Batman vs James Bond
So on a facebook post that asked who would win between Bond, Bourne, and whoever that guy Tom Cruise is playing from Mission Impossible is, I made the snarky comment that Bond would clean the floor with the other two, because there are 6 of him. Then my friend Rob who really really really LOVES Batman suggested the ultimate matchup. Bond vs. Batman.
Of course there have been more than 6 James Bonds in film if you consider the original Casino Royale film, and there’s no telling what to do with Never Say Never Again, if we are counting that as part of Connery’s take on the role, or if it is a separate role (and therefore a 7th bond). I’ve heard estimates that there have been 9 portrayals of Batman on the big screen, but if we have to narrow it down to 6, then we’ll start with Adam West’s portrayal and go on from there.
So, that answers the question of which Bonds and which Batmen we have going against each other. But how do we match them up. Chronologically? The significance of what they mean to the franchise? There’s some debate to that as well. But let’s just for the sake of argument go with the most obvious matchups and work from there. So find out the matchups and we can debate the results after the break.
Daniel Craig vs. Christian Bale Some would say I ought to put Connery against Bale, because both actors are considered the “definitive” portrayal. I don’t quite buy that Connery is the definitive portrayal anymore. He certainly was well into the Moore era, enough that a rival film studio had him in the role and put their film out in direct competition with a Moore film (Octopussy). But since Daniel Craig has taken over the role some might argue that Craig is the new benchmark. This matchup also makes sense because in both cases the franchise was rebooted with each actor stepping into the role with the character as a rookie, and the film franchises took a very dark turn in both cases. This matchup makes the most sense as of this writing (in May 2016). Who knows if this will be the case in 10 years time, once there are more Ben Affleck Batman films and likely 7th Bond films.
George Lazenby vs. Val Kilmer This is an easy one, though it could very easily have been more appropriate to put Clooney here. I made this choice however because in both cases the actor replaced a predecessor who had given the then-definitive portrayal and are now laughed about and not taken seriously. Val Kilmer isn’t a bad actor, and while I don’t think his portrayal was terrible, there’s not much that is memorable about it. Lazenby seems like he’s in an Austin Powers film in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Both lasted only one film, Lazenby even replaced by his predecessor! Ouch!
That’s it for the easy matchups, leaving us with the following:
Batmen: West, Keaton, Clooney, Affleck
Bonds: Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan
Adam West vs. Roger Moore Originally I had West vs Connery because they both were the first major portrayals of the character, but after thinking more deeply, the slapstick campy feel of Adam West’s Batman is a much better match for Roger Moore’s comedic take on Bond. Moore is the actor that played the role the longest, turning up for the role in 7 films… probably 2 films too many. So needless to say, he’s been Bond the longest and has more onscreen portrayals of him than anyone else (besides Connery if we’re counting NSNA, which we aren’t). West also portrayed Batman on TV, so he has the most portrayals of the character if we count each episode separately to go along with the film he was in (which was based on the continuity of the series.) So, I think this matchup makes the most sense.
Sean Connery vs. Michael Keaton I think this matchup is fair in that both actors were the first to portray the characters onscreen with consequences of the franchise in the balance. Had Connery failed at being Bond, there’d be no Bond franchise. If Keaton hadn’t done a good job as Batman, likely there would not be a superhero film phenomenon like there is today. In terms of tone and humor, Keaton is a bit dark, but only because he is in Tim Burton films, and Connery is a bit silly, with one liners, but that doesn’t mean Connery’s Bond can’t be serious and Keaton’s Batman can’t be funny.
Timothy Dalton vs Ben Affleck Now we are getting into iffy territory here, because there’s no obvious reason why Affleck would be better matched with Dalton than with Brosnan. The best answer I can give is that Dalton was trying to take the role more into the serious realm, and we should have seen more of him, but legal troubles prevented him from making additional films. Goldeneye was reportedly written with him in mind and was supposed to have been made a few years earlier. Affleck at present falls into this category because we should see more of him, but he’s not been in the role long enough that we can get a proper feel for him yet. It’s also interesting that Affleck tried to kill Superman and Dalton may have inadvertently assisted Al Qaeda.
