One of the most popular comic book series of all time, Batman has a vast filmography. The order of each film is shown here. When discussing comic book movies, it can be difficult to avoid mentioning Batman. In the history of superhero films, The Caped Crusader has had one of the busiest careers. The Batman flicks continuously alter how comic book movies are made.
Comic book movies may be treated seriously, as the 1989 Tim Burton film shown, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy altered the course of not only comic book movies but also action movies in general.
Dark and violent movies can still have heart and a ray of optimism, as The Batman, which just came out, is demonstrating to viewers. There have been numerous Batman films that have been theatrically distributed, including two early serials.
Since stand-alone movies and reboots make up the majority of the Batman series, there isn’t exactly a chronological sequence for these movies other than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Here is a list of every theatrical release from the World’s Greatest Detective’s filmography, listed in chronological order.
Batman Movies in Order of Release Date
- The Batman – July 16, 1943
- Batman & Robin – May 26, 1949
- Batman: The Movie – July 30, 1966
- Batman – June 23, 1989
- Batman Returns – June 16, 1992
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm – December 25, 1993
- Batman Forever – June 16, 1995
- Batman & Robin (1997) – IMDb
- Batman Begins – June 15, 2005
- The Dark Knight – July 18, 2008
- The Dark Knight Rises – July 20, 2012
- Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 25, 2016
- The LEGO Batman Movie – February 10, 2017
- Justice League – November 17, 2017
- Justice League: The Snyder Cut – March 18, 2021
- The Batman – March 4, 2022
The Batman (1943)
Lewis Wilson was the first of the many performers who have played Batman in the live-action medium, more than 20 years before Adam West put on the cape and cowl. Just four years after Batman made his screen debut in 1939, Columbia Pictures decided to turn Batman into a serial. The success of previous superhero serials like Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and even Superman, who had a serial a year earlier, served as a precedent for this.
Batman is significant for being Linda Page, Alfred, Robin, and Batman’s first live-action outing. The 15-part television series follows Batman and Robin as they struggle to stop Dr. Daka. Batman is a covert government operative rather than a vigilante.
Daka is a malicious Japanese scientist based in Gotham City. This serial was published during World War II, as evidenced by its debut date in the early 1940s. After Pearl Harbor was bombed two years earlier, the Japanese were not particularly popular with the American public. As a result, several propaganda movies from the era, like Batman, are strongly anti-Japanese.
The serial is not still relevant now due to the racial slurs and inaccurate portrayals of the Japanese, in addition to the incredibly tacky acting and costuming. Much of the racially incendiary dialogue was deleted or dubbed over when the series was released on home video starting in the 1980s.
Although this serial is very much a product of its time, that doesn’t imply that the portrayal of Japanese culture should be discounted. The Joker was initially intended to be the main antagonist, but that was immediately changed to an original character. In reality, a white actor’s bad portrayal of Daka is problematic.
The Batcave, known here as The Bat’s Cave, was first featured in this serial. Even Alfred’s look was changed by this series because he was formerly a larger man and was now tall and lean. This presence was carried over into the comics. Fans should at the very least see this series in order to compare the first live-action Batman to subsequent iterations.
Batman & Robin (1949)
A sequel to the Batman television series was released six years after the first. The New Adventures of Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder (or just Batman & Robin) was the title of the sequel, which was also published as a serial in 15 installments.
By today’s standards, Batman & Robin is much easier to tolerate than the last serial, partly because it doesn’t contain any forced war propaganda or racial caricatures. Robert Lowry plays Batman this time around. Once more, the serial decides to invent its own villain rather than stealing one from the comics. The Wizard is the name of the villain, a hooded guy who conceals his identity.
As previously mentioned, the material of this serial holds up much better, although the clothes and acting are still delightfully corny. Vicki Vale and Commissioner Gordon are the next two comic book characters to transition to the live-action medium.
Although this serial is as simple as they come, it is nevertheless worth a brief look to see how Batman and Robin first appeared. Through the 1950s and 1960s, this serial and the one before it made infrequent trips back to theatres.
The decision to create a new Batman television series was taken as a risk due to the success of these reruns. This wager would prove to significantly boost the popularity of the character and establish Batman as a household name.
Batman: The Movie (1966)
The Adam West-led Batman television series became a huge success as soon as it debuted on the air. The series gave the character new life and prevented the comic book from being discontinued. The series was so well-liked that a theatrical movie was made the same year it debuted, 1966. Bat-Mania had already reached its peak by the time Batman: The Movie was released.
