Batman Live-Action Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

So… Seeing as how I just discussed Batman vs. Superman in a way that has given me massive attention, for both agreement and anger, I decided that what could be better than to keep this superhero train a chugging and rank all of the Batman movies from worst to best! Now, before I get into the list, I will say right now that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will not be on this list for a number of reasons. The first reason is because I always dislike the idea of including something that “just happened” on to a list like this for shock value. Especially since it hasn’t had time to sit and stew like the other movies have. Second, the movie is technically still a Superman movie and featured in the Superman canon, with Batman joining in the fray. So with that being said, let’s look at these eight gems.

Batman_&_robin_poster8 Batman & Robin

I do not think there is anyone in this world who is surprised that the worst on this list is Batman and Robin. While number 7 on the list can best be described as “Eh? I can see there being an audience for it somewhere”, I doubt you will find a single person who will put up a compelling argument for this Schumacher fiasco. This movie is not only a shoe-in (no pun intended) for worst Batman movie, it frequently competes with other movies for the worst film of ALL TIME!

From Bat-credit cards, to Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, and to the infamous bat nipples, Schumacher’s Batman & Robin will stand the test of time as the most appalling Batman movie to ever exist.

7 Batman Returns

I have talked about this movie before so there is not much of a need to go too far into it. But basically, Batman Returns is a cautionary tale of what happens when you give Tim Burton too much creative control over a pre-licensed material.

Batman Returns is not a happy movie. It is dark, it is dreary, and it is all around ugly. While Batman lends himself to the darker and grittier areas of superhero movies, Batman Returns takes it a little too far with the Penguin being too unlikable to enjoy and there being little to no story devoted to the caped crusader in his own movie.

6 Batman ForeverBatman_forever_ver7

If we were to rank the movies by which one gives the most whiplash, then this movie would certainly be it. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Batman Forever is pretty good. However, after the very dark and gothic version of the first two Batmans, to see the third Batman take a much more child friendly and cartoonish angle while still being in the same universe set the standard for superhero movies in the late 1990’s.

While Tommy Lee Jones is hammy at best as Harvey Two-Face, Jim Carrey steals the show as the Riddler and is easily the best part of third installment of the first Batman series.

5 The Dark Knight Rises

The first of the Nolan movies to show up on this list and the grand finale to the series, The Dark Knight Rises is a decent movie that has a somewhat jumbled plot. While it was an epic conclusion to the series, there was little that the movie could do to capture the lightning in the bottle that came from The Dark Knight. 

Bane was a strong villain in the movie, the twists were very well there, and it was very well made. It just couldn’t keep all its plot eggs in one concise basket and as such remains the weak link of the trilogy.

Batman_Begins_Poster4 Batman Begins

And we have the second of the Nolan movies following right on the Dark Knight Rises tail. I did argue with myself quite a while on which one was going to win over, The Dark Knight Rises or Batman Begins. Ultimately it was Batman Begins that won the contest, just inching out the third installment with a tighter script and more compelling villains.

While I’m not a fan of dedicating entire movies to what is essentially a prologue, I do have to admit that it worked well and I did enjoy the film. That is why it ends up 4th on the list of Batman movies.

3 Batman (1966)

At number 3 we have one that a lot of my younger readers might not know exist. But Adam West’s original campy Batman did in fact have a movie. It was just as campy, chipper, and happy as the television show.

There is something undeniably wonderful about the movie when the right amount of camp combined with the acting from the show makes this a often forgotten superhero classic.

2 Batman (1989)

While Batman Returns is a cautionary tale of what happens when Tim Burton is given too much power, the original Batman is a true blend of cinematic masterpiece that gives a wonderful blend of gothic visuals, love of the characters being presented, and the acting expertise of Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton.

It was the Batman that made him into the dark serious caped crusader that we know today and we will always love Tim Burton for it.

1 The Dark KnightDark_Knight

Could it be any other movie? While the original Batman was the standard for years, it was The Dark Knight that brought Batman into the modern era of film making. Heath Ledger is absolutely iconic in his role as the Joker, Christian Bale begins to dive more into the character of Batman, the script can best be described as a perfect story. Everything about the movie is absolutely astonishing and remains the crown jewel in DC’s oeuvre that can compete against the rise of the Marvel Universe.

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