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Batman Films - Ranked

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Christopher Nolan does the impossible. When no one thought it would ever be possible to create a superhero film that's better than The Dark Knight, Nolan dishes up The Dark Knight Rises. Which is actually better, and therefore the best film in what's definitively the greatest trilogy in the history of cinema. It's a more than worthy conclusion to Nolan's Batman films and it is exactly the conclusion that we dared to hope for. I pity the fool who attempt to reboot or continue these films. Because there is hardly anything that can compare to what Nolan managed to do over these three films. After Joel Schumacher's terrible films, Nolan did indeed resurrect this hero and have now raised the bar for superhero films. The Avengers tried to set a new standard earlier this year. In my opinion, it didn't come anywhere close, but if it did, then surely The Dark Knight Rises have exploded those again. This is the ultimate superhero film.

Nolan is easily one of the most ambitious filmmakers living today and The Dark Knight Rises might just be his most ambitious film so far, at least it is the largest. While being larger doesn't necessarily always mean it's better, that's easily the case here. It's slightly better than The Dark Knight because it is much larger. The spectacle in The Dark Knight Rises is tremendous, gorgeously filmed with amazing special effects (and not overusing CGI). Nolan shows us yet again a very different, but exciting way of showing action. The way he edits the convoluted story by showing different action in different scenes at the same time, and how he still manages to keep the action and suspense trough the entire running time is spectacular. The Dark Knight Rises doesn't just work as a brilliant comic book film, or as an excellent way to conclude a trilogy, it's a brilliant action film as well. I've seen several people complaining that Nolan doesn't manage to direct action very well, but I do think that's just ridiculous. Surely, he doesn't exactly produce the most glorified action sequences, but that's simply because he doesn't need that in his films. He directs action and fight scenes that feels and looks real. There is a fight scene in this film between Batman and Bane. Where Bane breaks Batman's back. It's just wonderful... This is a scene that is almost just simple boxing, but still it is easily one of the greatest fight scenes in cinema. Just because it feels real. It feels like they are actually beating each other!

Even greater than the amazing action and effects is the story. It's a complex and convoluted story that requires one's full attention. While The Dark Knight referenced the paranoia after 9/11, The Dark Knight Rises put's in some clever references to the stock market's and elitists fall with some clear parallels too the French revolution. The story is a result of a man with very high ambitions and we are therefore rewarded with the best comic book film ever likely to come out, and one of the greatest action crime-flicks ever. While the story can be easily summarized into few word, that doesn't really justify the complexity of the story. It's more to it than meets the eyes. While Nolan has been criticized for making films that makes dumb people feel smart, I hardly believe that they would be able to notice a lot of things that actually happens in Nolan's films. After all, dumb people only care about the action. Just because an intelligent person could figure out the plot and all of the references and parallels, it doesn't necessarily mean a dumb person could do it. Nolan is making films for everyone. The action is there, and it is a much smarter action film for those who require some brain fodder as well. Just because one is able to understand it, it doesn't necessarily mean it is stupid.

There is also the way that Nolan concludes his trilogy that makes The Dark Knight Rises shine as much as it does. He explodes the boundaries of superhero films, and ends his trilogy in an emotional and effective way. Rarely have I been so emotionally caught up in a story before. The only thing I believe that can compare to it is the last Harry Potter-film, and I grew up with that wizard! That people criticize Nolan's films for being cold is insane! Nolan manages to get me to care for nearly every character, which is an incredible feat seeing as this film is crowded with characters. He does even manage to get me to sympathize with Bane for a second, despite him being a hardcore villain! (I'll get back to that later.) The core to Nolan's emotional aspect of The Dark Knight Rises lies in the relationship between Bruce and Alfred. One of the few redeeming features in Schumacher's Batman-films was the relationship between these two people. In Batman & Robin it was Bruce that tried to save Alfred from cancer, this time it is Alfred that gives his best shot in saving Bruce's life. It's the core in an emotional roller coaster that's completely devastating.

While Tom Hardy's Bane certainly ain't as unpredictable and insanely humorous as Heath Ledger's Joker, there is no denying that Bane is still a very worthy villain and Hardy's portrayal of him is brilliant. Bane is a totally different villain than The Joker. While The Joker was just pure chaos and anarchy, without any particular reasons (which was very effective, but it wouldn't work twice!), Bane is a much more fleshed out character. He has an agenda and a history. Which, despite what Nolan did on The Joker, also makes Bane just as terrifying as The Joker. Bane's high self esteem and self confidence, as well as his pure brutality, menacing voice and intelligence makes him the definitive Batman villain. There is also a certain thing that makes Bane so much more. Which is that he does actually have a soft side! He cries! It is stated that he is clearly in love with Talia al Ghul and his relationship with her, and Bane's background is enough to make me sympathize with him. Enough to make me nearly cry. It's a relationship that is beautifully brought on screen.

