There are few things in life people maintain a deep love for, from when they were a child until they’ve become an adult. Usually the things we like as children we outgrow. Well not this 30 year old man child. 5 year old me loved Batman just as much as adult (in name only) me loves Batman. I literally always dreamed about getting a Batman tattoo when I grew up, only reason I don’t is because my girlfriend won’t let me. Anyone who wants a Batman tattoo and has the issue that their girlfriend is against it is kinda just lucky to be in that position so I can’t argue. My point is, I spent my whole life loving Batman, so before all you Christian Bale loving jackasses come at me, just know, I know my shit. This is the definitive list from an actual fan
I am not counting all the cartoon movies, because sometimes I see new ones like “Batman Vs Red Hoods College Roommate” and shit like that. Too many to include. So this is the top 15 list, of all varieties and genres. 15 seemed like a nice solid number, and you should always go in increments of 5. That’s how normal people raise/lower the volume on TV.
Honorable Mention: Suicide Squad
This isn’t a Batman movie, but he’s in it. His scenes were literally the best of the movie that weren’t Margot Robbie licking a prison pole, so it goes on the list. Also I just wanted to post the .gif of her doing just that.
15. Batman and Robin
Listen, I think George Clooney is perfect to play Bruce Wayne. Good looking millionaire, that’s Bruce. That’s about it though. If the movie was about Bruce Wayne just doing business stuff, then it would’ve worked. Bruce goes to the bank, gets a manicure, bangs 3 models at once, shit like that. It wasn’t though and they tried to add villains and a story and it just was awful. They also had nipples on their suits, not the first movie to do it, but they had Alicia Silverstone in it. If she had nipples on her suit then I think it might’ve been a hit. The comic nerds would’ve eaten it up. There’d be multiple Pee-Wee Herman type issues in the theaters and it would’ve made a boatload more money off scandal alone. Missed opportunity. Uma Thurman in her Poison Ivy costume was great though, I’m sure plenty of comic nerds agreed at the time. The Bane was just garbage, and a joke compared to his actual comic book character (see, I know the comics! Also, they obviously would go on to fix that later)
14. Batman Year 1
You have Ryan Atwood, later Jim Gordon in Gotham, Ben McKenzie as a young Batman. This was a cartoon movie based off one of the best graphic novels, but out of all the (good) graphic novels turned into movies, it was the weakest. Honestly, if they had Ben live action Batman, myself and also probably the gay community would’ve been all over it
13. Justice League
Not entirely a Batman movie, but Ben Affleck played him (again), and he was one of the main focal points of the movie. His scenes were hit or miss, and they added a little too much laughter from him after they changed directors, specifically the Superman returns scenes about his body hurting, but it was still solid. Another joke was his super power him being rich, but honestly, we’ve all been thinking that for years, so it was a welcome line. Definitely a let down since it was basically supposed to be DCs answer to The Avengers, and it pretty much put a nail in the coffin of the DC extended universe. But Gal Gadot is hot, so there’s that.
12. Batman Forever
I immediately think about one thing when talking about this movie, Val Kilmer slurring his line “do you like the circus”. He had a worse lisp than his co-star Jim Carrey did in “The Cable Guy” saying that line. Which is another thing, Jim Carreys portrayal of the Riddler was just off. The movie turned into a Jim Carrey movie pretty much. There’s a part in the movie where Nicole Kidman falls from a large height and her skirt goes up and you see her panties. The fact that that’s my favorite part of the movie shows how bad it was. It also was filled with neon colors and the beginning of the Bat Nipples that carried into Batman and Robin, The origin of Chris O Donnel becoming Robin was good though, just minus the fact he was like 25 years too old. Seriously I think he was the same age as his mother in the movie. Not sure how he was orphaned while getting social security but whatever. Also, Harvey Dent was black in the first Batman movie of the universe this took place in, so besides the acid scarring to the face, he apparently had some Michael Jackson style pigment disease going on they failed to discuss.
