Before I start talking about Batman movies. I will not be reviewing any movie a part of the new live action DC movie universe. Chances are I could be getting those in the near future. I will say for the record Suicide Squad was much better than the heavily anticipate Batman v. Superman movie.
1. Batman (serial) (1943)
DC made a select few serial series early on. For those that don't know what a serial is. These were shows that often play in movie theaters since they are technically classified as movies. In that regard to fully see the entire movie you have to watch every part from start to finish. This used to be a common thing in those times. This serial is very loosely based on Batman in general. It is still far from terrible that kinda holds up a little bit. Basically if it weren't for this serial series, the 1966 show would've suck. A lot of people today would ignore it for being too dated & lacking color. Honestly lacking color does work depending on particular Batman stories. As for dated yeah a little bit but it is still more entertaining than some of the worst live action Batman movies.
2. Batman and Robin (serial) (1949)
Not to be confused by the 1997 movie of the same name. This is a follow up to their first Batman serial series. Honestly it doesn't hold up as much as it's precursor. Some characters are done better like Robin & Alfred. This serial series also played a major role in the success of the 1966 show. This one does play out a little more predictable. At the same time it still was a good attempt introducing a lot of people to these characters. It is a shame none of their regular villains appears in both serial series. In my opinion the music is easily the best thing about this serial series.
3. Batman (1966)
Interesting fact instead of hanging over the movie to another company. During the making of the first two seasons. They took it upon themselves to make the movie themselves. Although this is the first live action movie Batman to be classified in more recent times. I just proven this is actually the third predating two Batman movie series. Honestly this is one of the best Batman movies you can find. Yes you do need a open mind since the 60s were different to modern times. Some characters like The Joker did get tone down a lot. Caesar Romero is still one of the best live action actors to play the character. This is one of the best things about the 1966 show. Yes this later screwed them over ending the show so soon following it's release. At the same time it is amazing how well this movie holds up. Most of the regular actors are present with the second lady playing Catwoman. Most people doesn't know this following fact but officially counting this movie. Three actresses plays Catwoman on Batman 1966 show. The second most was The Riddler with the later guy played Gomez Addams in the original Addams Family show. Some of the most famous Batman memes originated from this movie. I do recommend this movie but there's plenty of better Batman movies out there.
4. Batman (1989)
This is one of my personal favorite Batman & DC movies of all time. OMG this movie despite not following the source material well was amazing. Easily one of the finest among Tim Burton's movies. Everything else is so well done that I'm still impressed by it. This movie stands as the very movie to forever change everyone's opinion of the character. Officially thanks to this movie, almost everything following it becomes dark. Ever since then became a reoccurring theme. Jack Nicholson is really good as The Joker. Michael Keaton is one of the few actors in my opinion to nail both Bruce & Batman. I just love everything about this movie.
5. Batman Returns (1992)
This movie is possibly positive but a lot of people didn't like this sequel. Batman Returns is incredibly dark for a Batman movie. As stated before many things following 1989 movie went in that direction. I could get hit very hard by stating this but I love The Penguin in this movie. Let's be honest most fans would agree some versions work while others doesn't. In fact he usually appears more so on the worst Batman villains list than the best for that reason alone. Once again this isn't faithful to the source material but I still love this movie with a passion. This movie was something else for it's time with Dany DeVito playing The Penguin was a great idea. I do enjoy Catwoman in this movie more so than many Batman movie versions. I do find parts of this movie a little depressing. Some parts you wouldn't expect the first time watching to have dark humor. Some of these jokes actually gets reused in games based on this movie. Batman Returns is sadly where the rest of the series starts falling down. Although I still recommend this movie as a big Batman fan.
6. Batman Forever (1995)
Due to the dark nature of the previous movie & what almost was Batman Forever being too similar. Tim Burton got fired to be replaced by Joel Schumacher. Already this should have some red flags. Batman Forever is a little too light for a Batman movie. The cast is mostly hit or miss with The Riddler being the best character. Yes I just said that The Riddler really steals the show. Tommy Lee Jones is a great actor but his portrayal of Two Face is questionable. This is a rare case of having the right actor but was used wrongly. Let me explain Two Face is suppose to be split on everything. Where he does coin tosses to determine what happens next. At the same time it wasn't done as close as well as some portrayals of the character. To be honest it comes off like he's trying to play a game. Also he would never kept trying to get the bad option in a series of coin tosses. Most of the time he usually is way too serious like Batman that doesn't stop until he gets what he wants. Two Face is suppose to be angrier than what was shown in this movie. Don't get me started on Robin, his portrayal altogether sucks & simply not worth mentioning. I am sorry but to me that is not Dick Grayson. In my mind that was more of a wanna gangster that wants to be Batman but had to settle for Robin. Sadly the best part of this movie is the music. However even right there we got a major problem. Most of it doesn't even feel like a Batman movie at all. Yes I do like some songs yet I felt it was a little too positive rather than the previous movies being more negative. Obviously you do need some light things in dark stories to keep going. By having it too light in it's entirely makes it feel like something else altogether. Also most games based on this movie aren't great & should be avoided at all costs.
