From Adam West to Christian Bale, every live action Batman brought something unique to the character (for better or worse), and I'm sure the upcoming Ben Affleck version will be no different. Still, while they all got some bits and pieces of the iconic character right, they all failed to perfectly embrace and BECOME the Caped Crusader. That particular feat was accomplished only by the legendary DCAU version.
Kevin goddamn Conroy absolutely nailed the goddamn Batman. Add the fact that the minds behind the shows included the likes of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, and it's pretty obvious that there were way more cool Batman-moments than we could throw a batarang at. You see, the DCAU Batman's life was very similar to all other versions until the moment his parents died. That moment affected him so much he released all the givable fucks in his entire body. Poor little Bruce, 8 years old, was there, all too sad and traumatized to realize he will never ever have fucks to give for the rest of his life. This inability came in handy later, when he became a costumed vigilante/superhero, allowing him to own anyone and everyone in his vicinity. These are just 8 examples of the animated Dark Knight being too Kevin Conroy for the competition.
After getting free from Arkham Asylum (on parole, mind you), Edward Nygma apparently gives up crime for good, investing his genius intellect into a line of 'smart' toys aimed at children. Of course, it's all a total front to allow himself the ability to continue his life of question-based crime. Keeping true to his MO, Eddie keeps sending hints and clues to Batman through the commercials for his toys, because taunting Batman is always a good idea. Knowing The World's Greatest Detective will be able to put together the clues but also will be unable to prove he's guilty, Nygma is on top of the world, enjoying his supposed intellectual superiority. Having had enough, Batman decides to confront him with a warning. Batman tells Nygma he can't stop because his ego wouldn't let him, and eventually he'll make a mistake.
'Warning' may be a light term for... whatever this is.
The Riddler grudgingly accepts that the vigilante is right. He decides to kill Batman, thus getting rid of his only intellectual equal, the only real threat he has. He sends another clue, but this time it leads into a supposedly inescapable deathtrap instead of a scene of a robbery. All exits shut as Riddler taunts Batman on a screen about his situation. A bomb blows up, but Batman survives by hiding in a safe, the only thing the villain overlooked...but The Riddler doesn't know that.
Edward Nygma decides to give up his villainous persona, noting that no one else is 'worthy of the game'. However, when Batman returns and confronts him, he doesn't understand how anyone could escape from his 'perfect' trap. Bats isn't about to tell him, so Nygma offers a deal. He'll admit the robberies and even explain how he pulled them off, and in return Batman will tell him how he survived. That's exactly what our hero was expecting, as he records the entire conversation... with a gadget Nygma himself invented. Now he and the police has hard evidence, making Batman's threat a self-fulfilling prophecy. But here's the rub: Batman still refuses to tell him how he survived the trap. The shock and the curiosity take their toll on his mental health, making The Riddler (at least temporarily) insane. He is taken to Arkham Asylum, where he keeps shouting his question with no hope for an answer.
Hard to decide if he is screaming in madness or about to sneeze.
When The Joker goes bankrupt (who could have guessed "being an insane clown" wasn't a solid business plan?), he decides to get back in the game by stealing a dragon statuette made of kryptonite called The Laughing Dragon, going to Metropolis, finding Lex Luthor, and offering to kill Superman for...1 billion dollars! (cue Austin Powers music) Lex is overjoyed at the chance to get rid of The Man of Steel for what is essentially pocket change for him, and accepts the offer. Realizing what's going on, Batman follows Joker into Metropolis...where he almost immediately starts dating Superman love interest Lois Lane, leaving Clark Kent devastated.
"That's bullshit! I look just like him."
Cut to pretty much any regular night, where Batman is busy interrogating some goon, and Superman shows up... to stop Batman. The Dark Knight responds by using an epic judo throw on Supes, who lands on a table. The god-like super-alien is amazed by the sheer size of this bat-cosplaying human's balls, daring to throw-down against someone who could easily smash him into atoms with a flick of his wrist.
Pictured: Superman's 'I can't believe I got owned' face.
Using his X-ray vision, Superman peeks behind Batman's mask, learning his secret identity (spoiler alert - Bruce Wayne). He tells Wayne he won't allow vigilantism In Metropolis (well, out-of-town vigilantism), and gets a small piece of kryptonite shoved in his face for his trouble. Superman is casually told that Joker has several pounds of the stuff, making him realize he needs help. Batman then drops the small piece of kryptonite (and the mic) and leaves like a boss, while Superman contemplates about how unbelievably owned just got.
But he doesn't even know half of it yet. See, during that judo throw, Batman had the time to put a tracer on his costume, and he actually follows Superman until he gets home and reveals himself as Clark Kent. Although, honestly, Batman got fooled by the Clark Kent glasses?!
And that's how The World's Finest learned each other's secret identity, kids.