11. Batman: The Killing Joke
It sucks I have to put this movie this far up on the list. It’s literally top 3 of my favorite Batman stories/graphic novels. Batman was portrayed by the greatest person to play him, Kevin Conroy and the Joker was played by the greatest to play him too, no not Heath Ledger, but Luke Skywalker himself Mark Hamill. Seriously, he was the best Joker of all time and his laugh is still the one you’ll think of when you think Joker laugh, assuming you’ve seen the animated series. That’s what it was, a long overdue, for the fans, movie played by the animated favorites, and it just kind of missed. They added a Batman/Batgirl sex storyline that we’ve all had in our heads but didn’t need to see on screen, and the animation was choppy. I don’t know, it just missed and was a total letdown from what it could’ve been. The comic was amazing, they didn’t need to add extra to it, but did to add time, and it hurt. It also doesn’t bode well for those who think comic book nerds are weird creeps by them thinking adding cartoon sex to a Batman movie is what we wanted. We didn’t. At least I hope most of us didn’t.
10. Batman Begins
OK, as a lifelong Batman fan, I was PUMPED for this. I dragged my friends to the theater on a Thursday to see the midnight showing (this was before midnight showings for a movie coming out on Friday were held at 8pm on Tuesdays). I wore my Batman shirt, cape, mask and displayed the fact I was a virgin. Also fun fact, I read the entire script beforehand because it leaked online. Again, I was PUMPED. That’s probably the last thing I’ve read longer than a magazine article since then. The final scene was exactly what I hoped it would be reading it online alone in my room on my computer in between looking at naked cartoons of Wonder Woman (hmm, maybe the sex scene in The Killing Joke wasn’t SO bad). Beyond that though… the voice of Christian Bale’s Batman was a bit much, the pacing kinda felt off, the villain wasn’t the best, especially for anyone who doesn’t know the comics, and the Batsuit was just alright. They did make a lot of good points about how he got the suit, and learned to fight, so I liked all that. But, it could’ve been a lot more. It was still a great beginning to an amazing trilogy.
9. The Dark Knight Rises
Amazing in the theaters, but it was basically the Avatar of Batman movies. Went to see it in theaters for the amazing visuals, but upon re-watches it kind of isn’t as great as initially thought. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman costume-
-over Uma Thurman in her Poison Ivy one, but it doesn’t make the movie that great. No mention of the Joker or anything that happened in The Dark Knight, which was done out of respect for Heath Ledger, but a simple mention might’ve done more than the silence. The football scene was GREAT, and also kinda made me feel uneasy, which was the point. So that was a hit, but the rest of the movie kinda felt flat. For those of us hoping for Bane to make up for Batman And Robin and be more true to his character in the comics, it 100% did. The back breaking moment was a great nod to all of us who know who the fuck Azrael is and remember crying while reading that storyline in the comics.
8. Batman Vs. Superman
This movie was a letdown for a lot, but not me. I think anyone who actually loves Batman should be happy with the Ben Affleck scenes here. He was badass and real fuckin hardcore in his fight scenes. It was a subtle nod to the Dark Knight Returns storyline of the two fighting, which was great. The actual movie itself, I see how people hated it. I for one love the entire idea of the DC movie universe being dark and depressing. Batman is dark and depressing. My life is depressing. We don’t need a Marvel rehash where everyone is wearing bright colors and cracking jokes (it works for Marvel, don’t get me wrong). The scene where Batman goes and fights the bad guys to save Supermans mother though, I’ll put that in the top 3 Batman scenes of all time. The whole changing his entire killing Superman mentality though at the simple mention of his mothers name was kinda dumb and a bit anti-climatic, so that could’ve been done differently.
7. Batman (66 Adam West)
LOVED this movie as a kid. Would watch this and the show on a daily basis. It might be what lead to my love of Batman to be honest. Is it cheesy and over the top? Hell yes, but it works, and fit in with Batman of the 60’s. You can’t watch it these days thinking it should be like the rest of the Batman movies we know. Him running around with a ticking time bomb? EDGE OF YOUR SEAT THRILLS. Shark Repellant? That has found it’s spot in pop culture galore. Batman really is prepared for everything. It really did an amazing job showing Batman in the comics of the time, and portrayed him and the show great on screen. All the villains were present, and the 60’s show villains really were great to watch. If you don’t enjoy this movie, you probably don’t enjoy life.
6. LEGO Batman Movie
Batman was the best part of the first Lego movie, so them giving him his own was awesome. Will Arnett actually has a great voice for Batman, so even if this weren’t a comedy, he’d be a good choice. The movie itself had so many self-aware mentions of previous Batman movies/TV shows/moments that it was pretty much a Batman lovers wet dream. The Jokers motivation in the movie by being neglected by Batman and hurt he is no longer his most important villain is funny and done right. Michael Cera’s effeminate Robin worked well with the semi-serious dark toned Batman. The movie was just a good time, as long as you’re not taking it serious.
