Let’s get straight into the rankings, and then I’ll provide a detailed breakdown after the cut. I’ve ranked the live-action Batman films where Batman is a main character on one list, and then included an additional list for movies where Batman is not a main character but does appear briefly either as Bruce Wayne or Batman (e.g. 2019’s Joker where we see Bruce Wayne as a child). I’ve also ranked the villains, sidekicks, costumes, love interests, and Batman actors themselves:
|Batman As A Main Character:
1. Batman Returns (1992)
2. Batman (1989)
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
4. Batman (1966)
5. Justice League (2017/2021)
6. Batman & Robin (1997)
7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
8. Batman Begins (2005)
9. Batman Forever (1995)
10. Batman and Robin (1949)
11. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
12. Batman (1943)
|All Batman Films:
1. Batman Returns (1992)
2. Batman (1989)
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
4. Batman (1966)
5. Justice League (2017/2021)
6. Batman & Robin (1997)
7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
8. Suicide Squad (2016)
9. Batman Begins (2005)
10. Joker (2019)
11. Batman Forever (1995)
12. Batman and Robin (1949)
13. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
14. Batman (1943)
Me making this post and ranking Batman & Robin above Batman Begins and knowing that I'm going to go on to defend Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting as Mr. Freeze:
I've broken down each film below, in chronological order of release, with explanations on what works for each film and what doesn't (the bad, the good, and occasionally the neutral). I've also given each film an "enjoyment rating" based on how enjoyable the experience of watching the film is overall (obviously in my opinion - ymmv), which aided in my ranking of these movies. I've put each breakdown under a cut to spare your browsers when commenting.
The 1940s Serials
[1943: Batman – Dir. Lambert Hillyer]
Racist: This serial is so fucking racist and it only takes 10 minutes for a slur to appear. It’s impossible to enjoy.
Enjoyment Rating: 0/5
[1949: Batman and Robin – Dir. Spencer Gordon Bennet]
Plot: The plot is pretty standard even by modern expectations - a villain named The Wizard uses a stolen diamond-powered machine (hello Mr. Freeze) and powers of invisibility to control vehicles for nefarious purposes. It’s not exactly great – it’s pretty illogical and ridiculous at times – but it works well enough for what it is.
Setting: This Batman depiction benefits from the fact that an audience today is looking into a very different world. The clothes, cars, and scenery of the 1940s makes for an interesting and novel visual experience - it's a piece of history on film. Unfortunately, poor choices really neuter this version of Batman (he mysteriously lives in the suburbs and doesn’t have a Batmobile in this one) but the movie looks pretty cool nonetheless.
Acting: The acting is horrendous, especially from Johnny Duncan as Robin. Robert Lowery’s Batman isn’t too great either.
Length: Perhaps not a fair critique because this is technically a serial and not a single standalone film – but it’s long af. If you’re a Batman super fan and bored out of your mind, I can imagine taking the time to watch this. Otherwise, it’s just way too long. Admittedly, I had to watch parts of this sped up. I don’t have time for this lol.
Best (and most insane) Lines:
“Being sorry is stupid, you made a mistake – learn what’s right so you won’t make the same mistake again.” – The Wizard
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go take my vitamins. Your news has upset me greatly.” – Batman reacting to news of a kidnapping.
Enjoyment Rating: 1/5
The Groovy 1960s Batman
[1966: Batman – Dir. Leslie H. Martinson]
“Hand me down the shark repellant bat spray!” – Shark falls into Ocean and explodes.
Fun: This movie is a riot! Of all the Batman films, this one takes itself the least seriously and it’s all the better for it! When the pretentious modern Batman movies (cough* Nolan *cough) are ridiculous, over the top, or nonsensical, it’s annoying. But when this one is ridiculous and nonsensical, it’s just fun! The movie is thoroughly enjoyable with a ton of heart.
Pacing: This movie doesn’t even crack 2 hours. I think some modern directors could learn a fucking lesson here!
Gadgets: We get a cool Batmobile, a Batcopter, a Batboat and more all within the first 30 minutes! The 60s aesthetic looks a hell of a lot cooler than Nolan’s Batwarplane. Even the villains have awesome shit – The Penguin has a PENGUIN SUBMARINE! Come on!
