Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bale’s Batman Voice

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 10:10 am,

Batman on Batman Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bales Batman Voice

Batman has always been known for his duality, but this is ridiculous. Kevin Conroy’s panel at C2E2 on Friday gave us an interesting look into his world as the voice of animated Batman. While he mentioned the progress of the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, the real treat was his words of disappointment with Christian Bale’s infamous Batman voice.

A civil war has brewed amongst fans on whether Bale’s husky voice work is good or bad since he first appeared as the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins. Now, we get a professional opinion. It’s tough to find more expertise than the most recognizable voice of the Dark Knight, Kevin Conroy. You may expect him to be coy with answers and simply praise Bale, but the man spoke his version of the truth.

When asked if Warner Bros. has ever requested he dub of The Dark Knight, the entire room laughed with Conroy before he gave an answer. Even better, he starts it off with his version of the awesome movie line, “I’m not wearing hockey pads.” See it for yourself with our video from the event. (Apologies for the audio mix-up near the beginning)

The passion with which people hate Christian Bale’s voice work is amusing, if not overwhelming. It is important to take a look at the character objectively and figure out why such an esteemed actor would choose to take it to such extremes.

Bruce Wayne’s goal to instill fear in his enemies is more than a cape and mask. It’s also more than “an idea.” The voice is an extension of his intimidation. While a line of dialogue here and there can become awkwardly forced with his raspy voice, it is part of the persona of Batman. If anything, it makes Wayne more human. But I understand many will not side with that sentiment, and their argument is sound with years of proof from Kevin Conroy that it can be done.

Video of the rest of Kevin Conroy’s discussion,will be up by the end of the weekend. It’s a great 25-minute up close look at the “classic Batman” with stories on how he got started with the character and its evolution throughout the years.

Batman Gotham Knight Kevin Conroy Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bales Batman Voice

In addition to giving his fellow Batman a hard time, Conroy mentioned he had finished primary recording for Arkham Asylum 2 and expects the game to be finished by the end of the year. Based on a report from our own Game Rant, that seems a dubious claim.

If you are a fan of the animated Batman series, specifically with Mark Hamill as the Joker, Conroy shared some awe for the colleague’s performances. Stories of intensity and camaraderie between the two were intriguing and gave us an idea just why the characters are so powerful.

Voice your opinion on the Christian Bale voice debate below and let us know if you side with Conroy or Bale in the comments section below.

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TAGS: batman begins, the dark knight

160 Comments

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  1. I actually loved his voice in Batman Begins, and was not too fond of it in The Dark Knight. I think in TDK he had a lot more long, philosophical sentences, and it sounded wrong being spoken with that voice. In BB he was saying a lot more short, angry things, such as “I'm Batman!” to Falcone, or “Swear to ME!” For those types of lines it worked well, but the deep wisdom with the gruff voice just doesnt mesh.

  2. to be totally honest i don't mind the voice at all…sure it isn't the best voice, but it shouldn't be as huge as it has gotten…and not to mention the batman gotham knight dvd thing i would've preferred christian bale's voice over conroy's. conroy's was good for the animated series and the games, but bale is who i see as bruce wayne/ batman now

  3. I completely agree, I think it was more criticized in TDK because of that very reason alone. Then again it'd be weird if it had changed from BB to TDK. But yeah the only time I thought the voice was sort of a distraction was when he was talking to Fox(Morgan Freeman) for that scene in TDK, because he knows he's Bruce Wayne, so why would he need to use the intimidating voice when he's talking to him. Other than that, although I do agree it can make words muffled sometimes and a bit hard to comprehend, I understand why it's there and accept it.

  4. I can't believe there's an actual DEBATE about his voice. Who cares? Some of these fanboys are drama queens.

  5. Stop trying to get your 5 mins of fame dissing Christian Bale you Effing Fags!

    • well said

  6. Personally Conroy's voice will always be the definitive voice of Batman. Cold,and calculated like his personality in the comics yet had bit of smart and smoothness like Adam West versions.

    10 years plus in comic and now video game it almost expected of Batman to sound like Conroy.

  7. I personally don't have a problem with Christian Bale's voice as batman. It think is fits the mysterious aura of batman.

  8. I personally don't have a problem with Christian Bale's voice as batman. It think is fits the mysterious aura of batman.

  9. the only scene that really pissed me off was the end when he was talking to gordon, he sounded retarded

  10. i hate christian bale FULL STOP.
    was it not for him terminator salvation could have been a little bit better, his constant need to be on the screen almost al the time ruins pretty much every movie he's been in. i hope batman 3 is the last of the series, i think i can put up with his croaky/annoying/hard to understand voice for 1 more movie… but only one.

    btw for a good laugh check this out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2yv8aT0UFc

    • if you dont like bale’s voice in BB,why watch TDK?

