Christian Bale

Adam West: Batman Forever

Adam West: Batman Forever

I will begin this appreciation of the actor Adam West, who died Friday at the age of 88, with an apology. What follows will largely be about "Batman," the role that half a century ago defined and to some extent constrained West's career, and will now follow him into the hereafter.

Still, for what it's worth, he remains — for me, and many — the best of all possible Batmans, the only Batman that matters. That he is permanently associated with the part in a way that Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Christian Bale are not, is as much or more a matter of his owning the role than of the role owning him.

In the mid-1960s, comic books — or to be...

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