Visuals: This movie just looks so cool (with the exception of the action stuff and bigger effects, like the shark). The 60s fashion and décor is incredible. There are also some really beautiful shots from the film, like this one below:
Dialogue: This movie is like 99% insane, wordy dialogue and I love it. It’s dramatic af! This is probably the only Batman film where you’ll hear the word “whom.” Batman also quotes poetry lol.
Robin: “Gosh, Batman. The nobility of the almost human porpoise!”
Batman: “True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life, for ours.”
R.I.P Noble Porpoise <3
Batman (in the bitchiest tone you have EVER heard – truly none of the Housewives could EVER match it - judging the Admiral for letting submarines fall into the hands of The Penguin, who only left a P.O. Box as his contact information!): “Disposing of pre-atomic submarines to persons who don’t even leave their full addresses…good day, Admiral.”
Acting: The acting is big and over the top and feels like you’re watching a play instead of a movie, especially with regards to the villains. It’s so out of synch with what we expect from movies today that it feels refreshing and weirdly exciting. Adam West’s stacatto cadence is jarring and strange though, and it’s very distracting.
Plot: I mean, nothing really makes sense lmao. We’re also told a lot of stuff instead of seeing it happen – sometimes after it supposedly happened. We also have 4 of Batman’s most iconic villains and they’re all working together and it’s a bit of a mess.
Copaganda and Preachy Morals: Like all Batman movies, it’s very pro-cop. It’s also heavy on the moral lessons which sometimes veer into classism and judgemental bullshit.
Action: The fight scenes are ridiculous. We sure have come a long way!
Repetitive: We get a lot of the same shots over and over like Batman and Robin entering the Batcave through a secret entrance, which happens at least 3 times.
Best Line: “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” - Batman
Enjoyment Rating: 3/5 (If you want to get drunk/high and laugh at a ridiculous Batman movie – THIS is the one to do that with, not the Schumacher Batmans).
The Burton Era
[1989: Batman – Dir. Tim Burton]
Storytelling: We’re introduced to all the major players early on in the film. By the time we’re 30 minutes in, we’ve been given clearly defined motives and personality insights that help us understand why the characters behave the way they do.
Visuals and Atmosphere: The set design is awesome. Burton’s Gotham is bleak, industrial, dirty, unwelcoming, and cold. It’s exactly the type of city that needs a vigilante hero! Burton’s movies are moody and atmospheric and do the best job of capturing the real essence of Gotham City.
Humour: This movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. Bruce Wayne is a little dorky and awkward. The Joker has snappy villainous dialogue. There are visual gags too and it all comes together to help provide moments of lightness in an otherwise heavy movie. One of my favourite Burtonesque comedy scenes is Bruce and Vicki’s first date – having dinner while sitting at an obscenely long dinner table in Bruce’s manor that forces them to sit so far apart that they can’t hear each other speak.
Cast: Keaton was a good Batman (certainly one of the best of the bunch) and Nicholson’s Joker is iconic for a reason. He’s entertaining but never sympathetic. He’s opportunistic and relatively uncomplicated in his evilness - he’s a proper villain that you never find yourself rooting for. He’s driven by greed and pure self-interest. Nicholson’s performance is perfectly balanced – subdued and menacing at times, over the top and loony at others. The stakes always feel high with his Joker as the antagonist.
Prince: I can’t decide if the Prince soundtrack is great or misplaced. It feels both weird and excellent - like it doesn’t fit but also fits perfectly. I don’t really like it, but I don’t dislike it either…
Silly: The concept of Batman is silly enough – but the movie at times feels a bit nonsensical. The shootout at the Axis Chemicals plant leaves everyone standing around in neon green toxic waste or breathing in fumes from vats labeled “highly toxic” that have been riddled with bullet holes without even the slightest concern.
Pace: Overall, the pace of the movie is actually pretty good – but it does start to drag a little towards the last half hour or so. Some of the corporate/political elements feel a little unstructured. A lot of the set-up with the businessmen in the beginning of the film was maybe a little unnecessary and some of those early scenes could have been cut down without compromising the story since they have very little bearing on the latter part of the film.
Best Line: “This town needs an enema” – The Joker
Worst Part: Alfred pushing Bruce to marry Vicki after one date. Also this turtleneck:
Enjoyment rating: 4/5
[1992: Batman Returns – Dir. Tim Burton]
Cast: The cast for the strong follow up to Batman is – again – phenomenal. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is still the best version to this day, and Danny DeVito’s Penguin is legendary. We get two great villains for the price of one – and they remain two of the strongest evildoers (along with Nicholson’s Joker) out of all the films. Burton really got the villains RIGHT – something most of the other films struggled with in a big way.
