A Complete Guide to Watching Batman Films in Order
Summary: In this guide, we'll walk you through the two main orders for watching Batman movies (chronological and release), explore each film's plotline briefly, and highlight the significance of some of the most iconic moments from the Batman universe.
Table of Contents
- The Release Order of Watching Batman Films
Why watch Batman films in order, you may ask? Well, while each movie can stand on its own, watching them in sequence can offer a more coherent viewing experience. It allows you to follow the storylines and character development as they unfold throughout the series.
So whether you prefer to watch in chronological order, starting with the earliest events in Batman's life, or follow the release order, watching the films in the order that they were released, we'll provide everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
If you're a fan of the Caped Crusader and want to watch all the Batman films in order, there are two options: chronological and release order. Let's start with the chronological order, which follows the timeline of events in the Batman universe.
1. Batman Begins (2005)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
3. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
4. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
5. Batman: Year One (2011)
6. Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
7. Batman (1989)
8. Batman Returns (1992)
9. Batman Forever (1995)
10. Batman & Robin (1997)
11. Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
12. Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
13. Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
14. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
15. Suicide Squad (2016)
16. Justice League (2017)
17. Joker (2019)
18. Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
19. The Batman (2022)
Watching in release order allows you to appreciate the evolution of the Batman franchise as it unfolded over time. You can see how the filmmakers’ visions changed and adapted with each new film, from Tim Burton’s gothic style in the 1989 original to Christopher Nolan’s gritty realism in his trilogy.
1. Batman (1989)
2. Batman Returns (1992)
3. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
4. Batman Forever (1995)
5. Batman & Robin (1997)
6. Batman Begins (2005)
7. The Dark Knight (2008)
8. Batman: Gotham Knight (2008, animated anthology)
9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
10. Batman: The Killing Joke (2016, animated)
11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
12. Suicide Squad (2016)
13. Justice League (2017)
14. Joker (2019)
15. Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
16. The Batman (2022)
Batman: The Beginning (1989) is a film that marked the resurgence of the Dark Knight on the big screen. Directed by Tim Burton, this movie brought the iconic comic book hero to life with a darker, grittier tone than any previous adaptation.
Michael Keaton plays the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in this film, portraying the character as a brooding, tormented figure haunted by the murder of his parents. Keaton's performance is complemented by an equally impressive cast, including Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale.
After the massive success of 1989's Batman, Tim Burton returned to direct its sequel, Batman Returns. The film premiered in the summer of 1992 and featured Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
Batman Returns takes place during Christmas in Gotham City, where a deformed and vengeful businessman named Max Shreck (played by Christopher Walken) teams up with the notorious villain, The Penguin (Danny DeVito), to take over the city. Meanwhile, Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), a former secretary who transforms into a feline-inspired anti-heroine, enters the fray and complicates Batman's mission.
Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher, marked a significant departure from the previous two films in the franchise. It introduced several new elements to the Batman universe, including a new actor playing the Caped Crusader, Val Kilmer.
The film depicted a more lighthearted and colorful version of Gotham City, with neon lights and vibrant costumes that were absent in the earlier films. The villains this time around were Two-Face, played by Tommy Lee Jones, and the Riddler, portrayed by Jim Carrey. Both actors brought their unique styles to the roles, resulting in over-the-top performances that perfectly fit the film's tone.
Batman & Robin may not have received glowing reviews when it was released in 1997, but it's still worth watching for fans of the Caped Crusader. This movie marked the end of the original Batman film series, which began with Michael Keaton's portrayal of the Dark Knight in 1989.
In Batman & Robin, George Clooney takes on the role of Batman, while Chris O'Donnell plays his trusty sidekick, Robin. Together, they must face off against Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is determined to freeze all of Gotham City.
In 2005, director Christopher Nolan breathed new life into the Batman franchise with his gritty and realistic take on the Caped Crusader. Batman Begins tells the origin story of Bruce Wayne's transformation into the Dark Knight, as he confronts his fears and learns the ways of justice and vengeance.
Nolan's approach to the film was to ground it in reality, eschewing the campy tone of previous Batman movies. He cast Christian Bale as Batman, a choice that would ultimately become iconic for the character. Bale brought a depth and intensity to the role that had not been seen before, making audiences truly believe in the character's pain and determination.
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, and it is the second installment in his Batman trilogy. This movie was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $1 billion at the box office and receiving widespread praise for its direction, performances, and screenplay.
In this film, Batman teams up with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant Jim Gordon to take down the Joker, a psychopathic criminal mastermind who wreaks havoc on Gotham City. The Joker, portrayed brilliantly by the late Heath Ledger, is one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history, and his performance earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The final chapter of Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises (2012), brings the story full circle with a thrilling and emotional conclusion. Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the film sees Bruce Wayne retired from his duties as Batman and struggling to come to terms with the death of his beloved Rachel Dawes.
But when a new villain, Bane, unleashes chaos on Gotham City, forcing Bruce out of retirement and putting his life and the city in danger, he must confront both his physical and emotional demons to save the day.
Batman and Superman are two of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and their long-awaited on-screen collision was finally realized in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Directed by Zack Snyder, the movie is set in a world where Superman is revered as a god and Batman is feared as a vigilante. Their paths cross when Batman sees Superman as a threat to humanity and decides to take him down.
The movie features an all-star cast, including Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Jesse Eisenberg also delivers a chilling performance as the eccentric villain Lex Luthor, who is pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Suicide Squad is a unique addition to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) because it focuses on some of the most notorious villains from the comics. The movie introduces Task Force X, a secret government agency that recruits imprisoned supervillains for black ops missions in exchange for reduced sentences.
The film features an all-star cast, including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Each member of the Squad has their own distinct personality and abilities, making for an exciting mix of mayhem and humor.
Justice League is a superhero movie that brings together some of the most iconic characters from the DC universe. The film is directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
The story takes place after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Batman and Wonder Woman team up to recruit other superheroes to fight against a new threat. Together, they form the Justice League to save the world from the evil Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.
Aquaman has always been one of the most intriguing characters in the DC universe. His unique abilities, combined with his royal heritage, make him a fascinating hero to watch. In 2018, James Wan brought this iconic character to the big screen in his own solo film, giving fans an opportunity to witness the legend of the "King of the Seven Seas" like never before.
The film stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, who is half-human and half-Atlantean. After his mother's forced separation from his father, a lighthouse keeper, Arthur was raised by his father in the surface world, far from the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. However, when he learns of his true heritage and the danger that threatens both the surface and the ocean world, he must embark on a journey to claim his rightful place as the king of Atlantis.
Shazam! is a 2019 DCEU film that tells the story of Billy Batson, a young orphan who discovers he can transform into an adult superhero by saying the word "Shazam!" With a fun and lighthearted tone, this movie provides a refreshing break from the darker and grittier DC films.
The movie follows Billy as he navigates his newfound powers and tries to stop the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana from obtaining similar abilities. Along the way, Billy learns the importance of family, friendship, and responsibility, all while battling demons (literally).
Watching a Batman film can be an exhilarating experience, and it's easy to get lost in the various timelines and installments. However, by following a specific order, you can enjoy the films in a way that makes sense and enhances your overall viewing experience.