Every Batman Film Ranked


Parker Traman, Writer

With the recent release of the highly anticipated, The Batman, the Caped Crusader has added yet another film to his expansive catalog. 

So with me being the premier entity for judging things, and a lifelong long fan of the Gotham Knight, I will rank every theatrical STANDALONE (no Batman V. Superman and Justice League here) Batman film. Buckle up, I have some spicy takes.

I will try my best to avoid spoilers in case you haven’t seen the collection on display.

#11:) Batman: The Movie (1966):
With two films in the filmography being so bad it’s good, it was difficult to choose the bottom spot. Ultimately, I chose the Dark Knight’s first theatrical endeavor. Based on the 1960’s T.V. series starring Adam West, this film sees the titular orphaned billionaire and his trusty sidekick Robin, played by Burt Ward, face off against a who’s who of rogues, such as the Riddler, Catwoman, Joker, and the Penguin. With it being older, the quality of the film isn’t up to snuff with today’s, along with the fact that I have little connection to the show and the film. When it came to television shows, I watched The Batman animated series from 2003, or The Animated Series from the nineties. Overall, it’s a decent flashback to an archaic period of superhero flicks.


#10:) Batman & Robin (1997):
The most controversial and widely panned film in the franchise, Batman & Robin is the 1997 sequel to the critically polarizing Batman Forever. With the departure of Val Kilmer as the lead, the studio, for some reason, thought it’d be a great idea to cast George Clooney as Batman. He may be the real-life Bruce Wayne, but he is no Batman, falling leagues short of every other actor who’s donned the cape and cowl. Full of stupid jokes and puns, and unusual performances courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman, it’s objectively a horrible film. But I grew up on this movie, and it remains one of my biggest guilty pleasures to this very day.


#9:) Batman Returns (1992):
I hate saying this, but Tim Burton’s Batman sequel is the most overrated film on this list. It’s a fan favorite, and some even consider it superior to the 1989 original, but I simply cannot agree. Although I enjoy Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito as Catwoman and Penguin respectively, the film feels worse than its predecessor in every way. There’s not much for me to say, this film just doesn’t strike my fancy.


#8:) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993):
The only animated film to get a theatrical release, the 1993 feature set in the Animated Series’ continuity is considered by many to be a God-tier film for Batman standards. While I think the quality jump between Returns and Mask of the Phantasm is noticeable, I simply cannot put this above any other film. This also has the misfortune of being the film I’ve seen the least. The Phantasm does make for an interesting original villain that I’m sad never returned in a large capacity.


#7:) Batman Forever (1995):

Jim Carrey. Thank you, goodnight. 

(In all seriousness, I love this film for how goofy it is, and I do think it’s hated on way too much).


#6:) Batman (1989):
This is the film that made Batman who is today. Before Tim Burton muddied his hands in the waters of the titular DC hero, Batman was seen as nothing more than a children’s character in the eyes of the movie-watching public. This classic, however, showed everyone that Batman can be bloody, brooding, and dark. Jack Nicholson steals the show as the Joker, as well as the first great performance of the Batman by Michael Keaton. This set the standard for every film to come after, however that does not mean that it’s the best.


#5:) The Dark Knight Rises (2012):
Undoubtedly the weakest film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Rises provides the highest stakes out of any film in the trilogy, as well as humanizing Batman by putting him out of commission for a large amount of time. Tom Hardy’s Bane, for as much as he’s bashed, is one of the very best villains in any Batman film. Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt absolutely step it up here as well. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic series of films.


#4:) Batman Begins (2005):
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found more flaws with Christopher Nolan’s first film in his Dark Knight Trilogy, but nonetheless, it’s still an enjoyable flick with satisfying performances and the only origin film for Batman himself. That’s right, it’s become a cliche to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot in these films, but this was the only one to focus on what happened right after. My main problem with the film, however, is the editing. It is horrendous. Other than that, it’s a very fun film.


#3:) The LEGO Batman Movie (2017):
A celebration of all things Batman, this brought the comic book nerd in me out. I stand by the fact that this is the only Batman film that Batman fans can universally enjoy, as it provides something for every fan from every background. Along with that, it has the best joke in Batman history: 

Robin: “‘My name’s Richard Grayson, but all the kids at the orphanage call me Dick!’”

Batman: “‘Well children can be cruel.’”


#2:) The Batman (2022):
I never thought I’d see the day where Robert Pattinson was casted as my favorite fictional character of all time, let alone be my favorite live-action portrayal of said character, but here I am. I said it, Pattinson is the real deal, and nails every single fantastic aspect about the character and then some. Not to mention, Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz, and Jeffrey Wright all give fantastic performances of their respective characters. While the runtime may be worrisome for many, I can assure you that this is the only three-hour movie I’ve ever watched that left me wanting at least an extra hour added on. 

#1:) The Dark Knight (2008):
My favorite film of all time. Enough said.