The movie follows Batman and Robin as they fight to defeat the combined armies of their greatest foes. Together, the Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman battle the Dynamic Duo. Though it happens frequently now, this was the first time these antagonists were featured in the same story. The movie has a devoted following today and does in fact feel like an extended episode of the TV show.
It would be impossible to discuss the 1960s Batman without mentioning the notorious camp aspect. Both the movie and the television show make fun of Batman in a self-aware manner. His boy-scout demeanor has become renowned, and he doesn’t try to hide his voice.
The first movie on the list that is highly recommended is this one. Although some fans may prefer the darker Batman films, the character’s enormous popularity is largely due to this iteration. There’s a good chance that the Batman character wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for this movie and program.
After the success of the 1960s Batman, the public viewed the character as campy for many years. Batman was presented as a funny character in everything, including comic books and cartoons. The character’s dark comic book origins were where authors intended to return him in the 1980s.
Famous tales like Year One, The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, and A Death in the Family resulted from this. DC thought it was time to remind the public who Batman really was after this modification in the formula gave the character fresh vitality.
The 1989 release of Batman forever altered how people saw the character in the eyes of the public after numerous rewrites and director changes. This movie was a huge hit. Since there hasn’t been a campaign that has generated such widespread hype in recent memory, marketing is a significant component in this. It was enough to erect billboards with just the logo on them.
Fans recognized comedian Michael Keaton as the ideal actor to portray Batman, despite their initial skepticism about the fact that the first teaser didn’t even feature the term, Batman. In the movie, Jack Nicholson’s The Joker, a new criminal ringleader, is pursued by Batman. It has never been done before, yet this movie plainly depicts the Joker’s backstory.
Even The Killing Joke, which the film takes its title from, makes the implication that Joker is inventing the tale. Nobody recognized him as being campy once the character was successfully reimagined in the film. It comes highly recommended and is still regarded as one of the best Batman movies ever made.
Batman Returns (1992)
The 1989 blockbuster needed a follow-up, and three years later, fans got their wish. In this second Tim Burton film in the series, Michael Keaton played Batman once again in Batman Returns. This time, Batman must defeat the Penguin and Catwoman, two brand-new foes.
This movie uses a lot of dark humor and gory visuals, making it noticeably darker than the last one. The film wasn’t as well received because of this harsher tone. Despite being equally grim, the first movie was a tremendous hit with kids.
As a result, toy sales soared, and businesses hopped on board with this movie right away. Parental objections about the tone of Batman Returns actually caused the withdrawal of everything from action figures to McDonald’s ads.
Penguins chewing someone’s nose is going too far, but the bloodied corpse of the Joker grinning after he died is acceptable. The Penguin is brought to life in this movie by Danny DeVito. He is no longer the sophisticated crime boss from the 1960s version.
Instead, he is a hideous, disfigured man who relishes eating raw fish as though it were an apple. As Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a legendary performance. All other forms of the character are contrasted with this one.
Despite the criticism, the movie was a huge hit. Although Michael Keaton would finally play Batman again in the upcoming Flash and Batgirl movies, this was his final appearance as the superhero. To avoid any further problems, Warner Bros. decided to replace Tim Burton for the 1995 sequel.
Batman: Mask of The Phantasm (1993)
Batman: The Animated Series was one of the most popular things to come after 1989’s Batman. Children and adults alike found enjoyment in this program, which was a big success. The program debuted Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman. It is currently regarded as one of the best Joker performances.
Because of the show’s popularity, a theatrical movie was made, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm debuted in theatres one year after Batman Returns. The movie was a failure, as opposed to the first two films. Due to the fact that it was animated, the majority of people believed it to be a children’s movie.
They realized how mistaken they were when the movie was made available on home video. Batman is forced to look into a recent presence in Gotham: an enigmatic assassin who is targeting criminal lords and accusing Batman.
The movie has gained a lot more popularity recently. In fact, a lot of people think it’s the best Batman film ever. Flashback scenes in the movie also show Bruce Wayne donning his first uniform. This was the final 2-D animated Batman film to be released in theatres due to the film’s tragic box office flop.
Mask of the Phantasm has all the qualities that make for a nearly ideal Batman movie, including tragedy, heartache, action, and occasionally even humor. If they haven’t already, fans of the character should check out this one.
Batman Forever (1995)
Warner Bros. sought a more humorous direction for the live-action series in an effort to steer clear of further controversies. While Joel Schumacher scripted and directed the most recent movie, Batman Forever, Tim Burton was reduced to the role of producer.