Into the mix Nolan also throws Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (even though she is never referred to by that name). She is wonderfully portrayed and brings in some very appreciated sexiness and humor to the film. Her playfulness and side-switching is very much appreciated in a film this dark. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is brilliant and that he is actually Robin, and the way he is introduced is nothing but the touch of a genius. Nolan clearly stated that he wouldn't include Robin in his films, but this is a masterful salute to the comics. Michael Caine is heartbreaking in his role, Gary Oldman is amazing, Marion Cotillard is great, while the twist on her actually being Talia al Ghul was guessed before the film came out, it is still done with great skill. Her relationship with Bane is excellent. And Morgan Freeman is as great as always. Christian Bale does deliver his best performance in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in this film.

Nolan ends his trilogy in a masterful way. People can go on talking about The Lord of the Rings, Toy Story or the original Star Wars trilogy being the greatest trilogies, but I will be sure to bring up Nolan's three films about the Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight Rises is the craftsmanship of a master. Nolan's brilliant direction and his eye for details combined with Wally Pfister's beautiful photography and Hans Zimmer's thundering score as well as the brilliant script and acting is enough to make this the ultimate conclusion. A masterful conclusion.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 7410 Average listal rating (4933 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0

With Heath Ledger's amazing portrayal as Batman's arch nemesis, The Joker, at the core, The Dark Knight is an incredibly rich and entertaining crime saga. The Dark Knight is not only one of the greatest comic book films of all time, it's among the greatest films ever created. It's an prime example of how you can create a thoughtful, deep, multi-layered action spectacle that outshines crime epics such as Heat, even if the hero is dressed up as a bat.

The action is spectacular, the visuals are jaw-dropping, the performances are equally excellent. The Joker doesn't just end up being a damn good villain in a Batman film, but he ends up being one of the most memorable characters to boast the screen ever. He's a villain that's just as terrifying as he is sadistic. Jack Nicholson may have played his part for laughs, Ledger brings menace to the role. And to be able to witness him going up against the Caped Crusader is film magic.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 7072 Average listal rating (4754 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0

Not only did this film save the reputation of Batman, but it showed us that it's possible to create a truly dark and gritty superhero film if the right material is present. Gone are all the campy and silly stuff, and instead Nolan brought in some very much welcome realism, darkness and smartness. This combined with a stellar cast and terrific action, and you've got yourself a film that's as entertaining as it is emotionally captivating.

This is also how you reboot a character. Batman Begins is an excellent origins film. It stays mostly true to comics, but takes necessary liberties to create a full rich experience that draws out the true essence of Batman. That's an achievement worth celebrating.
Bml93's rating:
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"I didn't have to go easy on you. A different binding agent, a stronger mix. I want you to remember that. I wanted to remind you to stay out of my way. In all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember the one man who beat you!"

Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 4987 Average listal rating (3313 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Batman (1989)
"You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

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People who added this item 291 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0

Batman were one of the greater parts of the surprisingly excellent The Lego Movie and it's not surprising to see that he got his own film. It's almost a masterpiece. It's spoof comedy done absolutely right. The film is filled with references, but skillfully manages to avoid the trap of having the references being the jokes themselves, but instead the filmmakers have managed to cleverly incorporate the references into jokes that serves the film in a delicate way. It goes without saying that The LEGO Batman Movie is hilarious. It's also spectacularly colorful and heartfelt, and a treat to behold.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 4287 Average listal rating (2836 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
"You poor guys. Always confusing your pistols with your privates."

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"You try to hold me back, but you're weak. You know it in your soul. You're nothing but a hollow shell. A rusty trap. The time has come."

Bml93's rating:
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This film is a mess. If it's a good or bad mess is entirely up to you. It's going to be an extremely divisive film, but one can not change the fact that this film is a mess. It's a film that throws so much at you that it ends up being a slightly disjointed experience. There are ingredients and material here enough for almost four or five films alone. So it's very choppy and thus the main event of the film doesn't get as much attention as you would probably hope for and expect, despite it being the main plot of the film.

I did like this film. I did enjoy the various parts of it. I really loved all of the scenes with Batman/Bruce Wayne. Ben Affleck really nailed that role and his interactions with Jeremy Irons as Alfred are wonderful. There's a scene in which Batman goes up against of armed hostiles that is arguably the best Batman action we've ever seen on the screen. Superman is also handled well, and there's a lot of emotional gravitas around him. Much of it doesn't necessarily get the attention it deserves, but it's still fascinating. Wonder Woman looks cool. She's not that much in it, but at least she looks cool. I even liked Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He worked well for what the film wanted him to do.

