Superman might be the most popular superhero of all time, but Batman is the benchmark of awesome, gritty, intelligent superheroes without actual superpowers other than being awesome. We’ve seen over a dozen Batman movies over the years, with just as many TV shows about Bruce Wayne – and we can never get enough.
Now, the DCU is getting us yet another Batman movie appearance in ‘The Flash,’ coming out in mid-June 2023. It really got me into rewatching some of my old favorite Batman flicks – which eventually got me into ranking them from worst to best. Ergo – this list. Here are all the Batman movies, ranked from worst to best.
16. ‘Justice League’ (2017)
IMDb score: 6.1/10
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne’s faith in humanity has been restored after witnessing the selfless acts of Superman. Now, the planet is facing an even bigger threat, so Batman decides to seek help from other heroes – namely, his new friend, Diana Prince – to help save the world. What unfolds is the first movie iteration of DC’s famous Justice League.
Description: After ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was,’ *meh*, okay, we all expected Justice League to blow us away. And it did, but not in a good way. The story is choppy, the acting feels forced, the characters are undeveloped properly, and the entire thing ends up being just plain bad.
Perhaps I’m talking out of emotion because I, as a DC Comics fan, felt betrayed and let down by this sh*tshow of a movie, but it’s literally one of the worst superhero movies I’ve seen in my life. Yes, even worse than the next one on this list.
15. ‘Batman & Robin’ (1997)
IMDb score: 3.7/10
Synopsis: New threats emerge in Gotham City in the form of Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze while Batman and his sidekick Robin struggle to stop them and save their relationship along the way. But Poison Ivy, who can make anyone fall in love with her, plans on destroying the due once and for all.
Description: I mean, we all know that THIS is the worst Batman film ever made. I don’t know what’s worse – the script, the forced humor, or the dynamic between the characters. It’s just horrible. It feels like ‘Fast & Furious’ on steroids – ‘family trumps everything!’ Except, nothing in the film makes sense.
I ranked it higher than 2017’s Justice League only because you can at least get a kick out of watching it and laugh your face off at how cringe-worthy it is – ‘Justice League’ doesn’t give you that, either.
14. ‘Batman Forever’ (1995)
IMDb score: 5.4/10
Synopsis: Gotham City is riddled with two new big threats – Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler, and Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. Bruce Wayne struggles to defeat the dynamic, cackling duo with the help of a psychologist, Dr. Chase Meridian, and a circus acrobat who would become his sidekick – Robin.
Description: This was the first of two Joel Schumacher-directed Batman movies. He decided to put some humor into the films to make them less dark, I guess? However, it ended up being way too much. Well, apart from Jim Carrey’s Riddler, which was WAY, WAY too much, but somehow worked. A bad movie, but not as bad as the ‘sequel’ atrociousness.
13. ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ (2016)
IMDb score: 6.4/10
Synopsis: The Joker sets his sights on Commissioner Gordon, doing everything he can to drive him insane simply to prove a point about his own descent into madness. Batman tries to catch the Clown Prince of Crime, who shoots Barbara Gordon in the back and then sends photos of it to her father…
Description: I felt quite bad and disappointed after watching this animated film because The Killing Joke is probably my favorite Batman/Joker storyline in DC Comics history. While the movie followed the source material quite nicely, they left out some important details and added others that ruined the atmosphere and the story’s point.
Mark Hamill’s voice as Joker always works, though, so it’s certainly worth the watch – it’s just not for the faint-hearted, I guess, as the story is particularly gruesome.
12. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)
IMDb score: 6.4/10
Synopsis: Superman is a hero. But what if his actions are left unchecked? Who will stop him if he decides to become a villain? Bruce Wayne fears that Superman’s actions can’t be left unchecked, so he takes on the Man of Steel. Will he have the support of the general public? What kind of a hero does the world really need?
Description: Overall, I found ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ to be amusing, and the ending was kind of satisfying. However, the storyline is a bit… odd, I guess? I mean, it feels like the motives of each character are somewhat superficial at best, and Batman just feels like a douchebag, in my opinion. I don’t know; maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of Ben Affleck.