Visuals & Atmosphere: The incredibly dark and ominous opening scene sets us up for a pretty bleak sequel and the visual elements set the tone for a somewhat haunting vibe. The sideshow clowns that crash the tree-lighting ceremony in the beginning bring a little Halloween to Christmas in a true Tim Burton hallmark.
Continuity: Vicki Vale doesn’t just disappear in the second film without a mention. It’s made clear that the relationship between Vale and Wayne fizzled out. She’s talked about. She was treated like a real person.
Dialogue: The villains say standard villain things – but the lines aren’t too over the top, forced, or cheesy, and the actors are so good that they stick the delivery. Michelle Pfeiffer’s, “Life’s a bitch, now so am I” could have been cringey – but her portrayal of Selina Kyle is so detailed and well executed that she’s able to make it work. Her anger radiates through the screen.
Pacing & Plot: The motives here are again clearly defined and the way the villains’ stories intertwine is effective and engaging. The storytelling feels cleaner and more concise than the first film.
Ending: The Penguin’s grotesque death and the final scene that teases Catwoman’s survival leaves us with just enough to want to see more. Unfortunately, more comes in the form of Batman Forever…
Silly: Like the first film, at times, it’s a bit too silly. But perhaps that’s a part of the comic book charm? Penguin’s army of…penguins…is a bit too ridiculous to keep me engaged with the movie. However, if I were a kid in the 90s watching it, I think I’d be pretty amused.
Best Line: “Why are you now determined to prove that this Penguin is not what he seems? Must you be the only lonely man-beast in town?” – Alfred to Bruce Wayne.
Enjoyment Rating: 4.5/5
The Schumacher Interpretation
[1995: Batman Forever – Dir. Joel Schumacher ]
Visuals: There are moments where this movie does actually look good. The bright blue and purple lighting works and would be so much more effective if it was used more sparingly and with more purpose (like how it’s used in Bruce’s flashbacks). The costume design of The Riddler is great, and the bat-cave re-design looks good.
Visuals: Some of the visuals, however, are terrible. The Batmobile gets a hideous makeover, which ends up looking like some kind of ugly running shoe. Gotham goes neon, which looks and feels all wrong (only for it to look completely different in the day time…where is the continuity?). The camerawork during action sequences is so spinny and jarring that you can hardly follow what’s happening.
Cast: Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth is the only good actor in the bunch here. I’ll throw a bone to Drew Barrymore as Sugar even though her character is pointless. The introduction of Val Kilmer’s Batman…what.a.flop! The pouty lips and put-upon voice and weird cadence are beyond annoying. Tommy Lee Jones isn’t believable, or scary, as Two-Face. He’s incoherent and spends 90% of his screen time just laughing maniacally. Everyone feels miscast except for Jim Carrey who actually would have been a much more effective villain if he could just tone it down and dial back some of the overacting from time to time (especially in the scenes where we’re introduced to him).
Acting: The acting is so fucking bad across the board that it feels like a cheap made-for-TV movie instead of a big-budget Hollywood film. Jim Carrey’s overacting is way too much, especially when it’s set against Val Kilmer’s no-acting-at-all approach. Nicole Kidman is entirely too horny and her and Kilmer have 0 chemistry. Everyone else is horrible in their own right.
Dialogue: In the first five minutes, Batman swoops into frame and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian stares at him and quips, “Hot entrance.” And it’s all downhill from there.
Plot and Pacing: So much of this movie is just meandering nonsense. With Two-Face, The Riddler, and the introduction of Robin, there are just too many ideas and characters floating around and none of them are properly formed. In terms of Two-Face, we get NO backstory except for a short shot of Bruce Wayne watching a TV news clip about how Harvey Dent was disfigured in a court room and somehow, it’s Batman’s fault. It is such a lazy little side note for a franchise that honestly thrives off of its villains because its superhero is boring and unlikeable. In regards to the Riddler – what the fuck even was his invention!? Beaming television signals directly into a person’s brain!? HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM JUST WATCHING TV????
Worst Line: “Are you trying to get under my cape, doctor?” - Batman
Enjoyment Rating: 1/5 - This movie is so much worse than you remember it being. It’s actually EXHAUSTING.
