Since the debut of “Batman,” there have been several popular movies over the years. From Christian Bale’s dark, slightly humorous and film noiresque Batman to Michael Keaton’s Batman that combined the campiness of Adam West with a serious vibe, Batman has been done in more than a dozen ways.

Some of the best films ever made (arguably) are the “Batman” films, but some of them are better than others. This means it’s time for a ranking.

This ranking was done based on how strong the film was independent of whether or not it stayed true to the comics. Each film was rated based on the cinematography, the acting, the plot and the charisma of the film — the je ne sais quoi, if you will.

Without further ado, here’s all the “Batman” movies ranked.

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What’s the best Batman movie?

1. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

“The Dark Knight” may be one of the best movies of all time. The sound in this movie creates an atmosphere right in your own living room that makes the hero and villains feel like they’re right next to you. The shots are crystal clear and Gotham feels familiar enough to New York City to make the movie feel real. Bale’s acting is top-notch and the Batman here is complex. He’s trying to figure out who he needs to be, not just who he wants to be. The movie touches on political issues without it being right upfront and it does so in a way that allows the viewer to think carefully about said issues. Overall, this is the best “Batman” movie.

2. ‘Batman’ (1989)

I’ll get some heat for this one. The 1989 “Batman” has the best soundtrack, featuring music from Prince. It doesn’t really go with the movie, in my opinion, but it hearkens back to similar vibes that West had, which is why I like the soundtrack. This is a great classic crime noir that plays into mystery and intrigue. One of the other things that I like about the film is the unexpected moments, like the scene at the museum. Rife with cultural references, this film is complex and interesting. Keaton plays the role of detective Batman well.

3. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)

This movie is underrated. In this film, there’s the typical hero and villain structure, but the people of Gotham are also tested in various ways that comments on how circumstances interact with human nature. It has ties to Batman’s origins and is a remarkable story of growth that parallels a story of deterioration in a seamless and artful way. Bale again plays the role of the Batman well. The ending is a touch abrupt, but overall, this is a great film.

4. ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

“Batman Begins” is the first movie in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. The audience is introduced to the League of Shadows, which is critical for understanding future movies in the trilogy. Ra’s al Ghul as a villain falls a little flat for me. He’s not as interesting as Bane or the Joker, but is a calmer, more calculated, yet unexpected villain. The film is interesting and important, but not as compelling as other “Batman” movies.

5. ‘Batman: The Movie’ (1966)

This “Batman” movie is definitely out of the box. The plot is entirely unexpected and while this film does have the typical elements of crime and crimefighters, it’s a little more light-hearted than other movies that feature Batman. The Penguin is the villain in this movie and one of the interesting elements of it is how the villain is a touch clumsier than other villains are. It’s not the most compelling movie, but it’s still good.

6. ‘The Batman’ (2022)

My main problem with this film was the eponymic character. Robert Pattinson came across as an angsty Batman who was thoughtful on the surface, but not deeply thoughtful. While I did appreciate that in some ways he has more commentary than other Batmans, Pattinson’s general angst was frustrating. The Riddler is a strong contender in a digital age, so it had relevancy in the modern age. Overall, I loved the movie, but had mixed feelings about Pattinson’s Batman.

7. ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ (1993)

This movie is interesting because of what it says about good vs. evil. It has Batman’s origin stories, but also shows him really debating about the difference between good and evil. It wasn’t my favorite movie because the Joker wasn’t developed well. He seemed to be a bit of a dupe compared to the classic Joker, but it’s still worth watching.

8. ‘The Lego Batman’ (2017)

This is a completely different vibe than most of the other “Batman” movies. It’s a children’s movie, so it’s not unexpected that the film wouldn’t lean into the noir elements. The Joker is interpreted in an interesting way and comes across as more clown than crime boss. The movie would have been higher if it had more depth to it, but it’s a good story with some elements of typical crimefighting.

9. ‘Batman Returns’ (1992)

This film isn’t as good as Keaton’s first performance of Batman. Batman felt like a mismatch with the movie. He was overly melancholy and depressed, but the movie had a quick pace. It’s an OK movie, but it’s not a good crime movie. There’s not a lot of suspense and it’s not well-written.

10. ‘Batman & Robin’ (1997)

This movie really could have been great, but it was just OK. The movie was trying to do too much and had too many subplots that weren’t tied together at the end. It wasn’t particularly deep or interesting — Batman came across as not invested in the concept of Batman, which was characteristic of the whole film. Overall, I wouldn’t watch this movie again.

Who’s the best Batman?

Christian Bale. Bale is the best Batman because he really understands the ideals of Batman and he embodies all elements of the character without coming across as overly angsty.