Sept. 21 is Batman Day, and although you may have just found out that there is a Batman Day, what better way to celebrate than by watching one of the many Batman movies? There are plenty to choose from, but it is no easy task knowing which movies are outdated and which still stand the test of time. Here is a complete list of all the Batman movies, ranked from best to worst — some are masterpieces and some are better left in your Netflix watch list for good.
- The Dark Knight (2008)
“The Dark Knight” is the movie that forever changed what the Joker meant to the world. Heath Ledger’s performance is still widely regarded as the best Joker in a Batman movie. His place in the movie is not one that overshadows Batman, although he does overshadow his villain counterpart, Two-Face. “The Dark Knight” also offers compelling critiques of human nature and a look into the mind of men who just want to watch the world burn. Batman and Joker serve as dualities to each other in a must see way.
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The final installment in the Nolan trilogy pits Batman against a foe he was not prepared for, Bane. Tom Hardy does such a good job that, like in most of his films, you cannot tell it’s him. Although Hardy sends shockwaves as Bane, he does not completely overshadow Batman, played by Christian Bale. The story is brought to the absolute brink and the characters are pushed as far as they can go without seeming too unbelievable. The cherry on top is the closure the characters (and Gotham City) get after a whirlwind of a trilogy.
- Batman Begins (2005)
The first in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, this take on the Batman is regarded very highly by moviegoers. The story manages to do what an origin story is supposed to do: introduce the protagonist and test their skills. Batman not only has to defeat Scarecrow but also his own mentors for his first great challenge. The characters are truly developed, the dialogue is very well written, and the cinematography is the best so far.
- Batman (1989)
The one that started it all. “Batman” saw the creation of the Joker as a legitimate super villain to the average moviegoer and not just a quirky character in purple. The love interest, Vicky Vale, takes a back seat to the plot — unfortunately — and in a way, so does Batman himself. The Joker quite literally steals the show this time around. It’s a beautiful story of chaos that will satisfy every Batman fan and make them question if people really get like that by falling into toxic waste.
- Batman Returns (1992)
One of the more dramatic depictions of the 90’s Batman saga, Batman, played by Micheal Keaton, goes toe to toe with a horrifying Penguin, played by Danny Devito. Devito, who is known for his comedic roles, broke the mold and gave plenty of children nightmares. Also featured is a very steamy romance with Catwoman that adds more spice to the soup. “Batman Returns” is a rollercoaster from start to finish full of fights, backstabs and top hats.
- Batman Forever (1995)
This Batman film did everything right that “Batman and Robin” would get wrong. Everyone was rightly casted and gave rousing performances, especially Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the Riddler. Batman is unevenly stacked against the Riddler and Two-Face and it’s as great as it sounds. It was obvious the production team had fun exploring every possible antic that the Riddler and Two-Face could be up to. The plot was further enriched by the inclusion of a Batman and Batgirl romance. Bat love, I guess.
- Batman v.s. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
When this Batman movie came out in 2016, it was met with a long exaggerated sigh. It was the Batman movie no one asked for with a plot that put many to sleep. This one reeks of a 2000’s action movie that takes itself too seriously. Even with these harsh criticisms against it, it serves as a nice sequel to 2013’s “Man of Steel” and gave a very intriguing spin on the previously established Superman character. Ben Affleck provides a fresh spin on the character of Bruce Wayne, just not so much as Batman.
- Batman and Robin (1997)
The internet and film critics both have had their fair share of cringe with this movie and for good reason. The dialogue was over played, the special effects seemed to be the main selling piece and the costumes were ridiculous. However, in it’s defense, “Batman and Robin” has incredible star power and makes for a very lively and interesting movie with captivating thematic cinematography
- Batman: The Movie (1966)
When you think of Batman, you probably don’t think of Adam West, but in 1966, he was the biggest name to play the iconic role. The movie adaptation of the popular series, along with Cesar Romero shocking audiences as the Joker, was a gem for it’s time. The movie is great if you are a fan of cult classic 60s movies, but for a modern audience, it’s way too cheesy. The sheer will-power required to take Batman seriously in this early adventure coupled with dry 60s dialogue is why this movie scores so low.