Suicide Squad hits theaters this week, and I could not be more excited. To celebrate, it’s time for the return of Power Rankings. The DCEU is still too young to rank, but that’s okay. Batman makes what appears to be a glorified cameo in Suicide Squad, and so to honor that, it’s time to rank the best Batman movies released to theaters! Sorry folks, that means none of the DC animated features (with two notable exceptions). Let’s count them down!
11. Batman & Robin
Nipples on the Batsuit. A Batman credit card. Clooney as Batman. Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. There is so much wrong with this movie. None of it works on any level, unless you’re using it as a drinking game.
10. Batman Forever
This one hurts. How do you follow the excellent Batman Returns with this turd? The 90s Batman franchise went from serious to camp in a flash. What a waste of Riddler and Two-Face. And why is Robin so old? Ugh.
9. Batman (1966)
George is gonna kill me for how low this movie is on this list, but honestly, I am not a fan of campy Batman. Adam West’s Batman was a fine adaptation of the material for the time, but it’s not the 60s anymore.
8. Batman: The Killing Joke
Wow was this one disappointing. Great final 45 minutes, when the movie actually adapted The Killing Joke, horrible beginning, when the movie made up a whole plot about how Batgirl and Batman have sex. The movie makes the list because it technically got a theatrical release, however limited, before it was released on DVD and Blu-ray. You can my full review of it here.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Dark Knight Rises, though I didn’t realize it until my fourth viewing. Overlong, filled with plot holes, and often sort of boring, TDKR hardly gives us any Batman at all.
6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Remember this gem? How I long for the days of the old, classic animated Batman. Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill really crafted something special. Mask of the Phantasm too often gets overlooked.
5. Batman Returns
We’re at the part of this list where I think everything moving forward is great. Returns is multifaceted and beautifully scored and just damn, the cinematography is breathtaking at times. It also features some of the best acting of any of the Batman movies. It’s such a shame Burton left the series after this one.
4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Sorry, guys, but I really and truly love BvS. I think Ben Affleck is the best Batman we’ve ever gotten. I like the long runtime because it never gets boring for me, I dig the action, I dig Lex as the villain, and I really dig the tone.
3. The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is arguably the best Batman movie ever made, even if it isn’t my favorite. I like it less than others because I think the film relies too heavily on Ledger’s Joker and doesn’t give us enough Batman. Also, Nolan notoriously does poorly with directing action. Still, though, The Dark Knight is an amazing crime film, on par with the best gangster and cop movies ever made. It transcends the superhero genre and becomes a standalone classic, untethered to its comic book origins.
2. Batman Begins
Nolan’s best Batman movie was his first, in my opinion. It feels the most like a true Batman movie out of his trilogy. Batman’s origins in this movie, thoroughly explored, are more compelling than they’d ever been. To pull off a movie this good with smaller villains like the Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul is a true feat.
1. Batman (1989)
For all intents and purposes, I don’t think there’s a director better suited to adapt Batman to film than Tim Burton. Jack Nicholson’s Joker will always be iconic to me. I love Keaton as Batman. I like the idea that Batman and Joker created each other, adding an interesting wrinkle to the cyclical nature of their battle. I love Burton’s Gotham. This is the Batman movie I always come back to.
So what do you guys think? What’s your favorite Batman movie? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know.
And now, the wait for Suicide Squad begins! Look for my review later this week.