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Choose Your Favorite Batman Movie

The Dark Knight Rises closes another chapter of Batman’s cinematic career in fine form, giving us the chance to look back at his nearly-half century in film and ask the all-important question: Which Batman movie was the best?

Okay, “best” is a relative term; what I’m really curious about is which one is your favorite? I’ll admit, for example, that Batman Returns is mine, as much for the weirdness and off-kilter nature of the whole thing as the actual story (I mean, come on: Christopher Walken? Danny DeVito as an exceptionally gross Penguin? An obviously broken Catwoman? What’s not to like), even though I think that all of the Nolan movies are technically “better” on a number of levels. So which Batmovie do you love the most?

As if you needed it, here’s a reminded of the contenders:

Batman (1966)

Batman (1989)

Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Forever (1995)

Batman and Robin (1997)

Batman Begins (2005)

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Now… choose!


  • spider jerusalem

    Which do I click to vote for Mask of the Phantasm?

  • Jonnyquest037

    Mask of the Phantasm!

  • Carl Jansson

    No love for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm?

  • Carl Jansson

    No love for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm? I still love Batman Returns for everything except the terrible Penguin death scene.

  • T_Jay78

    can’t believe Batman and Robin is garnering more love than Batman Forever!!!

  • Rollo Tomassi

    Mask of the Phantasm.

    Although there is something to be said of a film that offers sage advice such as “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb..”

    But no, Mask of the Phantasm

  • Lastnamecumbie

    Screw batman and robin and Michael Keaton is still my favorite batman. 

  • Kksmnick

    Yeah, where’s Phantasm? That was theatrically released!

  • Mr_Wayne

    This isn’t a valid poll until you place ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ on the list. It’s a legitimate film that came out in theaters and to many it was the definitive version of Batman n film before Nolan came along. Fix it. Fix it now.

  • Duff McWhalen

    The one with the PRINCE soundtrack

  • Scud

    Mask of the Phantasm is good but in no way is it anywhere near as good as any of the Nolan Trilogy.

  • Guest

    What about the two serials from the 1940’s?

  • Battybruce39

    Even after Nolan came along

  • Stealthwise

    Hipster douches trying to be ironic

  • Casey Justice

    Only 17 votes for Batman ’66?

    I am deeply disappointed in you all.

  • DrForrester

    Should have guessed most people wouldn’t be able to remember past 2008

  • starscream9289

    The one with Kiss from a Rose as its theme song.

  • ‘Nark

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but Mask of the Phantasm. Batman Begins is a close second, but it would be pretty impossible to beat that one scene where Bruce dons the mask for the first time in Phantasm.

  • Minitrol

    Only just but yes it is a matter of…grave concern…

  • Atomic Kommie Comics

    Agreed, they were the FIRST movie versions, as well as being the inspiration for the 1960s tv series and it’s spin-off feature film!
    And they’re currently available at Costco for only $7.99 for each two-DVD set!

  • Sapha12

    I pray for the souls of the (so far) 13 people who have thusly voted for Batman Forever and Batman and Robin….


  • Terry Von

     I’d have to say… I actually picked “The Dark Knight Rises” over “The Dark Knight”.

    TDK was an art film, and I appreciated it as such. Heath Ledger stole the show, and it was flawless..

    But TDKR was the perfect superhero film.. moreso than “The Avengers”, really. I found myself cheering a whole lot more then I did at the end of Avengers for this one.

    The Dark Knight couldn’tve been compared to “The Avengers” *because* it’s an art film… whereas the more triumphant conclusion of “The Dark Knight Rises” provides a better example of how to make a triumphant “superhero” film..

  • Ciaran Statham

    Batman ’89, then Batman Returns, then The Dark Knight Rises, closely followed by Batman Begins. Can’t stand TDK, and I’m not a big fan of the Schumacher entries, even the more toned down one.

  • Guest

    Count me as another Batman: Mask of The Phantasm fan.  Best Batman movie by FAR!

  • 0bsessions

     I’d say Dark Knight is the best one, but Mask of the Phantasm is easily on par with BB and DKR.

    I’d rank it as the second best overall.

  • 0bsessions

    I’d like to sign on as one calling Mask of the Phantasm’s absence as a glaring oversight.

    I think Dark Knight’s the best overall, but Mask of the Phantasm’s cult status among Bat fans and the fact it did get a theatrical release means it should probably have made it on here. The movie is just phenomenal in every capacity.

  • OwenGround

    Gotta go with Batman Returns. It’s a classic. The Nolan films aren’t Batman movies. They’re crime dramas featuring a guy in a bat costume. Not my cup of tea.

  • Scud

    Nolan’s films aren’t Batman? That is one of the dumbest statements ever.

  • Kenneth Livitski

    I voted The Dark Knight Rises. While it had its obvious flaws, I found it to be a much-more enjoyable superhero film than The Dark Knight. Most disagree with me when I say this, but TDK is the weakest in Nolan’s trilogy. While Heath Ledger gave a jaw-dropping performance, I feel that TDK is more of “Heat 2 featuring Batman” than an actual Batman film. It didn’t feel like a superhero film to me at all. Batman Begins was epic, though.

    As for the others in the list, Batman 1966 is a classic and it’d be wrong to call yourself a Bat-fan and dislike that film. Batman 1989 and Batman Returns are both great superhero films, even though Batman was more of a Joker film and Batman Returns was strange in the fact that it seemed like it was taking place during the ’40s (paperboys standing on street corners and old-styled vehicles; it was strange). Batman Forever wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t exactly bad, either. It was a 100% flip from what the Burton Batman films were, but I thought it was decent for what it was. Jim Carrey did a good job as the Riddler and… well, not too much more than that. I haven’t watched Batman & Robin in years because, even as a child, I thought it was pretty bad. Everything about that film was wrong. I can’t believe Warner Bros went ahead with that film considering its god-awful script.