It was obvious that this movie will veer away from the dark tone of the first two films in favor of a more lighthearted tone. Many fans think that Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Batman is underappreciated. Although the film still bears some of Burton’s signatures, the series hasn’t yet fully entered the realm of camp.
The major antagonists of the movie are The Riddler and Two-Face. In every scene they are in, Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones ham it up beautifully and make for enjoyable viewing. Dick Grayson (commonly known as Robin) is also introduced in the movie.
Prior to 1989, Robin was supposed to make an appearance; however, several script revisions eliminated him. Prior to Chris O’ Donnell taking over for Marlon Wayans in this movie, Wayans had even received an official casting for the 1989 movie.
When Batman Forever outperformed Batman Returns, Warner Bros. had the intelligence to fire Tim Burton and embrace the camp in full. They would rapidly regret this choice, as supporters are well aware.
Batman & Robin (1997)
The success that followed the 1989 Batman never really subsided. The success of the follow-up films and the animated series demonstrated Batman’s enduring appeal. Until 1997, that is, when one of the biggest box offices flops ever debuted in theatres.
Batman & Robin adopted the camp so wholeheartedly that it was almost an exact replica of the Adam West series. Fans still hold it against the movie since every single bad decision that could have been made was made for it.
Batman is portrayed by George Clooney, who has since apologized for miscasting the character. Fans have frequently criticized the petulant and pointless portrayal of Robin in this movie, which sees Chris O’ Donnell return to the character. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze is perhaps the most infamous.
Everything he says is an ice pun, which quickly proved boring to the audience. Without a doubt, this movie bombed both at the box office and with the critics. Because of how awful this movie was, comic book movies as a whole suffered for a while.
Warner Bros. looked to relaunch the series after the dust settled. Several Batman scripts that attempted to extend the series were among the several that were turned down. Warner ultimately concluded that a relaunch of the show would be the best course of action. They started from the very beginning in order to accomplish this.
Batman Begins (2005)
Warner Bros. spent years after Batman & Robin trying to explain the story of Batman’s beginnings. Numerous attempts were made, one of which was a direct adaptation of Year One by Frank Miller. In 2005, this material finally surfaced in the shape of a largely unique tale. Batman Begins, the first film of one of the most popular movie trilogies ever, restored the public’s respect for Batman.
Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne in the movie as he develops into Batman. The movie was a huge hit and restored Batman to his former glory. This movie helped rekindle interest in comic book movies, along with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and X-Men flicks.
Batman appears on screen for the first time in Batman Begins as a young, inexperienced guy; the Caped Crusader doesn’t even make an appearance until more than an hour into the film. The movie served as a springboard for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but it is frequently eclipsed by the success of the follow-up. Making Batman a movie star once more was the unattainable goal of this film.
In addition to erasing the memory of Batman & Robin from the public’s mouths, Batman Begins gave the character a new lease on life that hadn’t been seen since 1989. Nobody anticipated what happened after the movie’s swiftly produced sequel, which was hinted at in the first place.
The Dark Knight (2008)
A new Batman movie is not all that The Dark Knight is. It is a masterclass in creating an entertaining action movie that challenges the viewer’s sense of what is right and evil. Batman is once again played by Christian Bale, but The Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, is the real star of the show.
About this performance, not much more needs to be said than has already been stated. Ledger completely reimagined one of the most well-known characters in history. Joker is terrifying, threatening, and utterly unsettling.
Every iteration of the character has been compared to Ledger’s since 2008, and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon because many people still think Ledger’s portrayal of the character is the best Batman villain. Nearly every other performance in the movie, save Ledger, is excellent.
Batman starring Christian Bale is thrilling and scary (even with the infamous voice). The movie depicts Gotham at its most hopeless and demonstrates that no matter what occurs, they will always require the Caped Crusader. The action is held to a high level, as it should be, and the movie is both heartbreaking and action-packed. It took until 2022 for a movie to seriously challenge The Dark Knight for the title of best comic book movie ever filmed.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
It was difficult to follow in the footsteps of The Dark Knight. Even yet, Christopher Nolan made an effort, and The Dark Knight Rises, released in 2012, marked the end of his trilogy. The movie does not measure up to its predecessor. The majority of the movie is without Batman ever showing up in his costume. Although Heath Ledger wasn’t the original Bane, Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the role is excellent.
The problem is that the comparison to Dark Kight was never intended for the movie. Dark Knight Rises is a strong Batman film when taken on its own and serves as a satisfying finale to the 2005-starting narrative.
