The Caped Crusader, the World’s Greatest Detective, The Dark Knight, Batman. The man of a million nicknames is also the superhero with a million movies. But which are the best? From live action, to animated I re-watched all the Batman movies and decided these are the 15 best:
15. The Dark Knight Rises
The expectations were ridiculously high for the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy, and the movie sort of delivered. I would say the first two acts were very good, and it sort of fell apart a little bit once Bruce is sent to the pit. That being said, the opening set piece is amazing, Tom Hardy is great as Bane, Michael Caine is brilliant as always, and the ending sacrifice is one of the best hero ‘deaths’ in recent years (it would have been infinitely better if you didn’t see him alive after if you ask me).
14. Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero
One of the best things to ever happen ever was the Batman Animated series, and Subzero was a movie from the show. Mr. Freeze is one of the most complex and understandable villains in all of comics. I love the Robin and Batgirl dynamic, and of course I love the fact Mr. Freeze had pet/henchmen polar bears.
13. Batman Returns
The sequel to Tim Burton’s successful Batman is darker, and brings more of Gotham to life than ever before. Introducing three great villains, the grotesque and vile Penguin, the iconic and sexual Catwoman, and a new villain Max Shreck. The action is pretty solid, the acting is very good, and the mystery is top notch. A must see for any Batman fans.
12. Batman: The Movie
Campy, over the top, and fantastic, Adam West’s Batman is just so much fun. Everything is so ridiculous and funny. The camp never feels forced, and all the jokes hit their mark. This is not your regular moody, broody, hyper serious batman. This is your grandfather’s Batman, and it is brilliant. Just check this scene out:
Tim Burton introduced the world to a new, gothic, and violent vision of Batman with the release of the widely anticipated movie. Keaton is great as Batman, and brings a quirky charm to Bruce Wayne, Nicholson shines as the Joker, but the real scene stealer is the score. The score is now forever linked to the character, and is almost as iconic as Batman himself. Burton’s movie was a big part of the world taking comic book movies seriously.
10. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
The spinoff show from the Batman Animated series is really, really good. Full of classic 90’s things in the future, Terry is a great new batman. I loved this show just as much as the original when I was a kid. The only thing that made the original better, was the villains. Having access to the best rouges gallery in all of fiction, the animated series had a plethora of baddies to pick and choose from. The new ones were good, not great. But when you bring that new fun show and add the best villain of them all, you have one hell of a movie.
9. Batman vs. Robin
A lot of people are not huge fans of the new DC animated movies, and they definitely had a slow start, but I seriously enjoyed this one. I love the dynamic of the Bat-family, and I enjoyed the story. Court of Owls is one of my favorite comic stories ever, so seeing it in a movie was fantastic. I loved the maze sequence, and the hand to hand combat actually looks like they are doing moves instead of just punching each other like is often the case in animated movies/shows. Also I love, love, love this whole scene:
8. Batman: Year One
As much a Gordon movie as a Batman movie, we get to see a new take on Batman and Gordon’s origin. Both storylines are pitch perfect, and they help us understand each man better. There are so many iconic scenes in this movie that can be found in other Batman movies. Like Batman calling in bats to help him escape the swat, as seen again in Batman Begins. But my favorite scene is the terrifying confrontation Batman has with the heads of the mob. It is seriously scary:
7. Batman/Superman: Apocalypse
A team up movie between the two most iconic heroes of all time, facing off against one of the most powerful foe in the whole DC Universe? Sign me up! Watching this movie actually got me into comics, so it is a special movie for me. We see great chemistry between Batman and Superman. When Supergirl crash lands in Gotham, Batman is suspicious and doesn’t trust her. We get treated with an army of Doomsdays, Big Barda, and one of the most badass Batman moments with Darkseid. I highly recommend it.
6. Batman Begins
Nolan’s new take on the Caped Crusader saved his cinematic life. Clooney and Schumacher all but killed Batman, thats how bad their Batman movie was. But Begins was something else. It was great. Nolan and Bale made Batman cool, scary, and badass again thanks to this movie. Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman were all terrific in supporting roles. Thanks to this movie, we got a new age of amazing Batman movies.
5. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Everything I said about the animated series and Subzero applies here ten fold. It is a masterpiece of the show. We get a scary new villain, more insight into the Joker, and a history lesson about Batman’s life. Also one of the most heartbreaking scenes in any Batman story in any medium. If you have even the slightest interest in Batman, you have to check this out. It is amazing.
4. Batman v. Superman: Ultimate Edition
While there are a lot of problems with the theatrical cut, and still a fair few in this version, I love this movie. The Batman we are presented in this is broken, and has lost his faith in humanity. He is so far over the edge, it takes him nearly murdering a hero in cold blood and his subsequent sacrifice to bring him back. He has a truly great story arc in the movie. The Batcave, the Batmobile, and the Batwing are all so cool. The costume is by far the best we have ever seen. Oh yeah and there is the best Batman fight ever. If somehow you haven’t seen it yet, check it out:
3. Batman: Under the Red Hood
This might be the saddest story in the Batman mythos. After Jason Todd dies, Batman is broken and lost. It was his greatest failure. And it all comes back to haunt him when a new foe, the Red Hood, comes to rule over Gotham. We get a new and fantastic take on the Joker, Black Mask, and Ra’s Al Ghul in one movie, along with Red Hood. Nightwing helps Batman along the way, and it all ends in one of the most emotional and intense fight of Batman’s life.
2. Dark Knight Returns pt. 1 &2
The story that has been used for basically half of the live action movies out there, The Dark Knight Returns is a masterpiece of Batman story telling, and the animated movie does it justice. Between Batman’s return (He’s young, he’ll walk again), the final face-off with the Joker, the fight with Superman, and the fight with Mutant leader, there are too many fantastic and iconic moments to name them all. What a brilliant movie. Batman is at his most badass, Alfred at his wittiest, the Joker at his maddest, and the whole movie is brimming with excellence.
1. The Dark Knight
Is this really a surprise to anyone? Nolan’s masterpiece stands tall above the rest as by far the best Batman movie. What can I say about this movie that has not been said 1,000 times? It is just amazing. Ledger’s performance is legendary, Bale is fantastic, the Two-Face arc is great, everything is great. if you have not seen this movie, you are doing yourself a disservice by not watching it. Cancel your plans today, skip class, work, your sister’s wedding. Watch this movie ASAP.