The one thing we really want from this film is to see Batman go up against Superman, and once that fight finally happen, it's indeed glorious. Even if you don't like the rest of the film, it's worth the ticket of admission simply for that fight. Zack Snyder continues to struggle a lot when it comes to crafting a fully complete narrative that perfectly mixes action with emotions and character development, but there's no point in denying that he's a master when it comes to creating a visual spectacle. For all of its faults, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a very entertaining fireworks show. It's loud and overblown, but it is pretty damned spectacular and entertaining.

It's slightly disappointing that the film itself is not as good as I dared to hope for, but to say that I didn't have a really good time watching it would be to lie and deny myself of the pleasure it was watching these two go up against each other. The film spends some time setting up for the Justice League film. I'm excited for it, but maybe there's time to find a director or writer that can piece together the story a little better.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 444 Average listal rating (308 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
"Some days, you just can't git rid of a bomb."

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"Assemble Task Force X. We have another Suicide Mission."

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The Killing Joke is like going to a restaurant with a friend. Your main idea was to just go straight for the main course. The meat and potatoes. But suddenly your friend decides that he wants an appetizer. It's not something you really wanted, but you decide to order one as well. You get it, you eat it and you conclude with that it was decent enough. The main course arrives and it tastes and feels a lot better, though you don't really enjoy as much as you should due to having that "meh" appetizer previously. So while you leave satisfied, you also feel that your vist could have been a lot better.

This is essentially what I feel about The Killing Joke. There's a nearly 30 minutes long prologue in the beginning that is entirely focused around Batgirl until the actual Killing Joke begins. The problem with this is that this prologue is not really good and it is especially weak when compared to the Killing Joke partThe Killing Joke and hearing Mark Hamill voice these iconic Joker lines is just great.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 169 Average listal rating (218 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 0

Justice League does have enough cool and fun moments sprinkled out through its two hour long run time for it to be an entertaining film, but overall, Justice League is a disappointing entry in the DCEU.

It's strength lies in the characters. The chemistry between them works, and despite some of them not being as developed as they should have been, the characters work. Particularly Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck have some great moments, while Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa offers some comedic relief. Actors like Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and J.K. Simmons are more or less wasted though.

Justice League is however brought down by ugly visuals and awful CGI. It does actually look unfinished at times. There's also occasionally some sort of tonal crash, this most likely due to parts of the film being reshot following Zack Snyder's departure and Joss Whedon finishing the film. While Whedon's influence shines through in some of the better scenes, it also makes the film tonally inconsistent. It goes from somewhat dark to goofy in a finger snap.

The plot is ridiculously simple and forgettable, with Steppenwolf being a contender for one of the worst villains in superhero history. The action is something taken straight out of a video game and everything is quite simply a mess. Yet, it's enjoyable for what it is. But it should be better.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 789 Average listal rating (587 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 0
Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad is truly a mess. It's a film that's an obvious result of studio meddling and a change of focus and direction. Suicide Squad is presented in such a way that very little of it makes much sense. There are scenes that are clearly meant to be displayed in another way than what they ended up as, and there are plenty story beats that either go nowhere or serves no purpose. The most obvious offender to that is Jared Leto's Joker. His performance is fine, but his character feels edited out and what remains feels disconnected from the rest of the film.

But that being said, Suicide Squad is still a lot of fun and while too many of the characters feels slightly under developed, most of them get to have their moment. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot are the stand outs. Harley provides the energetic, crazy and humorous feel to the film, while Deadshot offers the emotion. I'll end by saying that Suicide Squad is entertaining, but it's a very wasted opportunity.
Bml93's rating:
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After hearing so many great things about this film, I must say that I'm slightly disappointed. My main issue with the film is how it was structured, as the constant flashbacks kept pulling me out of the film with information that I didn't really feel I needed. It also hurts the film that the Phantasm is a mystery that's not that interesting to solve.

But oh my did I love the Joker here? You bet I did. Mark Hamill as the Joker is the best thing ever, and watching this incarnation of the greatest comic book villain ever was great.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 57 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0

Batman vs. Robin has a lot of great thing going for it. The animation is good, the action sequences are great and the whole thing surrounding the Court of Owls is a lot of fun. The problem with this films is all about the characters and the motivation they have, particularly Robin. As well as few things that really doesn't make sense.

The one thing that really pulled me out of the film was how easily Robin managed to go hand-to-hand with both Batman and Nightwing. Robin, while being a skilled fighter, is still just a kid. Batman and Nightwing are grown men who are also extremely skilled fighters, even more so. Yet Robin beats them. I'm also struggling to buy Robin's motivation for the things he ends up doing, and it feels more like it's just there to drive the plot forward. It doesn't feel natural. It's also not necessary. The film didn't need Robin going up against Batman, and the film would be better by simply focusing on the Court of Owls.
Bml93's rating:
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People who added this item 117 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 0
"He's Robin now. He stays with the Batman."

