Matt Singer at Dissolve has a sharp post on the rise of Europeans doing flat American accents in blockbuster films:
Bale is from the United Kingdom as well, and variations of his flat, husky whisper—like a guy with a bad case of laryngitis and a mild speech impediment—have become the de facto “American” voice for a lot of foreign born Hollywood action heroes. Scottish Gerard Butler used it earlier this year as a Secret Service agent in Olympus Has Fallen; Australian Sam Worthington deployed it with varying degrees of success in Avatar and Terminator Salvation.
What annoys me most about this particular fake accent is that it robs characters’ voices of depth and subtlety. Pacific Rim is a tremendously fun and goofy film, but its lead character has the vocal range of a robot. Jokes and important moments feel off because the actor is stuck talking like a stoic, Clint Eastwood cowboy rather than like a real person.
I’m not opposed to Brits and Europeans doing American accents, but the Bale voice is simply too flat and dreary to work for most films.