Robert Pattinson as Batman posing and looking down in 'The Batman'
(Warner Bros.)

This Is the Only Ranking of the Batman Movies You Need

I wouldn’t call myself an expert on Batman but I do know a lot about him. (I am probably selling myself short; I nearly named my cat Bruce Wayne.) But the Dark Knight is a figure that fans have a lot of opinions about, especially with his movies.

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The discussion of who is someone’s favorite Batman can lead to all-out wars. But when ranking the movies, I think it is pretty safe to say that there is a way of talking about them that won’t make too many people angry. I say that, but I am anticipating angry emails over my all-time favorite Batman movie—but I’m right so you’ll just have to deal with it.

So, let us rank the Batman movies from worst to best.

10. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman and Superman face each other in Batman v Superman.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Ben Affleck’s Batman grew on me in things like Zack Synder’s take on Justice League, but that doesn’t make up for how much I didn’t like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Other than introducing Wonder Woman in her first outing in a movie (lol only took 75 years), the movie itself is known for memes. Remember when Batman and Superman realized both of their mothers were named Martha?

9. Batman Forever (1995)

Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

This is a less of a knock against Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne and more just about how I don’t care about this movie. Batman Forever exists and got rid of Batman’s nipples on his suit, but it is still not great. There are some great casting choices happening in this movie. Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face? I love it! But outside of the cast, I think this is just wonky fun but not really one I see as a perfect Batman movie.

8. Batman & Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Bat Nipples! The only reason that Batman & Robin ends up higher on this list is because of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. You think I am kidding, but I am not. The later ’90s Batman movies directed by Joel Schumacher leaned heavily into the campier side of Gotham, and while that is fun, it can be exhausting. So yes, Batman & Robin can be exciting to watch, but just not all the time, and George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne is … not the best detective.

7. Batman: The Movie (1966)

Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) in the 1966 'Batman' movie
(20th Century Studios)

Remember when Batman took on a shark and lived to tell the tale? Batman: The Movie took Adam West and Burt Ward and put their versions of Batman and Robin on the big screen, thanks to the classic TV series. While I love how cheesy the show is, this movie is off the rails. They run around with a bomb for like fifteen minutes; it is absolutely unhinged and yet still a lot of fun to watch.

6. Batman Begins (2005)

Christian Bale, flocked by bats, in Batman Begins.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Out of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Batman Begins is surprisingly the one that I rewatch the least—not because it isn’t great, but because the other two movies are just superior. So in the grand scheme of Batman movies, it lands farther back on the list. Still, it isn’t that far back. Introducing us to Christian Bale’s take on Bruce Wayne, the movie just gave us an in to Nolan’s Gotham, and it suffers from two other movies being better.

5. Batman (1989)

Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne was my pick for the best take on the character prior to my number one on this list. But Batman, his first outing as the Dark Knight, was not the best of his two films. He was great in it, and I loved Jack Nicholson’s take on the Joker, but other movies have tackled similar Batman stories and done it better. That doesn’t mean that this movie is not fun to revisit. It very much is, but there are just other Gotham stories worth watching.

4. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Tom Hardy as Bane and Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from 'The Dark Knight Rises.' Bane is a white man who is bald and wearing a metal mask clamped over the top of his head, and over his cheeks, nose and mouth. Batman is wearing his signature cowl over his head, revealing only his mouth. they are grappling mid-fight.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

I am someone who loves The Dark Knight Rises, but I am also a Bat/Cat superfan. The third film in Nolan’s trilogy had a tough act to follow since The Dark Knight was so beloved. Many see this movie as a letdown (not me), but still, it is not the best of the Batman movies, but it is high up on my list because I love Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle.

3. Batman Returns (1992)

Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Again, Bat/Cat is my thing, so Batman Returns is the superior Keaton movie in my humble opinion. Michelle Pfeiffer joined the second Tim Burton movie as Selina Kyle, and the rest was really history. Danny DeVito’s take on the Penguin is iconic and became a prime example of the character, but what makes Batman Returns special to me is Pfeiffer and Keaton.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

Batman (Christian Bale) interrogates the Joker (Heath Ledger) in 'The Dark Knight'
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Look, I know how people feel about The Dark Knight, so of course it’s near the top of the list. However, Christian Bale’s Bruce (who I love very dearly) was not a detective. Alfred and Lucius Fox did most of the work there. Heath Ledger’s Joker won him a posthumous Academy award, and it is just a very good movie even outside of the Gotham of it all.

This is, of course, one of the best superhero films ever made, but it has been beaten as the best Batman movie.

1. The Batman (2022)

Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson strike a dramatic pose in The Batman
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

My detective Batman! I finally got it! Robert Pattinson in The Batman is everything I wanted and more. It’s a Bat/Cat story with Zoë Kravitz making her debut as Selina, and we see a lot of Batman’s rogues gallery make their debuts, but it also gives me Batman doing detective work (after all, he is literally supposed to be the greatest detective in the DC universe), and that’s all I wanted out of it. Luckily, I got a pretty incredible new Batman universe from Matt Reeves, and I just love it so much.


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Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.