And in 1992, Pfeiffer portrayed Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Despite the polarizing reviews of the film, Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Catwoman was the standout of the movie, earning her several positive reviews and the fans’ approval.
In the MCU, Michelle Pfeiffer currently plays Janet van Dyne in the Ant-Man film series. Janet is Hank Pym’s wife and the original Wasp, who disappeared into the Quantum Realm during a mission. In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, audiences learn more about Janet van Dyne’s time in the Quantum Realm.
8 Christian Bale
Christian Bale played Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, the highly successful Batman film series directed by Christopher Nolan. Bale earned praise for his performance as Bruce Wayne / Batman, as well as several awards and nominations. The Dark Knight trilogy set itself apart from other previous Batman adaptations for its darker tone.
After his tenure as Batman, Christian Bale starred in critically acclaimed films like American Hustle and The Big Short. And in 2022, Bale made his debut in the MCU as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. Gorr is the main antagonist of the film who seeks the extinction of the gods.
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7 Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy portrayed Bane, an iconic Batman villain, in The Dark Knight Rises. For his role, Hardy gained weight and changed his voice. He took inspiration for Bane’s voice from Bartley Gorman, a British bare-knuckle boxer.
Hardy went on to star as Eddie Brock / Venom, in the first entry in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Venom. While Venom received mixed reviews, the film was a commercial success and earned Tom Hardy two more sequels. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the first sequel, was released in 2021. As Eddie Brock, Hardy had an uncredited cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home mid-credits scene that same year.
6 Halle Berry
Halle Berry took on the role of Ororo Munroe / Storm in the X-Men film series. The first film released in 2000 introduced Berry’s character, a mutant who can control and manipulate the weather. Halle Berry starred as Storm in three more films: X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In 2004, Halle Berry played the titular character in Catwoman. The film centered on Berry as the original character Patience Phillips, and her transformation into Catwoman. Unlike the iconic Batman villain who is an expert gymnast, Patience had super-human abilities.
5 Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell has portrayed two Marvel supervillains. He first starred in Daredevil as Bullseye, a psychopathic assassin who has a personal vendetta against Daredevil. Bullseye has perfect accuracy, but after Daredevil makes him miss a target, he goes after Daredevil instead.
Most recently, Colin Farrell played Oswald “Os” Cobblepot / The Penguin, in 2022’s The Batman. He is not yet the crime kingpin from the comics but is instead only a mid-level mobster who wants more. The upcoming Max limited series The Penguin, expected to be released in 2024, will star Colin Farrell reprising his role and explore The Penguin’s rise to power.
4 Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck first gained recognition for Good Will Hunting, a film he co-wrote and starred in. He also starred in other popular films such as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Affleck then starred as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, a blind attorney-at-law with superhuman abilities, in 2003’s Daredevil. The film received mixed reviews, praising the action sequences and visual style. Ben Affleck also portrayed Daredevil in Elektra.
In 2016, Ben Affleck debuted as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Zack Snyder, the film’s director, opted for an older Batman inspired by The Dark Knight Returns comic book miniseries. Affleck also portrayed Batman in Suicide Squad, Justice League, and The Flash.
3 J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons gave life to J. Jonah Jameson, an iconic character from the Spider-Man comics. Jameson is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Bugle in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film trilogy. He dislikes Spider-Man and carries out a relentless smear campaign against the superhero. Simmons currently portrays an alternate version of J. Jonah Jameson in the MCU.
J.K. Simmons was also part of the DCEU, playing Commissioner Jim Gordon in Justice League. The police commissioner of Gotham City is one of Batman’s biggest allies, even if he is sometimes skeptical of Batman’s methods.
2 Jared Leto
Jared Leto took on the role of The Joker, one of Batman’s most iconic villains, in 2016’s Suicide Squad. The film received mixed reviews, but it was a box office success, and many praised Jared Leto’s performance as the standout of the film. Leto portrayed The Joker again in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Leaving the DC character behind, Jared Leto portrays the Marvel character Dr. Michael Morbius in 2022’s Morbius. The film introduces Morbius, the Living Vampire, and is the third film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.
1 Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones has an extensive career, which includes films like The Fugitive and the Men in Black franchise. And in 1995, Jones starred in Batman Forever, the stand-alone sequel to Batman Returns. In it, Jones plays Harvey Dent / Two-Face, former district attorney of Gotham City who later becomes one of Batman’s enemies.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tommy Lee Jones portrays Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger. Phillips is one of the army officers overseeing subject selection for Project: Rebirth, a clandestine program to create super soldiers.
The MCU has consumed all of Hollywood over the past decade. There are even many actors who have been in Batman films who have joined the MCU. Read More