The Best Order To Watch Every Batman Movie

With a rich mix of live-action movies spanning more than half a century, it’s hard to decide the right order to watch the Batman movies.

Unlike the MCU, which tries to tie in all of its movies into coherent, easy-to-follow timelines, DC managed to make each Batman movie seem like a standalone movie, showing just another incident of a superhero going up against yet another adversary – another day at the office – and that might be so. Subtle traits, though, become apparent upon closer inspection. For example, directing a Batman film appears to be a kind of experiment for the various directors, who all make sure to add their unique touch.

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Deciding how best to watch the Batman movies is tricky. The sheer number of movies, coupled with the minimal continuity among them, makes them hard to arrange. They can simply be watched in order of release or watched in two batches – the campy ones first, then the darker, grittier Batman movies. There is also the option of watching them in batches according to the different eras of directors that have ever been at the helm of a Batman movie production.

DC Villains Hesitant To Kill Related 7 DC Villains Who Are Hesitant To Kill Whilst many of the best DC Comics villains kill without a care, these villains often have a sense of morality that prevents them from going too far.

Batman (1943)

Batman and Robin the 1943 Batman serial in black and white

Director

Lambery Hillyer

Cast

Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft, William Austin, Robert Fiske

Runtime

260 minutes

Release date

July 16, 1943

Rotten Tomatoes Score

No rating.

For the more curious ones wanting to understand the true origins of the protector of Gotham and how far he has come since leaving the pages of Detective Comics #27, it is best to start the Batman journey from here. The serial movie provides the first insight into what the billionaire vigilante would be like if he were flesh and blood and not just another piece of art in comic books. To be fair, since almost every Batman movie starts the same – with him watching his parents get gunned down – this is just as good as any point to start.

Directed by Lambert Hillyer, Batman stars Lewis Wilson and William Austin, both of whom were famous for being the first people to play Batman/Bruce Wayne and Alfred, respectively, in a film adaptation. Being based around the end/aftermath of World War II, it also gives insight into how even a movie rendition of a comic book character can be used to push war propaganda.

The first set of Batman movies to be made majorly put the main cast in the spotlight, especially the protagonists, leaving the directors as unsung heroes, a sensation that changed following Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. But even at that, the Batman movies produced between 1943 and 1966 made sure to usher in a new cast with each new release.

Batman: The Movie (1966)

batman and robin in batman 1966

Director

Leslie H. Martinson

Cast

Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero, Lee Meriwether, Frank Gorshin

Runtime

105 minutes

Release date

January 12, 1966

Rotten Tomatoes Score

72%

There was a Batman series released in 1966, but this is not it. However, it provides for this feature film’s plot as well as a huge chunk of the cast, which especially includes Adam West, who is considered by many to have laid the first stones in building the character’s legacy as it is known today. This is the first full-length adaptation of the superhero into film, with Adam West’s deadpan delivery and square-jawed demeanor causing the movie to be considered many things – trailblazing, and moment-defining. Batman is also different, as the character is portrayed in much lighter tones than it is known today. It should appeal especially to nostalgia merchants, who will find themselves wondering what could have been when they see this stark 180 from Batman as he is known today.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

batman in mark of the phantasm

Director

Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski

Cast

Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Dana Delany, Stacy Keach, Efem Ximbalist Jr.

Runtime

76 minutes

Release date

December 25, 1993

Rotten Tomatoes Score

82%

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Former movies have shown how Arthur Fleck/Jack Napier becomes the Joker and how the Joker directly or indirectly sets Bruce Wayne’s resolve to actively fight crime in Gotham City as a full-fledged Batman. Matman Mask of the Phantasm chooses instead to shed light on Bruce Wayne’s transition into the world’s greatest detective, choosing especially to emphasize the last straw that cements the birth of his alter ego. This animated movie’s unique perspective makes it the next movie to watch after The Joker, with it technically being a bridge between the 1981-set Joker movie and Tim Burton’s Batman, tying the two movies into one tenuous timeline.

Batman (1989)

1989 Batman

Director

Tim Burton

Cast

Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle

Runtime

126 minutes

Release date

June 23, 1989

Rotten Tomatoes Score

69%

So far, the Batman movies have moved from being made because someone felt it was time for people to see the caped crusader onscreen to the character being test-run as unconventionally humorous. This changes in Batman when Tim Burton steps into the mix and decides not to follow tradition, choosing instead to make Batman darker and more gothic, an experiment that was so wildly successful that its aftermath is still visible in the way the onscreen Batman is written today. Safe to say Burton redefined Batman and opened the doors for his continuous evolution over the years. Also, Batman (1989) is the first time the Gotham Guardian faces the Joker, who isn’t quite the same as Joaquin Phoenix’s but shares some characteristics with Arthur Fleck all the same, such as being the reason for the existence of Batman due to him facilitating the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents.

