10. Lewis Wilson
The very first live-action Batman, Lewis Wilson starred as the World’s Greatest Detective in the 1943 film serial. The 15-part black-and-white offering, appropriately titled Batman, was released in theaters and proved to be a financial success, eventually spawning a sequel.
Though it hasn’t exactly aged well, it wasn’t critically-acclaimed at the time of its release either – with one of the main criticisms stemming from its lack of production values. Unfortunately that was also referencing the costumes and, as a major part of Batman’s aura is all about appearance, Wilson was fighting an uphill battle.
The Bat-suit indeed left a lot to be desired, with the unnecessarily baggy top making him look a lot bulkier than he was (and not in a good way) while also inadvertently making the bat symbol a lot smaller than it needed to be. Then you have the mask itself, which almost tried too hard to be comic-accurate and, due to the lack of rubber, ended up looking more like a Halloween mask with devil horns instead of Bat-ears.
That being said, Wilson holds the honor of being the first ever live-action Dark Knight and, in spite of the serial’s shortcomings, it must have been an awe-inspiring sight to see this young comic book legend come to life on the big screen. Furthermore, he was believable in the role and was particularly strong as Bruce Wayne.