  11. Thank you. The fact that people have to dig as far as the way an actor chooses to speak as a character in a movie shows how far some people will go to criticize any move. Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Begins/The Dark Knight are completely separate visions of the Batman mythos. I never saw anyone compare the Adam West Batman to the Animated Series or the Animated Series to the movies from the 90's (which would be more appropriate since they were around at the same time period). I haven't followed the animated series' of Batman since about the late 90's so I don't know if Mr. Conroy did the voice work for him in the Justice League series or the recent animated movies, but I enjoyed his take on him from what I watched and think this is just sort of silly for him to get involved in.

  12. I definitely agree with you JGandolf. There was nothing wrong with his voice in Batman Begins. When you look back at BB you can still recognise his voice a little, but its just more husky than usual. Just the right amount for Batman. However, with longer lines in TDK he went even huskier and it sounded a little stupid. His performance suffered too i think. Christian Bale seems to do better with Off-beat kind of movies, but when it comes to a movie with major hype his acting goes by the wayside. Ok, the Joker stole the show, but i was left dissapointed with how bad Christian Bale was considering how brilliant he was in Batman Begins.

  13. JGandolf nailed the issue. Nolan should've made those same points to Bale instead of letting him embarrass himself and reduce the quality of the near perfect movie.

  14. Personally I like the Voice that Bale does, I think that its amazing that he can talk in such a ridiculous manner and wear a costume and still evoke such a serious tone. I love Kevin Conroy and his voice but we all know that Bale's Batman is the famous voice now. When people want you to know that they are mimicking Batman, they use the Bale voice. No one ever does the Conroy, and as the Voice of Batman I Think hes just a little jealous. Hence all the harsh Comments

    Also if you were to redo the Batman movies with Conroys voice it just wouldn't be the same and I also Agree with JGandolf

  15. How come nobody here mentioned that the voice was ruffed up even more in post-production? I don't mind the voice at all although I did like the more subtle version in Batman Begins. Also, if you think that Bale embarassed himself than why didn't Nolan stop it?

  16. Thank u Paul!!! Finally,someone here who has some common friggin sense,very refreshing ;D

  17. you people do realize that the voice was digitally altered and the outcome most likely wasn't bale's choice

  18. he has the best voice for batman in my opinion and, if somebody has a problem with that he/she should watch tdk again and ask nolan, him/herself about the voice.

  19. If Nolan felt the voice was an embarrassment to Bale or even close, he would have stepped in. In fact, I don't see how it would be too difficult to redub his voice in post-production if it was an issue. The voice does sound like it has some extra bass added in certain scenes.

    The only complaint I have about the voice is the lack of line clarity in a couple of scenes-namely the end scene with the Joker. THAT should have been fixed and I'm really surprised Nolan pushed it through like that. Otherwise, Bale does an excellent job playing what is a quite difficult character in Nolan's universe. Becuase Bale, unlike his predecessors, does the majority of his own stunts, his Batman is a very physicaly demanding character for an actor to play. Not to mention his excellent portrayal of the multiple personalities of Bruce Wayne.

    Conroy may do excellent voice work for TAS, etc. But that is all he is asked to do. He doesn't have to portray the characters.

  20. Speaking from a diehard Balehead's perspective,I think he can do no wrong,to me,he's an amaaaaaaaaazing actor,with so much depth,emotion and intensity that really captivates and holds my attention. Personally,from a girl's pov,I think his Batvoice was hella sexy and manly,just the way Batman's voice is supposed to be.Obviously Kevin's upset cuz he didn't get the part,jealous much Kevy?

    Christian has been a brilliant actor since the tender age of 10,Steven Spielberg was in awe of his performance in Empire Of The Sun,even comparing a 12 year old Chrisitian to the great Steve McQueen.Now coming from a man of Steven's caliber,that's saying somethin!!! FOR THE FACTS:CHECK THIS OUT!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVcTz-G1mBY

    Obviously dude, ur a Balehater,and u sound like a whiny ass pouty adolescent,what r u,13??? Someone needs a time out…And btw,who cares who u hate,I'm pretty sure he doesn't cuz he still has legions of loyal fans all over the world sweetums. And for ur info,if TS had a better director,it would've been a better movie,the movie's lack of success had nuthin to do with Christian's performance,he clearly did his thing,and if McG had any *eh hem* balls,he would've directed the movie better,took more control of his set,AND got a writer who could come up with a better script,instead,he was too busy acting like a giddy fanboy,kissing up to Christian,instead of directing him!!! It was very clear who was the Alpha male on the set,and that was the main reason for Christian's rant,say it with me:U N P R O F E S S I O N A L I S M

    In conclusion,when Nolan personally suggested Christian to play Batman,obviously the man knew what he was doing,and furthermore,Nolan's the one who wanted this particular voice for the character,so if u have any issues with Christian's “croaky,annoying,hard to understand”Batvoice,then by all means,take it up with the brilliant Chris Nolan.