    I agree with the 90% of the posters on here, though; where’s Batman: The Mask of Phantasm? Now THAT was an incredible Batman film.

  • skuzinsk

    Ditto for all the Mask of the Phantasm comments. The best Batman/Bruce Wayne, the best Joker, the tightest writing, the most coherent plot structure with no major holes or gaffes, the best use of a love interest for Bruce, the best moment between an adult Bruce and his dead parents, the best Alfred/Bruce interactions, and arguably the most visually interesting action sequences. And the best score, with Elfman’s original a close second. I’d also argue that the voice acting in MOTP is better than almost all the live acting in the other films.

  • skuzinsk

    Yup, MOTP was really annoying with that whole coherent plot, smart writing, visually comprehensible action, and believable human relationships stuff. And don’t get me started on including the occasional humor, romance, and mystery. 

  • skuzinsk

    Dumbest statement ever? If it is then maybe argue it substantively instead of taking the playground approach. If you’ve read the comics at all, you’d know that Nolan’s Batman and Bruce Wayne veered pretty far from the core characterization of these characters–far enough that he arguably was not Batman but rather a storytelling device. A couple examples might help.

    First, he gives up on Gotham how many times? Nolan wanted realism, but we never saw a Batman that really seemed, frankly, crazy enough or vengeful enough to dress as a bat and fight crime. We see it’s a brutal double life (even though he spends, what, two years total at it?), but we never see why he does it. By the time TDKR roles around, we discover that Batman left for eight years (??) when the death of Rachel should have just made him more self-sacrificing and lost in the Batman persona. You know, if we’re going for consistent characterization here. And we find out Batman decides, after another brief stint as Batman, to then give it all up and move to some posh life with Selina??? O_O Yeah….a Batman who spends maybe two years as Batman with a long vacation in the middle, and then retires, is not Batman.

    Second, he’s shown repeatedly doing very stupid things or not being able to make even the simplest logical deductions. Think about how often Batman gets into an unnecessarily bad situation or has to use some handy-dandy technology to solve his problems. All because he’s, well, just not smart. Really? Batman is a unique hero because he has to marshal his human abilities and refine them so much that he becomes a superhero with no powers. And the gadgets were only used as a last resort or as a complement to his own abilities. But Nolan’s Batman is far from the World’s Greatest Detective, and might even be a little below average. So, a non-intelligent Batman who is completely reliant on toys is, again, NOT Batman. 

    Third, Nolan’s Batman never really seems physically remarkable. This guy was trained by Ra’s, but basically by the time we’re in TDK and TDKR he mostly knows how to just punch and is rather incompetent. Even dogs give him issues. He seems to have forgotten how to use his legs to fight (or how to turn his head half the time), or how to use stealth, surprise, etc. The vehicles should have top billing over Batman given their screen time, but even the use of those is overly complicated. Batman is supposed to be smart in his physicality, but half the stuff Nolan has him do seems designed to just look cool (I assume, since you typically can’t see what’s happening at all) and last as long as possible. The best “fight scene” in the trilogy was, I’d say, the apprehension of Falcone’s men at the docks. It felt like Batman–it had mystery, and terror, and a ruthless efficiency, and it showed a Batman who didn’t need gadgets to survive. It was minimalist and cool. The rest? Overdone and tepid..

  • skuzinsk

    Agreed. I would actually put Batman Begins at the top of a “best live action” list simply because it told an appropriately epic and dark origin story. Somewhere between that and TDK/TDKR Nolan became much more interested in the villain and in how chaos/anarachy manifest in Gotham. That makes for interesting films, but Batman and the whole idea of costumed vigilantism felt woefully out of place. Every time Batman showed up in TDK/TDKR it was like “oh, hey, there’s Batman. Ok then.”

  • Jack23

    Mask of the Phantasm is the best animated batman movie.

  • ATK

    Mask of the Phantasm and the recently released Batman Year One, but mainly because it portrayed Gordon so well. The Dark Knight is my favorite if the live action movies, Rises was great but there is no topping the perfection that was the 2nd Nolan film.

  • Noah Pressman

    Batman Returns without a doubt!  Visually spectacular, brilliantly scored, and some of the best performances to ever grace a comic book movie.  You can spend days analyzing the themes present in this movie.  By far the “deepest” of any of the Batman films. Consider — the biblical undertones of Penguin killing Gotham’s first born sons, the image of his basket floating away not unlike Moses, and the fact that he dies at the age of 33, exactly like Christ.  I could go on but there’s simply too much to discuss.  Great film

  • Becerrock

    who the hell dare to vote for BATMAN AND ROBIN ….

  • Adam

     I loved that movie when I was a kid!

  • David Pagé

    i would say that the three last Batman Movies ( Batman Begins, The Dark Kignt, The Dark Knight Rises) are the best. Because i found that its not 3 movies but big one movie…Batman Begins is verry verry good, the Dark Knight is the most intense and The Dark Knight Rises is the better to watch and it ended so great. 

  • bubblegum princess

    What about Batman Beyond? Return of the Joker? It’s not my top, but still, that movie was awesome!
    I honesty can’t chose between Returns, Rises, TDK, and Mask though. And everything else, aside from the two Schumacher and the 66 are all close behind those…I honestly hate both Schumacher movies and the 66 movie.
    Even though, I admit I actually liked Jim Carrey as the Riddler…I know I’m in a minority and thought Val Kilmer was a good Bruce Wayne. And of course Nicole Kidman was in it….Ok, you know what, I will put that one far above the 66 and the one that shall not be named, but still far below everything else.