Batman Movie Rankings
There have been a lot of movies featuring the Dark Knight...
Still no internet means it remains 'List Time' and this one is a little longer than I thought it would be thanks to not realising just how many movies I'd seen with Batman appearing in them - and I'm not actually sure what I do have listed is all of them either! Fortunately for those with data caps, my lack of a proper internet connection means there's not as many images in this post as there would be otherwise, so there's one small positive for you at least.
The two main exclusions from the list are Batman & Robin (1997) - which I've never seen and have no intentions of ever seeing either - and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), which I don't think ever had a cinema release, but I've also only seen it the once a long, long time ago and - even though I remember enjoying it a lot - I don't have a strong enough memory of it to inform an opinion on where it would rank either.
Intro guff out of the way, onto the Bat-rankings and for you to find out if the main image spoils anything...
15. Suicide Squad (2016)
Not being a member of the titular squad means Ben Affleck's incarnation of the Dark Knight plays only a small part in proceedings and doesn't do enough to justify placing any higher than dead last thanks to the overall dreadful quality of the movie as a whole.
14. Justice League (2017)
The Joss Whedon take on Ben Affleck's Batman makes a showing here - I did like seeing this older Batman struggling to keep up with the other heroes, but it's the movie's quality again that sabotages Ben's Bats.
13. Batman Forever (1995)
Maybe a bit harsh in placement, as Val Kilmer was actually pretty decent in the role, but I've never really liked this movie thanks to Joel Schumacher's style not really fitting in to what feels like a drastic change to Tim Burton's Gotham City.
12. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The main issue I have with this Batman movie is that there's very little Batman in it, which is a considerable problem. I also find the movie a little boring regardless of how well made it is and it really does feel like Christopher Nolan only made this because he was contracted to, not because he wanted to make it.
11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batfleck returns in yet another poor movie that doesn't really do the character justice, especially with how outright murderous he is even taking into account the other big-screen Batmen who have killed - Affleck really suffered through this role, didn't he?
10. Batman Returns (1992)
I have to admit to having a little soft spot for this movie, which was actually the first film I ever saw twice at the cinema - at the age of 11 - and it might have something to do more with Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman rather than Keaton's return as Batman...
9. Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
While Batfleck still isn't even close to a favoured big-screen version of the character, I did enjoy Snyder's version of him here, in what is the most comic book-y and - dare I say it? - Marvel-like of the originally-planned DCEU movies.
8. The LEGO Movie (2014)
Okay, so Batman's not the main character here, but Will Arnett's voice work is fantastic and the LEGO version of the Caped Crusader practically steals the movie from the supposed leads thanks to just how much fun he is, completely justifying his own movie.
7. Batman: The Movie (1966)
Yes, I have seen this more recently than Return of the Joker, and this holds a special place in my heart thanks to the Sixties TV show being shown on weekend mornings when I was growing up. A movie featuring so many enemies coming together to take on Batman was an incredible experience for younger me.
6. Batman (1989)
Keaton as a slightly-unhinged Bruce Wayne that could easily be seen as a billionaire eccentric and violent vigilante; Jack Nicholson redefining the Joker for the world; an incredible Gothic cityscape; a mind-blowing Elfman score; and it led to the animated series too - yeah, it's pretty good.
5. Batman Begins (2005)
The most comic book-like movie of Nolan's trilogy and the direction I wish they'd kept for future instalments, especially the grimy Gotham city that felt like it's own thing rather than a regular city standing in. Ninjas, Scarecrow hallucinations and terrific performances from the cast re-ignited my interest in big-screen Bats.
4. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
This movie probably contains more references to all incarnations of Batman than every other movie on this list and was clearly made with love for all of those versions too. It's a very funny, very silly movie that might not be for those who want a constantly-brooding Batman, but I love it.
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
I will continue to insist that this is an incredibly good movie that is 'merely' a very good Batman movie - this would place a little higher if it didn't feel a little embarrassed about the source material. That excellent quality does override the feeling that you could strip away the Batman details and still have a great movie.
2. The Batman (2022)
Recency bias? Maybe, but I don't think so. For me, it has the same level of high-quality film-making evident in The Dark Knight, but it feels like there's a lot more love for the comics here and the possibilities set up for future instalment just make everything already great here feel even better to watch.
1. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
It's going to take a lot to ever de-throne this movie, which features arguably the single greatest incarnation of the character in possibly the best story he ever appeared in. The look, the score, the story and the performances are all pretty much all-timers and could watch this again any time. Bat-perfection.