How do you watch the Batman movies in order? Batman is one of the most famous superheroes of all time. Everyone knows the story of how he lost his parents as a child on that fateful night in Crime Alley before vowing to rid Gotham of crime years later as a caped crusader.
Still, the DCU has been rebooted countless times at this point (it makes watching the DC movies in order a nightmare), and so has the Caped Crusader. That means there are multiple Batman actors living in different timelines in the DCU multiverse. So, how do you watch the Batman movies in order? Well, we know the answer. Warning: spoilers ahead for some of the best superhero movies.
How to watch all the Batman movies in order:
- Batman (1989)
- Batman Returns
- Batman Forever
- Batman and Robin
- Batman Begins
- The Dark Knight
- The Dark Knight Rises
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Justice League
- The Lego Batman Movie
- The Batman
1. Batman (1966)
Bruce Wayne might be dark and moody, but the 1966 movie starring Adam West was anything but grim. This camp classic took the light-hearted spirit of the ABC TV series and gave Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) an even bigger adventure.
They face off against The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), who plot to turn the United Nations Security Council into dust, literally. It’s silly and insanely fun. But most importantly, it proved the hero had a place on the big screen, and not just in his best TV series.
2. Batman (1989)
Fast-forward to 1989, and Tim Burton ushered in a gothic vision of what the Dark Knight’s world should look like, with Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. This was something of a gamble at the time since Keaton was only known for his comedic roles, but he’s still regarded as one of the best Batmen ever to grace the screen.
The movie even gives us an intimidating new take on the Clown Prince of Crime from the legendary Jack Nicholson. He likes to taunt his victims with, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” No, we haven’t, but that’s a brilliant line of dialogue.
3. Batman Returns (1992)
Keaton and director Tim Burton both came back for Batman Returns in 1992. Do you know how sequels go bigger and better? Well, you can’t get much better than Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin.
Burton’s gothic-fantasy style explored Gotham City even further when the Penguin’s own tragic origin shows how he was abandoned as a child and grew up in the sewers. Meanwhile, the dynamic between Catwoman and Batman adds a sexier edge to all these costumes. Meeeow!
4. Batman Forever (1995)
Although Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever is technically a sequel to the best Tim Burton movies we mentioned above, Top Gun’s Val Kilmer takes the cape and cowl from Keaton. It also gives us a very ’90s version of Dick Grayson/Robin from Chris O’Donnell.
The dynamic duo contends with a new pair of Batman villains in Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face. It takes Burton’s dark vision of Gotham City and adds a camp flair to the heroics. Although we’re still disappointed, Billy Dee Williams didn’t get to play Two-Face like he was supposed to…
5. Batman and Robin (1997)
Two years later, Schumacher returned with another sequel, this time with George Clooney in the Batsuit, which is complete with Bat-Nipples AND Bat-Credit Card! The camp flair that Batman Forever has gets cranked up a notch here as Arnold Schwarzenegger hurls out numerous icy puns as Mr. Freeze, while Uma Thurman manipulates everybody as the seductive Poison Ivy.
Mr. Freeze wants to turn Gotham into a frozen haven as he researches a cure for his wife’s mysterious illness. There’s heart in the script somewhere. It’s just a shame it’s buried underneath bad jokes and silliness. Yikes.
6. Batman Begins (2005)
Christopher Nolan took a real-world approach to Gotham City when he and David S. Goyer wrote Batman Begins, and in 2005, the world was introduced to Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. Nolan built the hero from the ground up, drawing from Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Year One graphic novel.
Aside from his classic tragic origin story and his League of Shadows training, Batman fights Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), who aims to dismantle the city using his fear toxin. It’s just another day in Gotham.
7. The Dark Knight (2008)
Ah, The Dark Knight. Nolan’s 2008 sequel is widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time and for good reason. Heath Ledger’s transformative performance of the Joker is terrifying (We all agree he’s the best of the Joker actors right?). He’s a primal force that blasts through Gotham, leaving pure carnage in his wake for no rhyme or reason other than to “introduce a little chaos.”
What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? They battle it out for the city’s soul, of course. Bale and Ledger’s dynamic is exhilarating to watch, and the drama only escalates when hot-shot District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) goes through his own trial by fire. It’s unmissable.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
After two incredible films, Nolan had the difficult job of finishing his trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises, and the director finally did what he’d been threatening to do since 2005 by plunging Gotham into total, utter chaos.
The story is inspired by the No Man’s Land storyline originally created by Jordan B. Gorfinkel, as Bane (Tom Hardy) cuts the city off from the mainland and rules it with an iron fist. It’s a bombastic final outing for Bale’s Batman that feels epic in scale.
9. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2015)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was Zack Snyder’s second foray into the DCEU movies and introduced Batman to the scene. It saw Ben Affleck’s grizzled, older Bruce Wayne take aim at Superman (Henry Cavill) for all the devastation and death he caused in his fight with Zod (Michael Shannon) at the end of 2013’s Man of Steel.
But what starts as a story about holding heroes accountable for their actions quickly descends into a super-powered punch-up with a Kryptonian monster called Doomsday. Thankfully it also gave us Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and her incredible theme, scored by Hans Zimmer.
10. Justice League/Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2017/2021)
So, Batman’s journey in the Justice League is a tricky one. In the theatrical cut, he assembles a team of heroes to fight a villain from the planet Apokolips called Steppenwolf. It’s a straightforward blockbuster that clocks in at two hours long.
But in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the hero has more time (nearly four hours, in fact) to ponder on his place in the universe among gods and monsters. The film even delivers a ‘post-apokoliptic’ version of Affleck’s Caped Crusader after Earth has fallen to Darkseid. This one’s a matter of preference and how much time you’ve got.
There was definitely potential here, and we’re still crossing our fingers for a Justice League 2 release date to follow up the story.
11. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Will Arnett joined the ranks of Batman actors in the first of the Lego movies, and then got his own adventure due to popular demand. As with many of the best Batman stories, this focused on the ways in which Batman is defined by his lack of a biological family.
It’s about a chosen family, and the story unfolds in a delightfully sincere way. Of course, it’s also totally hilarious.
12. The Batman (2022)
The next time we saw Bruce Wayne on the big screen, he was played by Robert Pattinson in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. The director’s noirish take on the mythology found the hero in his second year of crime-fighting when he has to figure out what sadistic game the Riddler (Paul Dano) is playing.
All the upcoming Batman movies
There are two new Batman movies currently in development: The Batman 2 and The Brave and the Bold.
The Batman 2 is, of course, a follow-up to Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s 2022 movie and will be set in a different corner of the multiverse to James Gunn’s new DCU.
Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, was announced in 2023 and is part of Gunn’s Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, a whole slate of new DC movies. The film will introduce a new Batman and center on the expanded Bat Family, most notably Bruce’s son, Damien Wayne, who becomes the new Robin.
The new movie is being directed by The Flash director Andy Muschietti, and if you want to know more about it, read out Brave and the Bold release date guide here.
It’s going to be a big year for the Bat. If you want to know more about the Justice League and their escapades, here’s how to watch the Arrowverse in order. You can also find out about how Michael Keaton improvised his best line as Batman, and the day one Batman Returns star was attacked by a monkey.
If you’re a DC megafan, you’re probably excited about the Aquaman 2 release date, even if it does mean the end of the DCEU as we knew it. We also have lists of the best DC characters and the best DC villains for you to look through. Or you can look to the future in our guides to the Superman Legacy release date.