Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bale’s Batman Voice

Published 5 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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  1. In the scene where he is talking to Lucius Fox, the first thing he says is 'Beautiful, isn't it?” It really is so much more smother than it usually is. I also think it shows Bruce Wayne's psychosis growing if he thinks he needs to keep up with that voice in a normal conversation with a person that knows who he really is.

  2. Bale/Nolan made Batman more than just a guy dressed up in a crazy costume. The voice works, it makes perfect sense and never bothered me until fanboys went nuts pointing it out. Bring on the fanboy hate but I'm going to say it: Conroy does nothing with the characters in the animated seris. Wayne and Batman sound exactly the same and they both sound just like Conroy. So why in gods name does every fanboy in the world pop a woody for this guy? I mean come on Mark Hamill doesn't voice the Joker with his regular voice I don't hear Luke Skywalker when he talks so whay is it so wrong for Bale's Batman to have a voice that sounds nothing like Bruce Wayne?

  3. I agree with you here. I mean, the Batman in Nolan's movies are to be intimidating and scary. Not to mention, speaking in a different voice would make sense to help hide your identity. Especially considering Bruce Wayne is a popular figure and everyone knows what he sounds like. I liked it and obviously Nolan thought enough of it to keep it the way it was, and he is one of the best and smartest film directors of all-time so who am I to argue with him?

  4. I don't get the “fans” who complain about Bale's Batvoice. I really don't.
    Storywise it makes sense that Wayne would attempt to alter his voice slightly as Batman…to protect his identity as Bruce Wayne and/or to maintain a mysterious quality about him.

    The only time I really thought it was bad was in Begins during his fight with Ras on the train, but I also excused it, since Ras choked Wayne, and there may also have been some roughness due to possible smoke inhale (from the burning down of Manor).

  5. Bale sounded like he was constipated in both begins and tdk. It was really a let down to me. Maybe by the 3rd movie he'll loosen up a bit.

  6. Bale was horrible in batman begins. So I was reluctant to watch the dark knight. It was a good thing Heath took lead of that movie. Bales voice is rediculous, he looks like a good batman but his voice sucks ass. I would've prefered Adam West's voice.

  7. I like Conroys version a heck of alot better than what Bale did/is doing… BUt I do think Bale plays the Dark Knight near perfectly…besides the low voice he uses.

  8. Bale/Nolan gave the character a voice, one that sounds nothing like Bruce Wayne. Every actor before Bale put the bat suit on and played the character exactly the same way as they did when out of the suit. This includes Conroy. He sounds the same as Wayne as he dose voicing Batman. I applaud Bale/Nolan for seeing this and for taking the steps to try and distinguish the Batman character from the Bruce Wayne character.

  9. I actually have to disagree with Kevin Conoroy on this one. Bales' Batman voice in both Begins and The Dark Knight had it's on and off moments. However, when Christian's Batman voice is on key it is fearsome and as a dynamic presence. As much as I believe Kevin Conroy is one the best Batman; I still believe Christian Bale is on top of the list best Caped Crusader.

  10. “This includes Conroy. He sounds the same as Wayne as he dose voicing Batman”

    Ummmm… exactly how long has it been since you've watched the original animated series with Conroy… Because I have them all on DVD and I've seen them all in order recently and he doesn't voice them the same AT ALL…

    In fact, the whole giving Batman a different voice from Bruce Wayne was actually Conroy's idea. Even the movies and when they were casting for the voice for the series, nobody thought about that. Conroy did the audition and gave them two voices, one for Bruce Wayne and one for Batman and they loved the idea and went with it… So… Someone is a bit misguided here, lol… :-)

  11. Well, if it wasnt for Conroy's voice, Im sure the all the series that he was on wouldnt have lasted. The man is versatile as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Kevin just totally rocks and he's a great guy with sympathy and realism for Christian Bale. Im a die hard fan of both Bale and Conroy. I dont think Conroy was slamming Bale at all. I do agree with him that someone needs to work with Bale and do some voice coaching for him, because he does make a awesome Batman and with the right training just like the keysi training, I think Bale can do it without sounding constipated. As much as people didnt approve of Heath as the Joker, he nailed it and now everyone loves Ledger. Yeah Bale met the approval with BB, so, yeah his voice was off, but the movie was and is still awesome. Im sure with the response of the public, that Bale and Nolan will workout the kinks in his voice!!

  12. I believe Christian Bale is on of the finest actors I have ever seen grace the screen. I took no notice of his voice in The Dark Knight-who am I to harp on his craft? When all is said and done the movie made a pile of money so I seriously doubt his voice did much harm

  13. Ok, I'm reading through the responses here. Let me first set something straight. I was a Christian Bale fan LONG before this whole Batman, TDK stuff. Most of the Christian Bale fans now think that his first movie was Batman Begins… I actually remember Christian Bale when he was a little british boy in a Japanese POW camp in Empire of the Sun… Then I remember him in Reign of Fire, The Machinist, and Equilibrium. I loved Equilibrium but thought the other two wasn't that good, but I recognized his acting skill.

    But to be honest, in his last few movies, like The Dark Knight, Public Enemy, Rescue Dawn, etc. I feel like he's really let his sudden big fame get to his head, because it seems like he's stopped trying, like he's just reading the script…

    Anyway, just wanted to make clear I'm not just some Christian Bale “hater” or “basher.” Quite the opposite, I'm more of a fan of his than most of the people here defending him, but seriously, his acting has been lacking lately…

  14. I too was a fan of Christian Bale long before Batman Begins, alot of his recent roles carry with them a cetain intensity I agree,but if you look at some of his roles that he allows vulnerability in he truly is a great actor. Take All the Little Animals or even 3:10 to Yuma two of his greatest roles in my opinion.

