Superheroes have been an integral part of our lives since the very first time they appeared to us in the pages of newspapers or comic books. They inspire us and even turn into our role models. Batman is one of those DC superheroes who has been and still is a role model for many of us. Several people look up to and adore Batman for one, very simple reason, his humanity. Without any superpowers, he is still a force to be feared, even by the mightiest superheroes and supervillains in the Batman universe. He teaches a lot of people that you don’t need to be something special to make a difference, you just need to keep trying.
This iconic character has been adapted into movies for a long time and portrayed by various actors throughout time. We have seen some legendary as well as some lousy movie adaptations, and in this article, we are going to provide you with a chronological order to watch all Batman movies in order.
1. Batman: The Movie (1966)
The iconic 1966 adaptation of Batman by Adam West was the first ever colorized Batman movie and remains a timeless classic to date. But, this movie was not exactly like the Batman movies we have now since this movie removed the “dark” out of the Dark Knight and turned him into an absolute goofball cracking jokes and doing funny things on screen. This movie completely ignored the dark side of the character and made it all about laughs and gags.
Even though totally astray from what Batman is about, being the first ever full-fledged, color Batman movie, this movie did become a fan favorite and Adam West, because of his goofy adaptation of Batman, got the title of the “Black Sheep” down the lane.
2. Batman (1989)
After Adam West, Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, and people, after getting the news, were highly skeptical. Since Keaton was known for his comic roles, people thought that Batman was going to be a goofball again but once the movie was released, Keaton’s Batman threw a Batarang at all the skepticism floating around.
Batman 1989 is said to be one of the best Batman movies ever made, as Keaton was able to perfectly pull off the role of the dark and broody Batman alongside the role of the soft and charming Bruce Wayne. This movie gives us an insight into why Wayne became Batman and all his traumas as well.
This movie not only brought us an almost perfect Batman but also an equally terrific performance of Jack Nicholas as the Joker. His performance was scary as well as entertaining to watch, giving people an amazing battle between the legendary, timeless enemies, Batman and The Joker.
3. Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Returns is the second installment of Michael Keaton’s Batman movies and features Catwoman played by Michelle Pfeiffer. This movie has the scariest and ghore-filled presentation of the penguin, played by Danny DeVito, ever seen in a live-action Batman movie. It was also the last movie where Michael Keaton appeared as the Batman, marking the end of one of the most amazing Batman series ever seen on screen.
4. Batman Forever (1995)
In 1995, Val Kilmer was cast as Batman for Batman Forever and I won’t be wrong to say that it turned out to be a hot mess. Val Kilmer, in himself, was not bad in the role of Batman but the way this movie was made took Batman back to the Adam West era. Jim Carrey was cast to play the role of the Riddler, and he overdid it in every possible way it was possible to overdo it.
Of course, this movie is one of the classics but if you’re planning on watching this movie, prepare yourself for some unnecessary and forced humor with terrible direction and storytelling.
5. Batman and Robin (1997)
Another Batman movie that was so bad that it became good was Batman and Robin released in 1997. In this movie, George Clooney was cast as Batman and if you look at him individually, he wasn’t really a bad choice to play the lead role, but the way he had to play Batman made Batman and Robin one of the worst Batman movies ever made.
Robin, played by Chris O’ Donnell, seems to be in constant competition with Batman resulting in corny dialogue and out-of-place humor. Arnold Schwarzenegger played the role of Mr. Freeze in this movie, and oh my god, the way it made me pull my hair. Mr. Freeze was seen constantly dropping unnecessary puns, jokes that were not funny, and whatnot.
This is one of the worst Batman movies ever made, without a doubt, and for this reason, it’s a must-watch for all Batman fans to know how much Batman has evolved throughout the years.
6. Batman Begins (2005)
After the massive failure of the former Batman movies, Christopher Nolan came up as a savior for the legacy of Batman. In the year 2005, Batman Begins was released, and it completely redefined the superhero movie genre for years to come. Christan Bale was cast to play the role of Batman, and he did a phenomenal job as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Nolan’s movies were not just superhero movies but told us the tale of a man who had lost everything he cared about and was willing to lose whatever was left for the greater good.