11. ‘Batman: The Movie’ (1966)
IMDb score: 6.5/10
Synopsis: Batman and Robin struggle to save the world as Catwoman, the Riddler, the Penguin, and the Joker team up to hold the world at ransom with a unique, mysterious device that instantly dehydrates people to the bone.
Description: This was the first full-length Batman feature film in color, and it never misleads you into thinking that it’s something it’s not. Just like Adam West’s Batman Series from the 60s, this film is pure comedy and doesn’t even try to be serious.
Also, you have four awesome Batman supervillains in the mix, each uniquely hilarious. Batman: The Movie is worth the watch – just don’t expect a Nolan-esque masterpiece.
10. ‘Batman: Year One’ (2011)
IMDb score: 7.3/10
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne has been away from Gotham City for years, returning with a deep obsession to rid the city of crime that took his parents. On the other hand, Jim Gordon arrives at Gotham after being a good, uncorrupted police officer elsewhere – which almost cost him his head.
As they both work the streets of Gotham, Gordon hunts Batman at first, but they soon realize they share the same goal. The seeds of a lifelong friendship are planted, and Gotham gets their two most trustworthy protectors…
Description: I loved ‘Batman: Year One’ due to its phenomenally-constructed respect for the source material. If you read Frank Miller’s storyline that this 1-hour animated film was based, you’ll see the uncanny resemblance in style, atmosphere, and storyline – something that adaptations often fail to achieve.
Also, the story is quite cool – you get a bit of Batman’s backstory and a bit of Jim Gordon’s pre-commissioner backstory as well, voiced by the amazing Walter Whit- I mean, Bryan Cranston.
9. ‘The Batman’ (2022)
IMDb score: 7.8/10
Synopsis: A serial killer is on the loose in Gotham, killing political figures one by one. Bruce Wayne is set to investigate the city’s dark underbelly of crime and corruption as he starts questioning his family’s involvement in what Gotham City became.
Is he doing more harm than good as Batman? Luckily, he’s got old and new allies to help him figure out the riddle and the Riddler.
Description: I hope I’m not getting lynched for this take, but ‘The Batman’ just felt dragged out and kind of boring, for the most part. Sure, there were awesome parts – Paul Dano killed it as the Riddler, and I enjoyed the dynamic between Rob Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz.
But, when you catch yourself looking at the clock to see how long this is going to take while you’re sitting in a theater, it’s a sign that something just isn’t quite right. I get the atmosphere, I get the vision – I just don’t get the execution.
8. ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ (2021)
IMDb score: 8.0/10
Synopsis: Superman sacrificed himself for the greater good, but now, that sacrifice might be in vain, as an even bigger threat looms and aims to destroy the planet. Batman does everything in his power to ensure that doesn’t happen, so he forms a team of superheroes to help him battle the alien threat that could have cataclysmic consequences.
Description: Yes, it’s four hours long. Yes, it’s a strange format (at least for the modern viewer). But, HELL YES, this is what the 2017 ‘Justice League’ was supposed to be. I’d put Zack Snyder’s Justice League even higher on the list, but there are three reasons why this is the perfect, middle-of-the-pack spot for this particular film.
One, it’s not purely a Batman movie. Two, there are so many great Batman movies that I couldn’t rank them lower. Three, I’ll never get the bitterness out of my mouth from the first Justice League film. Sorry, not sorry.
7. ‘Batman Returns’ (1992)
IMDb score: 7.1/10
Synopsis: The Penguin is terrorizing Gotham City from the sewers with the help of a cruel, power-hungry businessman, who tried killing his worker, but she eventually comes back with a vengeance as Catwoman. Batman has to navigate dealing with all three of them while trying to keep the city and its inhabitants as safe as possible.
Description: Michael Keaton is my second-favorite Batman, and Tim Burton is my second-favorite Batman director. And this is his second Batman film, after that first masterpiece with Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
The supporting cast is phenomenal (Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken), and while it was hard to outdo the magic of Burton’s first Batman film, this sequel is very much worth a watch, and I return to it regularly – pun intended.
6. ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ (2017)
IMDb score: 7.3/10
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne is as cool of a dude as you can imagine. However, he has to deal with a lot. On the one hand, you have an array of the usual Gotham City suspects like the Joker, Two-Face, the Riddler, and others trying to take over, and on the other, you have a kid that Batman accidentally adopted, now trying to be his superhero sidekick.
