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Every Batman movie ranked from best to worst

Hollywood has captivated audiences for decades with movie adaptations of one of the coolest superheroes from the DC universe – Batman. A character that was first created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939 for DC Comics, Batman is also known as The Dark Knight and the Caped Crusader.  

Most Batman movies have portrayed the depths of Bruce Wayne’s psyche and his fight against crime in Gotham City. His endless crusade in pursuit of justice and righteousness has also led fans to notice distinct changes in his character arc over the years. Batman has grown, evolved and made fans fall in love with his intelligence, suaveness and, perhaps most importantly, empathy. Despite being a work of fiction, Batman is an iconic symbol of popular culture, one which constantly treats veteran fans and newcomers alike with new iterations.   

To date, directors ranging from the likes of Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan have offered their interpretations of the Caped Crusader, with mixed results. While Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is considered to be one of the best representations of Batman on film, Joel Schumacher’s 1997 film is considered to be one of the worst. As new bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran reimagine the DC universe for fans in 2023, let us take you through a definitive ranking of all the Batman movies ranging from best to worst according to popular metrics like their IMDb ratings and Rotten Tomatoes scores.

Hero image credit: Courtesy of DC’s official website
Featured image credit: Courtesy of DC’s official website 

This story first appeared on Augustman Malaysia

1 /13

The Dark Knight (2008)

By all accounts, Christopher Nolan’s trilogy features some of the best Batman movie adaptations of all time. However, it’s The Dark Knight, released in 2008, that is considered to be the crown jewel. A sequel to Batman Begins, Nolan impressed a wider audience with The Dark Knight, with his masterstroke being the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ledger’s iconic portrayal, which is hailed by many as being one the greatest performances ever put on screen, also won an Academy Award. Unlike previous Batman films, The Dark Knight took a more gritty and realistic approach, explored complex emotions and, with Harvey Dent’s character arc, made us all question the definition of the word ‘hero’. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
IMDb rating: 9/10

Watch the film here

Image Credits: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2 /13

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Christopher Nolan completed his masterful trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises. Featuring Bane (played by Tom Hardy) as Batman’s primary nemeses and Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) as his foe-turned-friend, The Dark Knight Rises offered a truly satisfying conclusion to Nolan’s trilogy. The film was also praised for its production design, visual effects, cinematography and of course, its conclusive screenplay.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
IMDb rating: 8.4/10

Watch the film here.

Image Credits: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3 /13

The Batman (2022)

Directed by Matt Reeves, 2022’s The Batman is the most recent movie adaptation featuring our favourite Caped Crusader. Critics and moviegoers alike appreciated the film for its performances, cinematography, sound design (which got an Oscar Nomination), visual effects (also Oscar-nominated) and engrossing original score. Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle accompanies Robert Pattinson’s Batman, with Paul Dano as Riddler and Collin Farrel as The Penguin. The film was also a massive commercial success, getting an incredible box office opening despite releasing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Watch the film here

Image Credit: Warner Bros. 

4 /13

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

This film best personifies the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. Directed by Chris McKay, The Lego Batman Movie was a critical and commercial success, with many critics pointing out the cool references to previous Batman movies. The first spin-off in The Lego Movie franchise, the film stars Will Arnet returning to voice Batman, with Zach Galifianakis voicing his arch nemesis the Joker. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
IMDb rating: 7.3/10 

Watch the film here.

Image Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. 

5 /13

Batman Begins (2005)

In 5th place, we have the film that laid the foundation for Christopher Nolan’s popular trilogy – Batman Begins. The film also introduced us to Christian Bale’s interpretation of Batman, and also marked the first appearances of Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as James Gordon. Also credited as being one of the film’s writers, Nolan cites the sci-fi film Blade Runner as inspiration for this movie.  

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
IMDb rating: 8.2/10

Watch the film here

Image Credit: Courtesy IMDb

6 /13

Batman Returns (1992)

When it comes to Tim Burton’s Batman movies, it’s actually the sequel that is preferred by many over its predecessor. Released in 1992, Batman Returns had some truly interesting casting choices, with Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman becoming an instant classic. The film also featured Danny DeVito as The Penguin, although many people did miss Jack Nicholson’s wacky Joker from the original film. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Watch it here

Image Credit: Courtesy IMDb

7 /13

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the more unique film adaptations of Batman. The animated film, which is an extension of the popular Batman: The Animated Series, focuses on Batman as he tries to reconcile with Andrea Beaumont, his former lover. The film also revolves around a slew of killings that are targeting Gotham City’s crime bosses, with Batman trying to solve the mysterious murders and catch the perpetrator. The film’s plotline is based on Mike W. Barr’s Batman: Year Two comic book story arc.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Image Credit: Warner Bros. 

