With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters, audiences around the world will finally see both Batman and Superman clash on the big screen in a way that has never been done before. But that's not why I am writing this. Today, I will give my personal ranking of all eight live-action Batman movies throughout the past several years. From Adam West to Michael Keaton to Christian Bale, the beloved Batman character has been through several incarnations and styles. While a majority of these films were fantastic, some of them may have thrown me off just a little bit. Also, all of the current Superman movies will be ranked soon. So be on the look out for that article. And this is all my opinion. So please don't judge my opinion. Here we go.
8. Batman and Robin
Kicking off this list is the crappiest in the bunch, otherwise known as Batman & Robin. The film saw Batman and his sidekick Robin squaring off against the not so cooperative villain duo Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, who plotted to take over Gotham City for their own separate purposes while at the same time dealing with the sickness of their butler Alfred. While it's predecessor Batman Forever was met with mixed reviews, the sequel was met with panned reviews from audiences and critics alike as well as being a box office bomb. The villain choices of Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy did not mix well enough to match the Dynamic Duo. And there was also the addition of a brutal Bane who was more of a dimwit henchman than a true villain. Also, they brought in Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. It was the death of the Burton/Schumacher franchise and the movie was regarded as a marketing movie for toys. Also they threw in some very inappropriate types of innuendos here and there. Sorry Batman and Robin, but you are not my favorite.
7. Batman: The Movie
At the next spot is the 1966 film Batman: The Movie. It was a live screen adaptation of the famous Adam West 1960's TV show and was regarded as a major success capturing the spirit and tone of the series itself. The film saw both Batman and Robin having to investigate the kidnapping of a sea officer while squaring off against the combined forces of four of their greatest enemies: Joker, Catwoman, Riddler and Penguin. It was and remains to this day, the campiest and funniest of the Batman movies and still remains everyone's first glimpse before the Dark Knight got his dark side shown in future films. It is still pretty much enjoyable for me to watch.
6. Batman Forever
Next up is Batman Forever. After the dark tone taken with Batman Returns, Burton transferred himself to being a producer for this film and Warner Bros hired Joel Schumacher to take the helm. His direction was pretty much aimed at the pre-teen audiences and took a bit of a lighter tone. The film also took a tide at casting Batman by replacing Michael Keaton with Val Kilmer (who was not that bad for me). Here, Batman squares off against Riddler and Two Face while facing the challenge of a romance with a snazzy psychologist and having a partner in the form of Robin/Dick Grayson. While most critics believed that the previous outing Batman Returns, was the darkest of the original film series, Joel Schumacher took a much more lighter tone in contrast to Tim Burton's vision of the films. But I thought it was a bit much. But I really did enjoy watching the partnership between villains Tommy Lee Jones' Two Face and the hilarity of Jim Carrey's Riddler. While many people may disagree with this entry, I pretty much enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed the 1989 Batman movie.
5. Batman Returns
Taking the fifth spot on this list is Batman Returns. Due to the success of the original 1989 outing of the Caped Crusader, director Tim Burton had free reign to make the 1992 sequel what he wanted with a darker twist to it. The film saw the return of Michael Keaton as Batman who goes up against the sinister yet grotesque Penguin (played by Danny DeVito) and the slinky mysterious Catwoman (played by Michelle Pfeiffer). While it is grittier and darker than the first film, it was still a good time. I loved watching Danny DeVito, who was, in my humble opinion, the only actor ever to play the role of the Penguin. Though taking a dark tone on the character, DeVito still delivered an awesome performance. The downside is toward the romance between Batman and Catwoman, because I thought it was a bit too much. And there was Christopher Walken's character Max Schreck who worked with Penguin too. I just wish they would have done a much better story that would stick with the aftermath of what happened in the last film. But it was still really good.
Taking spot #4 is the 1989 original Batman. After several years of absence on the big screen, director Tim Burton takes the helm to bring a much darker tone to the famous Dark Knight character. His direction is what drove the film with Michael Keaton in the role of the Caped Crusader. The villain of the film is ironically the infamous Joker, who is played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson. Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker brought his own sense of humor and menace to the character which most audiences found the most enjoyable. Extra cast members included Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon and Michael Gough as Alfred (who carried the role on for the next three films). While this one is not the top spot on my rankings list, it was still a lot of fun to watch.
3. Batman Begins
Taking the third spot on this list is the ever popular Batman Begins. After several years of being in developmental hell thanks to the failure of Batman and Robin, director Christopher Nolan took his own vision to the legendary Batman character and went back to his roots. After witnessing the death of his beloved parents, young billionaire heir Bruce Wayne journeys the world in a search to vanquish crime in Gotham City. He later on returns home to done his title as the vigilante Batman. But later on, he discovers an evil conspiracy to release a poisonous gas throughout the city. The first entry in the ever popular Dark Knight Trilogy brought everything to my expectations with Christian Bale taking on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, who did it perfectly. Supporting cast members include Michael Caine as Alfred, Katie Holmes as Bruce's love interest Rachel Dawes, Cillian Murphy as the sly Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow and two of my all-time favorite actors: Gary Oldman as Batman's ally James Gordon and Liam Neeson as the film's main antagonist Ra's al Ghul. They all worked their roles perfectly and set the stage for a much larger story that continued in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
2. The Dark Knight
Taking spot #2 on this list is none other than The Dark Knight. I had to juggle around both this spot and #1 around since I like both of them so much. Continuing the story a year after the events of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight sees Batman teaming with Jim Gordon and newly appointed DA Harvey Dent to clean the city of criminality. But their war on crime is quickly put to a halt when the rising mastermind known as the Joker begins ravaging the city and brings Batman down the road of vigilante rather than the hero Gotham needed. While this installment in the trilogy was brilliantly filmed, the cinematography was excellent, director Christopher Nolan has once again proven his vision of the Caped Crusader to being a legend and a hero all in one. While a majority of the cast from Batman Begins returns to their roles, the role of Rachel Dawes is taken upon by Maggie Gyllenhaal who replaced Katie Holmes, and it was done beautifully. New cast members included the late Heath Ledger who brought a darker side to the Joker along with and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face. While I really enjoyed this movie, it is not my #1. But it is still an excellent Batman movie.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
If you thought that The Dark Knight Rises was my #1 film on this list, you were right!!! There are so many great things about this movie. Taking place eight years after The Dark Knight, a broken Bruce Wayne is living in the shadows. But he must put on the mask once more as he must try to stop the hulking menace known as Bane, who plans to fulfill the legacy of Batman's old enemy Ra's al Ghul. And if that wasn't bad enough, Batman must also contend with the cat burglar Selina Kyle, who has her own agenda. Being the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight Trilogy, it is epic in every sense of the word. Excellent story, great performances, wonderful cinematography and epic music that went straight with the story itself to bring the overall story of the Dark Knight legend to the best ending possible. The film saw the return of Bale, Caine, Oldman and Freeman in their respective roles along with newcomers Tom Hardy as the ever powerful menace Bane, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who was an excellent choice in the role in my humble opinion, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman's new ally John Blake, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, who is later revealed to be Talia al Ghul, the true main antagonist of the movie and the daughter of Batman's old enemy Ra's al Ghul. A great conclusion to the Dark Knight legend and epic in every sense of the word period.
So this is all my opinion of how I rank the Batman movies. How do you rank them? Let me know down below in the comments.