[1997: Batman & Robin – Dir. Joel Schumacher ]
Fun: Okay so let’s be real – Batman Forever and Batman & Robin are obviously NOT movies you watch for cinematic value. They aren't great movies, but they do make a genuine attempt at being fun. Although it doesn't quite work - I really appreciate what Schumacher was trying to do with these 2 films. They were a call back to the goofier Batman after Burton's darker takes - and after suffering through some incredibly dark modern Batman movies, I would really appreciate another crack at a more over the top and fun Batman story.
Visuals: The costume design for Mr. Freeze is EXCELLENT and Poison Ivy has some pretty great looks as the movie progresses.
Acting: This is the part where I defend Arnold Schwarzenegger. His portrayal of Mr. Freeze has taken a lot of shit over the years but I'm here to tell you that he did a GREAT job given the material he had to work with. The cringey dialogue isn't his fault and the man committed 100% to the role. He actually makes for a decent villain and with better writing and direction, he would have gotten way more praise than he did. He's genuinely one of the better actors in the film. The real stinker is Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Chris O’Donnel works as Robin…if this were a CW show.
I actually like George Clooney as Batman - he retains an aura of that 60s era Batman in some ways while still feeling modern. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne coping with Alfred’s impending death is actually moving - there are some genuinely good bits of acting in this film. Alicia Silverstone is cute and fun as Batgirl (although her character is a bit baffling since she's introduced as Alfred’s niece just in from England, which makes her American accent very confusing).
Plot and Pacing: The last 30 minutes of this movie are actually decent and it set us up nicely for Batgirl as a returning character. It’s a shame we got a Christopher Nolan reboot instead of having someone competent taking over the writing and directing to give us a proper Batman movie with both Robin and Batgirl playing important roles. The motivations and actions of the villains are much more clear and thought out in this film than in Batman Forever and Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze working together actually makes sense.
Batman Forever is sitting at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes and 51% on Metacritic. Batman & Robin is sitting at 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and 28% on Metacritic. I'm just here to tell you that it’s WRONG. Everyone is WRONG. Those numbers should be reversed.
Action: The way the characters move and speak is so bizarre and unnatural. The physics don’t work – everyone moves in such strange and stilted ways during action scenes. It's visually perplexing to watch.
Worst Line: “It’s a cold town...hahaha…uh-oh” – Mr. Freeze.
Enjoyment Rating: 2.5/5 – This movie is the opposite of Batman Forever in that it's better than you remember.
The Nolan Trilogy
[2005: Batman Begins – Dir. Christopher Nolan]
Cast: The cast in this one is balanced in the sense that we’ve got some good actors and some not so good actors in roughly equal amounts. Christian Bale is pretty good (despite being given shitty material to work with) and Cillian Murphy is wholly unnerving as the Scarecrow. On the flipside, Katie Holmes is terrible and Tom Wilkinson is middling at best at Carmine Falcone. Everyone else is unremarkable.
Plot: Christopher Nolan’s ~edgy~ Batman reboot opens with Bruce Wayne getting into fights in a prison until he gets recruited by Ra’s al Ghul who wants him to join the League of Shadows to help fight injustice. But in order to do so, he must overcome his fear of bats and train to become a Ninja…(yeah, this is the plot…and Bruce is fully on board until he finds out they want to destroy Gotham because it’s too far gone to be saved). Then we’re tortured with flashbacks interspersed between this Ninja shit where we see Bruce Wayne cosplay as a poor person who has to steal to survive so that he can have empathy (wtf…). We stick with this for…wait for it…40 (FORTY) fucking minutes!!!! Things FINALLY start to get interesting almost an hour and a half in when Batman has his first run-in with Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow. It’s a genuinely creepy and unnerving encounter and it's the first truly interesting thing to happen after waiting ages.
Characterization: Bruce Wayne is SO FUCKING UNLIKEABLE in this movie. Once he returns to Gotham, we get corporate Bruce Wayne. I have no idea wtf Nolan was thinking. We’re supposed to care about Bruce Wayne but we just have an out of touch rich-boy douchebag which Christian Bale plays perfectly so now I’m rooting against Batman. This dude suuuuuuucks. Oh yeah, and all his stuff (his batsuit, his batmobile) comes from a worker at Wayne Industries played by Morgan Freeman that has been building weapons for the military! Wayne Enterprises profits off of war in this version of Batman, I guess!?
