With the arrival of The Batman in theaters, the Dark Knight is officially back on the big screen for the first time since the first cut of Justice League back in 2017. The new film explores his skills as a detective as Batman (Robert Pattinson) takes on the Riddler (Paul Dano) and the villain executes a terrifying puzzle game targeting Gotham's elite citizens. The Batman is the latest entry into Batman's long and colorful history in film. And we've got plenty of favorites from his filmography.
From critically acclaimed films with star-studded casts that set a new precedent for superhero films to underrated gems from the direct-to-home animated releases, Batman is no stranger to films and theatrical appearances. Not every movie he's starred in has been an Oscar-worthy outing (cough cough, George Clooney, cough), but our personal favorites have portrayed the best and most intriguing aspects of the beloved DC hero in spectacular fashion.
Here's our list of the best Batman movies of all time, in no particular order.
No Batman movie list would be complete without Tim Burton's iconic take on the character and his mythology. Thanks to an incredible score, a distinct gothic aesthetic, and an unforgettable performance by Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight, Batman set the overall tone for the character that people would draw from for decades to come.
'The Dark Knight' (2008)
Surprising absolutely no one, The Dark Knight earns an easy spot on our list of the best Batman movies. The ambitious and subversive film came during a formative moment for superhero movies, its release having coincided with the premiere of the first Iron Man movie. Marked by iconic performances and twists on Batman's traditional mythology, The Dark Knight set a new precedent for what live-action superheroes could be and remains one of the most iconic Batflicks ever.
'The Lego Batman Movie' (2017)
A Batman movie doesn't always need to have dark alleyways and gritty villains. Following the success of The Lego Movie and Will Arnett's hilarious performance as the popular character, the Batman-centric spinoff introduces a lighthearted spin on Batman while paying thoughtful homage to the character's history.
'Batman: Under the Red Hood' (2010)
Animated films like Mask of the Phantasm are certainly noteworthy, but Under the Red Hood deserves the same kind of recognition as its animated contemporaries. This film explores a Robin-turned-killer in Red Hood as he returns to complicate Batman's life. Though the Red Hood story traditionally portrays the character as seeking misguided revenge, Under the Red Hood takes it a step further by having Red Hood double down on his love for Batman and how it's twisted his sense of morality.
'The Batman' (2022)
Robert Pattinson's portrayal of the Dark Knight has definitely carved out its own place in our hearts already. The film is a welcome separation from the litany of Bat-sequels and Bat-reboots out there. The film is as much a detective noir as it is a superhero film, honing in on the dramatic aspects of the mythology in an intensely intimate narrative. The film even goes so far as to deconstruct the very concept of Batman and how Bruce Wayne's altruism isn't as clear-cut as he wants it to be.