All the Batman Movies, Ranked

Hollywood can’t get enough of Caped Crusader. The Caped Crusader is adored by Hollywood. Batman, Robert Pattinson becomes the eighth live-action Batman to fight Gotham’s most corrupt criminals on the silver screen. His iteration is darker than any Dark Knight who has come before—which is saying something. Batman is our darkest superhero. The DC movies were influenced by Tim Burton’s campy dark humor and style. Christopher Nolan’s iconic superhero film, “The Dark Knight Rises” set new standards for emotional depth and scale in the world of superhero movies. Dark Knight movie. And Zack Snyder’s version of the superhero was relentlessly grim.

With so many Bat-people running around, it’s hard to stand out. It’s time to ask how Pattinson’s Batman measures up to all the other brooding playboys, from Christian Bale’s lovelorn version to George Clooney’s Bat with nipples on his suit. Given the costuming of Pattinson’s Batman films, it is possible to guess that Clooney comes out ahead. We ranked all 16 Batman films that made their way to theaters (or, in the case of Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice LeagueFor pandemic reasons, kindly send to HBO Max
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Here’s how BatmanCompares with its predecessors.

Learn More This New Batman is Deeply Disconcerting. The Director Says That’s the Point

16. Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, Joker (voice: Mark Hamill)
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionJoker as sung by Mark Hamill Batman: The Killing Joke

This comic was controversial and it received an animated version. Original story was about the Joker abducting Batgirl. His secret identity was Barbara Gordon, daughter to Commissioner Gordon. She is tortured, paralysed, and then he takes photos of her naked body for her father. It’s disturbing and a classic example of fridging in comic books—or hurting women in order to motivate the male hero. The movie adaptation adds a prologue that sees Barbara and Batman sleeping together. I assume the intent was to make Barbara’s kidnapping more heart-wrenching for Batman. In reality it’s creepy—Batman is a sort of father figure to Barbara, so, that’s gross. The affair ultimately serves to exacerbate the character, rather than give her depth.

Learn More The Reasons People Get So Exasperated About It Batman: The Killing Joke Movie

15. Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice (2016)

Film-Razzie Awards
Clay Enos—APBen Affleck portrays Batman in The Batman Movie and Henry Cavill plays Superman in Superman: Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice

Zack Snyder took the wrong lessons from the successes of the Dark Knight films. Batman v Superman is aggressively gloomy but with no emotional depth to back up the characters’ misery. The plot is absurd. This movie hinges on the fact that both Batman and Superman’s moms are named Martha. Seriously. The two superheroes are fighting—mostly for dumb ego reasons—and about to kill each other, until one of them utters their mom’s name, and then they decide to be BFF. It’s supremely dumb. It’s also extremely dumb. Ben Affleck is not a charmer, and the audience will be left wondering why he gave up a career as a director to take on this part. At least Joel Schumacher’s much-maligned Batman movies could be fun in a cheesy way. Batman v SupermanIt feels as though the filmgoer is being attacked.

Learn More Why? Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice The End was Near

14. Batman & Robin (1997)

BATMAN AND ROBIN, Chris O'Donnell, George Clooney
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionChris O’Donnell as Robin and George Clooney as Batman in Batman and Robin

This movie was an absolute disaster. George Clooney gets lost in the mire of bad jokes and his charm is completely lost. Arnold Schwarzenegger looks as if he is a wooden man. Freeze (though some may argue he was going for a “so-bad-its-good” vibe). To his credit, director Joel Schumacher commits to campiness—this Batman had nipples on his suit, for goodness sake. It is a bit irritating that everyone seems to be mildly disapproving of the material. While we are grateful for the movie’s terribleness, studio executives took greater risks to make their franchise films more appealing and demanded higher quality, such as hiring Sam Raimi.Spider-Man() and Christopher Nolan (The Dark) KnightTo reimagine the story of a superhero, click here

13. Justice League (the Whedon Cut, 2017).

Clay Enos/Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionBen Affleck plays Batman; Gal Gadot portrays Wonder Woman. Ray Fisher is Cyborg. Ray Fisher is Cyborg. Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa are The Flash. Justice League

This movie is better than the others. Batman v Superman? Marginally. Does it taste good? No. It’s a muddled mess, in part thanks to Joss Whedon taking over from Zack Snyder as director halfway through filming and trying to punch up the dialogue with his Marvel witticisms. Snyder—known for his dark, bloody comic book films—and AvengersDirector Whedon and Whedon are very different filmmakers. The fusion of their visions creates a bipolar movie. It also doesn’t make its audience feel connected to any of the heroes. Instead of focusing on important character beats, Whedon focuses instead on boring battles with big, plastic beasts. Bizarrely, Ben Affleck’s Batman is positioned as the leader of this team, even though his portrayal is so lacking in dynamism it’s hard to understand why he’d be elected to that position over Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman or Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, both much more interesting characters.