Batman Returns (1992)

batman in batman returns

Director

Tim Burton

Cast

Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito, Pat Hingle, Cristi Conaway

Runtime

126 minutes

Release date

June 19, 1992

Rotten Tomatoes Score

81%

Seeing how successful Batman(1989) was, Warner Bros. decided to leave the reins with Burton to make another movie, this time with significantly more creative control and a bigger budget. Burton, in turn, allows Michael Keaton to reprise his role as Batman but fails to replicate the successes of Batman, which causes him to be taken off the project. Honestly, there aren’t many compelling reasons to watch Batman Returns after Batman(1989), other than the fact that the two movies were directed by the same person and technically exist in the same timeline. And even at that, there aren’t any spillovers that might indicate that it is a continuation of Batman (1989).

Batman Forever (1995)

the riddler in batman forever

Director

Joel Schumacher

Cast

Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough

Runtime

122 minutes

Release date

June 16, 1995

Rotten Tomatoes Score

40%

Enter Joel Schumacher into the director’s chair as Tim Burton’s replacement, and his first assignment is to tone down the gloominess of the Batman movies a bit, as this was perceived to have been the reason Batman Returns tanked at the box office. To do this, Schumacher opts to emphasize the general plot and, as a result, pays more attention to the antagonists. This succeeded in returning the movies to what they were before Tim Burton’s experiment, albeit for a short while, and although it didn’t do as well as Burton’s Batman, it was successful enough to earn Schumacher the go-ahead to make a second movie.

Batman & Robin (1997)

bataman and robin

Director

Joel Schumacher

Cast

George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alicia Silverstone, Robert Swenson

Runtime

125 minutes

Release date

June 20, 1997

Rotten Tomatoes Score

11%

Unlike 1949’s Batman & Robin, Schumacher’s sequel of the same name was better put together, to say the least. Also, Warner Bros., at this point, already had the vision that the character deserved to transcend the big screen and was big enough to serve as inspiration for other merchandise, and Schumacher was mandated to make his movie to fuel the idea.

Batman & Robin saw George Clooney take over from Val Kilmer, following the latter having inherited the role from Keaton for one movie. But that isn’t why the movie comes next on the watch sequence. Plainly speaking, Schumacher’s movies should do just as fine if they were watched with the Batman movies from between 1943 and 1966, as they share key elements with the movies of that time. However, they also share continuity with Tim Burton’s, having reprized characters and design elements from them, among other things, so maybe they are best left as Burton sequels.

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Batman Begins (2005)

batman in batman begins

Director

Christopher Nolan

Cast

Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Runtime

140 minutes

Release date

June 12th, 2005

Rotten Tomatoes Score

85%

This ushers in the era of Batman as the final product of numerous trial-and-error productions, with no one other than Christopher Nolan at the helm. Batman Begins marked the franchise’s return to a hardier audience, following the gross underperformance of Schumacher’s Batman & Robin at the box office despite it being made on the biggest budget for a Batman movie yet at the time.

The movie marks the beginning of yet another Batman franchise-in-franchise, offering a fresh insight into Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming the Dark Knight. Because it doesn’t share continuity with any of the Batman movies before it, it can’t be placed anywhere else on the watchlist without alienating it from the other movies in its trilogy.

The Dark Knight (2008)

batman in the dark knight

Director

Christopher Nolan

Cast

Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eric Roberts

Runtime

152 minutes

Release date

July 18th, 2008

Rotten Tomatoes Score

94%

Being the second release in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight is one of the best Batman movies ever created. Which is ironic considering it almost wasn’t made, with every one of the main cast members putting in a ridiculously good performance. The movie challenges the traditional superhero narrative, opening the franchise to new themes. Above all, it became regarded as the blueprint for making superhero movies. This is arguably the best Batman movie ever released and comes as the sequel to Batman Begins. Christopher Nolan continues the Batman journey, bringing audiences face to face with Batman’s most popular nemesis, the Joker. With incredible acting from Heath Ledger, the movie has earned serious acclaim from various sources.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

bruce wayne and cat woman

Director

Christopher Nolan

Cast

Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotilard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman

Runtime

165 minutes

Release date

July 27th, 2012

Rotten Tomatoes Score

87%

This rounds off Nolan’s trilogy and cements the director’s place as an important force in the evolution of modern-day Batman.

Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy reimagined Batman for a new era, bringing a more realistic perspective to the titular character. It also provided for a much more in-depth development of each character in general and was probably the first time there was such a cohesive narrative arc between three Batman movies. Interestingly, it also introduced the Bat-signal as a dual symbol, signaling hope for the victims and fear for the perpetrators.

The Flash (2023)

batman in the flash 2022

Director

Andrés Muschietti

Cast

Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Afleck, George Clooney, Michael Shannon

Runtime

144 minutes

Release date

June 16th, 2023

Rotten Tomatoes Score

63%

Wrapping up Nolan’s timeline, viewers can venture into The Flash, as the DCEU’s attempt to bring its superheroes under one big franchise, as the MCU did. The Flash is set in a world that has yet to see Zod, which earns it a right to come before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Superman now has to save the world from an augmented Zod-beast, better known as Doomsday. Although it is not a Batman movie in the traditional sense, The Flash can be seen as DC’s attempt to replicate the crossover scenes in Spider-Man: No Way Home. It stars three of the most iconic past Batman actors in a bid to explore time travel, with Affleck, Keaton, and Clooney reprising their roles to help Ezra Miller’s Flash fend off a Zod invasion of Earth.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

batman and superman

Director

Zack Snyder

Cast

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Jason Momoa, Lauren Cohan

Runtime

151 minutes

Release date

March 26th, 2016

Rotten Tomatoes Score

29%

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Being the first cinematic reboot of the Batman franchise, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Batman go up against an unconventional adversary, Superman himself. All as a result of his fears manipulated by Lex Luthor, who secretly wants Superman subdued. Starring Ben Affleck as Batman, the movie aimed to bring a more seasoned and mature Batman to the screen and was the first time Batman was introduced into the larger DC Extended Universe, setting the stage for future DCEU movies and especially the creation of the Justice League. It also explores the limits of Batman’s morality once more and shows the character as the bad guy, albeit a disillusioned one.

Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Zack-Snyder's-Justice-League-Batman-Joker

Director

Zach Snyder

Cast

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Exra Miller, Jeremy Irons

Runtime

120 minutes, 242 minutes( Snyder’s cut)

Release date

November 17th, 2017. March 18th 2021 (Snyder’s cut)

Rotten Tomatoes Score

39%, 72% (Snyder’s cut)

This isn’t a Batman movie in the traditional sense, but it shows enough of the dark avenger to be considered one. Timeline-wise, it follows Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and is set in a world that is still reeling from Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday. These two movies see Zack Snyder’s Batman put together a team of meta-humans for the first time to combat the invasion of Steppenwolf, who is on a mission to conquer the earth and terraform it in the image of another planet, at Darkseid’s behest. While both movies technically contain the same plot, the 2021 production pours more into the details relating to character development and adds a bit more flesh to the plot, with the introduction of Darkseid as the force behind Steppenwolf.

The Batman (2022)

2022 batman

Director

Matt Reeves

Cast

Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Serkis

Runtime

176 minutes

Release date

March 4th, 2022

Rotten Tomatoes Score

85%

Whoever thought Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz would look so good together in a Batman movie? Yet another reboot of the Batman movie franchise, The Batman introduces both a new cast and Batman as never seen before. It follows the titular character as he goes up against the Riddler, a self-righteous serial killer who has taken it upon himself to unearth corruption among Gotham’s elite. 2022’s The Batman doesn’t say much about the future of the Batman franchise as imagined by Matt Reeves, but one thing is clear, it is darker and grittier than ever before, which does well to earn it a place on the Batman movie watchlist.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

lego batman

Director

Chris McKay

Cast

Will Amett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fienness, Jenny Slate, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill

Runtime

104 minutes

Release date

February 9th, 2017

Rotten Tomatoes Score

89%

The Lego Batman Movie does not fit into the continuity of any live-action Batman films and instead exists in its own independent universe within the Lego Movie franchise, but does well as a standalone animated movie. Think of it as a bonus track on this playlist of Batman movies, earning its position on this list simply because of the sheer amount of creativity it must have demanded to adapt the Dark Knight into toy form. Upon further reflection, the film shares a connection with previous Batman films in that it makes use of characters and elements from the Batman canon, although with a comedic and satirical take on the character.

batman Cropped Batman

Batman is one of the most popular and well-known superheroes of all time. Created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman has evolved over the decades into a cultural icon.As a child, Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in front of him. Since that day, Bruce made it his mission to fight back against the criminal element in Gotham City. Taking on the appearance of what scares him most, Batman faces off against powerful villains like the Joker, Two-Face, Bane, and the Penguin. 

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
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