    Christian FTW!!!!~Balehead4Life babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!

  21. Conroy will always be the voice of Batman I hear since I always appreciated his voice work from the cartoons, although that doesn't mean I'm going to go criticize Bale. A zing against Conroy's was that it was the same voice between Wayne and Batman, so it wouldn't have taken much guessing as to who was also who.

    I'd heard Bale's voice might have been treated some in post, but . . . I can't tell by much. If anyone's seen the “Special Features” section for Howl's Moving Castle, there's a part where they show Bale in the recording studio and he, essentially, does the Batman voice very briefly to say “go away” when Howl had been transformed. There was no treatment there, and I just kind of went, “huh, cool.”

  22. Taking nothing away from Conroy, who I like, but his hockey pads line in the video sounds like a John Wayne impression, which I think works for the cartoon, video game based Batman. However if Bale sounded like a cowboy in BB and TDK, I would have complaints.

    That and, as has already been mentioned in several previous comments, Bale's voice was ruffed up even further in post production, so Nolan as a 'third eye' was there, and decided to bass up the voice, which I happen to like, particularly as it fits into Nolan and companies version of Batman.

    • agreed

  23. I agree with the Spielberg sentiment, though I still think he is just a little too hung on Shia Lebouf at the moment.

  24. That was my first thought with the exchange with Freeman as well, however, I think I might complain now if he changed his voice to talk those who knew who he was, when the cape and cowl are on, he is supposed to be only one man, Batman.

  25. What works with cartoons doesn't always work with movies (ie, 'Hulk Smash!', or Kevin Conroy). And that's what Conroy is– a cartoon, to be frank. Christian Bale is live action Batman, and he does it well.
    It basically boils down to two things. One: Did Bale's voice REALLY take you out of the movie enough to slam him for it? Not for me, anyway. Two: When you think about Batman, who's voice do you REALLY hear? MICHAEL KEATON.

  26. If his voice makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward when im watching than I cant be called a drama fanboy or whatever. There were literally moments he would carry on a sentence without closing his lips or mouth and its obvious and took me out of the moment for the character. I think he can sound intimidating with going lower just dont scruffier.

  27. I can't believe Chris Nolan would make a Batman movie without even showing BIF! or POW! or BAM! any time Batman punched someone. Just shows he has no real clue about what the Batman mythos is really all about, and has no grasp of the subject material.

    Seriously though, these “debates” have gone WAY too far…

  28. Kevin Conroy is Batman as far as I'm concerned, nothing Nolan or Bale have done is ever going to be as good as the animated seried. Whenever I read Batman comics its Conroy's voice speaking in my head.

    Bale's voice/growl completely ruined TDK for me (along with a few other things). Its just wrong.

    Plus Michael Keaton was a million times better than Bale. But this has all been said before. Also maybe film makers should actually consider making a film about Batman, I've never seen one when he's the main character yet.

  29. I read a lot about people’s choices on who they think should play who in these awesome portrayals of Chris Nolan’s excelent take on Batman. Though, I will admit when I watched Batman Begins for the first time(on an airplane…) I wasnt sure what to think of it, not being too familiar with Nolan’s work.(at the time) But the more I watched it the more I wanted to be IN the story it was so well thought out. Then The Dark Knight emerged from the…darkness and everyone was sooo upset over heath ledger playing The Joker(me being one of them) until they watched the fim. Everyone walked out of the movie thearter either not impressed with the events that took place(because they just didn’t get it and or they were not paying attention!) or they were completely blown away as I was. So now we have the third and FINAL bat-film helmed by the Nolan family. After reading some of the previous opinions of re-casting The Joker, I think and have always thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could pull off a Heath-like Joker. He’s got the same features physiclly(except his height)and that same high pitched voice. Maybe not entirely the acting chops but I think with a little time and work with the right people, he could pull it off quite well. And as for Johnny Depp being in the mix for The Joker or The riddler I think isn’t a bad call either. But my overall opinion of who I think could and SHOULD play The Riddler is actor Joeseph Fiennes of Flash Forward. I think he is a well respected and an under-rated British actor who HAS worked with David Goyer on Flash Forward and I just think he could easily be added into the theatrical vibe of Nolan’s Batman villains. Now I know this has nothing to do with what you guys are currently talking about NOW…I’ve been wanting to get all this out in a post for a long time and now I have so with that being said, Thanks for taking the time to read this long and drawn out post.

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