5. The Dark Knight Returns
This is the absolute best graphic novel of all time. I can read this anytime and be happy about it, it’s that good, and I hate reading. I was worried about the movie, it was a cartoon and Batman was being played by Robocop Peter Weller, so I was unsure. He knocked it out of the park and definitely exceeded expectations. The movie portrays the comic storyline perfectly, they don’t add nonsense like The Killing Joke did, and Robocop as Batman somehow felt good. They split it up into two movies but if you watch them together as one, it’s a top 5 Batman movie. Knowing the source material beforehand helps as well, but it’s not a necessity.
4. The Dark Knight
Again, was so excited for this as a Batman fan, and Heath Ledger as Joker was phenomenal. He earned the Oscar he won after he died, it just sucks so many people felt he only won because he died. The movie itself had it’s issues. The first scene was great but once Joker goes and drives the bus back in line from the bank, the bus behind him didn’t think something was fishy? After Bruce catches Rachel after Joker pushes her out his apartment window, how’d they get back? How did Joker leave? Did he say goodbye to everyone at the party he just ruined? Just little things like that. Christian Bale did his same over the top voice, the two-face storyline kinda felt like it was overwhelming to me and you didn’t get the friendship him and Bruce/Batman had in the comics very well, but of course, it was an amazing movie and would be a crime if it weren’t top 5. The Batman/Joker scene in the jail was so good, I can’t speak enough how amazing Heath’s Joker was.
3. Batman Returns
The sequel to Tim Burtons original Batman, and it honestly might rival it, but falls behind solely due to my own fan boyness. It was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater and I remember it to this day. It can be watched anytime of the year, but it fits in as a Christmas movie like Die Hard or Lethal Weapon due to it’s storyline. Danny Devito was great as the Penguin. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? I don’t want to get into how many pairs of pants I’ve gone through over the years while watching her, but as I type this I’ve already had to change.
The first scene of the tree lighting was great, Batman being called with the signal to start the movie was beyond memorable, the line “mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it, but a kiss can be deadlier if you mean it” is still said on a yearly holiday basis by me to my dog. The suit and the Batman were amazing, it’s just a great movie.
The original, the one that started it all. This movie brought Batman and comic movies to mainstream public, it made a ton of money, it had people waiting in line to see it, and it was just great. I watch this monthly just because it’s that good and I need my fix. It’s like a drug. If it weren’t for this movie, I don’t know if Marvel movies would exist. Everyone doubted Michael Keaton as Batman when it was announced, but he to me is the best to play him in a live action movie. Jack Nicholson stole the show as The Joker, but Keaton killed it. The symbol on the chest is still my favorite, the suit was great, the darkness of the movie and the quality of the backgrounds/sets was exactly what I want from a Batman movie. Tim Burton is great with gothic type movies and he didn’t hold back here. Him directing this was a perfect choice. The soundtrack by Prince was fine, if you like that, but the score by Danny Elfman was what made it. They used the theme in Justice League for Batman, that’s how iconic it was. You’ll never see a better Batmobile than the Tim Burton one. If I had an endless amount of money, that’s my dream car. The movie was just the best, it set the bar and it hasn’t been rivaled by any live-action Batman movies, except maybe by its own sequel.
1. Batman Mask of the Phantasm
The absolute greatest, dark horse candidate, top Batman movie of all time. Kevin Conroy is beyond a shadow of a doubt the perfect Batman voice. He hits the greatest notes he can in this movie. Mark Hamill as the Joker will never be rivaled either. Anyone who watched the TV show Batman The Animated Series knows how perfect these two are for their characters. I saw this as well in theaters and I remember walking out not being able to wait to see it again. The story line was dark, yet still perfect for it’s audience of kids. The TV show itself was dark which people loved, but the movie was even better. The story was great, Bruce pleading to his dead parents that his plans have changed is just great actign, and the scene where Bruce first puts his the mask on, with Alfreds reaction is one of the greatest Batman moments of all time.
Now I want to go grab a 12 pack and binge the show. And all of these movies. And fight crime.