With The Batman (2022) just a few months away, there's no better time to look back on all the live-action Batman movies that have graced the silver screens since the '60s! So here are all the Batman movies ranked from worst to best...
10. Batman: The Movie (1966)
The original Batman movie stars the late Adam West as Gotham's caped crusader, and Burt Ward as Robin, and is adapted from the popular TV series of the same name. There's a lot of entertainment value on offer here, but there's no denying that this is the hammiest and dated of all. If you like your caped crusader cheesy and camp, this is the movie for you. But if you prefer your Knight a little Dark, then working out why this is at the bottom of our list is hardly a riddle that needs solving.
9. Batman Forever (1995)
For a long time, fans believed that Batman Forever was the lesser of two evils when it came to Joel Schumacher's entries in the original Batman movie series. The truth is that the sands of time have allowed us to forget that the only real strong points exist outside the movie, in the form of its two tracks, Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" and U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me." Even Jim Carrey's Riddler can't save this mess, while Val Kilmer is among the worst to have donned the cape and cowl.
8. Batman Returns (1992)
You may be surprised to find Tim Burton's sequel Batman Returns so low on our list, but there's very little to love about Michael Keaton's second outing as the Dark Knight. While the film boasts an A-list cast, including Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, the rest leaves very little to be desired. DeVito's Penguin is grotesque and off-putting, while everything around him feels like it's been lifted directly out of the original Batman '60 series.
7. Batman and Robin (1997)
What might surprise you even more is that Batman and Robin has beaten Tim Burton's Batman Returns! The fourth film in the original series was the final nail in the coffin, and George Clooney and the director even offered an apology to fans! But we don't think one was necessary, because Batman and Robin is a lot of fun! Clooney's Batman is of course forgettable, but if you take the stance that this is a modernized reboot of the Adam West stuff, you can have a pretty good time.
6. Batman (1989)
It's fair to say that Tim Burton's Batman gave birth to the unending superhero genre. And without this dark and gothic version of Batman, many other iterations from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy to the hugely popular Arkham games may never have been. While the performances from Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson are somewhat overrated, what this film did for the franchise and the genre cannot be overstated.
5. Justice League: The Snyder Cut (2021)
When it comes to the DCEU movies, we decided to take some liberties with which version of which movie to add to our list. But let it be said that we were hardly torn. 2017's Justice League, directed by Joss Whedon, isn't just a stinker, it plays the character of Batman entirely for jokes. But in Justice League: The Snyder Cut, Ben Affleck is back on form as the Bat of Gotham, and isn't relegated to the butt of all jokes when it comes to a mortal man fighting alongside gods.
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
Fourth position is of course an honor, but let it be said that Christopher Nolan's ground-breaking sequel The Dark Knight is arguably overrated. Christian Bale returns as the titular vigilante, this time facing off against a truly magnificent Heath Ledger, who is barely recognizable as The Joker. Unfortunately, the film does suffer from convoluted storytelling and is a tad bit pretentious at times, but if you like your Batman as more of a crime epic, then there's so much to love about this entry.
3. Batman Begins (2005)
Now dubbed as the 'Casino Royale' of Batman movies, Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins took cinemagoers by surprise. For the first time ever, we got to see the origins of Batman, and Christian Bale delivers a terrific performance as both Wayne and his darker counterpart. The movie's choice to utilize then-unknown villains is also a wise move, and never before had we seen a Batman movie that felt as grounded and as plausible as this one (except for Batman and Robin, perhaps).
2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition (2016)
Once again, we had to pick one of two versions of a DCEU movie, but in this instance, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition is only marginally better than the theatrical cut (which we still love). But despite being panned by fans and critics alike upon its release, it's fair to say that this long-awaited crossover event has become far more appreciated in recent years. But what really holds this movie up is Ben Affleck's incredible performance as a seasoned and bitter Batman.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Now that we've arrived at the top of our list, we're pretty confident you'll consider our ranking to be pretty controversial, and the fact that The Dark Knight Rises is our favorite will only throw fuel to that fire. While it's hardly a hated movie, it still exists in the shadows of its overrated 2008 predecessor. But this trilogy-topping sequel is everything we dreamed of when it came to a Batman movie. The Bat is broken and Gotham is under siege. The stakes don't get much higher than this.
The Batman releases in theaters on March 4, 2022. It stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Jeffrey Wright.