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How to Watch the Batman Movies in Chronological Order

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Seven actors have donned the cape and cowl across nearly 60 years of live-action Batman movies. From campy capers to noir-drenched crime thrillers, Batman has (to varying degrees of success) glided across the gamut of superhero subgenres, though the series’ singular cast of characters and ability to attract top talent has enabled decades of relevancy that transcends its comic-book origins.

For those interested in embarking on the complete big-screen Batman journey, we've compiled a largely spoiler-free* list of every Batman movie ordered by release date, from oldest to newest. At the bottom of the article, you’ll also find a breakdown of the Batman movies by director.

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The Batman Movies in Chronological Order

How Many Batman Movies Are There?

There are 13 Batman movies included on this list — 11 live-action and two animated. While Bats appears in dozens of films, this list only compiles feature-length theatrical releases in which Batman is a main character. This excludes the bulk of animated Batman movies (including The Killing Joke, which appeared in theaters for just one day) and movies like Suicide Squad in which Batman isn’t a lead figure.

Batman Movies in Chronological Order

*Each blurb contains a broad overview of the plot and mentions the heroes/villains who appear in that film.

1. Batman (1966)

Based on the successful Adam West-led TV series, Batman’s theatrical debut came in 1966 with West once again playing the Caped Crusader. The film pitted Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) against the United Underworld: Joker (Cesar Romero), Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). The villains are equipped with a dehydrating device that turns people to dust.

The campy ‘60s film was significantly lighter in tone compared to the gritty Batman of today.

2. Batman (1989)

Over 20 years later, Batman returned to the big screen with Tim Burton at the helm and Michael Keaton behind the cowl. It explores Joker’s origin story, setting up the film’s primary plot: a deadly game of cat and mouse between Batman and Joker, with Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale serving as a love interest for Batman and a pawn for Joker.

Jack Nicholson earned a Golden Globe nomination for his memorable take on the Clown Prince of Crime.

3. Batman Returns (1992)

The second of Burton’s two Batman movies is a sequel that pits Keaton’s Batman against Danny DeVito’s creepy Penguin, who teams up with Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) to tarnish Batman’s reputation. Christopher Walken also stars as the villainous industrialist Max Shreck.

It’s one of the least successful Batman movies commercially, though it features excellent performances from Keaton, Pfeiffer, and DeVito.

4. Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

The first theatrically released animated Batman movie, The Mask of the Phantasm, was based on the beloved Batman animated TV series from the ‘90s. The film was produced between the series’ first and second seasons and released on Christmas Day 1993.

The Mask of Phantasm explores the interconnected narratives of three characters: Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy), Joker (Mark Hamill), and Phantasm (voice actor redacted to avoid spoilers).

Conroy, who died in 2022, was the definitive voice of Batman, portraying the character brilliantly across 30 years of TV shows, movies, and video games.

5. Batman Forever (1995)

After two films, Tim Burton stepped away from the franchise, opening the door for Joel Schumacher’s pair of Batman movies. Keaton, later citing creative differences with Schumacher, also elected not to return for Forever, leading to Val Kilmer’s one and only turn as Batman.

Batman Forever is most fondly remembered for its villains: Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face and Jim Carrey’s Riddler. The duo, equipped with a mind-reading device called The Box, is pursued throughout the movie by Batman and Robin (Chris O'Donnell). Nicole Kidman also stars as psychologist Chase Meridian.

6. Batman & Robin (1997)

Kilmer was replaced by George Clooney, another one-time Batman, who starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Schumacher’s follow-up, Batman & Robin. The duo faces off against Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy, who plan to freeze humanity and replace it with Ivy’s mutant plants. Also on the side of good is Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), while Freeze and Ivy are assisted by Bane (played by Robert Swenson, a 6’4”, 400-pound professional wrestler).

Despite the strong cast, Batman & Robin is generally considered the franchise’s worst film: It earned less than any other live-action Batman movie at the box office and easily holds the worst score on Rotten Tomatoes. It marked the end of Schumacher’s time at the helm and the beginning of an eight-year hiatus for Batman on the big screen.

7. Batman Begins (2005)

Eight years after the underwhelming Batman & Robin, DC’s flagship hero returned under the direction of Christopher Nolan. Nolan and new Batman actor Christian Bale introduced moviegoers to a grittier Gotham City.