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"It was just like that night in the alley, Alfred... the closeness of the walls, the gunfire. It seems I've been trying to stop those two bullets all my life."

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People who added this item 3765 Average listal rating (2499 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 0
"By the way, do you have a first name, or do I just call you Bats?"

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People who added this item 3481 Average listal rating (2341 ratings) 4.3 IMDB Rating 0
"Tonight's forecast...a freeze is coming!"

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I rank the Batman films that I've seen.

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Posted: 6 years, 8 months ago at Jun 19 20:04
If you've yet to see Mask of the Phantasm you really should! I would definitely crack my top 4 or 5.
Posted: 6 years, 8 months ago at Jun 19 20:10
Hey. Been wanting to get my hands on it for a long time now, but I've just never gotten around to it. Better do so fast now!
Posted: 6 years, 8 months ago at Jun 19 20:27
Cool. I'll be interested to hear what you think when you do track it down. This one ain't bad either: http://www.listal.com/movie/batman-under-red-hood

And many people seemed to really enjoy it a bit more than I did.
Posted: 6 years, 8 months ago at Jun 19 22:54
Swap out Gotham Knight for the '60s Batman and you've got my list. Well, aside from Batman & Robin which I refuse to watch.
Posted: 6 years, 6 months ago at Aug 6 5:03
Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago at Aug 30 2:04
Batman Returns never gets as much credit as it deserves
Posted: 6 years, 4 months ago at Oct 3 18:01
I think batman returns is better than the first tim burton's batman, anyway good list :)
Posted: 6 years, 4 months ago at Oct 10 6:41
I agree with all and you should watch Batman: Under The Red Hood and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero!
Posted: 5 years, 9 months ago at May 5 22:31
I agree with Delerium, Batman Returns is so underrated, and it's so sad b/c it's my absolute fave!

personally I found Batman Begins extremely boring, but that's just me, Dark Knight was great though.
Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago at Dec 27 4:03
Great list! Batman has seen his ups and downs with Hollywood, without a doubt. Definitely try and watch Batman: Under the Red Hood. It is simply put, (personally) truly amazing! I think that it is on Netflix. I have no doubt that it maybe in your top three to five.
Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago at Dec 27 4:57
The Dark Knight should be number 1 and Rises number 2. Heath Ledger as the Joker isn't just the best Batman villain, he might be the best villain in cinematic history, at the very least in the top 3. Not that Bane wasn't awesome, but he pales in comparison to the Joker simple as that.
Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago at Jan 13 18:23
Oh, you got it in the right order as well!
Posted: 4 years, 6 months ago at Aug 24 4:04
I'm sorry, but The Dark Knight Rises was embarrassing. Bane was barely coherent. Catwoman was just dull, all around. And, then Robin was introduced in the last scene, but we were denied seeing him dressed as Robin. Plus, the story was just a big borefest.
Posted: 4 years, 5 months ago at Aug 26 17:00
I'm having a real hard time seeing why Robin not running around dressed as Robin in The Dark Knight Rises should be considered a flaw. It was nothing but a nice way to conclude the trilogy.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Nov 9 22:12
There was a lot more wrong with Rises than just Robin, although that was a disappointment.
Posted: 3 years, 1 month ago at Jan 9 2:03
Not a popular opinion and I'm not quite sure how it happened but I kinda think Micheal Keaton was the best Batman.

'Batman Returns' is the best Batman film and followed by 'Mask of the Phantasm'.
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Dec 31 8:58
What? The Dark Knight Rises is on number 1 in this list? Wow wow wow absolutely haram.
- Batman 1989 deserves to be at least onn first three.
- Batman 1966 doesn't deserve to be on top 10
- You didn't include Batman Year One and Red Hood
- Worse, you didn't included Mask Of The Phantasm and Sub Zero

this list is total blasphemy, burn it with fire.
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Dec 31 13:08
Try to be a little bit less of a douchebag. It might suit you.

#1 - Seeing as The Dark Knight Rises is considered by most people to be the second best Batman film, just behind The Dark Knight, if you're going to look at things like IMDB and critics ratings, I don't really see that much of an issue or "haram" to have it top my list. It was emotionally effective for me, on a level that few films reaches.

#2 - You might believe that. But which film should it replace? Nolan's trilogy is a masterpiece, and even if I love Burton's Batman, I wouldn't want to put it above any of them. Still. I've given the film a freaking 9/10.

#3 - I've seen 14 Batman films. This list only includes those films that I've seen. Therefore, Batman Year One, Red Hood, Mask Of The Phantasm and Sub Zero is not on the list. Because I've not seen them! And seeing as I've only seen 14 Batman films, that makes it easier for 1966 Batman to be among the top 10. Besides, it's fun.

#4 - Try to take your arrogant crap somewhere else. Or at least try to do some reasonable thinking before you spew out your garbage.

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