Luckily, Batman is cool enough to handle it – with a little help, of course.
Description: Honestly, this movie is everything you could hope for and imagine it to be. It’s clearly a parody of every Batman character, and it works perfectly. I watched it several times and always pick up on something new that makes me laugh out loud.
Don’t expect an action thriller masterpiece but an animated comedy that will leave you happy and relaxed. I won’t spoil too much, but there’s Sauron. And Voldemort. And friggin’ King Kong. It’s brilliant.
5. ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ (1993)
IMDb score: 7.8/10
Synopsis: Batman struggles to find the real culprit behind a series of murders and crimes in which he is wrongfully implicated. The victims of the crimes are mob bosses, but a new, unknown, mysterious assassin vigilante actually did the crimes. To add to the problem, the Joker returned, and so did Bruce Wayne’s old lover, Andrea Beaumont, complicating things even further…
Description: ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ was the first Batman animated feature film to premiere in cinemas, and it did not disappoint. The esthetic is wonderful, the script perfectly follows the source material, and the story is thrilling. It’s my favorite Batman animated film despite being only 116 minutes long.
4. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)
IMDb score: 8.4/10
Synopsis: It has been eight years since the Joker reigned terror over Gotham City and since Batman’s reputation was destroyed. However, a new threat emerges in the form of Bane, threatening to obliterate Gotham, and Batman is forced to return from exile to fight him. New friends and old foes will prove to be Batman’s toughest task so far…
Description: To me, the Dark Knight Rises was the perfect ending to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. It wonderfully connected the previous two movies – and it was the first time ever that the character Bane was done perfectly. I still find it to be the weakest link out of all three Nolan-Bale movies, but that doesn’t mean it was bad – it just means the other two were better.
3. ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)
IMDb score: 8.2/10
Synopsis: As a kid, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents and fell into a pit filled with bats. They became his worst fear – but soon, he’ll learn to face those fears and fight to confront and extinguish the crime and injustice surrounding Gotham City.
He becomes Batman, but he’ll soon realize that the mantle comes with a huge price and an even bigger responsibility when a secret society he’s well acquainted with decides to destroy the city at its core.
Description: When I first saw ‘Batman Begins’, I was blown away. The atmosphere is quite dark – as it is in most Batman comics. Like, there are horror elements’ in here, but the entire thing is so incredibly well executed that you can watch the film in one breath. The storyline, the twists, the acting, the characters, the directing – it was a perfect start to the Christian Bale-led trilogy.
2. ‘Batman’ (1989)
IMDb score: 7.5/10
Synopsis: As Batman patrols the Gotham City streets, a maniacal criminal emerges in the form of Jack Napier, aka the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime is wreaking havoc on the city, and it’s on Bruce Wayne to stop him. However, it will be a lot more difficult than Batman ever thought…
Description: This was the first Batman movie I’ve ever seen, and to many, it’s considered the ‘original’ – although other Batman flicks came out beforehand. Tim Burton brought that unique approach he always carries and chose the perfect cast to do so.
Jack Nicholson’s Joker gave me nightmares as a kid and is still regarded as one of the two best – if not THE best – Joker portrayals of all time.
1. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)
IMDb score: 9.0/10
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne struggles to catch and defeat the Joker, who’s slowly turning Batman into the worst version of him – a violent, broken man, using force and aggression as his main weapon.
Batman has to figure out how to endure the most challenging physical and psychological testing he has ever endured. However, at the same time, a new villain that was once the people’s hero emerges from the fire…
Description: ‘The Dark Knight’ is still widely regarded as the best superhero movie of all time. Heath Ledger’s Joker is widely regarded as the best Joker of all time. Everything in this movie seems to have fallen into the right place – from the script, and the directing, to the utmost brilliant performances across the cast.
Everyone can have their favorites, but it’s undeniable that ‘The Dark Knight’ is objectively the best Batman movie of all time. I mean, look at that cast – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cillian Murphy – directed by Chris Nolan? We should’ve expected a masterpiece from the start.
How would you rank all Batman movies? Let us know in the comments below!