George Clooney vs Pierce Brosnan There was a time when Pierce Brosnan was my favorite Bond. He got off to a really strong start with Goldeneye, and Tomorrow Never Dies was not terrible. Unfortunately his last two films were a bit hokey and he was less believable in the role. Clooney just.. isn’t.. Batman. He’s George Clooney in a Batman costume. So this is kind of a matchup of the not very convincing.
So who would win?
Let’s start from the bottom and work up.
Clooney defeats Brosnan because he’s got a wealth of gadgets and has Robin and Batgirl. Brosnan will probably have a laser watch and an invisible car and he can use guns. He may also have charmed Poison Ivy to join him, but with Bond outnumbered and outgadgeted, Batman wins.
Affleck defeats Dalton because he’s willing to shoot people with guns. There’s only so much that Bond’s luck can do, and sledding in a cello case across the border won’t mean anything against a trigger-happy Affleck in the Batwing. Batman wins.
Connery defeats Keaton. He’s got an ejector seat in his car. He’s outsmarted wrestlers with razor sharp hats. He’s the master of disguise who can trick people into thinking he is Japanese. He can even fake his own death! Bond wins.
Moore defeats West. This is the guy who has been in space, fought sumo wrestlers, master assasins with golden guns, and Jaws. He’s the most resourceful Bond there is and you can’t even surprise him without him still being able to use his surroundings. He also invented the snowboard in a high stress situation. At the rate of frequency that West is put into death traps, he’s a bit slow on the uptake. Even with the Boy Wonder at his side, this is a severe beatdown. Bond Wins.
Kilmer mops the floor with Lazenby. No explanation even needed. Batman Wins
Craig vs Bale isn’t so one sided, but Craig would infiltrate Wayne manor and bed either Catwoman or Rachel Dawes or both over the course of the film, and at least once in Bruce Wayne’s own bed. He’d get a stern talking to from M, but in the end, he will have gotten what he came for and been out without even making it a confrontation, and Bruce would be none the wiser. If they actually do end up fighting, it depends on if there are guns. If there are, Craig wins handily. If not, it’s certainly a good slugfest, but Batman probably wouldn’t have even gotten close, because this Bond can even prepare for his encounters ala Skyfall.
So it is an even matchup, with Batman and Bond each winning 3 apiece. I admit I am much more of a Bond fan than a Batman fan, so there is the slight chance that I am a bit biased, but I think I did justice to everyone here.
But wait, we can’t have a tie! So we have to go with an amalgamation of the characters vs. each other. James Bond is a master spy and blends in perfectly well with rich people. Bruce Wayne is rich. Both are masters of stealth with a slight edge to Batman. Batman is better at preparation for a battle, but this is neutralized by Bond’s ability to think on his feet and use his surroundings. (I’m thinking Roger Moore’s Bond vs. Jaws on the train, for example.) Bond has the resources of an entire country behind him, with the Q division employing the top inventors and scientists for his gadgets, but he does not get to use them all the time. Batman on the other hand has the ability to use whatever gadgets he wants, but again, Bond can use gadgets specifically designed for his fight with Batman (I imagine Q would give him night-vision sunglasses or something). Allies unfortunately don’t count, so the boy wonder does not factor in on this at all, nor does the Justice League otherwise it wouldn’t be a fair contest. Finally Batman does not kill (usually), but Bond has a license to kill. In terms of physique the edge goes to Batman, so if it ever gets to hand to hand with no using your surroundings, Batman wins easily… but they aren’t going to be in the octagon fighting each other, so this matters less. Given everything we have in consideration, if Bond’s mission is to infiltrate Wayne Manor he will undoubtedly be successful, but if Batman is trying to stop an assassination, so will he. The two are evenly and fairly matched, so we have to go with luck… and sorry Batfans, Bond has the best luck ever. Bond wins, though not easily.