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Every Batman movie, ranked from worst to best

What is your favorite Batman movie? See if it made this list

Batman lifting The Joker by the collar.
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Batman captivates audiences of all ages — from every walk of life — no matter whether you like comedy, action, or anything in between. Batman’s ability to both transport you back to your childhood, while also making you understand parts of yourself during your current adult life makes him a hero unlike any other.

Despite the obvious fascination and positive traits exuded by Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, there have been some varied and sometimes not-so-good adaptations of the Caped Crusader on the screen. Of all Batman movies, big names have depicted the character, such as Michael Keaton and Christian Bale, while the villains have been equally famous ranging from Jack Nicholson to Jim Carrey. We’re here to help you sort out over 50 years of Batman’s stories, from animated classics to the most recent dark and moody reboot. Here’s the worst to the best Batman movies.

13. Batman & Robin (1997)

13. Batman & Robin
125m
Genre
Action, Science Fiction, Adventure, Comedy
Stars
George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Directed by
Joel Schumacher
Watch on HBO Max
The Caped Crusader was truly on top of the world during the 1990s with three Batman films that ranged from wildly successful to moderately liked, all directed or produced by Tim Burton. Unfortunately, Batman & Robin shakes things up in the worst way possible. George Clooney fails to capture any of the trademark qualities that make Batman a good superhero, and the film itself is loosely plotted and doesn’t understand what it wants to give the audience. It was also a colossal failure at the box office.

12. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

12. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
152m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by
Zack Snyder
Watch on HBO Max
The DC Extended Universe has had a difficult time matching the quality of Marvel’s films, and this collection of the company’s biggest heroes is one again that pales in comparison to The Avengers. Many fans were upset at the way special effects and CGI overtook any attempts at telling a thematically rich story in this film. Gal Gadot does a good job in her debut as Wonder Woman, though.

11. Batman Forever (1995)

11. Batman Forever
121m
Genre
Action, Crime, Fantasy
Stars
Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey
Directed by
Joel Schumacher
Watch on HBO Max
The third movie in Tim Burton’s collection of Batman flicks from the 1990s, Batman Forever does some decent things, such as trying to pay homage to some of the past themes and humor in the series. Val Kilmer is a serviceable replacement for Michael Keaton, and Jim Carrey was able to bring some of his usual humor to the movie. This was the last Batman movie that involved Tim Burton in some capacity.

10. Batman (1966)

10. Batman
105m
Genre
Action, Comedy, Crime
Stars
Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether
Directed by
Leslie H. Martinson
Watch on HBO Max
For those who want Batman to feel like he does on a Saturday morning cartoon, look no further than this Adam West vehicle that was an extension of the TV series of the same name from the 1960s. Superheroes are just men and women running around in tights, and this movie has an awareness of its positives and shortcomings at the same time.

9. Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

9. Zack Snyder's Justice League
242m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot
Directed by
Zack Snyder
Watch on HBO Max
We didn’t want to include both Justice League and the Snyder cut on this list, so we’ll go with the latter. The extended edition of the 2017 film is a fun and creative superhero movie that you can tell was made with fans in mind. A more authentic portrayal of characters like Superman and Batman appear in this one, but just make sure you have four hours to spare when you sit down — it’s a long one!

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

The Lego Batman Movie
104m
Genre
Animation, Action, Comedy, Family
Stars
Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera
Directed by
Chris McKay
Watch on HBO Max
There aren’t enough instances of Batman directed toward children anymore, with a moody and dark tone taking over the Caped Crusader’s films. The Lego Batman Movie is able to remedy some of this maturity, bringing a fun and whimsical vibe to the franchise that the whole family can enjoy! A special shoutout should go to Will Arnett’s voice acting in this one.

7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

7. The Dark Knight Rises
165m
Genre
Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman
Directed by
Christopher Nolan
Watch on HBO Max
The final movie in the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films is an extravagant and deeply thoughtful closing to the most acclaimed version of the hero that’s ever been put on screen. This Christian Bale Batman movie is one that may be a little overlooked because it followed The Dark Knight, but it’s still a very dense and epic tribute to the character of Batman and all of the inhabitants of Gotham City. Tom Hardy received praise for his turn as Bane.

6. Batman Returns (1992)

6. Batman Returns
126m
Genre
Action, Fantasy
Stars
Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito
Directed by
Tim Burton
Watch on HBO Max
The second Tim Burton Batman film decided to take a more mature tone than the 1989 movie. The box office returns were underwhelming, but many fans were satisfied with Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances as The Penguin and Catwoman. Batman Returns solidified the Batman character as an iconic 1990s property.

5. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

5. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
76m
Genre
Action, Animation, Crime, Mystery
Stars
Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner
Directed by
Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski
Watch on HBO Max
Only the second animated movie starring Batman to make this list, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm takes a more romantic approach to the character and features his interactions with Andrea Beaumont. Despite its cartoon origins, the movie is still acclaimed as one of the richest and thematically interesting in the Batman canon.

4. Batman Begins (2005)

4. Batman Begins
140m
Genre
Action, Crime, Drama
Stars
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson
Directed by
Christopher Nolan
Watch on HBO Max
Christopher Nolan took a much more measured approach to Batman when handed the keys to the character in 2005. He wanted to help audiences understand that Batman has a lot more underneath the surface than previous movies may have had the courage to explore, and in turn, created a brand-new and sometimes literary version of the superhero. Liam Neeson and Michael Caine give awesome supporting performances next to Christian Bale.

The Batman (2022)

The Batman
177m
Genre
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars
Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano
Directed by
Matt Reeves
Watch on Hulu
When audiences heard that Robert Pattison would be the next star of a Batman movie, there was some trepidation, which was quite fair, considering what was on his filmography. Pattison delivered, and the movie helped to relaunch interest in Batman as a property entering the next decade. The movie’s long runtime is one of the negatives of the experience, but that’s what watching from home is for! Pause and start again the next day.

2. Batman (1989)

2. Batman
126m
Genre
Fantasy, Action, Crime
Stars
Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger
Directed by
Tim Burton
Watch on HBO Max
The first Michael Keaton Batman movie is a true O.G. in filmmaking history. Batman helped influence all superhero films in the time since its release. Jack Nicholson depicted the Joker with a perfect balance of humor and menace, and Keaton surprised many fans with his starring turn in the movie.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

1. The Dark Knight
152m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime, Thriller
Stars
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine
Directed by
Christopher Nolan
Watch on HBO Max
What else can be said about The Dark Knight that hasn’t already been repeated before? The movie is a psychological thriller, a horror film, and the only prestige Batman movie. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is revered worldwide, but the entire film is a special one that is still enjoyed more than 15 years later.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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