7. Batman & Robin (1997)
Do I need to talk about Batman & Robin movie? Oh ok fine this movie is hands down the worst out of the four movies. Batman & Robin does the same mistake Spider-Man 3 does several years later. They used three of his villains with two of them horribly done. Mr. Freeze isn't suppose to talk like that or buff up muscles. His suit also looks laughable with his helmet being open. In most versions, his helmet covers his entire head to help keep in the temperature within the suit. Which means this version of Mr. Freeze should've already died during the movie. The way he was done in the entire movie is an insult to those who are big fans of the character. In fact due to this movie bombing, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero got delayed although that movie wasn't much better either. Bane is horribly down played that is insulting. It doesn't help shortly after the release of this movie, the actor who played Bane died in real life. Bane was made to be a mindless idiot that works for Poison Ivy & later Mr. Freeze. Everyone knows Bane is suppose to be a great mixture of being a physical & mental challenge for the Dark Knight. There really isn't an excuse for this. Batgirl is also down played that's slightly better than Robin. Sadly Poison Ivy ends up being the best character. Possibly out of both Schumacher films, Poison Ivy is portrayed the best. Honestly everything you don't want in a super hero movie happens here. To sum it up too much was done going, the director clearly doesn't know Batman & too light once again. This time not even the music could save it from being avoided or torture to those watching it.
8. Batman Begins (2005)
Don't worry folks from this point only good Batman movies are left. Batman Begins is a reboot that caught a lot of people by surprise. Christopher Nolan did a great job revamping the characters. Personally one of my favorite Scarecrow's portrayals. Ra's al Ghul was done just right for this movie. Christian Bale is terrible as Bruce Wayne but okay as Batman. They did a great job retelling Batman's origin story. Easily one of the best Batman movies of all time. My biggest criticism has to be as small it may seem. I really wanted more Scarecrow in the actual movie. Sadly his later cameos in the other movies are short & left much empty feeling. I simply wanted more Scarecrow.
9. The Dark Knight (2008)
WOW The Dark Knight is amazing in every sense of the word. I am really impressed by how damn good this movie actually is. Possibly the best Joker portrayal I ever seen played by the late Heath Ledger. This guy went the extra mile to really help his performance stands out. In fact Sir Michael Caine during a particular scene actually got scared to not say anything. Honestly in a lot of people's minds Ledger was the definite Joker in cinema. Yes even better than Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the character. Everything from start to finish you really can't stop watching this movie. It is so good that my only criticism is it does go a little longer than it needs to & quickly doing Two Face the way they did. Don't get me wrong Aaron Eckhart is a great Harvey Dent & Two Face. Very close to the end they originally was going to do Two Face & The Riddler in the next movie. They decided at the last minute along with changing the ending to do Two Face late in the movie. Two Face is really on the money this time around. I actually wanted more of him since his scenes as Two Face are great. This movie does the comics justice that many people still need to see to believe.
10. Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Finally we get to our last Batman movie Dark Knight Rises. In my opinion it is sorta better than some of the previous Batman movies. At the same time as stated with The Dark Knight, this movie does go a little longer than needed. They took such a extreme way to end a movie series. Bane is done way better than Batman & Robin nailing what we love about the character. Yes I could criticize his voice but really enjoy his scenes. Spoiler alert Talia al Ghul is the real person pulling the strings. This is a direct follow up to Batman Begins. Catwoman is easily one of the best movie portrayals of the character. I still kinda prefer Michelle Pfeiffer's performance. Although this version of her is way more accurate to the source material. What's funny about that is she actually tried out for another role that wasn't a character in the movie to end up being Catwoman. Yes I'm not making that fact up folks. This is a great way to end one of the best movie trilogies in history. Honestly I am impressed by it but I still prefer many Batman movies over it.
Now it's time to rank all of these live action Batman movies.
9. Batman & Robin (1997)
8. Batman & Robin (1949)
7. Batman (1943)
6. Batman Forever (1995)
5. Batman (1966)
4. Batman Returns (1992)
3. Batman Begins (2005)
2. Dark Knight Rises (2012)
1. Batman (1989) & The Dark Knight (2008)
Honestly I really couldn't decide out of Batman 1989 version & The Dark Knight. Which Batman movie was better so I decided to give the top spot to both these classics instead.