8 /13

Batman (1989)

Released in 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman reintroduced the Caped Crusader to an entirely new generation of cinemagoers. The film can also be cited for reviving Superhero movies in Hollywood, a genre which had fallen out of grace by 1989. The interesting portrayal of Gotham City in this movie had Tim Burton’s signature style all over it, especially in the Oscar-winning art direction. The film also introduced Michael Keaton as Batman and featured Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance as The Joker. The debate over whether Nicholson or Ledger (sorry Leto fans, you’ll just have to sit this one out) had the better interpretation of the Joker is neverending. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%
IMDb rating: 7.5/10

Watch it here

Image Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. 

9 /13

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

Directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League’s Director’s Cut was released in 2021, with Ben Affleck portraying Batman. Both fans and critics considered the Director’s Cut to be vastly superior to the original 2017 film and so for our rankings, we think it’s only fair to go with the Director’s Cut as well. While critics praised Snyder’s direction, fans were also impressed with his vision for the movie. As the film gained a legion of hardcore fans around the world, it’ll be interesting to see how James Gunn expands upon (if at all) the film in the revamped DC Universe.  

Watch the film here

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
IMDb rating: 8/10 

Image Credit: DC

10 /13

Batman Forever (1995)

We now get to that part of the list that features some of the more mediocre and downright awful Batman movies. Directed by Joel Schumacher, 1995’s Batman Forever is the best of the worst. The film stars Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader, Jim Carrey as Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, and Michael Gough as Alfred. While Schumacher avoided adding Burton’s tonality to the film, he was unsuccessful in crafting his own vision, thereby receiving mixed to negative reviews for the film. However, Jim Carrey’s casting and performance received praise, as did the incredible song ‘Kiss from a Rose‘ by Seal that was part of the movie’s soundtrack.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%
IMDb rating: 5.4/10

Watch the film here

Image Credit: Courtesy DC

11 /13

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

Directed by Sam Liu, Batman: The Killing Joke was initially eagerly anticipated by Batman fans. However, when the film eventually came out, the reviews from comic book fans and film critics expressed disappointment with the storyline and Batman’s portrayal as a character. An adaptation of a comic by the same name, the film came and went without making any noise. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 36%
IMDb rating: 6.4/10

Watch the film here

Image Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. 

12 /13

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Featuring the two biggest superheroes in the world, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the second film from the DC Extended Universe and featured Ben Affleck as Batman. Despite Holding the unique distinction of being the first film to feature both Batman and Superman together, the film received negative reviews after its release. Critics and fans were unimpressed by the dull screenplay, average performances and lacklustre characterisations of two of the world’s most iconic superheroes. The film was described as being ‘all flash and no substance’ and was considered to be quite a letdown despite its interesting premise.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 29%
IMDb rating: 6.4/10

Watch the film here.

Image Credit: Courtesy DC


13 /13

Batman & Robin (1997)

Last, and in this case, definitely least, is Batman & Robin. Released in 1997, this film is widely considered to be the worst Batman movie of all time. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film starred George Clooney as Batman, a casting choice that netted disastrous results. Critics were absolutely vicious in their reviews, calling the film both frantic and mindless.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 12%
IMDb rating: 3.7/10

Image Credit: Courtesy IMDb

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is the order to watch the Batman movies?

Answer: If you want to watch all major Batman movies in accordance of their release dates, start with Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), followed by Batman Forever (1995) and Batman And Robin (1997). You can then watch Christopher Nolan's trilogy starting with Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). After this come Zack Snyder's movies including Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). End your binge-watch with The Batman (2022).

Question: Which Batman movie is the best rated?

Answer: According to Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, The Dark Knight is the best rated Batman movie, as of January 2023.

Question: Which Batman movie is the worst rated?

Answer: 1997's Batman and Robin is considered to be the worst rated Batman movie.

Question: Is there any upcoming Batman movie this year?

Answer: Currently, The Batman - Part II is in production. The film is a sequel to the 2022 film The Batman starring Robert Pattinson.

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