11. Batman (1966).

BATMAN, (aka BATMAN: THE MOVIE), Burt Ward, Adam West,
20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett CollectionBurt Ward portrays Robin. Adam West plays Batman. Batman: The Movie

1966 Film BatmanIt was an episode in the Adam West television series. All the major villains—The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman—decide to team up to take on the Dynamic Duo, Batman, and Robin. It is predictablely funny and all the lines seem to be spoken tongue-in cheek. There is something sweet and fun about the Batman media era before Bruce abandoned Robin and went into hiding. He spent his days writing or playing with his Batmobile. Can Batman be made fun again? It is unlikely. There are plenty of superheroes today to tell jokes. Batman is left alone to enjoy the company of his friends.

10. Justice League, the Snyder Cut 2021

Film Box Office
Clay Enos—Warner Bros/APGal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Ben Affleck plays Batman. Ezra Miller portrays Flash. Justice League

The so-called Snyder Cut is marginally better but quite a bit longer than Joss Whedon’s version. Snyder gives important backstory to characters such as Cyborg or The Flash that (bizarrely) have never had their own movies before Warner Bros. made an ensemble movie. These additions along with some irrelevant dream sequences that hint at a film in the future, make it four hours. And even the additional content cannot save the film from another rather bland otherworldly villain who pales compared to Batman’s usual, more grounded nemeses. Batman has always felt the most human and therefore more relatable of DC’s superheroes. He’s best left in Gotham, battling other people rather than aliens or gods.

Learn More Snyder Cut is a better version of Justice League. This is a very dangerous precedent

9. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (93)

Courtesy Everett CollectionKevin Conroy voices Batman. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Batman: The Animated Series was surprisingly dark and complex for a children’s television show. Warner Bros. requested that the filmmakers create a big-screen movie. The writers created a film far more ambitious than they had ever expected. This movie features a romantic relationship between Batman, Andrea and her. He suddenly and unexplainably loses his love for Andrea. It was loved at the time it was released and examined how trauma affects characters. Mark Hamill is also seen as the Joker. That said, the 1993 film leans on the fairly obvious—and frankly infuriating—twist that the female love interest has agency and motives of her own (gasp!). It all seems a bit retro these days.

8. Batman Forever (1996)

Val Kilmer as Batman and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionVal Kilmer portrays Batman, and Nicole Kidman portrays Dr. Chase Meridian. Batman Forever

The movie is pretty insane. It starts with a crotch shot of Batman’s codpiece followed by a crack about Batman picking up a drive through meal. It’s somehow even hornier than the already-pretty-horny Batman Returns—Nicole Kidman plays a psychiatrist whose sole trait seems to be wanting to get under Batman’s cape. (Her desire is a bit curious considering Kilmer’s Dark Knight is far less dynamic than his predecessor, Michael Keaton, but no matter.) Also, this film feels very 90s. Drew Barrymore Jim Carey! Tommy Lee Jones The soundtrack features smash hits by U2 and Seal! (Remember soundtracks?) Director Joel Schumacher tried to lighten up the tone after Tim Burton’s films and have a little more fun. This did not work for everyone. This movie seems both too busy, and boring. And it didn’t quite have enough wit to buoy it above its predecessors. Still, Burton’s films were a hard act to follow, and this film is probably more fun than you remember.

7. Batman (1989).

On the set of Batman
Murray Close—Sygma/Getty ImagesJack Nicholson portrays the Joker Batman

Tim Burton, the director of his first movie about superheroes, is playing with all sorts of weirdness. Batman Returns. Batman’s previous iterations were funny and campy. Batman This is definitely a darker interpretation. However, it does contain some humor in the notion of adult men dressing up as animals and clowns. Burton turned the Batman into a brand, and the movie’s value mainly lies in the history it makes and the stories it will inspire. Jack Nicholson plays the Joker as an unhinged showboat, and it’s impossible to not retrospectively watch his performance without thinking about how it laid the groundwork for Heath Ledger’s even grander and scarier version (no offense to Nicholson).

6. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Lego Batman
Warner BrosBatman voiced in by Will Arnett The Lego Batman Movie

Sometimes you need a break from Batman’s glowering, and Will Arnett’s toy version offers a giddy alternative. Lego Batman movie delights in poking fun at the gloomy superhero: Batman’s theme in the movie is an emo song with the lyrics, “Darkness! No parents!” It’s frankly surprising that Warner Bros. allowed the movie to poke so much fun at the past Batmen, particularly Zack Snyder’s contemporaneous, lumbering, self-serious version. Michael Cera’s Robin is perfectly cloying, and Jenny Slate’s Harley Quinn instantly iconic. Plus, the film has one genius insight: Batman’s true love is not Rachel Dawes or Selina Kyle, but the Joker himself. The other is essential for the existence of one. The lover’s spat between Arnett’s Batman and Zack Galifianakis’ joker is truly hilarious.