The trilogy’s first film, Batman Begins, provides Nolan’s take on the Batman origin story, eventually pitting our hero against the likes of eminent DC villains Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson). Begins also introduces Nolan’s Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and James Gordon (Gary Oldman). Katie Homes plays Bruce’s love interest, Rachel Dawes, before she was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight.

8. The Dark Knight (2008)

Nolan followed up on his Batman debut with the best Batman movie of all time. The Dark Knight is Nolan’s version of the ultimate comic-book showdown: Batman vs. Joker.

Heath Ledger turns in an Oscar-winning performance as a cunning, terrifying, believable, and sadistically charming Joker. The dynamic between Ledger and Bale, alongside a propulsive plot and excellent supporting performances from Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes) and Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent/Two-Face), led IGN to name The Dark Knight the best superhero movie ever. It's also the second most successful Batman movie at the worldwide box office, grossing over $1 billion USD.

9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Nolan’s Batman trilogy concluded in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises. In Christian Bale’s final Batman performance, The Dark Knight faces off against Tom Hardy’s imposing Bane.

Rises had the impossible task of living up to The Dark Knight, but comparisons aside, the movie was a massive success: It’s the highest-grossing Batman movie of all time and the third-highest-rated on Rotten Tomatoes.

In addition to returning many staple characters from Nolan’s previous Batman movies, Rises introduces Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as police officer John Blake.

10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Four years later, Batman entered the DCEU in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ben Affleck’s Batman starred opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in the big-budget battle of DC’s most famous heroes.

It’s a messy, action-heavy blockbuster that brings together many of the biggest names in DC Comics: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), and Lois Lane (Amy Adams), to name a few. The movie also serves as Zack Snyder’s setup to Justice League.

BvS is among the most-profitable Batman movies at the box office and among the worst-reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes.

11. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

The second of two animated movies on this list, The LEGO Batman Movie is a fun, cameo-packed adventure centered around another Batman-Joker conflict.

Will Arnett as Batman leads a voice cast directed by Chris McKay (Renfield). Supporting cast members include Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon, Channing Tatum as Superman, Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face, Conan O'Brien as Riddler, and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman (before she portrayed the character in 2022's The Batman).

The LEGO Batman Movie also pulls in characters from across the world of LEGO, including King Kong, Voldemort, Sauron, Gremlins, and others. It’s the second-highest-rated Batman movie on Rotten Tomatoes behind only The Dark Knight.

12. Zack Synder’s Justice League (2021)

Zack Synder’s Justice League, aka the Snyder Cut, is a revamped and re-released version of the 2017 Justice League film. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman for the biggest DCEU crossover event to date.

Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman recruit a team of superheroes — Henry Cavill's Superman, Jason Momoa's Aquaman, Ezra Miller's Flash, and Ray Fisher's Cyborg — to protect the planet from Steppenwolf and Darkseid.

We’ve opted to include the 2021 Synder Cut instead of the original 2017 release, though its position on the list would be the same regardless.

13. The Batman (2022)

Matt Reeves’s turn at the helm began with 2022’s The Batman, a moody crime thriller that IGN awarded a rare review score of 10/10. Robert Pattinson stars as a pained, antisocial version of Bruce Wayne/Batman investigating the murder of Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr.

Joining Pattinson is Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Penguin, Paul Dano as Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and John Turturro as mobster Carmine Falcone.

It’s a must-watch movie for Batman fans and the first in what DC boss James Gunn has called Reeves’s “Batman Crime Saga,” which is planned across three films.

Ranking the Batman Movies

Batman Movies By Director

Leslie H. Martinson Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman (1966)

Tim Burton Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)

Joel Schumacher Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)

Christopher Nolan Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Zack Synder Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Zack Synder’s Justice League (2021)

Matt Reeves Batman Movies in Release Order

  • The Batman (2022)

Theatrically Released Animated Batman Movies in Release Order

  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
  • The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

Upcoming Batman Movies

The Batman – Part II (2025)

The next Batman movie is The Batman – Part II, a sequel to 2022’s The Batman once again directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson. There’s no word on plot details yet, but we know it’s scheduled to hit theaters on October 3, 2025.

A third film is expected to follow, as Reeves’s Batman saga is planned as a trilogy.

Supporting Roles

The Batman – Part II is the only Batman-led movie currently in the works, though the hero will have a role to play in two upcoming DC movies: The Flash (June 23) and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 25). The films will feature both Ben Affleck’s and Michael Keaton’s Batmans. It’ll be the first time Keaton’s Batman appears on the big screen in 31 years.

Jordan covers games, shows, and movies as a freelance writer for IGN.

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