Kevin Conroy, the longtime voice of several animated iterations of Batman, has offered up a moment of pure ecstasy for Bat-fans by giving a dramatic reading of the closing speech from Christopher Nolan’s superhero masterpiece, The Dark Knight.
Conroy has been playing the caped crusader almost continuously in one form or another since the debut of the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Starting his career television and theater actor, Conroy quickly transitioned into almost exclusively playing Batman. He’s portrayed the Caped Crusader in everything from lighthearted cartoons like the current Justice League Action, to the decidedly more mature Arkham video game series. If you’ve watched a cartoon that featured Batman in the last quarter century, there’s a decent chance you’re familiar with Kevin Conroy’s voice. While live action Batmans have come and gone, Conroy has been a constant, and for many people of a certain generation, he simply is Batman.
Conroy is always game to break out that iconic voice, and has treated fans to something they’ll likely cherish. On the Nerdist podcast Talkin’ Toons, Conroy and host Rob Paulsen – a legendary voice actor in his own right, having worked on such classic shows as Animaniacs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – reenacted the closing scene of The Dark Knight, where Batman and Commissioner Gordon conspire to cover up Harvey Dent’s terrible crimes in an effort to save Gotham City’s soul. Watch the scene below.
Despite a flub near the end, this is highly emblematic of the version of Batman that Conroy has been portraying for the majority of the 21st century. It’s a slightly gruffer, colder version that has its roots in the Batman: The Animated Series sequel series, Batman Beyond, which featured a much older, grizzled Bruce Wayne, and has largely colored all of Conroy’s Batman performances since. It’s not as dynamic as his performance in the Batman: The Animated Series days (beautifully presented in the recently remastered spinoff film, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm), but it fits the gritty, tragic The Dark Knight material quite well; it’s nothing short of surreal hearing Conroy intone the “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” line.
While Conroy has long poked fun at Christian Bale’s infamously gravelly Batman voice, he recently had nothing but kind things to say about Ben Affleck’s version. While it’s nice of him to support the current live action Batman, it’s tough to imagine Conroy reciting any iconic lines from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Maybe this November’s Justice League will offer up some more podcast fodder for the enduring voice of Batman.
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