Check out the review: Lego Batman The Funny in Existential Anxiety

5. Batman Returns1992)

BATMAN RETURNS, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionMichelle Pfeiffer is Catwoman; Michael Keaton plays Batman Batman Returns

Did you know that superhero films used to have sex? Pfeiffer licks Michael Keaton’s face in this film and growls lines like, “Life’s a bitch, now so am I.” It’s so fun! How did we make it possible to infuse superhero films with violence, but completely remove all traces of sex from them. Anyway, Pfeiffer shines in this thing: Failing to give her a Catwoman spinoff movie is one of Hollywood’s worst mistakes. However, the studio got it right when Tim Burton was allowed to direct his second Batman film. Tim Burton makes a Tim Burton film about lonely, lost souls. The poignancy of that isolation makes up for the fact that there are some extremely bizarre plotting choices in this film, including the fact that the climax of this movie is dependent on rerouting penguins with rockets strapped to their backs from Gotham’s City Center back to the Penguin’s hide-out. The rocket penguins can be quite charming, though.

4. The Dark Knight Rises (2011)

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionTom Hardy plays the Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Perhaps my Nolan biases are showing. There was no way that anything would live up to expectations. The Dark KnightHowever, RisesIt is one of the best superhero films ever made. The first hour or so of the movie is particularly promising: Bruce has grown older and weary of his role as Gotham’s protector. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman and Jospeh Gordon Levitt’s Robin add new life to the fight for the city’s soul. And even though you can’t understand a darn thing Bane says, the scenes where he captures a plane with another plane and, later, sets off bombs on Gotham’s football field are some of Nolan’s better action set pieces to date. Things quickly get worse when Bane throws Bruce Wayne in that pit at the center of nowhere. It’s wild that Batman spends half of a Batman movie sitting in a remote prison with a broken back. Meanwhile, Bane’s bid to lead Occupy Wall Street doesn’t quite land. It’s difficult to understand the intended message and ending.

Check out the review:The Dark Knight RisesWhat is the best superhero movie?

3. The Batman (222)

Jonathan Olley—Warner BrosRobert Pattinson is Batman Batman

It may not be true recency bias but Matt Reeves will continue to make Batman movies and may challenge Nolan as master of the genre. BatmanThis movie works great as a crime noir thriller. The movie has many thoughts. This is The Dark Knight trilogy first premiered in an uncertain post-9/11 era and tapped into our fears of the moment—the threat of terrorism, Patriot Act-level surveillance, and the culture wars over Occupy Wall Street. Similarly, Batman feels utterly relevant in 2022 with its focus on Bruce’s privilege as a super rich white dude, how dangerous fringe movements grow on social media, and questions of whether fear or hope is a more potent political force. While the film certainly has its flaws—at times feeling perhaps too claustrophobic and missing some of the fun we’ve come to expect from superhero movies—I’m excited to see what Reeves and Pattinson do next with the Caped Crusader.

Check out the review: Batman Is Dark, Real Dark—Or So It Wants Us to Think

2. Batman Begins (2006)

BATMAN BEGINS, Christian Bale
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett CollectionChristian Bale is Batman Batman Begins

Batman BeginsIt was an important shift from silly costumes to a more grounded story about the worst city fiction has ever seen. It’s also an astounding start to one of the best film trilogies of all time. Christian Bale has the perfect cast. He is able to play the two roles of the playboy and the brooding bat (using his talents). American Psycho days). The movie, thanks to Michael Cane’s humor and wit, is much more entertaining than you might remember. It certainly has issues: The Scarecrow (despite Cillian Murphy’s heroic efforts to make him sufficiently creepy) is a bit of a throwaway villain, outshined by Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul. And the movie falls apart towards the end: The action is chaotic, as are Batman’s ethics: His whole deal throughout the movie is he refuses to kill, until of course he intentionally abandons Ra’s Al Ghul on a speeding train to die. But it was the first superhero movie to take its hero’s pain deadly seriously, and its influence on dark films to come is undeniable—for better or worse.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

Stephen Vaughan—Warner Bros/ Ledger portrays the Joker The Dark Knight

The Dark KnightIt is an iconic film that has been hailed as the best superhero movie ever made. The crime thriller captivates with all its twists and turns, from the clown robbery in the very first scene to Batman’s fateful choice of whether to save Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) or Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Nolan thoughtfully places the majority of Nolan’s action in Harvey Dent or Commissioner Gordon. Both get full emotional arcs, while Bruce Wayne is largely left to survey the chaos that he’s caused merely by donning a mask. But the real reason this movie will always remain in the pantheon of greatest films of all time is Heath Ledger’s iconic performance as the Joker. Ledger received a posthumous Oscar and was rightly honored.

Check out the review:Batman is Back


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