Then, in order to keep up appearances, we see Bruce use women as objects and talk down to employees in the service industry because that’s what rich spoiled men do. Is this Batman or an alternate reality American Psycho?
Pacing: Nolan is so self-indulgent and loves to throw in a gratuitously long chase scene. Batman rescues Rachel after she was poisoned by the Scarecrow and we go on an agonizingly drawn-out chase through the city involving the ugly militarized tank-like Batmobile and the cops. Nolan tries to be humorous by throwing in shot after shot of baffled police officers trying to figure out wtf this weaponized tank is doing in Gotham. We’ve got 3 villains in this one but it doesn’t feel like it with how slow and boring this film is. Everything gets wrapped up quickly at the end and then we’re back to corporate douche Bruce. Booo!
Enjoyment Rating: 1.5/5
[2008: The Dark Knight – Dir. Christopher Nolan]
Acting: There's a big step up in the quality of the acting in this film. Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes and the film is better for it. Bale is still great (except the gravel voice) and Heath Ledger obviously carries this film. His performance still holds up today upon rewatch - he's so utterly captivating.
Pacing: The pacing of this film is miles and above better than Batman Begins. Things move along much more quickly and the opening scene lets us know that Ledger's Joker is going to deliver big things.
Continuity and Visuals: The Gotham in The Dark Knight is a completely different Gotham than in Batman Begins but apparently, it’s all a part of the same universe and timeline somehow. It doesn’t even look remotely similar and the movie suffers from the change. This Gotham lacks atmosphere. It looks like any regular modern day American city. It feels like a big letdown in a series where the city is almost a character itself. Additionally, colours are muted and the villains look rather boring. Visually, it’s a weirdly sanitized version of what Batman has to offer. The parking garage/bat cave that’s used as a placeholder while Wayne manor is being rebuilt looks like the set of a Kpop music video. I could 100% see a boyband of 12 dancing in that room.
Chemistry: Yes, the acting was mostly good. Where it falls down is the chemistry between the actors. Individually they were great. But I did not believe for one second that Wayne, Dent, or Dawes had any real feelings for each other. That love triangle was stale.
Length: It’s too fucking long (songs are getting shorter, movies are getting longer – I hate it here!)
Dialogue: We are tortured with forced faux deep lines from Batman and edgy speeches about chaos from the Joker. It doesn’t have the impact that Nolan thinks it does. It’s all very #deep and, in my opinion, is on the opposite end of the spectrum from cringey ice-related puns from Mr. Freeze. This movie is pretentious and I feel like Nolan himself is pontificating at me through the screen.
Characterization: Bruce Wayne is still so fucking unlikeable! While the Joker is one of the high points of the film, I struggle to understand his motivations. He seems to thrive on chaos and anarchy but what, exactly, is he getting out of it? With Burton’s Joker, the motivations were clear – he was self-centred and greedy. Nolan’s Joker seems to be evil for the sake of being evil and him trying to teach people a lesson or prove some point about human nature rings hollow. Nicholson’s Joker was pure evil as well – but what drove that evil was clear as day – he was looking out for himself and he didn’t care who got hurt along the way - whether he was a corporate big wig or a street thug, he was always profiting off of somebody else’s misfortune. Ledger’s Joker is burning stacks of money and spending an immense amount of time and effort setting up traps and “social experiments” for no real reason. Without any backstory – it’s not really clear why he does the things he does and it all ends up feeling a bit pointless. We also see Two-Face becoming evil immediately after his accident after he spent the entire film being Saint Dent. For a white-knight super good guy, surely they could have let Dent stew a little in his rage before turning to the dark side.
Women as Objects: Women are really just objects in the Nolan trilogy and it’s no different in this beloved standout of the 3 movies. I love the part where Rachel dies to give Harvey Dent a reason to turn evil and make Bruce Wayne more complex. This is also the second film in a row where playboy Bruce Wayne is seen walking around with multiple women on his arms as a status symbol. He also uses his rich bachelor bad boy image to use women as an alibi - he takes a whole ballet cast on vacation so he can fuck off and be Batman. After abandoning them on a boat in the middle of the ocean, not one of these women is apparently smart or curious enough to wonder why he invited them out there only for him to literally jump ship. In both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, women are mostly an afterthought. It’s tired and it highlights that Burton was really the only modern director to have women in his films in a way that didn’t feel downright insulting.