This movie not only explored the dark broody Batman but also gave us an insight into the deeply traumatized Bruce Wayne and the way it has been done is simply beautiful.
7. The Dark Knight (2008)
The second movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies was The Dark Knight released in 2008. This is one of those movies that turned out to be a timeless classic for the awesome portrayal of Batman and an even more amazing portrayal of the Joker by Heath Ledger.
After Batman 1989, this representation of the Joker was the best anyone has ever seen. This movie shows us Bruce Wayne who is in a conflict about himself and what he is doing. We see him grow emotionally, embrace this darker self he has created. The picturisation of this movie is brilliant and the way Joker is shown to us is truly terrifying. This movie is a must-watch for every Batman fan.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (20`12)
Released in 2012, the final movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was The Dark Knight Rises. Originally, Heath Ledger was supposed to be playing the Joker once again in this movie but due to his untimely demise, the script was changed, and Bane, played by Tom Hardy, became the antagonist of the movie.
We see Batman go toe to toe against an enemy who embraced the dark even more than Batman did. This movie shows Batman going on a journey of redemption and ultimately fully accepting his duty as the Guardian of Gotham City.
This was the last movie where Bale appeared as Batman, marking an end to Nolan’s involvement in superhero movies. These movies were a fantastic run, which was loved by people all over the world. The only problem with Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies was the fact that he made these movies totally astray from the comic perspective of the character. Nolan made these movies in a way that it would have been if Batman existed in real life, rather than picking up a comic story and making it into a movie.
9. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
After 2012, Batman made a comeback to the big screen with Batman vs. Superman (2016), but Ben Affleck took up the mantle of Batman this time. And even after a lot of skepticism, Ben Affleck turned out to be one of the most comic-accurate Batman ever seen on screen. He played the role of the charismatic Bruce Wayne as well as the dark and gritty Batman with utmost comic accuracy.
This movie showed us how Batman sees Superman as a potential threat since he’s too powerful. We see an epic battle between Superman and Batman where Batman absolutely destroys Superman. We also see Doomsday appear on screen for the first time in this movie.
10. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
The Lego Batman movie was undoubtedly one of the best Batman movies ever made. It was a perfect mix of comedy, a parody of previous Batman projects as well as having a story of its own. We see the character of Batman go through a complete emotional journey from living in self-induced denial to facing his fears and becoming a better person. This movie has no links to upcoming or previous Batman films but is still always a delight to watch no matter how many times you do.
11. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Justice League was not exactly a Batman movie, but it is on this list because of its importance in the DC comicverse’s Batman. Justice League was initially released in 2017 but was terribly made because of the sudden changes in direction. This caused the fans to be enraged and demand to see the original movie as it was supposed to be under Zack Snyder.
In 2021 Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released on HBO Max, and boy oh boy, it was an absolute masterpiece. From direction to picturization, the perfectly timed slow motions, the VFX everything was perfect. Every Batman fan should watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League because trust me guys, it doesn’t get any better.
12. The Batman (2022)
The latest Batman movie came out in 2022 as “The Batman,” where Robert Pattinson took up the role of the Dark Knight. Trust me when I say this, if you really wish to know how Batman would be if he jumped straight out of a comic book into the real world, this movie is your answer.
Although this version of Batman lacks in the true portrayal of Bruce Wayne to an extent, it portrays a perfect Batman, who is more of a detective. He is dark, gritty, scary, and a literal embodiment of fear. The picturization of this movie, the use of lights, shadows, darkness, and the background music make this movie a complete experience in itself.
Here’s a list of all Batman movies in order along with release date and the actor playing Batman in the movie (see ranked actor list linked here) for your ease:
Movie Title Release Date Batman Actor Batman: The Movie 1966 Adam West Batman 1989 Michael Keaton Batman Returns 1992 Michael Keaton Batman Forever 1995 Val Kilmer Batman and Robin 1997 George Clooney Batman Begins 2005 Christian Bale The Dark Knight 2008 Christian Bale The Dark Knight Rises 2012 Christian Bale Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 Ben Affleck The Lego Batman Movie 2017 Will Arnett Zack Snyder’s Justice League 2021 Ben Affleck The Batman 2022 Robert Pattinson