  15. I did enjoy 3:10 to Yuma, but I think both Russell Crowe and the main villain (can't think of his name right now, the guy also in Pandorum) seemed to steal the show from Christian Bale though…

    Just like how Heath Ledger stole the show in TDK, Johnny Depp stole the show in Public Enemy, and so on…

  16. Yes Russell Crowe was excellent wasn't he? it is always easier to play the villain. The other guy i believe you are referring to is Ben Foster. remember villains get all the juicy lines I just like to see him play a vulnerable character. Check out All the Little Animals his performance is a triumph!

  17. Where’s the rest of the 25 minute video?

  18. Honestly, I thought Bale’s Batman voice was pretty good (I particularly like it when he’s doing interrogation scenes, like with Flask in Begins, or with Joker or Maroni in “The Dark Knight,” it’s just phenomenal then). And it does make sense for Batman to have a very growly voice, so I never even thought anyone hated it until “The Dark Knight” came out and people started commenting on it.

    (On a personal note: I actually started using the Bale Bat-voice as a joke at work a while ago, and have caused several of my co-workers to jump, so that also gave the voice a few bonus points in my eyes)

  19. Kevin Conroy came up with a good point in another video. He said that Christian Bale was excellent in Batman Begins, but that in The Dark Knight, his voice got out of hand. I went back and watched both movies, and he’s right. I couldn’t agree with Conroy anymore than I do. In Batman Begins he doesn’t use the stupid throat cancer voice nearly as often as in The Dark Knight. Batman Begins was the best “Batman” movie ever, as in Batman was done the most right. The Dark Knight is the best comic book movie, yes, but Bale’s voice ruined it at being the best “Batman” movie. Either way, Bale is still the best live action Batman/Bruce Wayne, if he finds a better voice to use, which I know he can, he would be unbeatable.

  20. The voice was idiotic. I understand the idea of a disguise but really… Every time he spoke it was all I could do to not burst out laughing. Ruined the movies for me.

  21. I think that if you have to take breaths between every second or third word, seen in the dark knight, there’s something with the way you’re talking. In addition to this, even if it is just a slight change, Kevin Conroy’s Bruce Wayne was different, softer than his batman. Watching the different series through the years, I side with the people disappointed, but not an extreme. While a change would be greatly welcomed in his voice performance, I think Christian Bale’s acting as batman is still superb, especially when showing Bruce’s human side.

    • Warner Brothers should make a full length CGI movie, with the Technology from the Avatar movie as well as planet of the Apes, this can be done with Kevin Conroy playing the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne, with Mark Hammell playing the voice of Joker. 2 Hours of action where they can take action sequences to a whole new era. Years ago this wouldn’t have been possible but it is today. If done correctly this would make as much money as the current Batman movies or any other.

  22. Personally I don’t mind Bale’s voice for Batman, there are times where you can’t take it seriously and it ends up being a laughfest (You don’t want to hurt the boy Harvey!).

    Regardless I was so immersed in the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight movies that the voice didn’t bother me that much. I prefer Kevin Conroy’s take on Batman but it’s interesting to hear other voice actors and actors alike portray Batman from time to time. In fact when I first heard the voice in Batman Begin’s I thought it was cool.

    P.S. By the end of the day it all comes down to preference.

  23. Nothing constructive here.

    Conroy’s Batman was perfect – smooth yet menacing.
    Bale’s Batman sounds like he desperately needs a lozenge.

  24. I consider that Christian’s voice as the Batman better. Its Batman really spikes fear. And the voice plays it an important role. So it completely hides the настоящуюю the person. The batman is furious, it moves fury therefore its voice more impresses.
    Kevin’s voice is good. It strong, but softer, more “live” It not so frightens as Christian’s voice. In it it is not felt due threat.

    Besides if Kevin would start to speak Christian’s voice nightmares would dream children))) I joke

  25. I like bales voice to a point. In begins with ” where were the other drugs going?” That was very jarring and out of nowhere. But in TDK with his speeches to the joker about people believing in good. That was just funny. It works better for bale because he does have kind of a voice that’s easy to remember.

  26. i think Christian Bale has been a better actor since Michael keating’s original batman movie and think he is doing well at it. I dont like the cartoons much but have watched some but it doesnt depicked the story as bales has done.

  27. i like christian bales batman way better than kevin conroys conroys batman didnt really have a menace to his voice like bale does and bale does a good job as batman if you look at the comics and bale he looks just like bruce wayne and bout right size for batman and we all know he is way better than keatons and clooneys batman u couldnt understand half the stuff keaton said and i like bales voice specially wen he was breathing everysecond towards the end cuz it showed he was only human and was tired after the battle with joker

    • I think the voice was a further cover of his identity. The cops/criminals can record his voice and with voice analysis arrive at batman’s real identity. By sounding like that he sounds neutral as he could be anybody. I think like he had electric charge to stop anybody to pull of his mask without his knowing he has voice alteration to protect his voice and thus is his further attempt to protect his identity. The character is not showcasing his heroics but on a mission ( although i agree this is a movie and in the end need to please the audience it must also not insult the audiences’ intelligence i order to give a pleasing performance.