Enjoyment Rating: 3.5/5
[2012: The Dark Knight Rises – Dir. Christopher Nolan]
Cast: This cast here is a mixed bag. We still have Bale as Batman and he does his job fine. Tom Hardy's cartoonish Bane voice is a bizarre choice and his performance is largely hidden by his mask but overall I think he was okay. Anne Hathaway is a corny Catwoman - she lacks the charisma to carry the role and her chemistry with Bale is lacking. Marion Cotillard is actually good in the film until she dies - WTF? Joseph Gordon-Levitt probably would have made an interesting Robin but that ultimately went nowhere since we didn't get a continuation of this storyline so I don't even know wtf the point was.
Length: This movie is almost 3 hours long. Get the fuck out of here, Nolan!
Gadgets: This trilogy has given us a stupid armoured Batmobile and a ridiculous sci-fi war plane. I HATE it.
Pacing: This movie is slow and boring and even though the stakes are meant to be massive, I didn't really care if Gotham got blown up or not.
Enjoyment Rating: 2/5
The Snyder Cut
[2016: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Dir. Zack Snyder]
Lmao nothing, bitch!
Cast: Ugh the people in this fucking movie, good lord. Every time Eisenberg opens his mouth, my brain hemorrhages.
Visuals: Colours are washed out and ugly. Nothing is interesting to look at. Even the action scenes are dull and generic and uninspired.
Plot: This movie is fucking BORING. I care about nobody. I care about nothing. How do you pit 2 superheroes against each other and come out with such a snoozefest!? It’s also disjointed af. Does nobody in Hollywood know how to write a cohesive story? Also can we take a moment to talk about just how often these rich, powerful, grown men mention their dead parents in this one? As a storytelling device to … create complexity (I assume?) it’s fucking tired and ineffective the way it’s handled in this movie. Trust me, I have a dead father - it makes me sympathetic and an expert and excuses all my bad decisions in life (like watching all the Batman movies omg, if only my father was alive to stop me!!!)!!!!
Pace: I swear this movie somehow warped time itself. I kept looking at the clock and things weren’t adding up – hours were passing in the real world, but only minutes had elapsed in the film. Before I knew it, I had lost a year of my life. Zack Snyder owes me 365 days and the 4.99 I paid to rent this mess.
Worst Line: “Tell me – do you bleed? …You will.” – Batfleck to Superman (this was so much more effective until the threat at the end! He should have let the question hang!).
Weirdest Moment: Real people appearing as themselves – including Soledad O’Brien for CNN and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Seriously, why is CNN in so many scenes? Did CNN fucking sponsor this movie? Also when Batman is about to KILL SUPERMAN, Superman says the name Martha and Batfleck goes full Pikachu Face. Lmao come the fuck on…what is this!? WHY DIDJU SAY THAT NAAAAME!!!! NOBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD HAS THAT NAME EXCEPT MY MOMMY!!!
Enjoyment Rating: 0.5/5
[2017 / 2021: Justice League – Dir. Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon (Post-Production) + The Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League – Dir. Zack Snyder]
Justice League (2017) – Dir. Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon (Post-Production)
& Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) – Dir. Zack Snyder
Yes, I’m ranking these together even though they’re quite different – they’re still, essentially, the same movie.
Plot: I actually really like the plot of this film – and with the extra pieces of backstory provided by the Snyder cut, I think it’s genuinely interesting (albeit pretty standard superhero fare). It falls apart in certain aspects, but it’s certainly not the worst Batman film plot on this list.
Action: There are some truly great action sequences in the Snyder cut of the film.
Humour: There is an attempt at humour here. The criticism that the modern Batman films take themselves way too seriously has finally been heard. Unfortunately, a lot of the humour falls flat and doesn’t always fit tonally with the rest of the movie. There’s a way to strike a balance between serious and joke-filled moments and this movie doesn’t quite get it. The humour mostly comes by way of Ezra Miller’s Flash character – and a lot of it feels shoe-horned in.
Acting: Some good, some bad. You know who the bad ones are lol. Ray Fisher is FANTASTIC as Cyborg though and he obviously shines much more brightly in the Snyder cut of the film. He deserved a stand-alone movie.
Visuals: Ugly and muddy, as expected from Snyder.