Eight years after going into hiding, Bruce Wayne dons the Batman costume once more to face the threat posed by Bane. A loose adaption of Knightfall depicts Batman being brutally defeated by Bane. To face Bane again and regain control of Gotham, Bruce must battle his inner demons.
The movie Dark Knight Rises is an excellent illustration of how to have a hero reach the bottom and then make his way back to the top. Also appearing in live action for the first time since 1992 is Selina Kyle’s Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway this time.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
DC’s response to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the DCEU. Batman was added to the cast in the second movie of the series. The most well-known DC characters, Batman and Superman, square off in Batman v. Superman for the first time in a live-action film.
As Batman, Ben Affleck takes over. While opinions among fans are divided, many concur that Affleck captures Batman accurately. Bruce Wayne, who had been retired for a while, resumes his role as Batman whenever he perceives Superman as a threat.
The two are at odds for most of the movie, as the title implies. The two don’t actually work together until they come across Lex Luthor as a shared foe. Throughout the movie, Batman is stern and violent. Superman doesn’t reclaim his humanity until he gives his life.
The DCEU is sometimes criticized for attempting to compete with the MCU too aggressively rather than working to establish its own identity. Although this movie is undoubtedly entertaining, it really really feels like a long build-up to a greater crossover.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
When a movie that is largely targeted at children is regarded by many as one of the best Batman movies, it is telling. The Lego Batman Movie is a tribute to the superhero and his devotees. There are some references that are not immediately apparent that only ardent fans will recognize.
Batman discovers that he doesn’t have to spend his life by himself in the course of the movie. For a movie that should only be a money grab, Lego Batman shockingly deals with loss and healing.
The movie also includes other villains owned by Warner Bros. in addition to the traditional Batman bad guys, such as Voldemort and Sauron. Many people failed to notice the movie because of the impression it puts off as being juvenile.
Everybody who calls themselves a fan of Batman owes it to themselves to look into it as more and more people have been aware of it over time. Funny enough, Zo Kraviz voices Catwoman in the movie; in 2022, she will reprise the role in a live-action version.
Justice League (2017)
Justice League was the film that came after Batman v Superman in the DCEU. The movie’s initial release was in 2017, however, Zack Snyder provided a director’s cut in 2021 that delivered a completely different movie. After Superman’s death, Bruce Wayne has a revitalized sense of justice in both movies, and Joss Whedon’s re-takes largely account for the 2017 version’s brighter aesthetic and shorter running time.
He assembles a group of meta-humans to work with Wonder Woman in defending Earth against extraterrestrial dangers. Fortunately, such a threat actually materializes.
After Robin’s death off-screen, Batman has waged his own personal fight on his own, and this movie depicts him learning to once again work as a team. No matter what version of the movie viewers like, Batman is an important character.
Ben Affleck has all but given up on the role after the theatrical version’s underwhelming reviews. Fans are hopeful he will make another appearance in the future, however, he will only make another appearance in The Flash in 2023.
Justice League: The Snyder Cut (2021)
As is the case with many films that have various director’s cuts, the Justice League Snyder Cut, which was released in 2021, is the alternate version and is typically preferred over the theatrical version. Because of this, many fans consider Zack Snyder’s much longer version to be canon.
This movie takes place two years after Batman Vs. Superman, much as the theatrical cut. After eons of time, Darkseid, an evil from antiquity, returns to Earth. Batman and Wonder Woman put together a band of meta-humans to fight him in place of the army of super-beings that it originally required to defeat him.
To prevent the planet from becoming a new Apokolips, the homeworld of Darkseid, they enlist Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. The Justice is Gray edition of The Snyder Cut is known for being four hours lengthy and significantly darker (literally); it is in black and white).
The Batman (2022)
Ben Affleck was scheduled to star and direct a solo project called The Batman before leaving the part. After he left, the script was revised into the enormous 2022 smash, which earned more than $700 million at the box office globally in its first month.
Robert Pattinson plays a teenage Bruce Wayne who has become Batman for two years, but who is inexperienced and hasn’t learned to control his fury. As Batman hunts down a serial killer going by the name of The Riddler, he is followed by this irate Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight is being challenged by this movie, which has been hailed as one of the best depictions of the character.
Although there are many fantastic action scenes, the movie focuses more on Batman’s detective side. Zoe Kravitz plays Catwoman in the film as well. She has received nothing but positive feedback for her performance, which many consider being the finest Catwoman performance since Pattinson. Fans are eager to learn what will happen to the most recent iteration of Batman, and it is certain that this movie will inspire a series.