Length: The Snyder cut is 4 fucking hours long and the theatrical release is 2. SO MUCH story gets cut out and both films are worse for how much was attempted to be jammed into this movie. A better call would have been to have this film centre on Cyborg. With Lex and the Joker popping up at the end, it’s pretty clear that everyone involved in making this bit off way more than they could chew and got way ahead of themselves in terms of what this was supposed to be and where it was supposed to go next.
Enjoyment Rating: 3/5
1. Michael Keaton
2. Christian Bale
3. George Clooney
4. Adam West
5. Ben Affleck
6. Val Kilmer
7. Robert Lowery
8. Lewis Wilson
1. Joker (Nicholson - Batman)
2. Catwoman (Pfeiffer – Batman Returns)
3. The Penguin (DeVito – Batman Returns)
4. Joker (Ledger – The Dark Knight)
5. The Riddler (Carey – Batman Forever)
6. Mr. Freeze (Schwarzenegger – Batman & Robin)
7. Bane (Hardy – The Dark Knight Rises)
8. Scarecrow (Murphy – TDK Trilogy)
9. Ra’s al Ghul (Neeson – Batman Begins)
10. Talia al Ghul (Cotillard – TDK Rises)
11. Steppenwolf (Hinds – Justice League)
12. Two-Face (Eckhart – The Dark Knight)
13. Max Shreck (Walken – Batman Returns)
14. The 1966 Batman Villains
(Gorshin, Romero, Meredith, and Meriwether)
15. Poison Ivy (Thurman – Batman & Robin)
16. Joker (Phoenix - Joker)
17. Catwoman (Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises)
18. Enchantress (Delevingne – Suicide Squad)
19. The Wizard (Penn – Batman and Robin )
20. Carmine Falcone (Wilkinson – Batman Begins)
21. Lex Luthor (Eisenberg – Batman v. Superman)
22. Two-Face (Jones – Batman Forever)
23. Bane (Swenson – Batman & Robin)
24. Joker (Leto – Suicide Squad)
25. Dr. Daka (Naish – Batman 1943)
*Note: I didn’t rank the Suicide Squad cast (other than Leto and Delevingne) because there’s a trillion of them and it’s a bit muddy since they’re technically the protagonists in that film. Everyone would be somewhere towards the middle to bottom of the list anyways.
1. Alfred (Michael Gough)
2. Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone)
3. Alfred (Michael Caine)
4. Alfred (Jeremy Irons)
5. Robin (Burt Ward)
6. Robin/John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
7. Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway)
8. Robin (Chris O’Donnell)
9. Robin (Douglas Croft)
10. Robin (Johnny Duncan)
1. Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Pfeiffer – Batman Retruns)
2. Vicki Vale (Basinger – Batman)
3. Kitka (Meriwether – Batman )
4. Rachel Dawes (Gyllenhaal – The Dark Knight)
5. Rachel Dawes (Holmes – Batman Begins)
6. Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises)
7. Vicki Vale (Adams – Batman and Robin )
8. Dr. Chase Meridian (Kidman – Batman Forever)
9. Julie Madison (Macpherson – Batman & Robin)
10. Linda Page (Patterson – Batman )
1. Batman Begins (2005)
2. Batman (1989)
3. TDK & TDK Rises (2008 / 2012)
4. Batman Returns (1992)
5. Justice League (2017 / 2021)
6. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
7. Batman Forever (1995)
8. Batman & Robin (1997)
9. Batman (1966)
10. Batman (1943)
11. Batman and Robin (1949)
|Top 5 Villain Looks:
1. The Riddler (Carey - Batman Forever)
2. Catwoman (Pfeiffer – Batman Returns)
3. Poison Ivy (Thurman – Batman & Robin)
4. Mr. Freeze (Schwarzenegger – Batman & Robin)
5. Joker (Nicholson – Batman)
*Note: There are multiple suits and multiple looks in these films so I decided to just rank based on overall appearance of everything together.
1. Batman & Batman Returns (1989 / 1992)
2. Batman (1966)
3. Batman & Robin (1997)
4. Batman Forever (1995)
5. The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005 / 2008 / 2012)
6. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
What is your favourite Batman movie?
Sources: Trailer / Gif 1 / Gif 2 / Gif 3 / Gif 4 / Gif 5 / Gif 6 / Gif 7 / Gif 8 / Gif 9 / Gif 9 / Gif 10 / Gif 11 / Gif 12 / Gif 13 / Gif 14